Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Today I was scheduled to run a 10 miler.  You see, I committed myself to run in the October 2012, St. George Marathon.  Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to finally make the cut.  They hold a lottery each year, only allowing 7500 runners (many more thousands apply) in this coveted race.  I happened to be one of the lucky ones that will be running in the fall.

And now I am committed.  I have my traning plan sitting here in front of me with every single workout I will be completing for the next 16 weeks. 

Now there is a commitment.

There are long runs. There are also fast finish long runs (this is when you have a 18 plus run and you run your marathon pace the final miles).  In between, I will be expected to do tempo runs (medium long runs sprinkled with half marathon pace).  There will be speed workouts as well as easy run days (love those) and a few rest days (really love those). 

If I commit to accomplishing all of these workouts, I will have a greater chance at obtaining my ultimate goal...getting a personal record (PR). 

The entire process always seems a bit intimidating.  But with each marathon, I try to look at each training plan day to day and then week to week.  That way, I feel less frightened and less likely to give up.  But even in a given day, a run can seem unnerving.  Remember that scheduled 10 miler?  Well, I had hoped to get it done earlier, while it was still relatively cool.  But life got in the way a little bit.  I had Tate to get to 8 am swim practice, Ethan to wake up for rock band camp (this is a difficult and long process since he is still on Hawaii time...I know, "poor boy"), make him a lunch, drive back to get Tate, and then drive Ethan to camp. By the time I actually could find time to run the entire 10 miles, it was 9:30.  By now, the sun was up, temperatures were in the 80's and running was the last thing I wanted to do.

But I had made a committment.

And so I put on my running shoes, music and sunscreen, filled my water bottle and headed out the door.  With a  mere 500 yards (and a daunting 9.9+ to go) down, I ran into my two neighbors who asked me, "How far you running today?"  I replied with angst, "10."

Instead of focusing too much on each mile that lay ahead, I changed my thinking.  I spent time enjoying "the view."  The sky, with the low humidity was a clear blue.  Fluffy clouds flitted along in the perfectly cooling breeze.  I then began mapping out my run.  I thought, "Maybe I will try something new, take a route I have never taken." 

And so I commited, to an entirely new route.  It was going to take me in a huge circle around the Haymarket/Gainesville area. My only fear was the few miles that ran along the busy, 29.  I could not remember  if there was a sidewalk or not.  But I decided to just go ahead with my adventure and see what lie ahead.

After 3.5 miles, I made it to the road in question.  I was relieved to see a lovely sidewalk to run along as cars whipped by at a blazing 55 mph.

I continued along the road for a few miles.  It wasn't long after, I noticed the sidewalk's end.  What I saw ahead of me were cars whizzing off I-66 onto 29 and only a small area left for me to make my way onward.  You see, I was committed to this route. If I turned around I would end up running much further than I had planned...or wanted.  I didnt have enough water, strength or mental game for that.

The words, "commit" came to my mind as I tredged onward.  As I made my way, I was blessed to find a few paths that ran parallel to the street, giving me ample room from the oncoming cars.  I took my time crossing areas that had merging cars from other highways, always finding plenty of space between cars to cross.  Was I scared? Yes. Was I tired? Yes. Did I want the blazing sun off me? Yes. Did I long for an easier path?  Yes.

Did I quit?


I had committed to this path, during this time, on this day...and I was going to finish.

And that I did. Although it seemed like a "longer" and tougher ten miler than I have done in the past, it was definitely one that made me stronger. And those are the kinds of runs that can change us.

Have you committed to something "longer" and "tougher?" 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Too Much of A Good Thing

I was forced to ask myself this week the age old question, "Can you have too much of a good thing?" 

The answer, YES (darn it)!

It all began when Ben and Jerry's decided to take my favorite dessert of all time and forever...creme brulee and make it into an easy assessable ice cream treat.  You see, I don't splurge on creme brulee very often because

1. I do not know how to make it (and I don't want to know how)
2.  It is usually found at high end restaurants and I don't frequent those very often

It is a treat I treasure.  I long for it.  And when I do eventually have it, I enjoy every bite with all of my heart.

Although I knew this treat was close, I was still feeling safe from the temptation, due to the outrageously price point for a pint of ice cream.

I rarely will spend $4 for such small nonsense.

But this week, everything changed.

What began has a soft breeze, whispering to me, "You love this, a little tastes so good, the price is so right," turned into a "perfect storm" of temptation.

What went from an occasional indulging in something that tasted so good (but really was so bad), became a raging wind that couldn't be calmed.

With $1 coupons in hand, which then doubled at the local grocery store, combined with their sale price...numerous pints were purchased for a mere $1.  Within two days, two were consumed.

It was on the third night, with the freezer open, I reached for another "needed" fix of such goodness. By accident my eyes averted to the nutritional information on the back of the container bringing me to my senses.  The number 1120 was quickly calculated as I remembered the need for moderation in all things.

What seemed like such a simple pleasure was quickly returned to its shelf...until I was in control.

