More hodge podging

So much to write about, but not sure where to start…

First off – I have lost a little bit of weight! Praise Jesus! I’m down five whole pounds from my peak last fall, and last week I wore a skirt I haven’t been able to fit into for much too long. Of course, I had to wear it a bit higher on my waist that normal, but it zipped, and it didn’t look obscenely tight on my hiney, so I’m calling it a win. This morning I hit a number I haven’t seen since last spring. What a wonderful feeling. It only took eight weeks of half marathon training to finally see a difference. Maybe now that the ball is rolling, the rest will melt off. Right? A girl can dream…

Speaking of half marathon training… we’ve hit that point where we do long runs on the weekends. As in, I have to run eight miles on Saturday. Nine miles next Saturday (but that’s about 900 calories). Gulp. It’s totally doable, I just listen to books on tape and try to distract myself from the monotony. We run five miles, twice a week, on weeknights. That takes me a full episode of the Kardashians AND E-News with Ryan Seacrest. I know way more celebrity gossip than I ever thought possible because it’s the only thing showing at the gym, and it keeps me from losing my mind from boredom on that treadmill. Oh how I wish for the day I can get Hulu on my iPhone and catch up on all my favorite tv shows… maybe then I can do a marathon. Maybe.

Mr. Right and I became ESL certified this weekend. We’ve done our training a bit out of order, accidentally taking an advanced two-day course last summer, leaving us utterly confused. But now we finally know the basics of lesson planning, choosing curriculum, how to structure our class. And I realized that everything I did last semester was completely wrong. My bad. Through God’s grace my students learned English anyway, and loved coming to class, and they still learned about Jesus, so I’m calling that a win (like my too-high skirt that finally fit).

Speaking of ESL, I’ve been praying a lot about our new semester, which launches in a few short weeks. I desperately miss my students, and I’m feeling a huge burden for internationals right now. Like, my heart aches to help them. We had our dear friend Timothy from Nigeria spend the night at our place Saturday night (he lives in the seminary dorm, so we try to have him over occasionally to give him a change of scenery and a home cooked meal). He has turned into a wonderful friend, and I have learned some wonderful things about his home country. Someday I’ll have to share some of the misconceptions he says he had about Americans. It’s fun because we have some of the same misconceptions about Africans. If you’re a praying person, please pray for his country, which is suffering from some major violence toward Christians right now.

Oh, and speaking of internationals… Mr. Right is going on a last minute international mission trip in February. For TWELVE DAYS. I was home alone for just two nights in December while he visited a friend in Oklahoma, and the house was a wreck, the dishes were dirty, and I was wearing his old t-shirts around the house as I moved from craft project to craft project. So please start praying now for both of us as we’re apart for such an extended period of time. I do so love his company. But I’m also wildly excited for this opportunity for him. All of my girlfriends can expect dinner invitations during those two weeks, and it’ll be a great opportunity to finish a few quilts (and start one for my nephew). And read a book or two.

I should start a list…

Weekend Hodge Podge

It’s a boy!

No, it’s not our boy, much to the surprise of a few friends whom misunderstood my seemingly innocent Facebook post. It’s my sister’s boy… and he’s making his debut in just a few months!

My super cute sister and her husband hosted a gender reveal party at their house Friday night, and both sides of the family held their breath as we watched the parents-to-be cut into the cake. To our excitement, we got a blue cake (and blue mouths after eating the blue cake), and soon I’ll have my very first nephew. I can’t wait to start shopping!
Then again, we’ve already done a little shopping – Mr. Right and I found this moose rocker at an antique sidewalk sale last summer, and since my interior designer sister has an affinity for moose decor, I just had to get it. Even though there wasn’t even a baby yet. I knew he’d be here someday.

The next morning, Mr. Right and I drug ourselves out of bed to run six miles… ahh, the half marathon training. This was the first time since our training started December 5 that my run actually felt good. Thank goodness. Now if only all of those runs would translate to a few lost pounds… but alas, I’ve lost a grand total of two pounds after 61 miles of running. Life is so unfair sometimes.
After our run we raced home, sopped up our sweat and changed into nicer clothes so we could jet off to a late morning wedding. It was one of my favorites ever – he’s from Syria, she’s from Dallas, and they both love Jesus like crazy. The ceremony was done in both arabic and English, and maybe it’s because we’ve got arabic-speaking students in our ESL program, or maybe because I’m a huge softy at weddings – but I loved every minute of it. Plus I got to hold a baby at the reception.

After the wedding I went home for a much-needed nap while Mr. Right went to work for a little while, and then we got gussied up again (confession – I wore the same dress again… because it’s new and because I love it – you’ll see it at another wedding later this month as well) and drove to Carrollton to eat at a hole-in-the-wall Colombian restaurant.
I wore my new boots. I haven’t posted these yet, so here they are – as you can see, I went with a very understated style. Actually, I went as loud as I could go… because after all, these are boots that will never see dirt… or a stirrup… so I might as well go loud and fancy.

