Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Iron Horse Half Marathon 2013

Horses running to meet the runners. Beautiful! (Photo by Mike Zimmerman)
This past Sunday I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, KY. I have heard about this race for a few years now. At first, I was in the "I can't ever see myself running that far" camp. Then at the end of 2011, I decided that running the Iron Horse would be my goal for 2012. BUT...I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas and that was out. YES, I know you can run while pregnant....YES, I know it's "POSSIBLE" to be half marathon ready 6 weeks post partum.....for some people....but not for me. I won't go into details of what happened when I tried to run when pregnant with Joseph....let's just move on.

Anyway, this year was the year. I registered the day registration opened. For 3 reasons:
1) Entry fees are the cheapest
2) The race ALWAYS sells out...usually 2 months before the race.
3) If I spend the money on something, I'm dang sure going to be ready.

I had wanted the Iron Horse to be my first half. However, my friend Katie talked me into running the Nashville Women's Half Marathon a couple of weeks earlier. Hopefully, I will recap that one soon. So this was my 2nd half. I was more scared because of running the other one, actually. I really fell apart at mile 11 in the last one. BUT, it was a good learning experience. This time I was better prepared.

Michael and I went to the UK vs Alabama football game the night before and didn't get home until after 11. Then I had to get everything ready for the next morning. After that, I had trouble going to sleep. Luckily, for the first time, James slept through the night. He ALWAYS wakes up a bunch the night before I have a long run or a race. I got up at 6, grabbed a banana and a zip fizz and was out the door.

I was worried about parking since Midway is a very small town and there would be 1500 runners coming. I got there really early though and had no trouble parking. Then it was just a bunch of waiting around.

The weather was cool and it was a beautiful day. I really couldn't have asked for better. I felt good. I took a GU about 20 minutes before the race and was ready to go. 

The course was hilly but beautiful. There were plenty of water/sports drink stations. My goal was to run the first 8 miles. The worst of the hills (in my opinion) were in the first half of the race. I felt good though and took another GU a little after mile 5. I passed by the 8 mile sign still feeling ok. So I continued on. However, the hill from mile 8 to almost 10 was relentless and I walked for the first time a little before mile 9. I accidentally paused my MapMyRun app somewhere between 10 and 11. Grr. So I just started checking my clock at each mile to see how I was doing. At mile 11, it was 10:20 so I was at 2:20 gun time. I wanted to beat my previous time of 2:57 so I knew I had 37 minutes to go 2.1 miles to tie it. I could do that walking....and I wasn't planning on doing much walking. I trudged on and enjoyed the nice downhill from mile 11 on. I honestly didn't feel terribly tired until about 12.5 miles. Then my hip started hurting. But the turn to the finish was in sight and that kept me going. Then I saw my boys close to the mile 13 marker. They all gave me high fives and I had the pep to run strong to the finish. The clock said 2:48ish, but my chip time was 2:46:34!!! That is about 11 minutes faster! I love a PR!

 I got my medal (love some bling) and grabbed some food.....I was starving! Joseph loved playing on the caboose that was downtown and James was scoping out people who had ice cream.

 I loved this race. It is very well run. The volunteers are amazing. The course is beautiful and there is plenty of after race snacks and drinks. I will definitely be doing this race again. Michael even said he might do it with me next year.

I LOVED this sign! (Photo by Ruby Cline-Eaton)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Farewell to Smokey

I've sat down numerous times to type this blog entry. I gave up each time when I couldn't seem to find the words. How do you say goodbye to a dog? A dog that was like a furry child to me. I still don't know, but I'm going to try.

We adopted Smokey 2 years ago. He was 7 months old and every bit a puppy. He was not always a good dog. We went through the normal puppy things like chewing, accidents, etc. There were many times I just wanted to take him back to the Kentucky Humane Society, but I made the commitment to Smokey and I do not take that lightly. Like I said, my dogs are like children to me...and you can't just "give them back."

In the past few months, Smokey had gotten so much better. He was good about telling you when he wanted to go outside, reminding you that it was time to eat, and he didn't stray too far from us....unless he was after a squirrel....or a cat....or basically any small creature. He was a tremendous running buddy. I never felt unsafe when I was running with my Smoke Dog. He would take down other dogs and I'm sure he would go after shady people too, but I haven't had any problems. In fact, Smokey could care less about other people....and generally didn't care if people were walking in front of our house...but there were times he would go ballistic about people around our house. And I would get kind of a weird feeling about them too. I think Smokey was a good judge of character. I don't think dogs "profile."

