Monday, August 31, 2009

weather 8/31

Chattanooga, TN -- 80* feels like 81* humidity 54% -- wind N 7 mph @ 1:16 pm
Bloomington, IL -- 62* feels like 62* humidity 60% -- wind N 9 mph @ 12:16 pm
Aurora, IL -- 66* feels like 66* humidity 47% -- wind NNE 7 mph @ 12:16 pm

Whoa! Chilly up there?

love ya all,

BMW River Gorge Bike Weekend

This past weekend was the BMW River Gorge Omnium. For those of you not familiar with a biking omnium it is broken down like this...

There are 3 components. A bike race, a time trial, and a crit. Some bike races are different but this weekend the bike race (40 miles) was Saturday morning, the time trial (4 miles) was Saturday night, and the crit was Sunday morning.

The bike race (which I did) is really different than anything I had ever done before. During a bike race you start out in one big pack divided up by categories. Cat 4 for women is the "beginner" and Cat 5 for men is the "beginner" categories. It goes up to Cat 1/2 Pro for men and women. Since there are so many more men doing the race than women they started the men off at different times depending on their category. For the women, we started off all together (1/2 Pro, 3, and 4). There was a "neutral zone" for about 1.5 miles. During this time you are trying to jockey for a good position in the pack. It is sorta like driving into Chicago or Atlanta. You gotta fight for getting in and not letting someone get into the pack. If you get a good position, then when the speed picks up you are not on the end trying to fight the constant Yo-Yo effect. The Yo-Yo is when the front of the pack makes small changes in speed it trickles back on the back of the pack in big changes. When you are an inexperienced rider, you will find yourself on the back more often than not. Just like I did ;-)

I thought I was doing ok, until the neutral zone was over. Whoops. I didn't have the guts to push up into the front, so when the first attack/climb happened about 10 miles into the ride, I got dropped like a sac of potatoes. I fought to catch my teammate that also got dropped. I caught up to Jennifer and we drafted off of each other for a bit and then I was pulling her up a climb and thought she was on my wheel, but I lost her after the last part of the first climb. Darn. Sorry. One of the course marshals said I was only 1 minute off of the pack and if I sprinted I could catch them. It is so much easier riding in a pack than by yourself, so I sprinted. And sprinted. And sprinted. I kept seeing car traffic slowing in front of me and figured they were JUST up there and I could maybe catch them, but unfortunately one person trying to catch 10, just isn't going to work. So I time trialed (TT) for the next 25 miles.

The race ends on one of the hardest climbs I have ever done down here. Remember my first bike post? That climb on Raccoon Mountain? Yup. That was the climb. In a race. At the end of 40 miles!!! UGH. I did better on the climb than I have ever done. I got some great numbers from my power tap. Which was AWESOME. Ok, I will try to break down power. Back home when I did the TT course for 40 kilometers (~ 26.4 miles) my average power output was 135. On Saturday for 40 miles, not 40 km, my average power was 160!!!! My power to weight ratio is approximately .67! Most pro riders have a power to weight ratio around or above .80. I am so happy. So all in all, I got spit off the pack early, but have proven to myself that I am a decent rider down here. I just have to work on hills and getting into my "pain cave."

The TT was Saturday afternoon. Since Saturday was my last day at Hennen's I didn't want to TT and lose face/money at Hennen's. The TT was only 4 miles. Andy and I are used to time trialing for a lot longer distance. 4 miles is not even enough time to blink, let alone redline for a decent time. Wish I could have seen/done it. Next year for sure.

The crit was Sunday morning. Sorta the same thing as the road race. They break you up into your categories 1/2 Pro, 3, 4, and 5. You get 40 minutes to go around a 1 mile loop in downtown Chattanooga and the guy/gal that goes around the most wins the crit. Very very fast paced and very hard effort. I didn't do the crit this year, but just like the TT; it is on like Donkey Kong next year!

Here are some pictures from the weekend...

