Monday, December 12, 2011

Just got bit by the Nostalgia Bug!

Greetings from Utah!

I am currently longing for and missing these luxuries

1. Warm weather and sunshine.

2.  My road bike.

3.  A triathlon in the not-so-distant future for which to train.

4.  My running buddies.

5.  Ohio.

6.  My loving, wonderful, supportive family & friends.

God has blessed me tonight by letting me be homesick...which then turned into nostalgia, which then developed into counting my copious amount of blessings.  :)

Oh, 2011 Triathlon Season, how I miss you!  Please forgive me as I take a trip down Memory Lane.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn in NE Ohio is a gift from God.

Us northeastern Ohioans are absolutely spoiled and blessed to have access to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We are also spoiled and blessed to have a gorgeous autumn (my favorite season!  And not just because of Thanksgiving, although, that is a major plus).    Would you like to see how I spent my 110 minute long run yesterday?  :) 

Although the run was at a pretty slow pace, my quads are a little sore today from hills.  It may seem like I would get sick of this park (since I run there 2-4 times a week), but on the contrary!  I use the park for many different types of run workouts: the flat loop around the lake is almost exactly 1 mile, so naturally, I use that for mile repeats; I can't count the number of different places at this park where I complete hill sprints; my tempo runs are fun and interesting here (tempo run example: 15 minutes at a fast pace with 1 min recovery run repeated 2-5 times); and this park is the place to go for long slow distance if you want your muscles to learn how to handle fatigue from inclines.

 After a tough Thursday workout, there is no better way to relax than with one of my girlfriends where I treat myself to a glass of pinot noir at a fun pub in the valley.  Regan is sweet, tough, tenacious, and lovely.  :)

Homemade vegan (cooked, not raw) pizza!  Tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushroom, and veggie soy "cheese" (which is actually quite tasty).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Must Love Dogs 2! :)

Here's another video for your enjoyment.  :)

And, by the way, I found the perfect home for Sampson yesterday!  A family with 5 active children who live on lots of land and the mother is a stay-at-home mom.  Super wonderful family!  I'm so happy that Sampson will have a happy life.  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Must Love Dogs

I love helping a family member when the opportunity  arises.  When it includes helping an animal as well...even better!

A hobby and passion of mine is training dogs.  For a few days this week I have been working with my cousin's 8 month old black lab.  I am a firm believer that no dog is a lost cause!  I am also a firm believer that unless a dog is able to release their energy via running, swimming, or fetching, their energy will manifest itself in "naughty" ways (chewing, jumping, barking).  A tired dog is a happy dog!  After only two days Sampson has become very obedient and respectful! He is very intelligent, loves to please, and loves the outdoors as much as I do. 

What better way to enjoy fall weather and improve your own running abilities than running with a dog?  :)

Sampson and I have been running together in the lovely Cuyahoga Valley National Park:

Whole foods has the best food bar!

Seriously. How cute is Sampson?  :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coconuts, Hikes, & Sunshine

Is it just me, or is it incredibly satisfying to enjoy life's simple pleasures?

Exhibit A: I call this the trifecta breakfast: fresh-picked flowers, juicy watermelon, and the Living Word.

Exhibit B: I have a new Thursday tradition with my dear friend, Carrie!  We chit chat, catch up on life, and generally just build each other up while hiking in God's beautiful creation (usually somewhere in the Cuyahoga Valley Nat'l Park).  This park is my favorite location for a long hilly run, as well as hiking.  It's really hard not to smile at this place.  You can become blown away and simply in awe of how much God showers us with beauty in the world.

We usually bring our dogs along, too!  What a joy to watch them frolic about the park off their leashes (and swim after Canadian geese)!

Exhibit C: I have, what some might call, an unhealthy obsession with coconut.  If you would like to know a key to my heart: put coconut in anything and everything; salads, raw vegan desserts, on fruit.  I even use coconut oil as lotion (which I highly recommend!  I haven't bought lotion since I tried it a few months ago).  

