Friday, May 31, 2013

30 Blessings for 30 Years

Being that this is my 30th year (thank the Lord!) on this earth, I decided to make a plan and do 30 things this year that would hopefully bless other people. I have been given so much – in fact, everything I have has been given to me by God – and I'd like to give some of what I've been given to people who need it. Here's my list of things to do, and anything I've accomplished is in italics. I'm adding and updating as I go:

  1. Adopt a US Solder– 1-03-13; USPS customer number for Military Kits: Call 800-610-8734, use number 3E89RM (they provide boxes, tape, and customs forms for free); Letter 1 sent 1-09-13. Sent two boxes so far -- one for his birthday, and one for Easter.
  2. Participate in a Girls on the Run event: – 1-04-13 signed up as a 5K Running Buddy, cost = $7.10. 4-08-13 ran a practice 5K with Kaiya, my runner. 5K race was May 4, 2013.
  3. Donate at least 30 t-shirts – 1-05-13 took a big bag of clothes and household goods, including 36 tees, to Goodwill.
    That's a lot of t-shirts!
  4. Help a friend put together a bike 1-05-13 Went over to my friend Jen's apt and helped her put together her new tri bike.
    Jen's happy Trek!
  5. Be aware of little needs. Gave a girl in the locker room my spare ponytail holder and showed her mom how to use the swimsuit spinner (2-03-13).
  6. Started cleaning up carts whenever I see them (2-01-13 to end).
  7. Let someone who needs it into our office building. One Saturday, I was at the office; a lady who had left her wallet in her office, and I had an entry badge. No one wants to be without his or her wallet for a weekend! (3-02-13)
  8. Gave food and clothes through church. I love giving! Everything I have has been given to me, so it is such a privilege and pleasure to give it to others. (3-16-13)
    Food...this bag will be even more full come
    delivery day because Publix has some
    good sales this week!

    Clothes...and I added more
    after I took the picture.
  9. Let someone use my Kroger card 1-15-13 I let the cashier scan my card for the lady in front of me. This might end up being #31+ because of a few reasons:
    1. Her purchase was more than I'll ever spend on groceries at Kroger. I get the $$ amount as fuel points, and I will use them.
    2. She saved only $8 off her $100+ bill with the Kroger card; it almost hurt me to see her save so little, but I guess that is better than nothing at all!
    3. I also let another lady use mine. She saved all of $0.07 or something like that. I don't know why people shop at Kroger without a Kroger card.
  10. Help someone at the Y with an exercise, injury prevention or healing, etc. without coming across as rude or arrogant 1-15-13 During my workout, I was listening to a couple guys talk to another about his IT band issues; he was using  the foam roller and that got their attention. I watched and listened for a while, and then I asked if I could (not as a doctor, physical therapist, or anything but as a 10-year uninjured triathlete) suggest a simple adjustment. He said yes, so I encouraged him to stand straight up, both feet on the ground, toes pointing forward. It's an easy adjustment, but it's one that takes thought. Since our bodies work best at 90*, if he can focus on standing and sitting straight during the day, the hips and knees will be much happier when he goes to the Y to lift or out to run in his marathon training. I hope it works, and sometime when I'm back at the DHY in the afternoon I'll see if I can find him (if I can remember what he looks like, and I didn't get his name) and ask him how it's going.
  11. Sweep the stairwell at my office building. This has been done once in the last 4 years, maybe, and desperately needs to be done again. – 3-19-13 I spent my lunch hour sweeping. It looks so much better, and I hope it stays that way!
  12. Do yard work for my aunt and uncle – 5-12-13, but that probably won't be the last time!
  13. Cut and donate my hair. I did this on 5-10-13, when I got 13 inches cut off and sent it to Locks of Love!
  14. Let someone borrow something that is important to me. The weekend of 5-26-13, I let Alicia L. borrow my car for the entire weekend. It was a little stressful but not too bad.
  15. Give something to the Contributer sellers. 6-12-13, on one of the first super hot days of the summer. I had cash, a bar, and a cold Pepsi, and the seller got all three!
  16. Leave diapers and wipes in a public bathroom – 1-04-13 paid $1.50 for wipes and $1 for diapers
  17. Hold the door for someone. I pretty much do this all the time and love it.
  18. Give L a gift, card, phone call, etc. I called her one day when I knew she didn't have school to take her out to lunch. Went to her play 3-15-13!
  19. Offer to babysit someone's kids (Cali, Catherine, Parri, someone from Pre-K, a new mom, etc.). Offered to Catherine the week of 3-03-13; she didn't need me then, so I'll offer again.
  20. On 9-02-13, I picked up a lady walking her bike on the side of the road and took her home. She had a flat, I had room, perfect match! Full story here.
  21. Help a friend move
  22. Donate blood (still deciding about this one; it about did me in last time, but it literally could save someone's life)
  23. Coupon for stuff to give to shelters or food pantries – at least $30 OOP
  24. Leave feminine hygiene products in a public bathroom (single-stall, preferably)
  25. Buy a Contributor and give the seller a meal
  26. Sponsor a child through World Vision
  27. Send T a S-bucks GC
  28. Take one day and pick up trash either at the pond, PW, or River Trail
  29. Fill a backpack with school supplies and give it to a local school
  30. Help someone whose car has broken down
  31. Recognize the good in others
  32. Come to the rescue of someone in need
  33. Tip generously
  34. Buy the stuff the neighbor kid is selling
  35. Make a new friend – someone who just moved
  36. Leave a bunch of pennies in a place for kids to find
  37. Invite a friend to spend the holidays with me
  38. Give a Publix GC to the cashier to give to someone in need
  39. Find a dirty car and leave a car wash GC
  40. Leave a RedBox code on the machine
  41. Leave gatorade or gu on the trails at PW or River Park. Maybe. Might seem like littering.
  42. Be willing (and offer) to take pictures for people

