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Monday, December 31, 2007

Considering it's New Year's Eve, and some of you may be going out and living it up tonight, I thought I'd give you a few dance tips to take along with you!! :) It's long, but it's awesome!

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How I became a Tri-geek!

The story of how I became a tri-geek goes a little more quickly than some! A lot of people begin with a sprint and build their way up from there. Patience is not one of my strongest points, so it didn't go quite that way for me!

As I've mentioned before, I fell in-love with running back in college as a weight loss tool. At my heaviest I would strive to walk on the treadmill for 30-45 min 3 days/week. From there, I slowly built my way up to where I would run for 5-10 min at a time. I remember one night all of my friends were busy studying, and I was bored so I decided to go to the gym. I ended up running that night for 30 min straight and was so proud of myself!

I spent the next 7 years running for the joy of it and to help keep in shape, with a 2 year walk restriction during the whole having babies process! I never really ran competitively during that time. I ran the Peachtree Road Race twice, but again just mostly for fun. I'd notice if I did a run a little more quickly than I had before or if I'd come in from doing some of the major hills in my neighborhood without feeling like I was going to cough up a lung. :) Once I finally got back into running after having Gracie, I spent 2 years doing it behind a double baby jogger. Talk about an amazing workout!

However, the runs with the kids became more like really short intervals as I spent the majority of my time breaking up fights and picking up all of the MANY things that were "accidentally" dropped into the street. Therefore, I made a decision to once again join a gym in Jan. of 2006 for the luxury of childcare!

I decided to take a spin class because I'd always wanted to. Plus, I'd heard that it was great strength training for runners. After about 5 RPM classes, I was addicted. To the point that I sought my own certification and began teaching classes the summer of 2006. In the meantime I started purchasing cycling shoes and shorts from a local bike shop. I couldn't help but to look at the bikes too!

I also was doing a lot of running at the time with a friend of mine, Kaye Anne, who had said that she was going to do the Acworth Women's Sprint Triathlon. I signed up for it at the beginning of June of 2006 with the intention of using my mountain bike!! By the end of June I decided that though many people do their first several tris on a mt. bike, it obviously isn't the ideal. So, I ordered a Giant TCR Road Bike, Hot Pink! I LOVED it! It came in right after July 4th, and on only my 2nd ride ever, a friend of mine took me out on the 27 mile loop at the Bud Plant in Cartersville. We tried to run afterwards for my first Brick, but I didn't even make it a mile! I had no idea that your legs are supposed to feel like Bricks!

So, I "trained" for my 15 mile bike ride followed by my 3 mile run and went to the pool a couple of times. Ended up missing that triathlon in August of 2006 because I got sick, but signed up for an International Distance one at Callaway Gardens that took place on Labor Day weekend of 2006 and was hooked! Then my friend, Amy Stewart, talked me into doing the Olympic Tugaloo Triathlon just a few weeks later. It was only a little longer than an international :) It hurt like hell, but from there I knew I was into this tri thing for awhile!
(Me on my Giant in my first Triathlon!)

That concluded my 2006 "season", which I don't even count :) I hired a personal swim coach, kept running and biking, and decided to make 2007 my kick-off season! I started meeting with Carole Sharpless in January of 2007 with the intention of going for the half. I did prep for the Florida 70.3, but somewhere in March I decided I was going for the gold and started making plans for Florida Ironman 2007!

So... in 8 months time I went from planning on riding a mt. bike in my very first triathlon to getting a cervelo, coach, swimming in a masters class and signing up for a Full Ironman!! It was NUTS!! But I was IN-LOVE with the sport and determined to go for it!!

Fortunately, I guess I can say it all worked out! And though it did go fast, I did at least wait long enough to be sure I knew I'd stick with it before making that god-awful initial investment!!

Let's just hope that my "progress" for the 2008 season can move so quickly!

Best of Luck to everyone in the New Year!!

K :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

My "Deep Thought" for the Day :)

Somewhere today between answering a bunch of questions from Cooper about how God put bones in our bodies and relearning about the nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems, I had a strange almost sort of epiphany! :)

For as long as I can remember, I have not liked January or February. As strange as that sounds, I know that there are many more out there who would agree. I have given a lot of thought in the past to why this is. The "let down" after the holidays? The miserable cold weather? The lack of vitamin D from not being outside as much? !! I know!! I've even considered getting one of those lights that exposes you to more vitamin D because there is seriously a part of me that feels almost depressed during this time period. :(

Well today I was thinking about how busy things have been for me for as long back as I can remember it seems. Things always pick up in March because that is Gracie's birthday and then Cooper's is in April. Easter is always thrown in there as well. Then the races begin, end of school parties, T-Ball, etc, etc... So for a second I was driving today and thinking my usual thoughts of BLAH January and February and how I was ready for March. But then, I had the thought of all of the go, go, go that starts from then.

And it suddenly occurred to me that January and February have their own purpose too. I thought about how our bodies require rest and recovery from a physical standpoint and how for the past year I've incorporated it into my workout schedule from a couple of days every 4 weeks to a week every several months to the past 3 months as a whole! We all know it is a time for our muscles to recover and rebuild.

Well, being the constantly on the go person that I am, I forget sometimes how important it is for me to take a mental break as well. It's kind of funny how things work out that when I'm taking a break from working out so much that is when I try to catch up with my relationships, house work, and all of that other stuff that I've neglected.

So I realized that January and February are cold and not near as exciting as Spring, Summer, and even Fall around here, but if I use them properly, they may not be so bad after all. What a perfect opportunity, while not too much is going on in the world to let my mind relax, recover, and rebuild.

