Sunday, April 3, 2011

Knoxville Marathon 5k

My second official race of the year turned out MUCH better than the first.  At least with regard to weather and being with people I know and love.  Brian and I signed up for the 5k associated with the Knoxville Marathon at least three months ago.  I know this because I made us separate training plans based around our work schedules.  The schedules were followed loosely, but we still felt prepared going into the race.  Also,  my best friend signed up to do the race as well.  And we both had a couple of friends that would be competing that we hoped to see.

But let's back up a bit.  The night before the race, Brian and I went to the Health and Fitness expo to pick up our race packets and t-shirts.  I actually got an extra technical t-shirt because I work for Covenant health and they are a corporate sponsor for the event.  Here we are with our bibs and the 5k route map:

The expo was packed full of people and it got me all anxious.  So, what did we do?  We went to Market Square where there were MORE people out for Rhythm and Blooms.  We actually had a lovely dinner at Tomato Head, delivered my best friend, Christi's race packet to her, listened to a couple of Robinella songs and then headed home.  Oh and this happened:

Came home, put oats and apples in the crockpot, laid out our clothes, and went to sleep.

 The morning of the race, we got up at 5:15. Our race didn't start until 7:45, but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to be ready, eat breakfast, and get there before parking got bad. Check, check, and check - everything went as scheduled. Not so with poor Christi, she woke up sick, tried to make it, but, wisely, turned back home.

Pre-race pics:

Starting line was at the Sunsphere.
Fun fact: we got engaged very near this landmark.

red nose - it was COLD!

We watched the marathon and half-marathon runners start.  Then it was our turn.  We squeezed hands, wished each other a good race and were off.  This course was far hillier than the New Year's day 5k.  It is Knoxville afterall.  I shudder to think of what the half and full marathoners had to survive.  I am proud to say that I didn't stop to walk once.  Not even on the hill right after the turn around that I thought might kill me. 

While I was on that hill, I saw Brian and gave him a wave.  Then I saw another girl just ahead of me wave at him too.  It was our friend, Jennifer Pence!  We stayed near each other in pace for the rest of the time. 

Before I knew it, we were trucking down Cumberland and then making the turn toward Neyland Stadium.  The finish line was on the 50 yard line - super awesome.  We were trotting up a little hill and there was the 26 mile marker for the marathoners (.2 to go).  Then there was the 3 mile marker (.1 to go!)  I kicked it into high gear and really busted it to the finish line, looking up just in time to catch myself on the Jumbotron - amazing!

Here are a couple of "just finished!" pics:

Jen and me :)

Our friend, Chris Ladd, who came out just to cheer us on, was in the bleachers.  He's so cool to come support us.  Too bad neither of us heard his cheers because we had earphones in :(

Brian, Chris, and Sparticus (aka the best dog ever)
This was a fantastic race.  I felt strong, confident, and full of energy.  I might even venture to say that I could've kept going.  I don't have official stats yet, but I will update when they come in:

Clock time:  37:16 (nearly 3 minutes faster than New Year's day! woot!)
Chip time: 36:19.9
Average pace: 11:43
Place: 727/1441

Abram's Falls

As I've probably mentioned before, we are lucky to live near mountains and have access to many hiking trails. The biggest park in the area is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It attracts a lot of tourism in the summer and fall. GSMNP really is beautiful. One of the most popular trails is Abram's Falls. It's a manageable hike for most activity levels, it's relatively short (5mi round trip), and you get the benefit of a beautiful waterfall. During the summer, you can't do this hike without looking at someone's rear end the whole way.

We both wanted to do Abram's falls again, so we decided to hit it up before the tourist season really picks up. It also helped that the day we went was overcast. Brian and I have done this hike together at least two times before. The last time we did it - well over a year ago - I remember both of us were struggling. I'm talking sucking wind and wondering when it was ever going to end.

Here we are at the trail head:

We took this picture when we were done with the hike. Shh.

and the obligatory self-portrait:

Brian channeling our dog, Otis:

see the resemblance?

we made it to the falls in what seemed like no time:

we ate a snack before hitting the trail back to the car:

This hike seemed so easy compared to the last time we did it. We were still breathing a little heavy on the uphills (who doesn't?), but it was so quick! This, my friends, is a benefit of regular exercise. It's also what I call a "non-scale victory" Another victory from this hike? I peed in the woods! I never do that. Was that too much info? sorry. Here's a sign that I thought was funny - I call it "tragic cyclist"

no cyclists were harmed in the taking of this photo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lieutenant Brian Rozmus

I am so late in writing this and for that I apologize. Because Brian deserves recognition here.