The realization that I personally had consumed 2240 of pure evil (along with all of the other normal calories one should eat in a given day), two days was sickening.  And while it did (and still does) taste heavenly, it taught me a valuable lesson.

Temptations are everywhere. 

Are we armed with the tools that will protect us when a "perfect storm" rages around us?

Do we say no?
Do we put it back?
Do we turn around?
Do we walk away?

Do we stop when we find ourselves indulging in too much of a good thing?

 Tonight I plan on only eating half a pint.

I am only half as strong as I should be...

...and remember, that is why I run (hee, hee).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Swimming Hole

Last week we joined the Stark Family and headed to a swimming hole located about 45 west of Haymarket.  After a short hike, the fun began.

The pools consisted of pretty much everything...from a big "community" pool... rock formations to climb on.

Rock slides carrying the perfect amount of water, allowed the kids to race down into the chilly waters.

Small pools were perfect for hanging out.

Small slides were perfect for little people.

And proof I actually went into the long I remained there is another story.

How cute are these siblings?!  Sommer is giving Calvin a bunch of love.

Ethan was the king of high flying jumps off the rock cliffs.

It was seriously a ton of fun...the kids ask each day, "When are we going back?"

For directions to the swimming hole click here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New View, New You.

(This picture is of my amazing brother, Matt, who has climbed many mountains in his life)

Yesterday I blogged about how each of us have a "view" just waiting for us.  After conquering our individual "mountains,"we earn time to pause and rest enjoying our view. However, are there other mountains to climb, another vista to view, an opportunity to reach new heights?

Oh yes, indeed.

The question each of us needs to ask ourselves is this, "Are we willing to leave our current plateau...our place of peace, comfort and beauty...and begin climbing again?"

It is up to us. 

It is always up to us...the perfect plan set up for each one of us. We have all been given the same chance at experiencing amazing views and yet, many of us choose to be content with our current view. 

Not easy but worth it.

All that is required is our will...

A will...

to take the first step
 to suffer
to plead
to try
to trust
to press onward
to seek
to find
to reach

And then, the new view becomes the new you...

...until your next climb.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The View is Ours For the Taking.

Saturday afternoon, Melanie and I climbed Bull Run Mountain.  I am actually quite shocked I have never been on this hike before now (I have lived here for 10 years).  It is no more than a 3 mile drive from my house, easy parking and a quick 2.5 mile hike up...followed by the most amazing view.  What more could you ask for in a hike?

I have decided to make this trek a weekly workout. I will run up, take in the view, and run down.  Who knows, I may even do it twice so I can be as cool as my brother and sister-in-law, Tiffanie (their big race is on July 4...Mt. about a challenge).

As we were making our way to the top of the mountain, we did encounter rocky sections and large roots that impeded our way.  It was necessary to keep our eyes on the trail at all times.  I know from experience what happens if your eyes wander off the path, even for a moment, you risk a nasty fall.

The steady climb wasn't easy. And I can only imagine the serious burn that will occur when I run the same trail later this week.  A few times, we were forced to stop to catch our breath.  The moments of rest, allowed us to continue onward to our goal, reaching the top. Here we would reap our reward, the most amazing view of the valley down below.

A quick analogy was shared after we reached the top. I told Melanie this hike was like life.  A path full of rocky unstable sections, irritating gnats flitting around our faces throughout our climb, scary rustling of unseen animals in the brush, roots waiting to tangle our step and steep inclines taking our breath...

Such is life.  Rocky times, unstable sections, irritating obstacles flitting right before us, the scary unknown, hills to climb, all of which require our eyes on the path at all times...

Tough stuff.

And our goal is to reach the top...obstacles and all.  And the view will be amazing.  We just have to complete our climb and the view will be ours for the taking.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Say What You Mean, But Don't Say it Mean

See, watching the Real Housewives of New York isn't totally lacking in wisdom.  Just this week, the viewers learned an important lesson from one of the ladies,

"Say what you mean, but don't say it mean."

I can do that.

And let me now tell you how I came to watch the Real Housewives since we are on this subject and too many, it may rank a quite low on the "quality show" spectrum...which quite frankly it does.

Years ago I came across, the original show, "Real Housewives of Orange County." While watching, one gentleman looked rather familiar. A few episodes went by until I finally realized why...Slade Smiley went to my High School...and actually dated my sister (shhh...I won't tell which of my sisters he dated).

I remember one time he was at my house. I offered him a piece of gum to which he replied, "No thanks, I stay away from that stuff, it makes your breathe stale."

See, more free advice.

And I need to make it clear (now that I have come out of the "closet"), I only watch Real Housewives of NY, Orange County and Beverly Hills.

Wait, is that all of them?! 

Don't judge.  If you do, just don't say it mean :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Camp a Little, Beach A Lot

Tradition states the Porter family joins the Whitesides family for a weekend of camping and beaching.  It all began when the Whitesides began reserving an entire circle of camping lots in a  HUGE campground at Virginia Beach.

What one family started years ago has developed into a huge gathering of friends, creating an incredibly fun weekend for all ages (including the adults...YAY!)