Below: race morning with Lookout Mountain in the background all misty/cloudy

Below: Krystal Chiks Team
(Left to Right: Jennifer, Kristi, Ashley, Meghan, Me, Barbie, & Stephanie)

Below: Andy and his teammate Ricky warming up for the crit

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Big Girl" job for Heather

Oh my gosh! My last post must have been an omen, sign, evil trick from the powers that be, Karma. I posted that exactly one week ago today/tonight and less than 3 days later I got an awesome job offer! Crazy how this world works. I mentioned before I had applied for a job and had a job are more details.

I am guessing about three weeks ago I checked my "business" e-mail. I had a bunch of e-mails from Career Builder,, etc. I selected one from to humor myself. Low and behold, there was a job posting for a Chattanooga based marketing firm. Here is the job post, pretty catchy... (I changed the name of the company to "New job" Last time I blogged about Hennen's they found my post. Will post title of company after I actually start working ;-))

Job description: "New job" needs someone to help us with reconciliation. What? No, our relationships are just fine, thank you. But what we really need is an Affiliate Marketing Coordinator to help us provide reconciliation, tracking and communication support for our affiliate channel. This’ll involve monitoring affiliate activity and documenting and updating procedures and processes. Hey, that’s got to sound better than sitting down with two warring spouses who’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. We offer a competitive salary (cha-ching!), paid time off, company matching 401k and health insurance. "New job" is looking for an Affiliate Marketing Coordinator to join our quickly expanding team. We are interested in hiring an experienced individual who will provide reconciliation, tracking, and communication support for the affiliate channel. This person will answer directly to the Affiliate Marketing Manager.

Company Overview: Making sense of the interactive marketing landscape requires a unique combination of analytics and creativity. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to finding effective strategies among an ever-changing competitive environment. In a medium where the only constant is change, "New job" is in the business of making the good…great.

After reading this, I thought it was too good to be true. It sounds like a super fun company to work for. Almost exactly what I did at Chestnut and a solid foundation to build upon. I sent in my resume and waited. Andy and I have a friend down here that is in PR, so I gave her a call to see if she knew anything about the company. She said that she had a friend over there and for me to send her my resume too and she would pass it along as well. Thanks Amy :)

Well, I got a phone call for a phone interview a couple days later. A week later I got the opportunity to have a face to face interview. After the face to face interview on the 14th of August, I got a tour of the building and filled out some paper work. I thought that was pretty promising. :) The tour of the building was awesome! "New job" is a subset of a larger computer company. "New job" only has about 25-30 employees right now. They said they are looking to grow quickly over the next year (good for me to get in on the ground level). The building is so cool. It is under some face-lift reconstruction, but nonetheless still pretty wicked. Everyone had double monitors (a 17 inch and a 13 inch), very cool cubicles (wood and glass), there is a workout facility, shower, locker room, ping-pong table, Foosball table, and an air hockey table (I am guessing for "relaxation" purposes). The kitchen is a full size kitchen with a gas stove, full size fridge, oven, and granite counter-tops! They have this giant fish tank in the cafeteria as well. Very cool fish. Not that all of this is more important than the actual job itself, but not knowing too much about what I am going to be doing, it gives great insight into the type of company they are.

I am really excited to be working at "New job." Andy and I have already talked about commuting into work together. My hours are going to be M-F / 8-5 with an hour lunch. So Andy can workout for the couple hours he is downtown before the shop opens and I can workout on my lunch hour or for the couple hours after I am done and waiting for the shop to close. We are going to be able to spend every dinner/night together. I really didn't think it was all that important for our relationship to have time together like that, but when it is gone for 8 months (3 months in IL and 5 months working at Hennens) can really put a strain on a relationship.

I am so excited. I was looking at all my clothes from Chestnut, and I came to one quick realization. I have GOT to go shopping! All I have from when I worked at the 'Nut are sweaters and frumpy button down tops. All the gals at "New job" had these cute posh outfits. Thank goodness my sister Heidi is coming down for the weekend over Labor Day. Ask Andy, I need help shopping. If I had it my way, I would wear the same khaki mini skirt and tank top that I have been wearing all summer.

