Silver & gold

Remember that little rhyme/song we learned when we were little? “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Well, maybe you didn’t learn it, but I did.

I kinda feel this way about running partners. I have to say I miss Gabi so so so soooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuuch. Like, A LOT. She and I experienced so many things together and have so many memories. I have snapshots in my mind of some of our greatest moments and runs together, AND we ran our first marathon together. Those are experiences you just can’t take away… someday we’ll run the Prague International Marathon. 😉

Running partners are important, as I realized shortly after moving across the country. Somewhere in the hills of Missouri, or the cow patties of Oklahoma, I lost my running-ness (not a word? HA! Now it is!). It was rough.

However, now Jess and I have been running together and it’s been a great experience! We met in person when I first got here in July (we messaged over Facebook before that). Little did I know that several months later we’d running our tails off under the Hell El Paso sky! She’s been running for a little bit, and our distances aren’t too crazy (I tell ya.. they alllll say they’re not gonna run “that far”… I bet you $10 they’re wrong). Most of the time we run a few miles a few times a week. We’ve found a lovely place on post called the parade field. It’s a field, with GRASS. And a spectacular view of the mountains.

(she took this pic; hope she doesn’t mind!)

This was taken on probably one of the last few cool-ish days before, oh, November. 😉

We’ve done tempo runs, intervals, and today we did 60-120s. Wheewww-eeeee! That was a trip. I am proud of say, though, that none of our 60-second sprints were slower than an 8:00 min pace. It was a fabulous workout.

We’re signed up for the Fourth of July 5K, which starts promptly at 7:04 am. Haha. I’m of course wanting to PR (my PR from last May is 27:56) so I’m super glad we’re doing these crazy interval runs in the 90* heat. Jess I know will do well!

I love sharing the pain joy of running with people, especially friends.

April 20

This week has flown! I’m thankful because that means only two more weeks until Aaron comes home. I fell into my “single” married woman routine pretty fast.

I’ve worked out a total of four days so far this week, which is three or four days more than I have been, and I’ve been more mindful of the food I put in my body. So.

Monday: 30 min run/walk intervals on treadmill; 25 min bike ride

Tuesday: 20 min run/walk on the track; 50 min kettlebell class

Wednesday: rest — the kettlebell class works my legs more than anything!

Thursday: I posted the video yesterday of the pilates workout I did and a picture of the Pinterest workout. I am feeling it today!!!

Friday: 2.12 miles on the track; 30 min supine bike workout

Saturday: I either want to take Missy on a walk in the canyon, go to yoga, or both

Sunday: rest! IT’S MAH B[EARTH]DAY!!! 😉

I really enjoyed my track workout this morning. 11.3 laps equal a mile, which is a little cumbersome to do mental math with, so I kept track of laps. I walked for 2 laps, ran moderately for 2 laps, and picked up the pace for 2 laps. I won’t say I sprinted because I wasn’t going all out… I was probably running at 80-85% effort.

I have no idea what my pace was, and honestly right now I’m not concerned with that. I need to do the cardio so that when I have totally ripped abs (or not….) you can actually see them! Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates workouts are gonna be my go-to at-home workout. If you haven’t seen her workouts yet, check it out! She’s really energetic and encouraging. I love her blog, too.

WIth the warmer weather on the way, I’m considering holding off on races and lots of running training until fall rolls around. Like I posted earlier, I’ll be taking classes May through August, plus working more since the kids will be out of school.

Well, I’m so glad I already got my sweat on for the day! I’m off to get some sewing/crocheting done and then go to P.F. Chang’s for an early birthday lunch date with Jess! 🙂

Vacation :: good for the soul

I truly believe that sometimes God just wants us to rest. Church and productivity and work are all great things, but sometimes we just need a break, a Sabbath. (Can a Sabbath consist of two weeks of vacation??) We had a great visit to see friends and family in Illinois. Two weeks is the longest Aaron and I have had off work together in over two years! Well, two weeks that were just for relaxing, not moving halfway across the country.