Here's the plan: This Jan. and Feb. I am going to try my hardest to not get all sucked into the gloominess of Winter but to embrace the fact that I get to sit around in comfy clothes, have a fire (which I LOVE), read some books, try to finish that table that's been in my basement forever, and you know...even hang out at the gym!! Yes, I said it :) I know, it's not most people's favorite place. But it is kind of nice to be in a controlled temperature environment where if you get hot you just turn on the fan. You don't have to worry about packing a bag for enough food and water for your 2-3hr bike ride with your cell phone, keys, i.d., etc! :)

So I'll keep you updated as it gets colder on my "Vitamin D" level :) I'm convinced with the right perspective, I can turn that frown upside down :)

Happy Winter!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Beginning of a New Era!

With the holidays winding down, what a great time to begin my new endeavour, Personal Training Certification! I began my studies last night. I am working toward NASM certification.

There are lots of different programs out there, and me being the somewhat skeptical person that I am, I made sure to do my research because I didn't want to end up with some bogus internet certification that meant nothing. Call me crazy, but anytime some web page tells me to buy some materials from them and then they'll give me some sort of accreditation, it makes me think, "hum!" However, there are several reputable programs out there, and after many discussions with people in the industry, including potential employers :), this is the one I decided to begin with!

I've reviewed the material as a whole, and it looks to be very thorough! I'm actually very excited about it as I know that I will learn things that will also be very helpful to my own training! I'm on a 6-8 week program. Adam's been sweet enough to let me out of the house to get in the study time that I've needed over the past 2 days. You can probably imagine why studying at home isn't the best environment :) !! So... Chapter 1, DONE!

Anyone who knew me in college knows that when it comes to studying, I'm a HUGE NERD!! I did not skip classes nor did I fall asleep. I was the one that gave Adam and Joey all the info for the Music Appreciation class that we all had to take since I ended up having to take it an hour before they did.

Confession: The study guide has it all laid out as to what you should do each day to get the program done in 45 days. For Day 1 it included reading the Introduction in the book and the Letter from the President. All useless stuff. However, I of course read it :) Did it thinking the whole time what I NERD I am, but also thinking, "You never know!"

I guess it's a good thing in the end since I'm always over prepared for things, but it sometimes takes me a little longer than it should! :) However, I did make it through college in just a little over 3 years. Again, nerdy girl going straight through! Actually, it was for the most part that I was NOT moving back home and either did Adam so it worked out. Having to do it over again knowing what I know now about having to pay my own bills, I would have gotten a summer job instead and stretched it out as long as I could have!! :)

Anyways, I'll be spending the next 6 weeks in a coffee shop reading and watching informational videos if anyone is ever in the mood to drop by!

Happy Learning to us all!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Johnson Family Christmas Show!

Christmas at our house was typically chaotic, yet great! The kids were so excited about Santa! On Christmas Eve, Cooper was so excited he just couldn't contain himself! We kept using the, "You better be good before Santa comes tonight" line for as long as we possibly could. It got to the point that he would know that he was misbehaving and before I even had a chance to say anything to him he would ask me NOT to tell Santa :)

We finally got the kids situated and in bed, did all of the wrapping and set out all of their stuff! Didn't seem like much when it was all neat and organized, but then the following morning after all of the boxes were opened and their stuff was strewn all over the living room floor, it was A LOT more than it originally seemed!

It's funny how different brothers and sisters can be. Cooper came downstairs and tore through everything in about 5 min! Gracie spotted the Dance with Dora game and required to play it immediately. That has won the prize as her favorite toy! Throughout the rest of the morning, she would happen to notice something else that was hers and say, "Hey... look at that!"
We are one of those that you will every other year or so see out on the road on Christmas day searching for the few open spots to grab some necessities. We drove down to good ole Franklin for the Johnson Family Christmas Show. Taking place this year at Todd and Amy's. It makes for a LONG, stressful day, but to sit at home and not see my family would be the less attractive of the two :) The kids LOVE seeing their cousins and stuff too! We loaded up with our "phone ears" aka mp3 music players and headphones Santa brought us, our leapster video games, a "life saver" (light saber) and Princess Beautiful, and drove in the MUCH needed rain down for the fun! Along the way I realized I'd forgotten about lunch, so would you believe that Starbucks is open on Christmas!! Figures that they would be, but I sure was glad!
Christmas is different for every family. For me, I've always celebrated Christmas as an adult and a child with a TON of people! As a kid, we always went to my grandmothers who ended up having 53 grandchildren and great-grandchildren before she passed! That made for an interesting get together. Now, my own family is well on their way to that size as there were 21 of us with just my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews yesterday. And we are NOT the calm and quiet bunch! So it's loud, chaotic, and loads of fun!

After A LOT of VERY good food (my sister-in-law Amy really is a very good cook), we passed out gifts to the kids, played our usual Dirty Santa game amongst the adults, which is always fun, and then headed home at around 8pm! My Gracie girl is a homebody as it is, and by that time she was doing nothing but constantly telling me OVER...and OVER.. that she wanted to go home!

So I would say that it made for another successful year! Unfortunately, we spent our morning after at the Dr's office as both Cooper and Gracie have been fighting off what I had I guess for the last week. The remaining part of the day will HOPEFULLY be a relaxing one!!

For some reason, I'm not so sure about that with all of these new toys around!!

Until next time...


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Damnit!

I honestly don't even think this picture really demonstrates the feeling you get from it in real life! Where ever you are in this world, if you see that strange glow off in the distance, I would bet it would be this house in my neighborhood. They must have went to Wal-mart and said, "I'll take one of everything!" Whatever the motivation behind it, someone must REALLY love Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!...


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Running at the Mountain!

Being the Tri-geek that I am, I read everything that I can get my hands on when it comes to swimming, biking, and running! In one article that I read about winter training, it mentioned focusing on cross-country to mix things up a bit AND work on leg strength. Makes sense to me as anytime I'm out on the trails and another runner passes me just breezing by and you know they're there often their legs are SUPER cut and built!

I've done my share of trail running considering that I live relatively in the woods :) However, it's been awhile since I've really been out to either the mountain or Blankets Creek so it was a very nice refreshing change!