He really was a good dog.

That all ended this past weekend while we were in Tennessee for a visit. I had gone in the house to give James a bath and put him to bed. I let Smokey and Shelby out to do their business. It was dark and Michael was working on the horse trailer at my parents' house across the road. So, naturally, the dogs went over there. I was going to let them back in once I got James out of the bath, but before I got done with him, I heard very loud, very hectic barking...not Smokey's normal bark. I went to go let them in and saw Michael laying Smokey down on the carport. He said he had been hit by a truck. I got a phone and started calling our vet's emergency number, but Smokey was gone before I could get a hold of the on call vet. The truck was probably going 60 mph in front of the house...way too fast. And they didn't even stop. I think it's common courtesy to stop. You don't hit a 35 lb dog and not know something happened. But that's neither here nor there. 
We buried Smokey out back next to Chloe. I still can't believe he's gone.

He was very close with Joseph and it was very hard to explain it to him. I have always been very straight forward when it comes to death. He cried a bit. I don't know that he fully gets that Smokey isn't coming back. He has spent this week in Tennessee so I don't know where he is on the situation. I wasn't much older than him when our family dog, Belle, had to be put down. I remember it being hard, but I handled it ok. I sometimes think we don't give kids enough credit.

Shelby seems to be doing fine with it. We are having trouble getting him to eat just like we did before we got Smokey. He doesn't do as well running either without Smokey to pull him along.

I will miss Smokey. I have cried over him even when I thought I was done crying. I cried when I put up his crate and vacuumed all his hair up. I cried when I washed his bed. I cried when I read an article about a dog running a half marathon by himself. I cried when I took Shelby for a walk and realized it was the first time in 2 years that I have only walked one dog. I cried when someone emailed me a listing for a dog that needed to be adopted (WHO DOES THAT?! I'm in mourning...I don't want another dog just yet....I'll get one later, but I need some time). And I am crying now as I write this.

I'm going to leave this with some pictures of Smokey....I don't have many....he was very camera shy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Beautiful sunset view from the back porch
One of my best friends, Joanie, is turning 29 again this week and since she will be on a cruise during her birthday and can't be bothered to party with me, I threw her a little birthday party at Kentucky Lake last weekend. My Aunt was awesome enough to let us borrow her house on the lake. It is an amazing place to stay. Perfection. It was a small group of Joanie, our friend April, Joanie's sister in law, and me. I had looked into renting a boat, but they were too pricey for me. Maybe next year. We had an awesome time relaxing, eating good food, swimming off the dock, having a few cocktails, reminiscing and making new memories. Hopefully we can make it an annual trip. Thanks to April for the pics!
Joanie was worried about drowning....

Loving the hammock

Joanie and I.....love this girl!
I said we had some good food while we were there. Calories didn't count this weekend. Here's what I made:

Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

Crack Rolls (I generally don't like food with the work "crack" in the name, but these were amazing)

Fudge Pie


I really didn't want to leave. But I had to get back to my boys. If you want to see what they were up to while I was gone, check out my mom's blog!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mercer County Run for the Pets 15K

Yesterday I ran the Mercer County Run for the Pets 15K in Harrodsburg, KY.  It is my longest race to date. I had seen the course route info earlier in the week and it made me very nervous. It was super hilly. I'm weird...I like hills...to a fault. I don't like 9.3 miles of relentless hills. I was really excited that 2 of my friends were going to ride with me to the race. I ran it with my friend, Katie. She is quite a bit faster than me and I was really worried about holding her back. She said it was fine though, so we did stick together. I ran my first mile in less than 11 minutes. My normal distance pace is 12:30 to 12:45. I knew I was going faster because my shins and calves were really starting to be felt early. Coming out that fast in the beginning probably did hurt me some, but in the end, it was just a really difficult course....and over 2 miles more than my longest run prior. I finished in 2:01:30 (I think that's what the clock said). I had really wanted to finish in 2 hours or less, but I really crapped out on that last mile and a half. My Map My Run app didn't save my run, either...GRRRR! The race was beautiful though and the other runners were so friendly and supportive. Runners tend to be really nice, but these took it to another level. I will definitely be doing this run again.

