Thursday, July 24, 2008

My reasons to run AGAIN

Nearly five years ago my family got a life changing shock. We learned that my father has cancer. He wasn't told he has just any old cancer, he has Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a very aggressive, hard to treat, terminal form of blood cancer. He was told he probably only had about 3 years to live, but he decided from day one that he was going to fight. As a "Daddy's Girl" it has been particularly hard on me to see my rock have to fight for his very life.

Then, not long after that, in November of 2004, I had yet another blow. I received a phone call right before I had to go to work. My step brother, Carl, was in the hospital fighting for his life. A tumor no one knew he had suddenly crushed his windpipe and made it impossible for him to breath on his own. He had also been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Seeing him lying in a hospital bed with breathing tubes was a hard pill to swallow. Here was the boy who only a few years before had looked up at me with innocent eyes and asked me "Can I call you my big sister too?"

Both my dad and Carl are doing great. Daddy, beating the odds, is still terminal yet still fighting and refusing to give up. He's gone through chemo, radiation, experimental drugs, a stem cell transplant, and in January was lucky enough to receive a bone marrow transplant thanks to an anonymous donor. Carl is in remission and is living life as a normal seventeen year old boy, complete with driver's license and girlfriend!

However, the circle of life continues and every day someone else receives the terrifying news that they or a loved one has been diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma. Only a short while ago, a dear friend of mine e-mailed with the news that her fiance, Dominic, had been diagnosed with Lymphoma and was beginning treatments the following day.

It is for this reason that I am continuing my personal battle against these diseases by continuing to be a part of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. Team in Training fund raises for LLS while training to complete endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and century bike rides. The money raised by Team in Training athletes goes towards funding the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's mission: to find a cure for blood cancers and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. This season will be my fourth season with this amazing group and I will be training to complete the Disney half marathon in January 2009. More than 823,000 Americans are battling blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

Alex, a teenager in Titusville who is in remission from Leukemia, will be our team's honorary coach. Alex has worked with Team in Training for many years and is a great inspiration to all of us as we train and run our events. His smiling face is a great sight at the finishline.

My goal is to raise $3,000 or more by this Christmas. While I plan to have many fundraising events such as garage sales and bucket drops, I am also asking for the help of my family and friends. If it is within your means and in your hearts to do so, please make a tax deductible donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society in support of my efforts by visiting

Every penny helps and there is no gift that is too small. If you would like to see your company's logo or a personal message on the back of the jerseys of ALL the Central Florida Team in Training athletes by becoming a corporate sponsor, please let me know!
I will of course put the web site on my list of favorites on the sidebar!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How many push ups can YOU do?

To answer my own question : NOT MANY...yet. I came across and thought "maybe I can do this... maybe." According to the website, if you are faithful and determined, by the end of 6 weeks you should be able to complete 100 consecutive good form push-ups. I have always hated, despised, abhorred, and loathed push ups. I'll do any other torturous exercise known to man except for push-ups. Even the girlie-on-your-knees push-ups suck. However, I really do need do work on upper body strength and how cool would it be to be able to brag to my military hubby that I can do 100 push ups? So I shall start this program, in addition to my running, to help with my upper body strength. My only consern at this stage in the game is my rotator cuffs/shoulders. Due to an old injury...well... they aren't as stong as I'd like them to be. But we'll see how it goes. Hopefully the push-ups will strengthen them as well.

For anyone who is interested in this site, either who want more info on it or what to maybe join the challenge with me, the link is of course in this post, but I will also add it to my favorite links over there on the sidebar!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm a spoiled little girl buying a truck

I know I have lived a fairly privileged life, some may even say I'm spoiled. I realize this when friends my age talk about making their college loan payments and stress over filling out new financial aid papers in order to obtain further degrees, meanwhile, I've never paid for a class in my life, including the Master's Degree I am currently working towards that my father is paying for (I am buying my textbooks but he is paying tuition). My grandfather died when I was small and left my brother, cousins, and I more than enough money to go to school. It was so much in fact that I nearly outright paid for my first house with what was left over (the only part I had to finance ended up being $400 a month for 5 years and that included a new car payment as well.) That particular new car I never really had to shop for either. My first car was my grandmother's old Omni, then my parents bought me a new Cavalier for my HS graduation (with the understanding that I had to keep my grades up in college or I would take over the payments - I kept my end of the bargain and they kept theirs, I never paid a penny towards that car.) When I flipped that Cavalier (an accident in which I was deemed not at fault) my dad again stepped to the plate and found me a similar Cavalier, made the deal (after asking me if that was OK and it was what I wanted), then because I was also in the process of buying my first house arranged it with the bank to roll all of it into one nice low payment. I kept that Cavalier until last year when my husband decided to buy me a Jeep while he was deployed as a surprise for our anniversary. I've never had to deal with any of the "behind the scenes" money issues with buying a car, despite now owning my 4th car. My Jeep is the first time I've ever really had a car payment (remember, the second Cavalier was rolled into the $400 house payment).