There’s no way I can rehash everything that happened, nor do I want to! It’d take forever! We saw most of the friends and family that we wanted to see; to see everyone is just impossible unless we didn’t want any downtime for ourselves. We stayed with my in-laws, and my parents took us to and from the airport in St. Louis. We spent five days in Chicagoland with Bruce, Katie, our 4-year-old niece Lena and 4-month-old nephew Rand. They affectionately call me “Aunt LizBiz”. We were able to be there for Lena’s birthday party and Rand’s baptism.

We took them to the Brookfield Zoo!
I totally made his hat! Cuteness. 100%.

I got a few runs, which were lovely in the crisp winter-ish air. The Midwest has had a very mild winter. Aaron and I did about 8.5 miles the day after we got back. We realized just how small our hometown is. We wove our way through streets and parks. I love that everything there is so familiar. The Monday we got back from Elgin we ran 16 miles, which was great. We started out at about 7am, which is relatively late for me to start a long run like that. I also ran with my friend Darla and even got up at 4:30 in the morning to go to BodyCombat with her. (I did come home and go back to sleep for awhile.)

We ate. A lot. We went to all the places we wanted: Lou Malnati’s (awesome Chicago deep dish), Double A’s, Steak n Shake, Ernie’s Family Restaurant, Flat Top Grill, Our Inn Place, Avanti’s, Monicals.

In Elgin, all five cousins got their photos taken. Super cute. I love being an aunt to these kids.

I learned how to crochet. I had learned a really long time ago but it never stuck with me. My grandpa refreshed my memory and I’ve been crocheting like crazy! I also got a smartphone, finally. It all started because I accidentally (I swear!) dropped my iPod in the toilet and it was… dead. Drowned. My sister Emily and I switched phones since she didn’t want the smartphone anymore.

What else can I say besides it was a much needed R&R. We had no issues with our flights or baggage and got in Saturday evening. Yesterday we took it easy: went out for breakfast, went grocery shopping, I got a starter and seeds at Lowe’s to *hopefully* grow some herbs and veggies. I expected to feel worn out yesterday; instead I was energized! Soon I’m off to work and hoping that I can stay stress-free for awhile….

Six months in El Paso: a photoblog

I put this together on Friday, but waited until Monday to post. We’ve been in El Paso for exactly six months today. Um, wow. It doesn’t seem like that long at all! It feels like the whole cross-country-move is still “new” in my mind. Enjoy!

July

our house!

August

Had an interview and got hired at my current job on the 2nd. I can’t believe I’ve been there for five months now! August was hot. Annnnd that’s about all I remember.

September

Near Cloudcroft, NM (~9000 ft)
Natural entrance to the Caverns

October

La Union, NM
Look! It's corn! In the Southwest!
View from a hike in McKelligon Canyon
Found a cafe/gift shop called Coffee Emporium on the west side

November

Aaron manning the Libya booth at Taste of the Nations at HCC
Taste of the Nations
A Thanksgiving dinner for two
The trees do change here!

December

Before our first race together! Holiday 8K
Our Christmas tree! (Yes, it's real!)
SNOOOOWWWWWWW
Christmas cookies!
Went to the Sun Bowl on NYE and got sunburns (UTEP campus)
We stick with what's important in life: coffee. At Kinley's House of Coffee & Tea

A handmade Christmas

I’ve been waiting to post this! I made the bulk of my Christmas gifts this year and could hardly wait to share what I created! As you know, I love to sew. Sewing was one of my first loves, after Jesus, piano, and Spanish. I learned how to sew a button on as soon as my little fingers could handle it. Knitting came much, much later… years later in fact. One summer I stayed with my grandparents for a week while Aaron was in Arizona and decided that I would ask my grandpa to teach me how to knit. How I wish I had a picture of us! We sat out on the patio in the bench swing, my hands fumbling the whole time. However, after my best friend Amelia showed me a different method, I finally understood and off I went!

So, with tutorials, YouTube handy for knitting help, and lots of time snuggled on the couch with the husband, I endeavored to make people pretty things. (Well, I tried to snuggle. It’s kind of hard with two needles in your hands. ;))

Here are some new things I tried (disclaimer: I apologize for my awful awful photography skills):

Lace.

It looks really complicated, but mostly it’s just knitting, yarn overs, and passing the slipped stitch over. I made this scarf for my mom for her birthday, which was in October. I got really frustrated at first, trying to keep the same number of stitches as I went through, but after a few rows I had it down. My blocking can definitely use some practice, though!