If you live in DFW, I highly recommend Casa Vieja. We were destined to love it, since we fell in love with Colombian food (and their people) during our trip there in 2010. Fried plantains, arepas, lot’s and lot’s of beef, and fruit juices served up like smoothies. I had lulo juice – a fruit only grown in Colombia – the juice was pea green but tasted amazing. Kind of like a mixture of grapefruit and kiwi…
I’m so adventurous. But my adventure has its limits… like when you start ordering blood sausage or fried pork skin. Nope, my adventure usually ends with exotic fruits and big jewelry.

What was I thinking?

My husband has peer pressured me into running a half marathon with him. I did one back in 2008 and while it was a wonderful experience, I also promised myself that I would never do it again. I’m just not made to run long distances. And I’m a huge wimp. And it takes forever.

Now, organizing a marathon, I can do. I’ve helped with our town’s local marathon every year since 2006, and it’s one of my favorite things to volunteer for. I may not be good at running 13.1 miles, but I’m very good at handing out t-shirts to 20,000+ runners.

But I do remember how tight my tushy was after I ran that half marathon, and how my metabolism stayed crazy high for months after I finished. This year when I spent so many months stuck at home sick, I mulled the idea of running another race as a sign of health victory. I’m big on marking wins. And so, in honor of reducing my tush and celebrating some good doctor visits, I’ve decided to jump right in. I’ve been running for a few weeks, so thankfully I’m already up to about 3 miles.

I have no plans to make it a fast or pretty half. The last time I ran it, my goals were to (1) not die and (2) not throw up. This time my goal will be to have fun and to do my best.

Now I need to start thinking about what I want my shirt to say… it’s the best part of a race, putting some witty slogan on your back for all those people behind you to enjoy. Not that there will be many people slower than me, but I’m hoping for a few. I welcome your suggestions.

Half Marathon Re-Cap

Okay, I had promised a re-cap on the White Rock Half Marathon. Here goes…

The race was one of those really cool moments in my life… I worked so hard, for so many months to be able to do this. I’m not a runner. I never will be. I have asthma, I’m not a super athlete, I tend to be a bit lazy, and I’m very, very busy. So the fact that I did this without giving up was kind of unexpected.
I ran it with three friends from church. I couldn’t have done it without the camaraderie that went along with running with friends. Otherwise I would have quit after a few weeks. They made it fun.
Here’s a play-by-play of the race, for the two people who might care…
1. The night before, we went for high-carb pizza, and then an emergency trip to pick out a running outfit for Sara. Luckily, we found success quickly and made it home in time for a good night’s sleep.
2. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday and rode with my friends to Dallas. Sara and I had debated about wearing make-up for the race… it seems so vain, but we knew we were going to se a bunch of people out there, and we didn’t want to look like death. So I ran my race with a tiny bit of mascara, eye liner, and concealer. I’m sure it all sweat off after mile 2. But what can I say, I’m a girl.
3. About five minutes before the race began, I realized my iPod, filled with my super-awesome running playlist, had frozen. It wouldn’t work. In a panic, I called Sister Lindsay who lives in Dallas and asked her to meet me at mile 6 with her iPod. I think I may have to sue Apple. And I think I’m going to need to get Lindsay a nicer Christmas gift for saving my life with a new iPod to distract me from the pain I was feeling. She rocks.
4. Speaking of pain… I felt a lot of it at mile 5. It was pretty hot and there wasn’t much water on the course, and I got a stomach cramp…. one of those that feel like a knife twisting in your side. It was so bad at one point that I either wanted to throw up or curl to the fetal position. But at that point there was nothing to do but keep plugging along. The cramp lasted about 1.5 miles and really slowed my time down. But that’s okay… sometimes those things happen. And it went away before mile 7.
5. I felt absolutely fantastic for miles 1-4, and then again for miles 7-10. Around the tenth mile I started to feel like I might throw up. It’s not really very fun to run while half expecting you might hurl at any given moment. So I had to do some more walk/run for awhile.
6. I think around mile 12 is when I wanted to die the most. Isn’t running fun?
7. And then, after 13.1 miles, I crossed the finish line. That part was fantastic. It meant I could stop… no more running, no more wanting to throw up, no more stomach cramps… they loaded me up with a finisher’s medal, a t-shirt, a cup of water (yes!), and I was instantly a much happier girl.
My time was a lot slower than I had wanted it. I basically ran about a minute a mile slower than had been my goal… but that’s okay. I finished. And even though for a good part of that race I was in extreme pain and wanted Jesus to come down out of heaven and rapture me so I could leave the miserable run behind, I still have really good memories of the day. I got to run with 17,000 other runners, while 150,000 spectators cheered me on for 13.1 miles. And I got to do it with friends. While wearing mascara.
On Sunday, after the race, I thought I might never want to run again. Today, just three days later, I’m seriously considering doing this whole thing again. Only faster.