Don't get me wrong, I know I have been very fortunate in my life and I appreciate everything that anyone has ever done for me. I don't expect my father to pay for things for me, but it is nice that he does offer. I have offered to try to pay him back on a few things and most of the time he refuses saying it is just nice to know that I was willing to. Growing up I didn't realize how much money he and Momma had. We shopped at Wal-Mart, JC Penny's and Sears for back-to-school clothes and my brother and I had to work in the orange groves on the weekends so we never felt like we were spoiled. However, we always had more than enough to eat, never went without, and when I needed a new $70 Speedo for swim team, or a new gown for prom (because I definitely couldn't wear the one I wore the year before) I got it. We didn't have a maid or anything like that. Heck, we didn't even have a dishwasher (mom would ask me why we needed one when we already had one as she pointed at me) or cable TV.

Hubby is now looking at buying a new truck for himself. I know, I know, gas prices are astronomical why oh why would he want a big truck? The answer is simple; No matter where we live or what he does for a living, you will never get the redneck outta the boy! He has wanted a big truck for as long as I've known him and now because the gas prices are so high, the prices on bigger trucks are really low since no one is buying them. The dealers are practically throwing them at us as soon as we say we are interested in a crew cab Titan. Due to my lack of experience with car salesmen, what I didn't expect is how freaking pushy they are! Yes, I know the stereotypical idea of a car salesman is for them to be pushy and lie, but man do they seem to live up to that! I understand that they are on commission and are just trying to make a living but someone needs to inform them on a little secret my grandmother told me when I was little: You get more flies with honey. Don't push me. Don't assume it is now a challenge because we said we are 'just looking today' and don't call me several times a day every day for a week to see if I still want the one we were looking at.

Lots of people, family and friends, are offering great advice on car buying which is good, because like I said, I'm clueless to this stuff. I'm not a newby car owner, just a newby car buyer. It almost seems overwhelming though. Luckily for me hubby is dealing with most of it since it is going to be his truck after all. All of this is boggling my mind! I've never been good at math and budget issues are lost on me. It takes all I have just to keep my checkbook balanced but then you want to throw in interest and all?? UGH!

Most of the time I feel all grown up and like a real adult, then we go to do something that everyone else has to do like buy a car and I feel like a little girl all over again... a spoiled little girl who doesn't know what's going on.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wild Wild West

Hubby and I went to dinner tonight with some friends of ours. Afterwards, neither of us felt like running but we did decide to take a walk instead. This was great because we got to talk more than we do when we are running, and I notice a lot of things around my usual running route that I don't normally notice as I'm running past.

As we were walking, a guy ran past us, rather quickly. Great form, great pace, great runner. I laughed and mentioned to Hubby "He runs faster than me" with a fake pout lol. Hubby agreed that the guy also ran faster than him. I then mentioned that I wouldn't feel safe running at that time of night alone. Perhaps it is because I am a woman, or perhaps it is that I know I'm not that great of a runner and therefor wouldn't be able to outrun any would-be attackers. Hubby again agreed and mentioned that the guy looked like he was in pretty good shape and could probably take one attacker then sprint off. The problem would be that he would then have to change his running route because people nowadays can't just admit they have been bested and leave it alone, they now wait with a gun and extract a ridiculous pay-back.

This lead to a discussion about how similar life today is with live in the Wild West. I had never thought about that before. We always think about days gone by as being simpler, easier, more moral life...but if you really stop and think, we aren't far from life in the wild wild west.

Everyone seems to own a gun. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I have a gun, my husband has several and we firmly believe in the right to bear arms. Besides, if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them, right? But there is similarity number one, anyone who wants a gun can easily get one.

The second similarity is that people will shoot you to save their honor. If you called someone a cheat in the wild west, they would most likely at the very least start a bar fight and proceed to beating the crap out of you or at the worst shoot you. If they caught you cheating, they would more than likely skip the bar fight and go right to the shooting. You were rude to my woman...BANG. You stole my horse...BANG. You run off with my daughter...BANG. Not much different from today, or at least it's getting there. People don't leave well enough alone and they can't stand to think that they were dissed or bettered in some way. Tit for tat, round and round we go, and no one wins. Too many people try to take the law into their own hands or worse yet, retaliate in the worst way when their feelings are hurt.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Off and running (literally)

Well I did it, I woke up and ran again this morning! YAY! My ankle feels great. So far so good...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I got sucked in.... again!