I went to swim this morning and then met my training partner, Z over at Kennessaw Mountain for an easy 1:10 run. I decided going in that I wasn't going to try to stay in zone 2 because I just knew that that wasn't going to be possible. I'm just now starting to try to focus more on hills since it wasn't a huge push for IMFL!

Trail running is also supposed to be even a little bit more difficult than just doing hills because it requires more technicality dodging all the rocks and stumps and it requires a little bit more push since the trail surface is more forgiving than pavement. And though this did prove to be true, it was a great run! I felt like, ok, I'm finally starting to get somewhere!

Yes, there were quite a few people, just about everyone actually I think, that were running much faster than me. And Mike was nice enough to not completely drop me when I was huffing and puffing my way up the big hills! However, it felt good to push myself a little again!

So even though my time wasn't really all that great, and my heart rate wasn't really where it needed to be, I think I established my base, so that next time I head out there I will hopefully be in a little bit better shape!

Until next time...
K :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

What Would I do Without The Georgia Sports Team!

Turning from a recreational, workout 4 hours/week athlete to training for an Ironman and working out 15-20 hours/week there were some definite Body Maintenance People that I had to add to my routine! Thanks to the WONDERFUL recommendations of Coach Carole, I became a regular of Dr. Josh Glass and Collette Ragan (Glass ?) ! They actually just recently got married, and I'm not sure what the status of her last name is :)

Anyways, Dr. Glass or Josh is the owner and operator of Georgia Sports Chiropractic and Collette just recently switched from co-owning Sports Massage and Integrated Therapies to starting her own business, Georgia Sports Massage. I started seeing them both as a regular part of my routine about a year ago, and they are both AWESOME!

I've always been a little skeptical of the chiropractic care. There are some definite negative perceptions out there. However, Josh has always made me feel SO comfortable and goes into great detail as to what and why he is doing what he's doing. He also is a very accomplished runner, and that makes a big difference to me as far as his knowledge and sports perspective. I'm currently dealing with some muscular imbalances that he is able to provide me the immediate relief I need as well as exercises to help correct them and the regular check-ups to keep things "in place." :) Not to mention that hot water bed he lets you lay on when you first get there that I told him I wanted one for Christmas!

Collette is amazing as well! I've had my fair share of massages in the past more for the enjoyment aspect of it. Though I don't always "enjoy" my moments with her as she is grinding away the junk I've built up in my muscles, she always makes me feel 100% better as well!

A couple of weeks ago my shoulders were a little tight and one morning in the pool I went to do my first flip turn and YANK I was left with a crick. It wouldn't go away and the Physical Therapy was definitely making it better, but in a got to fix it before it can get better kind of way :) I saw Josh earlier this week and Collette today, and I must say, I AM A NEW WOMAN!

So I thought that this was a good time of year to thank them for getting me through Ironman and the 2007 season! I hope they are prepared to put up with me in 2008 again! I wish them the best of luck in their new Happy Lives together!

If ever in the area, check them out!

Until Next Time...


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Addition for Previous Post!

After posting my last entry about Nutrition, I got to thinking about the physical changes I've made and thought it'd be funny to put a picture of me at 160lbs so you can get the true effect! So here goes! And it's ok to laugh! I do!

And yes, I did buy Adam that Velvet Elvis for his birthday that year! :) It came all the way from Tijuana...ha, ha, ha!!

Nutrition: An Ongoing Study :)

Nutrition and I have had a long...., checkered past. I think it is something that everyone in this world battles with whether they realize it or not because we all must eat. Although, we all eat for different purposes and goals.

I grew up in a large family. My mom was busy juggling 5 kids who were all active in football, gymnastics, ballet, etc. Needless to say, we didn't have a lot of quality dinner table evenings. A lot of what I remember was eaten in the car. She was of course just trying to meet all of our other needs, and a big push for healthy eating really didn't come about during her generation, at least not that the people I know in Georgia were apart of :)

During school, like most kids, weight wasn't much of an issue because I was active. Then I blew out my knee doing gymnastics in eleventh grade at the same time that we moved and my entire life changed. I put on a little bit of weight, but nothing too crazy. My first "diet" ever was when I was a senior in high school and I wanted to get into a size 4 pair of jeans that I had for our senior trip. I think I was hoping to lose about 10 pounds, which I did by doing jazzercise (really popular at the time :) and basically eating very little. I knew the basic concepts of like stay away from my usual Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meals and Large Fries, but beyond that, I wasn't really on a very healthy path.

Fortunately, it didn't last but maybe 6 weeks, and then off to college where things just got WAY off! My Freshman 15 was more like what ultimately turned out to be 45! Yes, my 5' 2'' frame got up to around 160 in college!! At that point, I was getting married in approximately 8 months from then and knew I had to really focus on getting things together.

I knew that fad, fast-quick stuff didn't work, at least not permanently. I joined a gym and started walking on a treadmill 3 times/week. I picked up a Fitness magazine and read it cover to cover. Once I got moving, it just got that much more fun! I couldn't read enough about proper eating and exercise, and found great passion in it!

The bad news is that there are thousands of conflicting nutrition information out there! And the "rules" that some possess I don't think really take into account people like myself that will follow them to the 110% extreme. I became COMPLETELY obsessed with my nutrition and thought everything was fine because I was eating, so that meant I wasn't anorexic, right? I did lose quite a bit of weight quickly, but it took Adam really bringing me to terms that 700 calories a day just wasn't going to cut it. It's crazy how foggy your mind can get when in a state like that.

I did pull out of it and ultimately got rid of all of my rigid eating habits all together. Adam and I tried for quite sometime to get pregnant with Cooper, and it boiled down to my body fat % being too low from all the running I was doing. I had to figure out that moderation really is the key. "Perfect" eating isn't really quite so perfect!

So through the baby years, I somehow managed to keep a relatively fit frame through moderate eating and running/walking. However, in coming into Endurance Sports I've been reintroduced to the nutrition category. When Carole first told me I should keep a food diary, it really kind of freaked me out because I literally kept one for over 2 years, and it was one of those things that I needed to let go of. I was "food journal free" at this point for about 3 years, and didn't want to find myself revisiting some of those obsessive habits. And we all know that triathletes can be that way! :) So, I again went into it thinking I'd use it as intended, but not allow myself to beat myself up over it.