 By day we are at the beach.  Sand, sun and surf allow for fun for everyone.  

 The ladies relaxed, chatted and read.
 The little boys, filled their bellies with sand, creating masterpieces out of sand.
 Speaking of masterpieces, Alexandra Whitesides, was the creator of all things braids. Even Calvin, with his obnoxiously long hair joined in the fun.
 Tate spent most of his time riding the waves...and there were some wild ones!

 Relaxing was a plenty.
 Are these two seriously the cutest couple ever?!

 Last year, Rae and I clenched the coveted paddle ball championship. This year, Jason and Melanie attempted to win it back...not a chance!

 Ashton loves to "dabble" in the waves.

 When Tate isn't in the water, he is actively working on a sand hole.
 Cole and Cal decided to burn some calories burying little Brett.

 Ethan and Jake were right there, working on their own sand hole...they even drew a crowd.
By night we  hung around the campsite, roasting marshmallows, playing games and letting the kids wander the campground (it had myriads of pools and nightly activities).
Each year, Melanie makes her famous dutch oven die for.

This tradition seriously creates the most amazing memories for our family. We are grateful to be a part of the fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finding the Win

I really thought I would open the package of M&M's last night and find a bag filled with brown M&M's.  You see, M&M's introduced their newest candy mascot during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Mrs. Brown is making a cameo appearance on the packages. If you find a bag full of brown M&M's you could win a lot of money...

$100,000 to be exact!

I figured I had a pretty good chance of winning. I mean, someone has to win right?!  Why couldn't it be me?  I eat a lot of candy and I need money, therefore, I should win! I decided that this bag of candy would contain the brown M&M's.


I visualized the contents, thinking only brown thoughts.

As I reached into the bag, I grabbed one piece of candy and slowly pulled it out of the small hole I had created for the big "reveal."

Before pulling out the piece of candy, I paused, reflecting on the joy I would find in having this large sum of money.  I was already grateful in so many ways...

My eyes met my fingers as the candy reached the top of the opening.

Dang was orange.

Who wins these things?!

My sadness quickly turned to joy when I realized I had won second place...a bag of m&ms were ALL mine for the eating.

And eat I did.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Start Spreading the News!

Sommer and I headed to NYC a few weeks ago for an amazing adventure.  Not only did we accomplish seeing so many things...we were able to do it on the CHEAP!

2 round trip tickets on the Bus: $40
Marriott Points donated for hotel from In-Laws
Winning Lottery Tickets for Newsies: $60
Sommer finally using all of her birthday gift cards for shopping
Free Breakfast at Hotel (due to construction)

It was simply a blast and even better that it didn't cost a fortune.

I love living so close to such wonderful sites!

Here we are on day one taking a walk through Bryant Park. The weather was amazingly warm...the entire city was there...basking in the sun! Behind Sommer is NYC Public Library.

Here we are posing outside the library!

The architecture was beautiful with verandas, paintings and arches.

After leaving such a beautiful spot, we headed to Time's Square. There we found out Mario was simply a man (who needed some fresh air).

We so wanted to get lottery tickets to Wicked...but so did 300 other people. Only 13 were chosen for the $26 dollar tickets. This was the one thing we absolutely HAD to do on our trip so I had subbed an extra few days. After losing the lottery, we quickly went to the ticket window and ended up getting FAB seats at a FAB price (much better than the many searches I did online).

Here we are in front of the theatre.

Our view from our front row mezzanine. The seats were amazing minus the bar in front of us (you can see the bars on the bottom right)

Saturday morning, I ran from our hotel to Central Park. I have been wanting to take a run in the park forever...
There were some amazing views of the city!

Sommer and I couldn't wait to shop! And shop we did! Here Sommer is at Forever 21 with all 5 floors of  fun!

Our hotel was closed to Saturday morning we tried their lottery. Lucky us, Sommer's name was drawn second!  We ended up getting seats right up front. We loved being so close to the action (including the actor that was spitting as he attempted to speak with a New York accent).

We also made the long trek to Dylan's Candy Bar.  Three floors of every type of candy one could ever want.  The only problem I had with this store (and I LOVE candy) was the price! I mean, seriously...$12.99 a lb?!  As I placed fun sweets into little bags, I kept thinking, "I have seen this same candy at Target!"  But it was a must do, must see, and decidedly a must purchase...and the boys loved it!
This picture is taken of the stairs...yep...all real candy.
Here we are on the billboard of Time Square...on the bottom left you will see a red umbrella. Sommer is directly to the right of its bottom.
We had a blast at the Stardust Cafe!  Future Broadway stars, wait on tables as well as entertain the guests with amazing musical numbers performed on the tables!  We loved it!
On our last day, we stopped at Junior's bakery for the highly talked about Cheesecake.  Boy howdy was it good! We both decided on Red Velvet...

On our trek to Dylan's, we stopped by Abercrombie  to give Sommer the opportunity to check out their summer collection...okay not really.  We went into the front doors, took picture with this lovely gentleman modeling their "summer" wear (?), and left.

Thanks Sommer for a GREAT time!