By the way… I’m not sure why the photo spacing is so whacky… so you’ll just have to ignore that. I couldn’t post captions… but wanted to explain the first photo with the old guy. That’s Larry, who has the Guinness World Record for most marathons in one year… this was his 105th marathon in 2008. Not only that, but he has run a marathon in all 50 states. I haven’t even been to all 50 states, much less run a marathon in them! So of course, we had to get a picture…

Running in silence

I survived the half marathon. I’m so pleased that all four of us who started training so many months ago ran the race together. Well, actually, we started together, but my friends finished a little ahead of me. And that’s okay, because it meant I got to cheer them on from behind!

I’ll post more on the race later, but for now, I’m so glad that I’m done with all this training. No more late night runs, no more 6 a.m. Saturday runs (I know… crazy, huh?) and no more calling 8 miles a “short” run. I get to go back to the normal world where I’m satisfied if I run 30 minutes on a treadmill once or twice a week. Probably once a week. If that.
Now it’s time for these sore legs of mine to crawl into bed and take a nice, long nap. Ahhh… there’s nothing like a good rest after a big accomplishment.
One more thing I can cross off my list of life goals. Half Marathon… check.

Half Marathon Playlist

Here it is… my half marathon soundtrack. 

Whoot, There It Is – 95 South
Panama – Van Halen
Jump Around – House of Pain
Tootsee Roll (Dance Version) – 69 Boyz
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Love Lockdown – Kanye West
Deport Them – Sean Paul
Love Story – Taylor Swift (I’m obsessed with this song, so it’s on here more than once)
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fraid
Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
Pump Up the Jam – Technotronic
See You Again – Miley Cyrus
When I Grow Up – The Pussycat Dolls
Picture to Burn – Taylor Swift
Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
Enter Sandman – Metallica
Whatta Man – En Vogue
Singe Ladies (Put a Ring On it) – Beyonce
Funky Cold Medina – Tone Loc
All That She Wants – Ace of Base
Womanizer – Britney Spears
Move This – Technotronic
Love Story – Taylor Swift
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
California Love – 2Pac
Barbie Doll – Jack Ingram
Here Comes the Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
Mood Rings – Relient k
Give a Little Love – The Judds
Sadie Hawkins Dance – Relient k
Butterfly – Crazy Town
Temperature – Sean Paul
7 Things – Miley Cyrus
Just a Lil Bit – 50 Cent
Love Don’t Live Here – Lady Antebellum
Oops! I Did It Again – Britney Spears
Red High Heels – Kellie Pickler
Son’s Gonna Rise – Citizen Cope & Santana
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Love Lockdown – Kanye West
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Perfect fit

I always have to have the perfect outfit for my race. It’s a little tradition I started back with my first marathon relay up in Oklahoma City about four years ago. I may not be good at running, but I want to look good when I run. 

So on Sunday I will be sporting a brand-new pink running outfit… pink from head to toe. I bought it today. It’s sporty and super girly (who would have guessed) and should help me shave off at least a few minutes on Sunday. As those faster runners go zooming past me, they’ll all be thinking, “That girl has on such a cute outfit that I almost didn’t notice how slowly she runs.”
And because the store was running such a good sale, I also got the perfect yoga outfit… a bright green yoga outfit. Because next week, when I retire my running shoes and replace it with my yoga mat, I’ll need something to wear.

Carb load

According to Wikipedia, I am supposed to be practicing “carb load” this week. It’s a tough job, but I’m up for the challenge. That’s why I ate french fries for dinner, made rice krispie treats (dyed green and made to look like Christmas wreaths, yum) for dessert, bought croissants for breakfast tomorrow… this may be the best part of my training program.

I wonder if it’s bad if I decide to extend “Carb Load Week” to “Carb Load Month.” Or maybe 2009 could be “Carb Load Year.” 
Are there carbs in chocolate mousse cake? Because I had some of that today too.

Just the facts, ma’am

A half marathon is 13.1 miles, or 21,097.5 meters.
Half marathon male world record: 58:33. Female world record: 1:06:25.
(By contrast, I hope to run it in about 2:10-2:20, maybe slower).
As of June 30, 2007, Horst Preisler of Germany had successfully completed 1157 full marathons, plus 343 ultramarathons (Mr. Horst is obviously nuts).
Ever wonder how they measure the length of the course? Here’s how.
Only four days to go… Happy Half Marathon Week.

Running is Biblical

One of the things I love about running is that it’s Biblical. The Bible uses it as a theme throughout scripture… a theme for Christian discipline, for perseverance, for never giving up, and for finding strength in Christ when we have none left for ourselves. The Bible makes it clear that our faith should not be a sprint, but a marathon. These are some of the verses that I will be quoting as I run on Sunday:

Psalm 119:32
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Proverbs 4:11-12
I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Philippians 2:16
As you hold out the word of life–in order that I may not boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
And finally… for the verses that explain why I run. And the reason why I live my life the way I do. You might call it my “life verses.” I even have part of it engraved on my iPod, so I can remember it when I’m ready to give up.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race that all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize…  I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.