Realizing that nutrition is one of the most important aspects of Sports and just your overall well-being, I've once again started searching for the "right information." I've been reading Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" by Monique Ryan. I'd seen it listed on Bree Wee's page and had some others recommend it. She also posts on velonews.com, and I've heard she seems to have it together. Though I am not finished with the book yet, I have to say it is one of the best I've read so far. It really promotes the basic nutrition principles with the option of not getting so technical that it CAN be used in "the real world!"

There are a few principles that I truly do believe in when it comes to nutrition. Moderation is one! Again, there is no such thing as the "Perfect" diet. Number 2: Diets are crazy. We should want to eat good so that we can feel good, and that should be an everyday thing. And Number 3: Everyone is different. We all have different lifestyles, restrictions, and needs. What works for one is NOT what works for others necessarily. (I'll tell you my race day nutrition day story another day!)

I feel like I've come a REALLY long way from that immobile 160lb girl in college to the athlete I am now. However, there is always sooo much more for us to learn!

So, as Christmas approaches you can be sure that I'll be partaking in my favorites...Chocolate Fudge and Dressing with Gravy. Let's just hope that Monique Ryan is helping me control how much and When I should eat it!

Happy and Healthy eating to you all!

K :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blast From the Past!

Yesterday, Adam and I learned that Gracie was to be an angel in the Christmas Play taking place at 10:30am this morning rather than the sheep we were anticipating!! Of course, we're like CRAP! What are we going to do!

I called all of my mom friends that I know have little girls thinking someone has had a little girl as an angel in a Christmas play before...apparently NOT the case! :) I have a sewing machine believe it or not in my basement that I got for Christmas from my super-duper sewer Mother-in-law about 3 years ago. It's an awesome machine, and I've actually made Cooper and Gracie a couple of Halloween Costumes and a diaper bag on it before. However, in my extreme lack of spare time, I'm afraid it has it's fair share of dust on it at the moment.

My thoughts were however, to break that bad boy out and see what I could whip up in an afternoon. I think it wouldn't have been that difficult ultimately. However, God must have been thinking about my panic state when Gracie comes walking downstairs with a Barbie fairy outfit! White and Pink and equipped with wings!! I figured that was a sign :) It did however spark my creative bug, so you may see some crazy something I decide to put together before too long!

So, back to my original story...
I still needed to get her some tights, a leotard, and some slippers. So at 7:30pm last night after Adam gets home, I head to one of my least favorite places... Walmart! Now, I know there are people out there like my sister who thinks that Walmart is the greatest place on earth! I guess if you have 4 kids like she does, it really might be a great place, but it's WAY TOO crowded for me. However, I knew it would have what I needed and set out.

I decided while I was there to go ahead and finish up the last little Christmas shopping I had to do. I got all of their stocking candy and stuffers and picked up some coffee mugs to put their teacher's Gift cards in. Last thing was to head to the toy department and pick up some things for Toys For Tots. While browsing the aisles what do I discover...The original Snoopy Snow Cone Machine!! I had one as a kid and LOVED it! So of course, I had to pick that up too!

I LOVE that thing so much, that we went ahead and played with it today rather than waiting until Christmas! Cooper isn't really feeling well, so I figured it would boost his spirits a little, and of course... IT DID!

So once again, everything worked out! Just think, without the angel scenario, we would not have had the opportunity to enjoy some SUPER sweet grape flavored ice!! And the play went awesome!

Until Later...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meet Rocky Pug Mills


aka: Rockadoodle, The Rock, The Pug, Rocky Pug, Pugadellic, The Velveteen Pug, Rock Lobster

Birthdate: June 26, 2001

Adopted: August 2001 to Kellye and Adam Mills becoming their first official baby!

Favorite Activities: Sleeping, Eating, Short down-hill walks, Sleeping, Tug-of-War, Sleeping, Fetch, Sleeping

Favorite Foods: Bagels with Cream Cheese, Cheetos, French Fries, Ice Cream, and pretty much any other people food!

Known For: Being Lazy, Very Sweet and Friendly, Snoring VERY loudly, Emitting HORRIBLE smells often!, Being a little on the chubby side, Being VERY soft and cuddly :)

Biggest Fan: Gracie Mills (who says good morning to him before she speaks to anyone else)

Best Memories: My first birthday party at the park with my mom and dad's other doggie friends, Dressing up as Rocky Balboa for Halloween!,

Worst Memories: Putting on a Christmas shirt and thinking I couldn't MOVE in it!, Breaking my foot when another dog temporarily moved in :(

Favorite Toys: Stuffed animals and stuffed pillows and at one time pacifiers!

Wants to be remembered for: Being the cutest, sweetest, most wonderful Rocky Pug in the whole world!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still MORE pictures!!

Ok, so a little ridiculous I know!! But it was a WHOLE year!! :)

More Favorite 2007 Pictures Cont.!!

So I think the image uploader has a limit, so these are just a few more I couldn't leave out! :)

Favorite 2007 Pictures!

We finally got our Christmas pictures ordered, addressed, stamped, and in the mail. Now everyone is talking about how much my munchkins have grown! I looked at last year's picture, and I thought I was going to cry. My babies are turning into little people! You always hear from parents to enjoy the little years because they go by so fast. Well, not only is that completely true, but I swear the years are getting faster and faster! When we first had Cooper, he was my entire life. Our days revolved around feedings, walks, and playtime at Gymboree. Then before we knew it, when Cooper was just 8 WEEKS OLD (YIKES!!) we learned that there was another one on the way!

No big deal, right? Adam and I used to say, "If you have one in diapers, you might as well have two." Uh, let me just say... NOT the case. :) Things weren't really all that bad when they were tiny babies. It hasn't been until the past year or so that them being 11 months apart has really shown it's true colors! It seems that they're either being REALLY loud and hyped up fighting or the same but just in cahoots with each other getting into anything and everything they are not supposed to do!!