Be sure to check out Katie's blog for great pics of us!

My legs were super tight the rest of the day, and I was really sore this morning. I actually felt hungover all day yesterday. I got home and didn't really get too much of a chance to rest and recharge. I'm feeling much more normal now.

We will be out of town next week for one of my best friend's birthday party, so no race next weekend. I think the next one I've got on tap is the Mill Creek Run on September 14. I'm hoping Michael can do it as well. I know he's been itching to see if he can get a below 30 minute official 5K. I'm thinking of doing the CASA Superhero 5K on September 21st and then I have my first ever 1/2 marathon in Nashville on September 28th!!!

Manic Sunday?

Sundays are my least favorite day of the week. With the exception of being at church, it's just a stressful day for me.  There's the hustle and bustle of getting 2 small boys ready for church and trying to make myself presentable as well. And while I'm happy to not have to prepare lunch, dining at a restaurant can turn into a lot of: "Joseph, get out of the floor." "Joseph, sit up, please." "Joseph, eat your food!" "James, get your hands out of the beans!"

It can be exhausting.

Then we get home and I usually have housework piled out the wazoo. It's enough to make me want to just sit in a corner and cry.

Today was not so bad though. I ended up taking the boys to Luci Lou's for some froyo. Joseph picked pink lemonade sorbet topped with fruit loops, these pink pop rocks type candies, liquid filled little balls in green and purple....basically any candy that was colorful....and cherries. He was so funny...he kept eating and saying, "This is really really good, mama!"

James had peanut butter. I may or may not have had a few bites.

After that, we went over to my Father in Law's house to pick up my stuff that did not sell in there yard sale yesterday....which was most all of it. I made a whopping $9. I sat outside with them and let the boys play for a while. Then Joseph wanted to go home and watch Mega Mind. So off we went. On the way, I stopped at Staxx, spent my $9 and bought some pulled pork for supper. We got home and I realized that this was the best Sunday I've had in quite a while. I still have lots of housework to do, but it was nice to step back and spend some time with my little ones while not worrying about what needs to be done.

I hope everyone has a great Labor Day! We don't have any plans. I'll be cleaning. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, JAMES!!!

 One year ago today, we welcomed our sweet little James into our lives. Life has gotten much harder, but I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Some of James' favorite things:
Any toys with wheels

He's not walking yet, but it won't be long. Joseph will really be in trouble once James starts walking.

My big boy!

I will be taking some 12 month pics of James next week one day while Joseph is at school. He's so photogenic, I know they will be great!

Our plans for the day include going to the Mexican restaurant for a birthday dinner and then having CUPCAKES!!! Yum! Joseph didn't like cupcakes on his first birthday, but I know James will dig right in!
So Excited!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Post

If you're checking on my other blog....I FINALLY posted over there. So, head on over and check it out!

Preschool Update

Joseph leaving school his first day.
It was brought to my attention from a friend that I had not updated on here how Joseph was doing in preschool.

His first day went good. He evidently didn't want to leave at 11. He only goes half days while some kids stay until 5. But he said he had a good time.

The next day, I got an email from his teacher saying that he had a yellow light day (green light is good behavior, yellow is not so much, red is bad). He kept telling her no when she asked him to do something and refused to help clean up. Sounds like typical Joseph. I talked to him about listening to his teacher.

Well, he doesn't go to school on Fridays, and man, was he mad about not getting to go to school. I need to record that for later when he doesn't want to go. He asked to go on Friday and Saturday. Luckily, we have Sunday School on Sunday so that took his mind off of it. He asks me several times a week: "Momma, when we going to Sunday School?" Me: "Sunday."

I worried and worried Monday about his behavior. Finally, Monday night I got an email from his teacher and honestly, I was afraid to open it. But it was a good note about his behavior being much improved.

I love that his teacher sends pictures periodically and emails almost daily outlining what they went over that day. I love that because then I can quiz him at home. Today was the letter B, the number 1, the color red, and circles. I asked him what sound the letter B makes and he said, "I don't want to go to school!" I asked him again and he said, "Ba ba ba." Then he was eating ritz crackers and I asked what shape they were. He said, "Circle." YAY for learning!!!

