Monday, December 29, 2008

Chattanooa Cont.

The end of my trip to Chattanooga was just as awesome as the beginning.
Like I mentioned before, I made Christmas dinner. Come to find was pretty good. :) Andy and Kevin went climbing Christmas day at LRC and I stayed home to cook. I was a little bummed I couldn't go play, but I was very happy with how the dinner came out and how the house looked for company Christmas night. The pies were great. I think the Italian beef came out pretty good too. I think it was my favorite Christmas ever so far. Not that my childhood Christmas wasn't fun, but cooking Christmas dinner for my husband in shorts and sandals with ALL the windows open while he was rock climbing, was exactly what I would describe as my ultimate holiday. Plus, because of having 2 homes to take care of, we did not exchange gifts. I thought I would really miss a major component of the holiday, but I actually enjoyed the holiday more because of it. I didn't have any pressure to buy that super special gift. Our gift to each other was being under the same roof for more than 3 days. Ahhh. That was really nice.
The day after Christmas I went to yoga at the new yoga studio in the same shopping complex Andy's new Trek store is located in (The North Shore). It is called North Shore Yoga.

It was the BEST yoga class I have ever been to. The name of the class was "Flow Yoga." Very similar to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Although, there were more breaks in this flow class between postures than in other ashtanga classes I have taken. The room was heated to about 85*-90* It was awesome! I had a great experience. So good in fact, I went back the next day and took their "Hot Yoga" class. Very similar to Bikram Yoga, but for some copy right reason or something they can't call it Bikram. The room was heated to 110*!!! Classes are guided by specific dialogue including 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The class lasted for approximately 90-minutes. Consequently, I was super duper sweaty. It was really cool. The instructor was good. A little on the militant side, but I think that is they type of yoga that was presented. I was a little intimated before class and my worries were not put to rest until about 1/2 way into the class. The breathing is different and since the room is so much hotter, there are precautions that need to be taken. For instance, they told me to drink plenty of water before and during class, not to eat for 1-2 hours before, and if I feel light headed to sit down. I thought...I did an Ironman. I can handle 2 yoga classes one day after another, even if one of them is going to be really really hot, right? Right? It went well. Whew. I am not a yoga wussy.
After yoga on Friday, Andy and I went to the aquarium and walked around downtown Chattanooga. It was great. The left side of the building (east) is the ocean and the right side (west) is the river. We hit the river side first.

Here I am in a shark tank. Oooooo. A tri-shark in a shark tank...the irony.
Friday night, Andy took me out on a date for Mexican food.

Saturday morning I did the hot yoga and Saturday afternoon I gave Andy his 2nd Christmas "present." (The first was dinner). I took ALL of his laundry (sleeping bags, dog blankets, sheets, towels, and regular laundry) to the laundromat. It has been a long time since I did laundry at a coin laundry facility. If you know me, there has to be an adventure here, right? You will not be disappointed. I get there with my GIANT tub of laundry and attempt to survey the scene. I pick 3 washers that are quad loads (holds up to 40 lbs.) I probably didn't need such big washers, but I was doing 3 sleeping bags, 4 blankets, 3 sets of sheets, and Andy's regular laundry. Anywhoisit... the washing went fine. Onto the drying. I think I kept putting too much into the wrong dryers because the Asian lady that owned the place kept coming over and yelling at me to switch dryers. After ~2 hours, I was done. Pleased with myself and ready to head home, I packed up my clean laundry and headed home. Come to find out none of the towels I dried were completely dry. Ugh.
Saturday night we went out with Kevin, Tyler, and Lacy. We first went to this billiards place on the South side of downtown. It was pretty cool. The next place we went to was Rhythm and Brews back in the heart of downtown. Great venue. We saw 2 live bands. They had Pabst Blue Ribbon in cans! Come to find out...once you have a couple of decent beers, good ol'PBR doesn't taste too bad.
The one thing I forgot, Tennessee is NOT smoke free! Damn. My clothes by the end of the night needed to be incinerated. I HATE smoke on my clothes. Guess when I move down there, my work with the Heart/Lung Association in Bloomington will continue. Watch out Chatta-vegas, smoke free bars are coming!