So needless to say I have been a regular customer at Heinens where they sell whole coconuts for $1.50!  They are preferable over the bagged, shaved coconut for several reasons: there are no preservatives, they aren't coated with sugar, it's cheaper, the water inside the coconut can also be used, and it's a super fun afternoon project to crack them open!  Or maybe I just enjoy using a hammer...

I am planning on rolling raw organic dates in this freshly grated coconut.  It's my favorite pre-workout pick-me-up!

I hope you can enjoy life's simple pleasures today.  :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This week has been strange for me in that I'm no longer on a rigorous triathlon training schedule!  I'm feeling a little blue that triathlon season is over, but also very refreshed and well-rested.

Although this next topic is highly arbitrary, I wanted to share anyway.  Today I've been reflecting on Luke chapter 12:48.  I try to pray on and think about this verse a lot because I feel it's how God has been specifically trying to work on me.  In a nutshell, it talks about to whom much is given much is required.  We have been entrusted with and blessed with so many wonderful things in our lives that we are expected, and should want to, pour out that thankfulness in the form of praise and giving to others.  If we really think (and I mean REALLY think) about our lives, we should be absolutely floored and blown away about our amount of possessions, loving family and friends, wealth, health, prosperity, opportunities...!  I want my life to be less about me and my wants and desires.  I want to live every portion of my life in awe and gratitude to the one who has blessed me.  :)

I have three treats for you: my professional photograph from the race on Sunday, a little video, and a great ab workout. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

What a Wonderful Weekend :)

Do you ever have one of those days where you're so thankful to be alive?
That happened to me.  3 days in a row!

My weekend included (but was not limited to):

-Campfires and conversation

-New friends and close family members

-Hot tubs and sunsets

-Boating and water sports

-Organic fresh food and relaxing movies

-A triathlon with a chilly swim, a hilly cycle, and strong run all complete with a loving "cheering section"

The view from Ashley and Jimmy's house :)

Jimmy is a stellar wakeboarder!

If you know Ashley, you are blessed.  If you don't, you should.  :)

Jimmy is first in the video doing a flip.  He's awesome.  I'm next on the skis and I'm not so awesome.  I was pretty excited that I got up on my 2nd attempt!  But I enjoy my scream, the wipeout, and Ashley's laugh even more than my getting up quickly.  Third is Jim's friend Brandon.  He was unbelievably talented on the wakeboard (it usually takes someone an entire day to figure out how to get up.  He did it on his first try AND cleared the wake).    

The Portage Lakes Triathlon was this morning and it was the coldest race all season!  45 at the start and 68 at the completion.  It was lovely.  And it was also the largest race all season (the most participants). 
Swim: It was 48 degrees when I entered the water!  I felt extremely strong throughout the whole swim.  Although the abundance of seaweed was a nice surprise.  :)

Bike: This bike course was VERY hilly.  I expected it, so the last few weeks included a lot of hilly workouts.  The bike leg is my favorite portion of triathlons, so naturally I enjoy the steep inclines.  I also am a HUGE fan of shouting "thank you!" to the policemen directing traffic at each intersection.  As well as encouraging racers who are struggling with a polite "keep it up!" and "passing on your left".  I was not used to the frigid breeze blowing over my bare legs, arms and shoulders when traveling 35+ mph downhill.  But I loved it anyway.

Run: I'm usually pretty exhausted halfway through the 6.2 mile run.  However, I had so much fun during this 10K because of my cheerleaders!  Ashley, Jim, Brandon, and my friend from church Travis came!  It is delightful to see smiling faces and hear encouraging statements from "fans" of yours.  My goal was to finish under 54 minutes (9 minute miles) because of my lingering hip flexor injury, but I actually finished slightly over 51 minutes.  Not too shabby.  :)

Au revoir, 2011 triathlon season!  See you next year! 

"I will not boast in anything; no gifts no power no wisdom (no triathlons).  But I will boast in Jesus Christ; His death and resurrection!"