I'm so excited that he is enjoying school. I just hope he has mostly green light days!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Day of PK3

It got hairy there for a minute when Joseph informed me last night on multiple occasions that he couldn't go to preschool. He didn't like it. We went to visit the school on Back to School Night a couple of days ago. He seemed fine with it then except that he was mad that he couldn't play with this dinosaur toy that was in another classroom. He kept wanting me to leave and when I wouldn't, he was ready to go.

So then he starts in on the "I didn't like it." *Sigh* "I want to go to summer camp" *Sigh*

This morning, I went to wake him up and the first thing he said was, "I can't go to school today, mama. I didn't like it." But I got him up and got him dressed. I even got his hair somewhat combed...it's always wild in the mornings and I held him down and ran a toothbrush over his chompers.

I was most excited that he humored me by holding the sign pictured above and smiling for the camera. If you know Joseph, you know that he likes to balk at doing anything I really want him to do.

He was fine when we pulled up to the school. He said, "I be ok. It be fun." *thank you, Jesus*

He had a little meltdown when we got into his classroom because he still wanted to play with the dinosaur that was in another classroom. *sigh* But he shaped up when he saw another little boy playing with cars. I then told him bye and kissed him on the head because he was too busy to give me a proper hug and kiss.

I can't wait to find out how his first day went.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

This and That

Joseph planning his getaway at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville
I just wanted to do a quick post....mainly to showcase this cute pic Michael snapped of Joseph at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY. They had a daddy-son day. James and I had a nice mommy-son time at home. James is a different kid when his big brother isn't around. He isn't whiny or clingy. He just plays and babbles and laughs. I guess it is nice when you don't have someone taking everything away from you. That has been the most maddening part of having 2 kids. It doesn't matter what James has, Joseph is going to try to take it. And it has not made a difference regardless of what punishments we have tried. MADDENING!

I also wanted yall to know that I have not abandoned my weight loss blog. After my emotional crisis, I stepped back and reevaluated my plan. I will post more about it hopefully later today.

I have had a cold hit me like a freight train. It came on last night and I started feeling terrible. I'm much better today. I even attempted a 5 mile run, but it didn't happen. I only made it 3.8 before I called it quits.

I'm hoping I feel good enough to go to the Moms RUN this Town meet and greet in Lexington tonight. I've been looking forward to it. Other than that, I don't have any big plans. Michael is leaving to go to NYC tomorrow morning for a week for work.

I hope yall are having a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Family Vacation

First of all...I'm happy to say that this blog has passed 10000 pageviews! I know about 2500 of them were Michael. Ha Ha!

Anyway, we took a little mini vacation this past week. My friend, Libby, from college posted about a painting class in Germantown (which is right near Memphis) where you could submit a picture of your pet and an artist would sketch it on a canvas for you to paint. You could also bring wine and snacks. The proceeds went to the Street Dog Foundation. Wine, painting, a good cause, and Libby? I was so in. Luckily my Aunt and Uncle who live in Germantown were going to be home and we were able to visit and stay with them.
James was creeping on some wine

He loved opening the cabinets under my Aunt and Uncle's bar

Itching to get in the water

Loved his first time in the pool

Trying to escape to get back in the pool

My other Aunt and cousin Bussy came to visit while we were there.

James once again trying to get in the pool.

James' first baseball game

We went to the Memphis Redbirds game to watch Chris Carpenter pitch (he's a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals)

Of course Joseph wouldn't sit with us.

Libby ready to paint her masterpiece
The photo I sent in of Shelby

My finished canvas

Showing off our artwork. So much fun!

It was a great weekend away. I can't wait to get down to Memphis again to visit everyone. Libby has started running and we are talking about doing a color run or a beer run together.

In less upbeat news, I would like to ask for your thoughts and prayers as I go through something that is leaving me feeling very broken down. It's not a health issue...just emotional. I'm working to get through some very dark feelings and trying to get back to my mostly upbeat self. I thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A B C's of Me

Just in case y'all wanted to know more about little ol me...I present the ABC's of Me. My friend Katie did this same blog this week and I felt compelled to follow in her footsteps. So here we go.

A) Attached or Single

Attached. Been married for 5 years to Michael....fellow sports fan....even if we don't agree on the teams (except baseball).

B) Best Friend

I have 4 ladies that I consider my best friends (in no particular order).
Joanie and I met when we both worked at the vet clinic. When we met, she was eating raisins and cleaning poop. I knew she'd be my soul mate right then.