The drive back to Bloomington was not as bad as the drive down to Chattanooga. The weather was good and the traffic was very light. My heart on the other hand, was very heavy. I really did not want to leave Chattanooga. I miss being with Andy every day and seeing him every day. I miss our dogs being together. I can't wait to sell the house in Bloominton and make our lives so much more simpler/happier by living in the same time zone. So keep your fingers crossed and your ears open for anyone that would like to buy a 1920's 2 BR/1BA super duper cute house on Washington St. in Bloomington, IL. Here is a link to the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) web-site...

Take care,

I will leave you with the most hilarious picture of the week...Atreyu wanted to get up on my lap while I sat in a camping chair. He missed me! Can you blame him?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fun times in Chattanooga!

Today is 12/23...Tuesday Star date 129645Venus9-er. Yes, I am a dork.

After a wonderful visit up at my parent's house in A-town this past weekend, I jumped on the road back to Blormal. I repacked the car and then headed down to Chattanooga. When I left my parent's house my car thermometer read -6 (wind was ~ 30 mph)...wind chill was about -25! Holy freezing temperatures Batman! That is DAMN cold. With the high winds coming out of the west, it made for a very difficult and frustrating drive back to Blormal. The heat in the car was working overtime to keep Payton and I warm. On top of all that, I forgot my phone charger! Dang it. After refueling and getting something to eat in Bloom Bloom, Payton and I got the car adapter/inverter/converter thingy for my phone and headed south once again. Things were running smooth until just past Effingham. The adapter/inverter/converter thingy for my phone charger stopped working! Consequently, I didn't have a phone for the duration of my journey. No phone, high wind, and bad radio for the remaining 6 hours! I will leave out all the cursing, yelling, and frustration. All I will say, is I was very happy to be in Chattanooga with Andy... after 12.5 hours on the road :)

Andy made me an awesome dinner, which I was unable to eat due to all the gas station junk food and queasy stomach. I got a shower and we talked and relaxed. Ahhhh it is feeling more and more like home =) The Christmas lights were even up:

I thought the Christmas lights looked AWESOME!

Monday morning Andy went to work and I got to play. It felt so strange to be the one staying home while he went to work. I went rock climbing at Little Rock City (LRC) in Soddy Daisy, TN. Literally 5 minutes from our house! I went with our friend Kevin Todd. Kevin just moved to Chattanooga too! We are going to have a great crew down here. On our first boulder problem, I totally ripped a corner of my middle finger on my right hand off. Nice size chunk, but nothing to keep me from climbing more -- or typing ;-) I tried to take a picture, but our stupid camera was not cooperating. I will tell you, it is a nice war wound ;-) After I got the bleeding to stop, we went and did a couple more problems. Since I am not really solid at climbing right now, I didn't do too much "exciting" stuff. I still loved being out there. Trying to climb on real rock is amazing. I always feel like a much better climber outside than inside. Not that I am really all that much better, maybe it is all in my mind. Later that night, our friends Brad and Hailey came into town. They crashed at our place so we could all go climb on Tuesday--minus Andy...he had to work :( So Kevin, Brad, Hailey, and myself headed to this new area in Dayton. Not too many climbers have cleaned or set up boulder problems yet. We were all so super stoked to have a rock playground that didn't hold any expectations for us to live up to or fall short of. We weren't too familiar with the area and where all the "good" rock was, so we did a lot of hiking and not too much climbing. Personally, I didn't care. I was happy to be outside, not at work, and not in IL weather. My legs are sore and I am a happy climber. Ahhh the Chatt.

Tomorrow, we are going to paint the kitchen and pick up the house for Christmas. Andy is only working 10-4 and then I think I want to go to mass someplace. Andy and I are doing Italian for Christmas dinner. I am going to try my hand at homemade Italian beef. I am also going to make 2 pies, lasagna, and garlic bread. I invited Tyler and Lacey Klein (owners of the bike shop), Kevin, and Andy's cousin Jacqueline and her boyfriend Brent. Other than that, I don't know what our Christmas plans will be. Mostly hanging with our babies and enjoying the A-W-E-S-O-M-E weather. I am really trying not to rub it in, but I do NOT envy our friends and family in Illinois.

