Friday, March 28, 2008

Race Weekend

So, if you can't tell yet, I'm pretty fond of this running/triathlon racing thing. This weekend I'll take on my second triathlon- the LoneStar 1/4 Iron Triathlon in Galveston, TX. I will be swimming .6 miles (965 meters), biking 28 miles, and running 6.5 miles. We will be swimming in the bay at Moody Gardens, so surf won't be an issue. It is a deep water start, meaning we get in and swim out to the start area and start from there. The water temps should be around 67-68 degrees, and I have a triathlon wetsuit (sleeveless--I'll get sleeves someday) so I'm not worried about chilly water. My competitive personality will take over and keep me warm! We'll encounter some wind on the bike for sure (it is Galveston), but it's FLAT, and this is important to me. The wind won't bother me too much on the run. The run, incredibly in comparison to my past, is by far my strength. So, what are my goals--sometimes I'm hesitant to throw these out, but I have so I might as well put it out there and if I don't reach it, oh well, must just strive further. So, here goes:
Swim: Avg. 1:50-1:55 per 100m
Bike: Avg. 17.5-19 mph on the bike (big span here, I know--but I haven't done this distance much outside, and definitely no flat courses...wind may be a factor)
Run: Ideal- 7:45 or less per mile pace, Reality: 7:45-8 min/mile pace.
With those, I'd like to finish in the top 5 of my age group, we will see! I will post some race notes later.

Also, on the triathlon front, I am starting to look at planning to do an Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) in 2009. You have to sign up a year in advance, and I want to make sure I can still train for and strongly run the Boston Marathon in April '09. I also don't want a very hilly course--I don't mind hills for the running that much (except for i might after the swim and bike! haha), but would rather not for the bike. Ironman Arizona in the fall wouldn't be bad, but for various reasons, it'll be impossible to sign up for this year. So, I think Ironman Florida (IMFL) in Nov '09 would be my best shot. I need to be there in person for this years race to sign up for next year, so if my new job allows, etc., I plan to volunteer for IMFL this year and sign up for next year! I called a friend of mine nuts when she said she was going to do one of I'm biting at the bit to train hard and race hard one of these. Any and all fans are welcome (this is true for any of my races--so Longhorn Half-Ironman in Oct, Boston '09, IMFL '09...come on out! You might get addicted though and find yourself trying this out!).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


These are random thoughts, bare with me!

  1. Life is full of so many different aspects, choices, trials, and joys. I have been incredibly blessed in my life. Sometimes it seems like I've been given so much, but yet am not sure if I've given back enough yet. There are definite areas I need to improve upon--properly prioritizing my time is one of those that needs improvement. An area that I have, thankfully, improved upon is that of compassion/empathy for others. Now there are times that my heart actually aches for people. I'm glad it's that way now. Now, I am trying to learn more of the hows to reach out to some of those people.
  2. I'm not too fond of "taper" weeks. That time frame before a race where your workout volume is lower. It's almost as if I have too much energy or just get lethargic, but actually crave going out and doing something because I'm used to so much more! It's a little silly really, and besides the Marathon taper, everything else has been sort of mild...but still gets me, crazy! I am extremely excited about this weekend's race though. Several new aspects: Longer distance for me in a triathlon, open water swim, salt water swim, deep water start, lots more'll be GREAT! I'll post some race notes here when I get back next week.
  3. I love homemade granola. I might need to just stop making it, because I love is so good. It's healthy, but even too much of it is too much! :)
    It is only a little over 2 months till I interview for jobs. I talked to Cameron-Brooks today and re-emphasized my intent to be paired with interviews for companies that are in Texas. I am open to other places, and I told them that, I just want maximum Texas opportunities. West Texas is not an option-but Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston are all options.

    I suppose that's enough randomness for tonight!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Choose the challenge!