"Hello, My name is Cole, and I am a Harry Potter Addict."

The other day someone asked me a question about something that happened in the 6th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince...and I couldn't remember! A professed Potter-nut-case, who ha read any of the given HP books at least 4 times (four being the least, the newer ones, the older ones I have probably read more around 9 or 10 times.) I was so boggled by the fact that I couldn't remember that I, of course, had to sit down and start reading HBP again. Well, as fate would have it, HBP turned into also reading Deathly Hallows and then starting over again with book one. I'm now most of the way through book two (Chamber of Secrets) with no end in sight! I know me, will go all the way through to the end of Deathly Hallows again before I stop :)

By the update on my ankle: I still haven't tried to run on it again, part worry that it still twinges a bit and part laziness. I'm am going to attempt to get my lazy butt outta bed tomorrow morning and go for a jog. No promises but I'll TRY ;)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Time to start training again

I woke up this morning and decided that I should go for a short 2.5 mile run so I put my shoes on, wrote Hubby a note, and took off. Although I have done marathons and triathlons in the past, I have done little more than sit on my butt for the past few months, so I need to get my butt in gear. About 1/2 mile down the road, my foot hit an uneven piece of road and down I went! After of couple of seconds of "Man, what just happened?" I picked myself up...hobbled a little, then walked a few steps before finally tentatively trying to jog again. After a while my ankle didn't bother me too bad so I picked it back up to pace.

I made it the 2.5 miles, but not nearly as quickly as I would have liked, or that I would have been able to even just a few months ago. Blame my ankle, or just blame the fact that I have been LAZY and not ran at all in the last 2 months (I have however gone for a couple, but only a couple of 1000yd swims). Guess I have some work to do! My ankle didn't bother me too bad at all once I got going, until I stopped running and came home...OUCH!!

So as I sit here with my leg propped up on pillows and ice on my ankle, I have decided that despite my current pain, I am signing up for a few races. The first two are virtual races, meaning that I strap on my Nike+ and my iPod and hit the road wherever I happen to be on the dates of the races, then just sync it all when I'm done.

The Human Race, a 10K (6.2 miles) is August 31 and benefits either the Lance Armstrong Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, or the UN Refugee Agency. Even though all of them are worthy charities, I chose the Lance Armstrong Foundation since my biggest wish is for someone to find a cure for cancer - Hopefully in time to save my dad! This should make a good training run for my second race.

The second race I signed up for is the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) on October 19th. This race benefits Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training that I have done so much work with. I ran this last year with Cathy, a friend from my triathlon team, and it was a blast. Instead of a typical 1/2 marathon finisher's medal, we received Tiffany's Key chains. Unfortunately they weren't the sterling silver key chains I was hoping for, but it was still a pretty cool finisher's gift.

I'm still thinking about signing up for a local 1/2 marathon in November, but we may be gone on a family camping trip for Thanksgiving so I don't want to sign up for it until I know for sure I will be here to run it. Then of course, there is also the Disney 1/2 marathon in January!! :)

I also stepped on the scale, my mortal enemy, for the first time in a while and WAS NOT pleased with what I saw at all. YIKES! My brother's wedding is in a few months and I'm in guess that is yet another reason to get my butt in gear!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I hope y'all are having a fantastic Fourth of July! Bring on the BBQ chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, potato salad, baked beans, pass me a Diet Coke, and make sure you get a good seat for the fireworks tonight!

So what are some of the things that immediately make you think of the Good Ol' USA? There are a few obvious answers such as the Stars and Stripes, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner (which always brings goosebumps and a lump to my throat), and seeing our men and women in uniform. What about yellow ribbons and eagles flying majestically through the air?

What about a rose? Not many people know that the rose is our National Flower, but it is, Ronald Regan made it so saying,
"For the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose."

How about an oak tree? Yep, that is another national plant. The oak leaf can be seen on many military insignias such as
Air Force, Army, and Marine Rank for Major and Lt. Colonel and the Navy Rank for Lieutenant Commander and Commander.

So as you are thinking about all the glorious symbols of the United States, don't forget the green ones: the rose and the oak tree!

Now, for a pop quiz! I know how everyone loves those! ;) Seriously though, test your knowledge about the history of the Declaration of Independence and check out to see how well you can do. Come on! It's a kid's's OK, you can do it, I swear! I did pretty good. Had it been a real test, yes I would have passed. I was surprised at some of the answers though. I didn't know which president was born/died on July 4th, but other than that I did pretty decent! YAY ME!

Here is another quiz you can take as well: I may not be ready for office, but I can vote! :)

PS...Yes, that is my kitty in the picture next to some flags I have out on display :)