Well TTFN (ta ta for now ;-))

Weather: @ 11:05 am Eastern time 10:05 am Central time
Chattanooga- 81* feels like 81* (partly sunny) Humidity 49% - wind NNW at 9 mph
Bloomington- 64* feels like 64* (sunny) Humidity 67% - wind NNW at 13 mph
Aurora- 63* feels like 63* (partly sunny) Humidity 68% - wind NNW at 10 mph

PS-Andy and I don't think he is gonna be able to come up to IL for Labor Day. We are really bummed. His exhaust is about to fall off his car and the tires on the Saturn Vue (Blue Magoo) are almost totally bald. No worries. Once I get my big girl pay checks we are gonna put a kennel out side for the pups and new tires for the Magoo. We will be back in IL for visits very soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Ok it is late. Maybe I should go to bed after this.

The chick in the blog (AJ)... First she was on CW Arkansas NOT Alabama. Second the link changed in like the last week...

Good night. H

After work on a Saturday night...

Ok. Total random post. I JUST got home from work tonight and I am a) royally pissed off that I am working so damn late [got home at 1:25 am] to make an effing dollar and b) stinking frustrated that Andy and I are on totally opposite schedules. He was already asleep when I got home and I felt bad waking him up to tell him I was too wired from working to go to sleep right away. Seriously, ya'll can't go to sleep 20 minutes after you got home from work, can you? Rhetorical. I can't. Whatever. Onto the randomness of this post...

Ummm. What was I gonna say? Oh yeah! Terrapin India Brown Ale. My new favorite beer. Brewed and distributed in/out of Athens, GA. (Home of University of GA). Come to find out... Southerners LOVE their fricken college football. It is crazy. Even if they didn't go to college; everyone, I mean stinking everyone, has a "team." Ok, funny story. The University of GA's logo is a "G" and looks exactly like Greenbay's "G", only in black and red. There are so many cars down here with this stupid "G" on it. Anyway, when I first moved down here I thought all these southerners are really dim. First, they have the color of the Greenbay "G" wrong and also why the H would they like a Northern team all the way down here? Come to find out, they were only freaky because they like college football ;-) Oh yea... back to Terrapin Beer, all I gotta say is awesome. Yum. BTW...I have only had one.

I went swimming in some blue holes a couple days ago. So much fun. There are creeks all over down here and when the water is low in the summer the big creeks have these killer swimming holes. Super duper fun. Never thought I would enjoy swimming in a creek, but I can see my feet because the water is so clear. So there you go. I have pics...gotta get some help from the old man to get these things loaded up on the blog.

I am planning on running the Chickamauga Battlefield half marathon on November 14th. (Pronounced Chick-mou-ga) Since I have only raced 13.1 miles at the end of a triathlon, I think it would be a good distance to really push myself at. We will see how it goes.

Weather is good and hot down here. Heard IL is getting up there too. Pardon the strangeness of this post, without Andy to entertain me after work all I have is you ;-) hahaha.

Oh yea, totally almost forgot. For all those bloggers out there, here is a great blog to read. This chick from Alabama worked for the CW, you know the TV station. Anyway she had this awesome on-line "news" show on the CW home page for a couple years. Well, she got laid off because of the recession and is blogging on her own and making You Tube videos. She is really funny and pretty interesting. The name of her blog is "Blogging with AJ."

Later taters, Heather

PS-I had a job interview on Friday with an Internet marketing firm here in Chattanooga. Hopefully, I will hear some good news middle of this upcoming week. I don't want to get too excited, but it is a really cool company.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Cara's post is Imaginaté to the right and during Chris and Cara's visit I only had to work Monday, Tuesday, and Friday night.

Also, I posted pictures of our house finally. But since I started that post back in the middle of July, they are lower on the blog...scroll down to see.

Sorry. My brain is mush. Not that it is a big deal, but I like these posts to be accurate, at least for journal purposes ;-)

later, Heather

Visitors Galore!

There has been a lot going on for us since I last posted.