Well despite the massive amounts of energy they require, they are my little set of Irish Twins, and I love them more than anything ever!! And what is so sad is that the older they get, the busier they get with pre-school, friends, t-ball and dance, and time just goes by that much more quickly! Throw on top of that the fact that Adam and I have always truly believed in each of us holding onto our own identities as adults with our own busy schedules and you end up with an entire year seeming to flash before your eyes.
That is why we all know how absolutely important it is to try to cherish every single memory with them that we can. I feel even with all of the Ironman training I did this year that I really did try to make that a priority. Sometimes the laundry just didn't get done so that I could read them a bedtime story or play a game of red light/green light, and I am more than ok with that. Next year, if even less of that kind of stuff gets done so I can make even more memories with them, than to me that will be a sign of success!!
So in my trip down 2007 picture memory lane, I chose some of my favorites to share. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Getting Old!

Last night Adam and I went to his company's Christmas Party for Autotrader.com. They always do a really nice job with this affair. This was our third year attending, and again had a lot of fun. They hosted it at the Westin in Buckhead, which was where they had it last year, but "stepped it up a notch a little"! They always have a really awesome buffet, music, casino gambling (you never can beat that) that you use your "winnings" to go towards raffle prizes, and of course booze!

It's always fun to get all dressed up! Especially when you're used to hanging out in workout clothes the majority of your life. My mom took the kiddos to her place, so we had the WHOLE night! Some people may take that as an opportunity to "blow it out" (my new favorite phrase :) )!! This is mine and Adam's version of that!

Adam and I got to the party at around 7:30, fashionably late :) We signed in, got our picture made (a must!), and each used one of our drink tickets. From there, it was off to the buffet as we were both starving! We ate and then mingled a bit. Eventually hooked up with Adam's buddies from work and their wives/girlfriends. It's always fun to meet the people that your spouse works with and talks about all of the time!

From there, we were on to the gambling portion of the evening by around 8:45. We scored at the table we ended up at because the blackjack dealer admitted that she had NEVER dealt before! She was so funny! She kept adding wrong, and when we would lose she would forget to take our chips. And it really wasn't that she didn't care, she just wasn't the best dealer. Good thing for the "casino" that we were playing with fake money. We started at the table with $50,000 between the two of us, and left up $75,000 within 15 min. The first raffle drawing was supposed to be at 9pm, so we put our five tickets in and waited a bit. We were pumped because we had like 5 of the maybe 10 tickets that were in there! Unfortunately though, they didn't do the 9pm drawing for some reason. So we ended up bumping into Adam's manager as I was desperately looking for a place to sit. I've lost my tolerance for stiletto heels in the past year of not wearing them at all to save my feet!!

We hung out until 10pm just because we were convinced we were going to win something!! Unfortunately for us, but fortunate for others, we watched 3 lucky people walk away at 10pm with a new playstation, an ipod, and a digital camera. That is the point that we called it a night. In the past two years, we've always gotten a room and stayed the night. This year, we decided it would be nice to wake up in our own bed. So, I drove home and called it a night by 11:30pm. Felt like 3am to me!!

So not sure if it's the 4am wake up call earlier that morning from Gracie, the chasing of the kids, or the fact that I'm pushing 30, but me and midnight don't mix!! And I'm ok with that! We had PLENTY of fun to make it a complete evening without taking it into the witching hours! No matter if it is because I'm getting old or what, I'm ok with my earlier bedtime!

Until Later...

K :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Splish Swim Suit Design...Funny or Gross???

I found this swim suit site from Bree Wee's Blog. I've already ordered one of their suits, and don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to the regular boring swim suits that I've been wearing. I mean, what could make getting up at 5am to go swimming more fun!

In addition to the awesome swim suits that you can buy, they have the coolest feature where you can even design your own. I've been playing around with it and have created 3 swim suits so far. Last night, my sister-in-law (also a Kellie Mills) suggested the birthday cake for the graphic and when we were trying to think of what to write on the butt, I thought, "Blow it Out!" Meaning two separate things... you blow out the candles on the cake and you also like really kick it into a major gear and "blow it out!" Unfortunately, due to the location of the statement, Adam pointed out that that has an additional meaning, and so... I think it may be a little too gross for purchasing!

What do you think???

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My New Obsession!

Being a triathlete, I think its in our blood to get into all of the gadgets, devices, and products that will make us faster and stronger! Of course, the compression socks made a big debut at the Ironman World Championship and the craze began. I looked into them and due to the thousands of other triathletes out there just like me, they were out of stock. They immediately went on my Christmas list!

Adam broke the news to me a little over a week ago that it didn't look like I'd be getting a pair of them as they were still out of stock. I decided to look into it myself, made an email inquiry, and just my luck they had a small black pair!! Just what I needed! I figured Adam was no longer planning on getting them, so I ordered them and two days later they arrived.

When it comes to things like this you never really know if these things actually work. Yeah, you read about the science behind all of the cool stuff and it all sounds right, but science has the tendency to lead us to what we're looking for sometimes :) I started sleeping in them and then decided to wear them out on a few runs. I LOVE THEM!

My legs I swear felt lighter during my runs and they are completely comfortable. I was afraid they'd be tight to the "cutting off my circulation level", but they aren't. They seriously fit perfectly!

Now again, could my lighter legs be all in my head because I think that is how they are supposed to work? I guess we'll never really know! But, even if it is, it makes me feel better, makes me happy, and gives me the satisfaction that I'm making the effort to recover and take good care of myself! I guess that is what really matters! If you're interested, check them out at http://beakerconcepts.com/. I've already decided I need at least one other pair so I can have one pair for running and one for sleeping. I also may need that cool wallet thing they have! I SWORE to Adam that triathlon would be cheaper next year because I wasn't buying bikes, zipps, etc.... I guess that is yet to be determined :)

Until next time...!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hill Repeats!