Scarf for my mommy

This following picture is of a hat I made for Gabi. I had to try it on! 😉 It’s technically a lacey pattern; it’s just hard to see it from so far away. I LOVE the color. It’s the Caron Simply Soft yarn. It’s inexpensive and soft.

Hat for Gabi

Cables.

Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot believe how much I love cabling. It’s easy too! I made this chunky scarf for a friend, and the hat for my Hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin’-love. He picked out the yarn himself.

Scarf for Becca
Hat for the hubby

Tutorials.

Friends, these are so easy and FUN. I found a lot of them on Pinterest. It really helps the visual/tactile learner like me who unless someone is literally holding my hands, showing me how, I just can’t.

Little purse for my niece
Purse! I made one for each Rhianna and Zaia

I designed my own knitting tote-ish carrying thing for my Amelia. Yes. My Amelia. And all from a picture on Etsy!

Just big enough for one knitting project!
Made with vintage fabric and thread

This is a purse with Asian-inspired fabrics for my sister Emily. I used an actual pattern for this. There was this one time, well, when I bought like 10-15 patterns because they were all on sale for $1!

cute!!!
Love!!

For my new nephew I made a  little knit hat with mitts in Bears colors. I should have knit on some little ears to make it look like a bear! This boy is gonna have SO many knit things… I really want to make him one of those hats with “beards”.

For his older sister, Lena, I made her a “Mommy and Me” journal where she and my sister-in-law Katie can write and draw pictures back and forth. I also bought some cool pencils and included stickers!

I don’t have a picture of it but I made my other sister Leah a three-piece centerpiece for her dining room table. It was just three glass jars with old books pages and fabric Modpodged. I also made a matching table runner. She loves it. 🙂

So there you have it. I was a busy bee all of 2011. My knitting has really come a long way, and I’m currently in the process of a late Christmas gift for my friend Megan and Rand’s baptism present. They’re both turning out very nicely! While handmade gifts are usually inexpensive, I think they mean a whole lot more than something I could buy. And while I could sell some of the things I make, I get so much more joy out of giving it to someone.

You know you’ve made some cool stuff when you’re tempted to keep it all! 😉

Bataan Training: Week 3 :: Running is spiritual

Thanksgiving was this week, if you can remember through your turkey and pumpkin pie comas. A total of 13 miles were run, which is definitely not spectacular; HOWEVER, I personally had two amazing runs, and that in my book beats running a couple more mediocre runs.

Wednesday I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at Soto Gym on  post. It was a progression run, which means that I got progressively faster as the run went on. I started out at an 11:00 pace and finished at a 9:13 pace with a final time of around 53:00. I. Felt. AWESOME. Like I conquered the world. If 5 miles is all it takes….

We were supposed to get up early-ish yesterday and run an 8-mile loop around the neighborhood. Well, in all laziness, we decided that we’d run today after church. Harvest Christian Center is on the west side, and is located among a few long roads with either sidewalks, a paved trail or a nice wide shoulder that connects with Transmountain Road.

These photos do not even do it justice. At the bottom of the mountain you’re at about 4,000 ft, and climb to 5,280 at the top of the road. There are still 2,000-3,000 feet to go as the peak is about 8,000 I believe. Anyway, since I forgot to take my camera today, this will have to suffice.

Our climb was about 554 feet over four miles. It was a nice, slow, gradual incline. On the way up, we had views of the bluest sky I’ve ever seen (maybe it just looks so blue because of all the desert deadness flora and fauna). We could also see Transmountain Road stretching out before us, cars speeding past at 60+ mph. We had a wide bike lane, though, so I felt pretty safe. I also ran on the rocky shoulder of the bike lane since Bataan will be rocky in some places.

I never liked hill training before we got here. Now, I don’t have a choice. I wish I could describe to you the exhilaration of coming down the mountain. Sure, you’ve sped down a hill on your bicycle, or ridden a roller coaster. But until you’ve propelled your own body with your own feet and your own strength, there’s no comparison (though I’ve been told skydiving is quite a rush…..) Now imagine that with uninterrupted views of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico and you’ve got it made. Ahhh. It was perfect.