First, Chris, Cara, and Jonah came for a 6 day visit. It was really great having them here and seeing how much Jonah has progressed. Since he has gotten his cast off, he is back on track. BTW...Jonah broke his right leg a couple of months ago and was in a half body cast. Check out Cara's blog for more details (link to the right on our blog). Jonah is talking up a storm. He likes to point out when there are 2 of something. Maybe his favorite number will be 2, just like his aunt :) Andy and I were able to get some time off to hang with them, but not as much as I would have liked. Andy had Monday and Tuesday off. I didn't have to work any lunches, so I got to hang during the day all 6 days, but I had to work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night. We went to the Chattanooga Zoo. I haven't been there yet. It was cool to see the chimps and raptors (birds of prey), but other than that, it was sorta a let down. It was a little bit bigger than Miller Park Zoo, but not much. I know all zoos are good for bringing awareness to the community about conservation, but it breaks my heart when I see these big animals behind fences smaller than I would like for our 3 dogs. Ugh. Oh well. Cara and I did a trail run and a run downtown. We grabbed Clumpies Ice Cream after our downtown run, for a treat. Yum. Clumpies is a local creamery. Awesome ice cream. Cara and I also got to go on a 33 mile road bike ride. We didn't get to the climb, but we had a great adventure getting back to town on our own ;-) Andy and Chris were able to get a loop of mountain biking in at Raccoon Mountain and a good 3 hour road ride with 2 climbs. One of the days I had to work, Chris, Cara, Andy, and Jonah went a bike ride downtown and went to the TN Aquarium too. On the last day, Jonah had really gotten to "know" us. I guess as well as an almost 2 year old can get to know someone. Cara asked Jonah, "Who's bike is that?" and Jonah said, "Aunt Heather's bike." Awwww. Ok, we all know kids can never ever say my name correctly until they are about 6 years old, so it didn't really come out that clear, but it was darn close. Jonah also gave me a hug when they were leaving. My heart melted. We had a great visit. Cara posted a ton of great pictures on her Facebook page...

Not sure if that will come through or not...

Second, Chris and Cara left on Saturday, and on Monday we got a surprise visit from Andy's mom and her husband. They were up north in Cleveland, TN doing some hiking and white water rafting on the Ocoee River Saturday and Sunday. Monday they came to the house and got the "grand tour" we visited for a bit and then took them on a 3 mile-ish hike on the Cumberland Trail less than 1 mile from our house. They stayed 3.5 days in Chattanooga. We were able to go out to dinner at Big River (local brewery) with Andy's cousin Jacqueline, had a cook out with our neighbors and friends (Deni and Lloyd, and Wes and Carrie), and did a lot of visiting. After the hike on Monday my darn leg cramp came back Tuesday morning. We were supposed to go on a trail run with Elaine and Al, but I knew if I tried I would be stranded out in the woods making Andy carry me back to civilization. I think for all that were involved, it was best we opted out of that adventure. Elaine and Al went to the Aquarium (I did not go, since I have been there too many times to count ;-), they did a trail run, mountain biked (we were unable to go, since I did not have a functioning mountain bike--but I almost do now :), and we did some window shopping. All in all, we had a great visit. I felt bad we were unable to go with them on some of the adventures, but sometimes you can't control everything :)

Now that our house guests and visitors are gone, it seems a little quite around Sweet Soddy Acres. The next visitor planning on coming for a visit is my sister Heidi. She is coming over Labor Day weekend. I took work off for all 5 days! Whoo Hoo. I really want to go rafting on the Ocoee and do some zip lining. Other than that, maybe go to the beach, drink, eat, and hang out. It has been a really long time since Heidi and I really had some time to hang out. I am really looking forward to her visit.

I think that is all for now, oh wait! 2 things...
  • Good luck to all the Steelhead participants doing their 1/2 Ironman in Michigan today as well as those participating in the Canton Sprint distance triathlon/biathlon in IL and..

  • Weather:
  • Chattanooga, TN @ 11:26 am 83* feels like 87* - partly sunny - humidity 67%
  • Bloomington, IL @ 10:26 am 73* feels like 73* - mostly cloudy - humidity 64%
  • Aurora, IL @ 10:26 am 69* feels like 69* - cloudy - humidity 71%