The Thursday after we got back from our trip to visit Claire in Virginia, Brian had to work. He called me about mid-morning, which is per our normal routine. This time though, he had news - sort of. "Nathan wants to see me in his office" he said.

Nathan is the director of the ambulance service Brian works for. Brian went on to say that this meeting was apparently important enough to take their truck out of service so that Brian could be there. It was 10am. The meeting was set for 11:30. We talked a bit about what it might be. Normally, if something is out of line, Brian's direct supervisor would talk to him about it. We hoped it was something great. Brian said, "I'm either in big trouble or I'm getting a promotion." We got of the phone. I prayed and waited.

If you read the title of this blog, you know that it was great news! Nathan had asked Brian to accept the position of Assistant Supervisor, which would make him a Lieutenant. BUT, the change wouldn't be official until the following Monday. So we had to keep our excitement a secret :(

Monday came, and Brian went to his first officers meeting, where he was officially announced as the newest lieutenant. They gave him this great framed letter:

and new officer bars for his uniform (note: officer bars is not a technical term.  I'll have to ask what they are actually called):

and, of course, his white shirt:

I'm so very proud of Brian.  He loves his job and has been working very hard.  And since he's been in the position for a few weeks now, I'm also very proud of how he's transitioning.  He's in a new, busier station.  He has a new partner and lots of new responsibilities.  Brian is seeking to grow and be an intentional leader.  Praise God for this honor and new challenge.  These guys are excited and proud too:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Good Morning Date

Still being dinks (dual income no kids - just learned this term, so i'm using it :) and dinks with weird work schedules at that, Brian and I have the flexibility to do "date night" whenever we choose. Okay, not during the aforementioned weird work hours, but you get my point. Last week, Brian suggested we do something on Tuesday morning and it was great! Here's what went down:

After getting up (crucial first step) and having a yummy breakfast of eggs over medium (seriously one the the reasons I love Brian is his ability to make eggs over medium - they are so delicious, but intimidating to make) and english muffins, we packed up and headed to Starbucks for a little QT. It's no secret that giving me coffee is my love language - coffee is the fuel in my love tank.

We set up our computers and both spent some time with God. I'm studying Isaiah through Bible Study Fellowship and Brian is reading through the gospels - he's on Luke, I think. Then Brian worked on a blogpost for his blog and I surfed. Brian looks studious:

After some time at the 'Bucks, we moved on to our second location, the Bearden Greenway. This is one of my favorite locations to walk. It's beautiful and it connects to other greenways, so I can walk as long as I want. Our goal on Tuesday was to do just over 5 miles. There's a park at the 2.7 mile marker which makes for a convenient turn around point. What we didn't factor in was the crazy torrential, flooding, Noah-in-the-arc type rain we'd had the night before. Even though the greenway is paved our walking conditions looked like this:

And our plans to walk to Tyson park were impeded by a washed out bridge:

We turned back towards the car making a slight detour up a hill:

and saw my favorite sign of spring:

not a good picture, i know. They were still droopy from the rain
and we've already talked about my lack of photography skills.

Before our date was over, we went to Earthfare for lunch. I ate an ENORMOUS salad and Brian had a sandwich that was all kinds of delicious. Here's a gratuitous pic of me on the trail:

I feel super confident in workout clothes and
totally rocked these tights at Starbucks and Earthfare.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mini-trip day 2

Day two of our Virginia adventure started in our hotel.  We had breakfast and since Claire didn't get out of class until noon, decided to hit up the gym.  At this hotel, it consisted of a small room with two treadmills, a bike, and an elliptical - functional.  Here we are pre-workout:

sleepy faces.
 At 12, we picked Claire up, grabbed some lunch at Sheetz (yay for gas station food!), and headed toward Bedford to hike at Peaks of Otter.  Peaks of Otter is a hike I did several times when I was in college.  It is so beautiful at the top, I really wanted to do it again.  I guess I had never done it this early in the year because I don't ever remember it being this cold.  There was frost on all the trees, which was really beautiful.  My camera phone + no photography skills did not capture it well.
frost up close.

Me and Brian under a frosty evergreen.
 In order to convince Brian to do this hike, I may have used words like "challenging" and also focused on it's shorter length ("It's only a mile and a half one way").  Maybe I should have said that it's hard and steep and there are a lot of stone steps, because this is what he looked like on the hike:

grumpy Brian.
Okay, he wasn't that bad.  Do you notice the water droplets in his beard?  The mountain was misty/foggy and Brian was warm, so condensation was forming in his beard - crazy.