I will leave you with a new picture of our children (Atreyu, Payton, and Sebastian)...

Later taters,


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy weekend...

This past weekend was super busy for me. Very fun and fulfilling, but busy. Friday night I went over to my friends Jessica and Seth Gieson's for some cookie decorating and pre Tri-Shark formal planning.

Saturday morning it was off to the vet for Sky, my father-in-law's dog. Saturday afternoon was some final house remodeling (re-grouting the shower) and getting ready for the 3rd annual Tri-Shark formal. The formal Saturday night was a blast. I ate way too much, drank way too much, and danced way too much ;-) It was so great hanging out with all of our friends and having such a great time. While I was having such a great time, I was also really bummed Andy wasn't there to experience it with me. It is at times like that I actually feel more lonely and miss Andy more than ever. We tried to have Andy on a conference call so he could experience the awards portion of the evening, but the technology fairies were not cooperating with us. At least we tried, right? Andy won male MVP and I won "shark bait." For those of you not familiar with the Tri-Shark awards categories... MVP--well that is pretty self explanatory--Andy totally rocks. Shark bait on the other hand, is an award for a club member that did the dumbest thing during the season and lived to tell about it. Well, out of 3 nominees, I won. I guess. The dumb thing I did was not eating enough/correctly before my half ironman this summer. Then to top it off, I was late to the start of the same race and finally I got my timing chip mixed up with Andy's. Consequently, I messed up the results for M25-29 and W30-34. In one fell swoop, I did 3 dumb things in one race. Yup. That is how I roll.

On Sunday, I attempted to recover from the evening before. I nursed a wicked hangover all day. pong and flippy cup until 3 in the morning is not the best idea I have ever had. Sunday night I went over to Colleen and Scott Klein's house for the annual Ironman Hawaii party. Again, bitter sweet. I loved talking to everyone and catching up on new news in our friend's lives, but with out Andy there, it just didn't seem complete. Now I am home with a full belly and my hangover is on the way out. Payton and I are cozied up on the bed about to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. Not really looking forward to going to work tomorrow, but it is one day closer to seeing Andy, so that is good.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finished with refinishing the gosh darn floors!


I feel great! I just put the last coat of polyurethane on the living room floor (the last floor to refinish out of 4). It is truly an amazing feeling. Granted I have 3 very small projects to finish before I would like to sell the house, but nonetheless it is READY to go on the market! Whoooo Hooooo!!!!!! OMG! Praise Jesus! Alleluia! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Wednesday night my mother-in-law, Elaine, is coming over to help me stage and take pictures of the house to put up on FSBO (For Sale By Owner). I am so excited. When I have the link completed I will post it here too.

So to re-cap...last year, after Andy and I got married, we decided to get serious about this whole "moving to Chattanooga thing." Everyone was asking, "Why are you moving there? Got a job? Got a house? Going to school?" Nope. None of the above. We decided we wanted to live in an area of the country that would let us live our lives (outdoor/recreation) the way we wanted to live. Rock climbing, hiking, fishing, kayaking, cycling, camping, and running most of the year, if not all year round. We don't want to live life gutting through the bad to maybe hopefully grab a sliver of happiness in a bi-annual vacation or the occasional weekend get away. Our "playground" will literally be in our backyard.

Additionally, the winter months in Illinois have extended their stay long enough. I'll say it. I HATE Illinois winters. I hate snow. I hate being cold. I hate bitter cold wind. I hate ice. I hate scraping my car every morning. I hate having to worry about what type of car to buy in case I get caught in a severe winter storm. I am done with it and all it has to offer. I can live without the sledding. Essentially, that is the only winter "sport" I ever participated in and probably will ever participate. Granted I love to ski, but you have to travel to ski if you live in Illinois. So, if I am going to travel to ski, then I can travel a little further. The weather in the southeast is beautiful. Very mild winters and very similar summers to central Illinois. If I can grow pansies in my yard in February, by golly I am gonna do it!