At mile 7, I fell. On concrete. I must have tripped over a crack or something… but it hurt. I almost started crying. It’s been quite awhile since I skinned my knee. Aaron was already a little ahead of me since I gave him the OK to kill the last mile. He stopped, came back to help me up and I told him to GO! So he did, and I finished out my last mile really strong.

It was an amazing run.

I was thinking about this blog pretty much the whole time I was running. Running is spiritual. I don’t mean in some weird new-agey way… though it may sound that way to some.

When I run, long distances especially, I am completely aware of all my physical failings. My chest hurts, my lungs burn, and my legs feel stiff. Going up inclines only exacerbates these symptoms. But I also am paradoxically aware of how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. I know that we are made, by an all-loving Creator. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve been on the other side, weighing  evolution and its plausibility. I never used to think science and the Bible could go together, much less complement one another so perfectly.

Something that stuck with me from a podcast is that the world is always going from order to chaos, not the other way around. Even in science, order does not come from chaos. If you let your yard grow and grow, it becomes chaotic with weeds and unruly grass. If you let yourself eat whatever you want and never exercise, your body inside and out becomes chaotic. If you don’t manage a relationship, it gets chaotic and can possibly end. How does it make sense that order, meaning humans, plant life, animals, the food chain, the water cycle, everything could come from complete chaos?? It totally defies laws and theories of science, not to mention the principles of the Bible.

It’s totally amazing to me that our bodies even have the capacity to run long distances… the stress we can put on our bodies is amazing, and yet all our systems work together to sustain us. I’m no science expert, but I know that the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular and many other systems have to work properly and in some sort of order to sustain movement and stress for that long. It’s incomprehensible to me every time I complete a long run. I guess that’s one reason I absolutely love long distances.

The other thing that makes running spiritual to me is the community of people it involves. People from all walks of life, races, backgrounds and ability levels can come together for one sole purpose (no pun intended). We wave at each other while running opposite directions, but it’s much more than a wave. It’s a mutual understanding of the time, preparation and physical sacrifice one makes.

I haven’t been posting things I’m thankful for every day in November, but I have a couple for you for today.

  • I’m thankful for my healthy body. This morning during service I was feeling my heart rate go all over the place and was a little worried about my run. But as the morning went on, I felt better and felt my best while running those eight miles!
  • I’m thankful for all of my running partners, ones I’ve met (Gabi, Regina, Karen) and ones I haven’t (Darcy in Germany and Natalie in Washington State). I have been so blessed to get to know these amazing ladies, and also blessed that they too love the Lord. It’s so amazing to share these parts of our lives. I hope to meet Darcy and Natalie and run with them someday, though they’d both probably leave me in the dust. 😉

I have so much more that I could write about concerning running and the Bataan Memorial Death March… but I’m going to carb up with turkey and noodle soup and ice cream. 🙂

Becoming bilingual

Since coming to El Paso, I’ve had many good experiences with speaking Spanish, contrary to my expectations. So far at work I’ve had two conferences with parents who don’t know English very well, and I’ve taken some inquiries, too. One time last week, someone called while my boss and one of our assistants was in the room. The person on the other line said “Buenos días” and I started talking to them. The assistant left the room with her mouth hanging open… she thought I would need her help translating. I asked her later how I did.. she said I spoke slowly but very well and that I was easy to understand. I was elated.

In our care group (small group) we have a family from Juárez who moved to El Paso about ten years ago. I’ve been able to talk with them weekly and it’s been great for both of us; they’re trying to learn English, which is why they started coming to our church.

I’ve learned two new words that are used quite often…

-Huera or huero means “blonde”.. I’ve been called this affectionately by friends here.

Mande is a phrase used when politely asking someone to repeat themselves or when asking them to tell you something.

I love the mix of cultures here… it’s much more seamless than I thought it would be. Oftentimes people go between Spanish and English without even realizing it.

I think I’ve (finally) realized what I want to do when I go back to school, if I go back… I want to get my bilingual certification. The psychology of second language acquisition eludes and fascinates me.

I apologize for not having posted in awhile.. our life is busy but still wonderful! We really like it here.. much more than I thought we would!