The hike is definitely challenging and we stopped to take rests:

But the view at the top is totally worth it!  

See the frost on all the trees?

We all felt better about the hike once we got to the top and saw the amazing views.

triple self-portrait :)
 After making our way (much more quickly) down the mountain, we tried our best to get the mud off our shoes before collapsing in the car and heading back to Blacksburg.  We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset on our trip back:
silly truck blocking my view.

We grabbed a quick dinner, said our goodbyes to Claire and hit the road back to Tennessee.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Rather than just go insane waiting for our final approval to be foster parents, Brian and I decided to enjoy this time and do some things that would be more difficult with a child.  On the agenda for February were two trips: one to Gatlinburg for a work conference and another to Virgina to see Brian's sister, Claire. 

I somehow didn't ever think to take pictures while we were in Gatlinburg.  All I ended up with was this:
The pool at the Park Vista - we didn't swim in it.
 That was last week.  Brian seemed to really enjoy the conference and I enjoyed the lovely accomodations.

This week, we planned to leave for Virgina as soon as Brian got home from work on Tuesday.  A hazard of being a paramedic is that you can sometimes be up all night - and Brian was.  So, we shifted a little and decided that I would drive.  I've done the drive to Blacksburg (and beyond) many times, so it was no big deal.  I put on some jams and serenaded Brian right to sleep.  Here's what our drive looked like:

sleeping Brian.

singing Teagie.

beautiful clouds and sun!
 We met Claire at Macado's, which is a very Blacksburg restaurant.  These days, there's one in Lynchburg, where I went to school, but Macado's is definitely more something I remember from my Virginia Tech friends (hi Evan, Marta, and Julie!)  After filling our bellies, Claire showed us around campus a bit.  We took a short walk at the duck pond:
In the gazebo.

In what Claire called the "best tree ever"
After that we had some more quality time with Claire.  She told us many stories of college shenanigans.  Oh and we had a close call with a tow truck - thank you college town.  Finally, we decided it was bedtime and went to our hotel to rest up for hiking on Wednesday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For my Valentine

I've been planning an "I love Brian" post since his birthday last month, or for our anniversary (also last month). Of course, I'm a bad blogger, so I've let it go until Valentine's Day.

Dear Brian,

You know this already, but I cry when I hear "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry because it makes me think of you. It's about the cheesiest song in the world and certainly all the lyrics don't fit, but the beginning does:

You think I'm pretty

Without any make-up on

You think I'm funny

When I tell the puch line wrong

I know you get me

So I'll let my walls come down, down

When I was a teenager, and then adult, I spent a lot of time thinking about what would make me acceptable or worthy of love from guys. I made a lot of stupid mistakes (and was protected from a lot more). You were not the fix of that for me, praise God. Actually, God was gracious enough to let me work through some confidence/guy issues before I met you. About the time I had really begun to understand God's love for me and rest in that and be confident with others, you came along.

(As an aside to whoever's reading this: It drives me crazy when people say "it always happens when you least expect it." or "just relax! Stop looking and love will find you." I was definitely looking and dating when I met Brian.)

From the moment I met you, you made me feel desired, valued, pursued. I was so cocky after seeing you at church on Easter 2007. I knew you were hooked...I was too.

Brian visiting me in Atlanta (4/2007)

The weekend of my PSI graduation

Brian, it kind of blows my mind how great we are together. It sometimes drives me absolutely mad, but God so knew what He was doing! You're decisive when I like to keep gathering information. You're relaxed when I'm wound too tight. You coast, I plan. I worry, you reassure. I'm so glad you don't mind helping with the house - and that you don't mind the house being messy or the laundry staying un-done.

Lake house fun before the "real' lake house was built

At a wedding shower.

You're a hard-worker and a great provider. You are incredibly intelligent. And, I have to let the secret out, you are so compassionate and have such a beautiful heart. You're a great cook (which I thought would make me insecure, but it's turned out to be a relief). You hike with me. You love my friends and family.
hiking in Norris (i think)

I never, never, never in a million years thought someone else in the world (besides my family) would not just put up with but play along with my goofy, quirky, silly sense of humor. But here you are! Not only playing along, but adding in your own goofy, quirky, silliness. What a gift!

It seems like this month, as we anticipate God bringing a new little one into our lives, we are wrapping up the "just us" portion of our marriage.  I can't wait to see you as a dad - I'm excited about how great you're going to be. 

And since we are the king and queen of the self-portrait (maybe one day I'll figure out the timer on my camera), I'll leave you with a few more from our journey so far:

Now every February

You'll be my valentine, valentine

I love you, Brian Rozmus.  Don't forget it.