I think the only 2 things I am really really going to miss about Illinois are family and friends. It is going to be really hard being far away from everyone we care about...but we have plans (insert Dr. Evil laugh here). There have been a number of our climber friends that are ALREADY making plans to transplant into Chatta-vegas (I don't know why they call it Chatta-vegas...just go with it), and maybe we have convinced some people that it is a really awesome place to retire. ;-) Something also to keep in mind, there is not an invisible force field that keeps a person from leaving Illinois or coming back into it.

I regress...back to getting serious last year about moving. Consequently, we needed to remodel the house to get it on the market. The kitchen was severely outdated and there were many other projects that needed a face-lift. So in a year, we have...

  • Installed a new 6' privacy fence
  • Rebuilt the front porch
  • New landscaping in front and back
  • Repainted the outside of the house (yes, it is aluminum siding)
  • Stripped 82 year old wall paper (thanks Anita) in 3 rooms and repainted all rooms
  • Remodeled the kitchen (installed a dishwasher and a garbage disposal)
  • Refinished the entire first floor hardwood floors
  • Installed ceramic tile in bathroom, kitchen, and back hallway

And those are just the "big" things. There were so many other smaller projects that so many people have helped us out with. We appreciate all the help, advice, and expertise. Thank you-thank you-thank you. You all have made our first year of marriage, remodeling our house, and training for an Ironman go much smoother than we thought it was going to go.

At some point I want to have a "get-to-gether"/open house party for everyone that helped us with the house. Not sure when that will be, but I will send something out in the near keep your eyes peeled.

**For all you out of towners, since there is furniture in the house now and Sebastian is in TN, you are welcome to stay the night IN our house. You don't have to get a hotel room! Yeah.

Take care, Heather

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A fun day's ride... with Floyd!

So, I quickly realized once I got to Chattanooga that I was gonna love the riding here.... but that I would have to get strong fast! My ride team ride (Motor Mile Racing) left at 6am in the dark and took us up three of the local mountains (Raccoon, Elder, and Lookout)... in less than 32 miles of riding! Lets just say it was humbling.

Since then, I have been riding a ton with the guys, learning the trails and the roads. Every ride has been really fun, cause its all new to me, and we have some amazing terrain. And I have high expectations for the Motor Mile Team's training regimen... cause these guys are monsters!

Anyway, despite all the great rides so far, I think today's 2 o'clock ride is gonna take the cake. Why, you ask? Well, earlier this week while I was at work at the shop, we had our first high-profile visitor! None other than Floyd Landis (winner of the 2006 Tour de France and former World MTB Champion) and he just signed onto the new OUCH pro team for this year.

Yup, Floyd was hanging out at the shop! And it turns out that some of my teammates are really good friends of his... so he is staying in town this week and training with us!!! I am so stoked... today I will be meeting up with him and my friend Brad for a 4-hour road session! I'll post afterwards if I don't completely kill myself trying to hang on for this ride!



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prospective race season for Heather

Just turning some wheels while at work today. (Shhhh don't tell anyone at the Nut ;-))

Thinking about getting back in the saddle, on the road, and in the pool. IM FL was 4 weeks ago and I am itching to get a schedule together for 2009. My hope is to be in Chattanooga by March, so my race schedule tentatively will be in the south.

Two years ago I did the Memphis in May Olympic distance tri and my brother-in-law, Chris, did both the mountain bike race on Saturday and the Olympic distance on Sunday. I thought he was so tough to race back to back events. Last year, I wanted to do both, but because of late registration fees and the insane cost of gas, I didn't go. Total bummer.

When you do both it is called the MiM Amateur Challenge. They award $5000 cash purse payable to the 15 male and female athletes with the best combined time in the Olympic and the mountain bike race. Not sure if I will snag any money, but I really want to race hard for 2 days and see what I can do.

The cost of the Olympic is only $95, if you register before 12/31/2008. The cost of the mountain bike race is only $45, if you register before 2/28/2009. Not too bad if you get in early. Anyone want to race with me? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? The date of the races is 5/16-17/2009.

The other races I have in mind are the Natchez Trace State Park Sprint in TN (between Memphis and Nashville) on Sunday March 22, 2009 and the Scenic City Sprint in Chattanooga, TN at the end of April.

That is it for now, gonna wait and see what else will come our way in 2009.