Ellen. I couldn't crop this one because Nikki's face is so epic. Ellen and I met on the streets of SF (South Fulton) the summer after we graduated high school.

Christy. We met when we were both grad students at UK. She really helped keep me sane in that nut house.

Emily. We met at Mississippi State. I know we met through our friend Hayley, but I can't remember when we really started hanging out a lot. I sure do wish she didn't live so far away now...

C) Cake or Pie?

If I'm making it, then pie, but if I'm not...probably cake...from a bakery..with a TON of icing.

D) Day of the Week

I'd like to say Saturday, but in all actuality, all the days are the same to me.

E) Essential Item

Mascara. Unless I'm running, sitting at home, or have an eye infection, I've got the stuff on. I think I look sick without it.

F) Favorite Color

Green...it's my signature color.

G) Gummy Bears or Worms


H) Hometown

South Fulton, TN

I) Indulgence:

Bakery cupcakes...I'm a sucker for the icing I never turn them down. Close second would be Krispy Kreme cream filled donuts and double doozie cookies. LOVE THEM ALL!!!!!

J) January or July

July, no question. No cold, no Christmas hangover....

K) Kids

My 2 boys....and with them, I'm done....even if I could be guranteed a girl next time, I don't think I would do it.

L) Life isn't complete without

Animals. I love animals. But not in a PETA kind of way. I fully believe that animals have their purpose. I love my dogs, Smokey and Shelby, my cats, Pumpkin and Daysie, and my horse, Spice.

M) Marriage Date

May 24th, 2008

N) Number of Siblings

1 sister

I'm the one doing jazz hands

O) Oranges or Apples

I like both, but I hate peeling oranges, so apples it is. Can't wait to go to the farmers market and get some fresh apples.

P) Phobias

Heights, enclosed spaces.....enclosed spaces up high.

Q) Favorite Quote

Now, I quote movies all the time. I can carry on conversations in movie quotes, but this is my favorite quote ever....and although it was in a movie, it's not a scripted line.

“I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.” --Temple Grandin

It completely sums up how I feel about the treatment of animals.

R) Reasons to smile

Too many blessings to count.

S) Season


T) Tag 3 people

No. Can't make me.

U) Unknown fact about me.

I wish I had kept playing basketball after junior high. I think if I had played after I got my contacts, I would have been a decent player. I wouldn't wear my glasses when I played in junior high and I think my blindness really hindered me...duh.

V) Favorite Vegetable

Kale...namely Kale chips

W) Worst habit

I have so many bad habits...biting my nails is probably my worst.

X) X ray or Ultrasound

Um...I've had a few of both. I guess ultrasound since when I had the xrays it usually meant I was in pain.

Y) Favorite food

Steak. I.Love.Steak. Don't bring me any A1. Don't over cook it. I like it medium to medium rare. I'm so thankful for cattle.

Z) Zodiac

Libra, but I don't really read horoscopes

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Trip to Indy

First of all, just want to let you know that I have been blogging over at "The Animal Scientist Loses It."

Back to our regularly scheduled programming....

I met Christy and her husband Dave when I was a grad student at UK. Christy became one of my best friends, and then she up and moved to Washington, DC....for a job or something.


Just kidding...you know I love you more'n my luggage.

Anyway, Christy and Dave (with their son Gavin) came to Indianapolis this week for the Animal Science Meetings. Indy is only about  2 1/2 to 3 hours away....much closer than DC. So, we made plans to go up for a little day trip. We left after church and met up with them at the Indianapolis Zoo. It's amazing how things change once you have kids, huh?

We had a blast all hanging out with our little families. I think Joseph wanted to stay with Aunt Christy.

Joseph checking out the seals.

Wondering where the polar bear is...

One of my favorites: the walrus


James checking it out

Relaxing all cool

AHHH! A tiger!

Joseph really wanted to see the elephants...until we got to the elephants.

We were losing him. Then I bought him a Dora popsicle and he was revived.

All smiles at the giraffes

"You got a pretty mouth"

Train ride! (The least impressive part of the zoo)

Joseph and Dave


Carousel ride

I love Joseph's face in this one.

MOM! Look...a Captain!!!

I loved the Indianapolis Zoo. They had a lot of great animals and they were really easy to see. It also wasn't so big and spread out that it was hard to see most of it in a fairly short amount of time...like you do when you're hanging out with people with really short attention spans.

I just wish we could have visited longer. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get together again.