Over the past several years I have discovered that I thrive on challenges. Challenges are exciting, they require work, they require ingenuity, and they typically require more of me than I think I know I have. In fact, many have required more of me than I actually had, but it has been within those moments that I have grown into the situation and learned what I needed to know and grown deeper and stronger than I was previously. It is within the complexity and difficulties of challenges that God makes me more into the person He designed. Of note though, I, and anyone else who embraces the challenges of life, don't do it by sitting on our rears. On the contrary, to embrace a challenge is often to step into the unknown, take a path that isn't just "less traveled" but quite possibly non-existent. It most definitely can be a scary moment as you really don't know what is ahead, but what you do know is that you MUST act, you must push harder, and you must go further. I'm reading an excellent book called Chasing Daylight by Erwin R. McManus that truly challenges the readers to not be, what I have called for years, "lazy Christians." Life is passing by with every second. The second that is past is gone forever. When you wait for doors and windows to open up the path of life you should follow you are, in essence, telling God, "you do it, I'm too lazy." Should you seek God's guidance? Yes! Should you tirelessly work to determine the ever pondered question of "What is God's will for my life?" Yes! But don't do it sitting on your butt! Get out and do something today! You have talents, you have strengths, you have weaknesses, you have something to offer the world, and you have personal areas you know must grow and improve for you to simply be a better person, Christian, friend, sibling, etc.! McManus says something that really stood out to me, "Some of life's greatest opportunities are not behind doors or windows, but behind walls. They require genuine effort. Beyond risk they require real sweat. Our religious integration of Christianity with capitalism and consumerism has resulted in a view of life that says if God is in it, it comes easily. Then when the inevitable difficulties come, when we hit the wall, we either assume God is not in it or conclude we've made a wrong choice in our pursuit...the most imporotant moments to seize, the most significant God opportunities, are the ones that do not come easily." The TV preacher touted life of ease if you simply fill out a check and mail it in or if you say X number of prayers a day or send X number of dollars here or there truly is major disservice to the truth. Life isn't about seeing how easily you can skate through may try that, but I will bet you money the satisfaction and internal reward you reap will either be unsatisfactory and leave you wanting more, or pale in comparisson to the peace, joy, satisfaction, and impact on others that living a life of embracing challenges and taking the risks of tackling the unknown produce. So I ask you, are you lazy? Are you waiting sitting down and waiting for the next window or door to open? Or do you know that you have been called, even if you don't know what that calling is, and know you must move forward? If so, move forward! Act! Whatever you do, unless you hear God tell you to "be still" (which He does at times, so keep your ears open, just know that He doesn't have us just sit and be still for extended periods of time because He's got things for us to do!), then get up and do something to impact your world, your life, your family, your friends. Stretch yourself, challenge yourself, and see what divine opportunity you find yourself in the midst of experiencing!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spaghetti Squash

For my Easter Dinner I made myself some Spaghetti Squash, and it was so good that I had to share it with y'all!! Completely vegetable, tasty, and HEALTHY!

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
2 Cans of tomato sauce (8 oz cans)
1 Can of chopped tomatoes Italian seasoned
1 Can of Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas (rinse and drain)
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup chopped, fresh mushrooms
Parmesan Cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, take out the seeds, poke holes in the top of the skin with a fork or knife and lay inside down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 deg. for 30-40 mins (until soft). While the squash is cooking, mix all of the other ingredients together and start to simmer. Once the squash is done, using a potholder and a fork, scrape the inside of the squash out and into the sauce. It will come out like strings of spaghetti. Once all of it is in the pot, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve and sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top. Enjoy!

'Tis Easter Sunday (and more)

Here it is, Easter again. It is a very early Easter this year. I heard discussion on the radio about the fact that Easter will not be this early again until 2200 something. The date is, of course, based on the Hebrew calendar for when Passover is, etc. The meaning behind Easter, though, is deep yet simple, and I could spend considerable time discussing it, but let me capture it in a simple thought: The miracle of salvation is not Jesus' death on the cross on Good Friday, the miracle is that He conquered the grave on Easter Sunday. He is Risen!

The miracle of Easter should be alive in Christians everyday, with Easter simply as a day specifically remember and celebrate the miracle. Many spend the day with family, feasting, and activities. I haven't really done that in several years because I haven't been in the place to do that. I've spent 2 of the last 5 Easter's in Iraq....and maybe that's why the day itself is rough on me as I can truly say that first Easter was one the most traumatic/horrific days of my life. So, while the meaning of Easter is dear and essential to my faith, I think since 2004 it has been a bittersweet day due to memories. But Happy Easter nonetheless!

The 5K went well yesterday, in fact, it was quite the Personal Record (PR) from my last one, running it at in 19 min, 40 secs. I wish I knew how I developed speed or what made me fast. Those of you that know me, know I am not built like a runner, I have not always been fast, and it is probably some weird fluke that I am now! However, I really love it. I won my age group (F18-29) and the overall women's category. I really hope their future runs are longer (10K) or they add some different things. I hate to say it, but a 5K is almost too easy now...I mean, sure I want to get faster, but 5Ks may be too short a run for me. Plus, I have found that once I "conquer" something, I have this innate urge to take on something bigger. Thus, the progression to 1/2 and full marathons, and triathlons. I have another triathlon, at a longer distance, next weekend. I am really excited about it! I think I shall stop my rambling here today and go do the things I need to do! Be blessed this Easter Sunday!