I did run hills this morning in my neighborhood! But I am not referring to the type of hill repeats most of you may think of. Considering that it was around 75 + degrees today here in Atlanta, Georgia, the kids and I wanted to definitely spend sometime outside. So this afternoon we headed out to play in the backyard.

Somehow, after some time swinging and playing catch, things lead to a fun game of sliding down the rather large hill in our backyard. :) What could be a better use for the top of a sand box than a sled?

Cooper, Gracie, and I climbed up the pine straw covered hill and took turns riding in the plastic sandbox cover from our crab sandbox. I should note here that when Adam sees that I have put pictures of our backyard on my blog, he's probably going to freak! :) Whereas my obsession may be triathlon, his is the yard. I of course think its fine and never notice when the pine straw is thinning. He looks at it more as a hobby and takes pride in making it look nice, even though he is rarely satisfied with it. So if it's any consolation to him, we had sooo much fun and thought it was perfect!

Isn't it amazing that an athlete can fear and dread hill repeat day. Don't get me wrong... I LOVE a challenge. I also love the feeling I get when after spending countless hours training I start to notice that my heart rate doesn't accelerate as high when I do those really difficult hills and they somehow begin to seem "not so bad!" But we all go out there knowing that it's going to be tough, it's going to hurt, and those hills are going to take everything out there that we have!

However, as I spent my afternoon climbing and running up the hill in my backyard with Cooper and Gracie knowing that once we got to the top we got to slide down "really fast" for an awesome little thrill, I managed to not even notice that hill repeats was exactly what I was doing! We were all breathing hard, but instead of closely monitoring my heart rate, I was too busy laughing and cheering and having fun!

The only "rules" of the game... you had to shout, "Yo de lay he who..." on your way down!

So the next time I'm headed up a mama-jama of a hill, I'm going to try the Cooper and Gracie way of handling hill repeats, and instead of worrying about my hr going up too high, I'm going to say to myself..., "Yo De Lay He Who!!"

Until next time!
K :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Job Quest

So as I already mentioned in a previous post, I'm still in that "What do I want to be when I grow up" phase! I started down that road 6 months ago because of a conversation I had with my sponsor. He and I had a long chat about some of PT Solutions plans of expanding not only physically but business wise as well, and of course, it got me thinking. :)

From that point forward I've been spending A TON of my "extra" time researching all the different options that may interest me, as well as suit my family and lifestyle. The job I have now coordinating events for my brother's restaurant is awesome! Don't get me wrong! I work from home with only the occasional trip into the restaurant itself, and for a large part work around my schedule. Yes, I am "on-call" pretty much at all times. I take care of clients as they come to me in need of help, and it definitely keeps me busy. However, I do enjoy it, and it fits my family life VERY well.

So what's the deal your thinking?? Well, the restaurant business is extremely hard work that you really must stay on top of at all times. I went into the position realizing that the job would require change and growth, and that is something I am not sure I can necessarily continue to accommodate from Canton, Georgia. Not to mention the desire I've always had to work within the athletic field.

Fortunately, due to the flexibility of my coordinator's position, I plan on continuing with Lil' River Grill while pursuing other possibilities. At least for as long as they'll have me :) For quite sometime now, this "plan" of mine has morphed from one extreme to another! Today, I think I've finally come to some conclusions.

My conclusion... I haven't FULLY decided yet :) I know! Doesn't sound like much of a conclusion does it. But... I've spent so long now trying to decide between one option or another, that I think the RIGHT thing to do is to keep as many options open until it FINALLY hits me right smack on the head one day! :)

So here's the breakdown:
Focus 1: I'm going to pursue my certification in Personal Training! I am looking into either getting ACE Certified or ACSM. Both of which will allow me the credentials to work within any gym in my area. I'm already an instructor at Bodyplex. I could begin building a clientele there while also building a business in the new PT Solutions training center in Acworth that will be debuting March of 2008! I think it is something that has a TON of potential for me. Not only do I think I would greatly enjoy the work, the knowledge would be extremely beneficial to me as far as my own sport is concerned.

The other large aspect of it is that I can work it around my family life as well. Being that I want to continue to be the primary care-giver in my children's lives, even when they go to school, I need a job that works around their schedule. In addition to that, I should be able to squeeze in my own training hours. I'm hoping for a successful career with this avenue!

Focus 2: (Just in case I get a wild hair or fall back) I've been going back and forth with the returning to teaching possibility. I've thought of looking into getting a job teaching in a middle school and then working with a high school cross country team. Due to the nature of contracts within the profession, it's not something you can just jump into. School systems hire in Feb. and March of each year for the following school term. My certificate has since expired since I stopped teaching and since I'm not entirely sure that that isn't something I may need/want to do some day, I think I'm going to get it up to date over the next 6 months as well.

What does that equate to? I'm going to be one busy lady yet again! I'm going to spend the next 3 months concentrating on my Personal Training certification and then begin taking my Teacher's certification credits. All the while, continuing to work as a coordinator at the restaurant in addition to my usual training schedule, being a stay-at-home mom, and all the everyday stuff in between!

Basically, I'm saying if you want to keep up with me, you better be sure you read this blog :)

In all serious, I hope that you all keep me in your thoughts as I begin a new excursion in life. And if any of you need a little personal training or coaching yourself... PLEASE give me a call in about 8-12 weeks!!

Until next time...
K :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Busy Holiday Season!

We had a very busy, yet very fun weekend! Friday was Adam's 31st Birthday! We spent the day hanging out as a family getting things ready around the house for Christmas. The kids and I made a birthday cake for Adam. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing that had a blue smiley face on it because according to the decorator Cooper, blue is daddy's favorite color and a smiley face means your happy :)

Saturday we finished putting the ornaments on the tree and setting out all of the decorations. A little late this year I know, but as much as I love Christmas, the decorating around here is getting a little out of hand in my opinion. I mean I can't compete with all the people that have their houses glowing on Thanksgiving night :)

Christmas has already been so much fun this season just from how the kids are finally starting to take it all in. Cooper is really beginning to grasp the concept that he is going to be getting presents soon. Using the ole', "You better be good or Santa won't come see you!" is the best line ever! Whoever thought up that trick was a genius!! Gracie thinks everything about Christmas is so beautiful. She loves to drive around and look at everyone's Christmas decorations, and she did the absolute sweetest thing ever on Saturday! When the tree was finally complete, she made me, Adam, and Cooper come stand around the Christmas tree, hold hands, and sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"! Cheesy, yes, but we thought it was super cute. At least for the first 4-5 times that we did it. She must be practicing for her Christmas play at school we think :)

Saturday night was the PT Solutions Christmas party. It was really a lot of fun! We all gathered at Dale's (one of the executives) house, and just hung out, ate, and drank! It was nice to have some quality time with people that I've worked out with all year long. It is always odd to see my team mates in regular clothes when all you ever see them in is a swim suit, bike shorts, or running gear :)

I wrapped up the weekend with a nice, relaxing run down at the river with my friend Mike! No heart rate monitor. No keeping up with my pace or any of the usual stats. I just ran and tried to take advantage of the fact that it is December 9th and 70 some odd degrees outside. It was beautiful!

Adam and I then took the kids over to a local school parking lot to work with Cooper on riding his bike without training wheels. He was so cute! He's my skeptical one, so a little unsure of course, but he's big into doing things himself, so we're getting there! Gracie is more of a spectator than anything. Hence the picture of her holding up her "support sign" for Cooper. She thought she was at a race :) I think she's the best fan ever!!

Finally, my neighbor Cara was nice enough to watch the kids for a few hours while Adam and I went and did an extremely rare thing... go to the movies! We saw "No Country for Old Men". It was really good. We both liked it a lot. However, Adam and I both tend to dig the "weird" movies. You know, the ones you have to kind of think about a bit. So, it is not a movie I would recommend if you want to get in a laugh. It is definitely intense, but very cool!

So that is what's been going on this weekend. More busy stuff next week of course, but all good! In the meantime if you live in Georgia, enjoy the next few days of some summertime fun!

Until next time!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is. !"

Today I got to be a model for the very first time :) !! My Tri sponsor, PT Solutions, requested some of the members of the team come in for a photo shoot. They are creating some new brochures and educational material and needed some people to model physical therapy related exercises with their staff. I of course volunteered because that sounded like too much fun!

My instructions were to bring my PT Tri outfit, bike, regular clothes, and workout clothes. So I walked into this having no clue what I would be doing! When I get there they tell me that I'm the "Lower Extremity Girl." I was like, ok... :) I put on a running outfit and started setting up to take some pictures doing a squat exercise on a step. Letting the girly-girl side of me come out, I made them pause for a second so I could lotion my legs!! It was so funny!! They were laughing at me, but my knees were ashy. I was like, "Haven't you guys seen the Nike and Reebok pictures? Those girls are covered in vasoline! The least I can do is put some lotion on!"

So as I expected, it was a lot of fun. We were all laughing and goofing off. I did leave sore believe it or not. God knows how many squats and leg lifts I did. Not to mention the plank position they made me hold FOREVER!! Fun, photos, and a workout!! You just can't beat it :)

Until next time...

K :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Work, Work, Work...!!

That has been the word of today... WORK!! I even had Adam take Cooper and Gracie to school this morning so that I could get a better start on things. Well, to be honest, I was supposed to get up and go to swim practice this morning. My alarm went off at 5am, and after working late last night, I made that sleepy decision to fit my swim in sometime during the day. Mistake of course. I finished up the 3 outlines I was supposed to do last night this morning, before heading out to drive all the way to Lawrenceville to meet with my brothers/bosses :)

I swear, every time I go to the restaurant, it sucks me in, and I end up being there so much longer than I had planned. But, we got a lot accomplished, I got my paychecks (the true agenda of the trip), and had to call Adam to the rescue once again to run pick the children up from school since I wouldn't make it to school in time. He was a trooper of course thank goodness :)

Heading to swim on my own at Woodstock Aquatic Center, I realized I hadn't eaten lunch, had a huge headache, and had still MUCH MORE work to do. As I mentioned in my last post, December is my busy month!! So, I did the responsible thing and copped a squat at one of my favorite local coffee joints, Woodstock Coffeehouse to enjoy the good company from my friend Ryan and the free WIFI!!

I'm still here as I write this blog a good 4 hours later!!

Since graduating from Auburn almost 10 years ago (OH MY GOD!), my career has taken me down many paths :) I've been an Elementary School teacher, tutor, nutrition counselor, stay-at-home mom, coffee barista, group fitness instructor, and Special Events Coordinator. I told Adam that I'm only a few steps away from turning tricks if this path continues (ha..ha!!)

So as I think a lot of people my age faces that inevitable question...What do I want to do when I grow up?? We make an incredibly monumental decision at an influential age of 18 that will take us on a path for the next 50+ years. A lot of us later in life may question if we did what we really want to do. I've spent the past SEVERAL months pondering this question since Cooper and Gracie will be in school full-time next year, and I've always had some sort of income even when I stayed at home.

My conclusion... (at least for now :) ) work is work. As Adam says, "that's why they pay you!" Because no matter what we do, if they didn't pay us, none of us would show up. I guess we all have this idealistic perspective that if you find something you love to do, then it doesn't feel like work. But, I think no matter what you do, there is always going to be those little annoying things that irritate and bother us. So.. I don't know what it is exactly that I'll be doing in 6-12 months from now honestly. Maybe I'll be teaching again, still coordinating special events, or turning pro-triathlete (ha..ha!!) Either way, I'll just find the enjoyable things about what I do, and get through the day so that I can get back to the things I really love... my family, friends, and sport of triathlon.

Until next time... Happy Working Days to you all!

K :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Solutions, Solutions!

So, I've always considered myself a solutions oriented person. I HATE to dwell on problems and tend to jump right into how we can fix it. That is not always a good thing :) Sometimes, I get so eager to try to fix "the problem" that I don't really take the time to figure out what that problem is exactly :) Adam says that makes me more action-oriented since my "solutions" don't always tend to be just that.

Well today I started back with my physical therapy. I am SOOO lucky enough to have been selected to be apart of the PT Solutions Endurance Team! Therefore, Ty over in the Acworth office helps me out with all of my weak parts on a regular basis. I had not been since right before Ironman, and today I began my strengthening phase. It is an interesting fact that a person can cycle, run, and swim 20 some odd hours a week yet still have weak glutes, a weak lower back, and weak hamstrings. All muscles that are truly required for optimum power during the bike and run portions of triathlon. Therefore, Ty makes me go through a series of horrible stability ball leg lifts, cup drills, and "crab claws". All VERY fun stuff, yeah.. right!! At least they're nice enough to massage and make it all better when we're done :)

However, the important thing is that Ty is 100% right in helping to establish strength and muscle stability for me to get closer to achieve my triathlon goals, and I am VERY grateful. So, definitely check out my PT Solutions website link if you live in the area and ever have a need for Physical Therapy.

My other solution for today was to FINALLY go see my family Dr. to get rid of this illness that has been living in my head and lungs for the past week and a half! Good thing I went as it turns out I have bronchitis, which would have turned into pneumonia had it been left untreated. So, I left the Dr's office with a burning shot in my hip, 3 hefty prescriptions, and my 2 raging children who for some reason have an EXTREMELY hard time controlling themselves in situations where it isn't appropriate to run around screaming and acting like hoodlums!

The rest of my day continued to be extremely busy as I had to take my hyped up children to yet another place they can't control themselves very well... the grocery store! Luckily, M & M'S and Marshmallows played an active role in the control process! I picked up groceries and my prescriptions, headed home to bake homemade cookies for National Cookie Day tomorrow (no I'm not making that up. I was asked by their school.), helped Cooper do his homework, put my now worn-down kiddos to bed, and proceeded to work all night long. Unfortunately, or by some possibly viewed as a fortunate thing, my off-season in triathlon is my "GO Season" at work. I am busy helping about 20+ people plan their Christmas parties with us at the restaurant, and no matter how caught up I feel, I just get that much further behind every night it seems!!

But now that I'm getting stronger, my immune system is finally going to heal, and these parties should be planned by the end of the week, it seems that all of my "Solutions" will pay off!!

Until next time...

K :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

U.S. Short Course Nationals!

No, I did not participate in this event :) I could only wish! However, I did volunteer, and it was SOOOO super cool! It was so neat to sit back on the sidelines and watch some of the best swimmers in the world. Literally, Michael Phelps competed and several "kids" competed for Olympic Time Trial Slots. I say kids because now that I'm pushing 30, that is what I must refer to anyone under the age of 25, and the average age of athlete there this weekend was probably 18 or 19 years old.

Being that swimming is a sport completely new to me, I can't even begin to explain what all I learned today just by sitting there and watching on the deck. The only swimming I ever did growing up was the kind where my cousins and I would play Marco Polo and try to complete full flips off of the diving board. So when I started training for my first triathlon about a year and a half ago, I completely took the swimming portion for granted!

I thought, "I've been swimming for years. I won't be the fastest swimmer out there, but no need in really worrying about that part too much." I did some workouts in a local pool by myself. Made sure I could swim the swim distance for the race I was doing and thought no problem! Well, you can probably imagine some of the thoughts going through my head when the gun goes off for my very first triathlon and I'm wading in the water of a lake with 40+ other girls!!

The swim distance was approximately 700 yds and VERY shortly into it I thought, "Oh my god!! I have no clue what I'm doing out here!" Fortunately, I did make it through in a half-way decent time. However, it was sheer will that got me through that swim vs. any sort of skill :) A short 3 weeks later, I once again throw myself to the sharks by competing in an Olympic Distance Race with zero swim training as well as no other formal training either. I knew going into that I would just need to power through the swim portion and hopefully gather enough strength inside of me to make it through the bike and run.

Well I did finish Tugaloo in 2006 for my second triathlon ever. However, I've never suffered before like I did during that race. I forgot to read the fine print when signing up for that race that you're supposed to be an-aerobic for 2:30 hours +. It's funny how when you finish something like that and experience pain that you never knew existed how you can suddenly be so addicted to the sport! :) That day I made arrangements for my first private swim lesson!

Fast forward a year and a half, 3 months worth of private swim lessons in which I realized just how much I did NOT know how to swim, 10 months of Masters Swimming with Tim Storsteen and the Whales, and 11 months with Coach Carole, I still would never even come close to being as good of a swimmer as those teenager's I saw today. And yet who would of thought a 30 year old (well, I'm still holding onto 29 :) ) could learn so much from such young people!

I stood today between the warm-up/cool down pool and the competition pool and took in everything I could. I watched to see if they had "high elbows" on their down stroke. I watched their recovery strokes to see how relaxed their shoulders were and where they entered the water. I looked closely to see whether they kept their hands relaxed and even their flip-turn technique. I also stood there listening intently to the conversations they had with their team mates and coaches, and felt completely proud to be part of something in which everyone around was so supportive and encouraging.

It reminded me of the spirit of triathlon of course and connected me that much more to the swimming aspect of my sport. The most profound thing I experienced for the day was watching a young 18 year old girl qualify for the Olympic Time Trial in her 200m breaststroke race and listening to her coach explain to her that the reason why she made it today was because, "She raced her own race. She didn't worry about her position with the others and what was going on in the pool. She focused only on her swim, and got her job done for the day." If only we could all do that each day in our own lives. Wouldn't we all be that much more happier and productive no matter what we're doing? I'm going to try to make it my new motto!!

Until Later...Let's all go out and race our own race!!