Birthday Club

The week of my birthday is usually a lot of fun for me. I get to eat out at restaurants mostly every day, and I usually eat for free. Plus I try to spend some time on my bike and with my girls. This week is no different.

Krispy Kreme bday breakfast

Here are all the places I can eat at and what I got as a part of their birthday clubs. Krispy Kreme took the cake from this entire list. Not only did they give me a birthday balloon, they also ALL, through the drive-thru window, wished me happy birthday and even started singing. Then someone gave me a donut hole and said it was a little birthday cake. Happy morning!

Of the places I've visited so far, Krispy Kreme is #1 and Moe's is #2 because the cashier there also wished me happy birthday. No one at Jason's or Breugger's acknowledged it, even though it's printed right on there. The YMCA also gets props, because someone from there always wishes me happy birthday when they scan my card on my birthday.

(Not) Used
Jason's Deli$5 off any purchaseUsed
Breugger's BagelsFree bagel + cream cheese w/purchase of drinkUsed
Moe's Southwest Grill Free entrée w/purchase of drinkUsed
Arby'sFree 12-oz shake w/any purchaseNot used
Baskin RobbinsFree 2.5-oz scoop or 3-oz soft swerve swirlGoing today
Backyard BurgersFree cobbler w/purchase of any comboNot used
Which WichFree regular 'wichNot used
Baja FreshFree classic burrito /purchase of large drinkNot used
Krispy KremeFree donut and beverageUsed
Genghis GrillFree birthday bowlNot used
Lone Star SteakhouseFree appetizer w/purchase of entréeNot used
Panera BreadFree pastryNot used yet
Cozymel'sHalf-price fajitas for me + three friendsNot used
Smoothie KingBOGO 20-oz smoothieNot used
Coldstone CreameryBOGO CreationNot used
McAlister's Deli$5 off any purchaseGoing today
Firehouse SubsFree medium sub on your birthday w/IDGoing today
Wendy's$1 off any premium comboNot used
SonicFree medium tots, 14-oz CreamSlush, or medium soft drinkNot used yet
Culver'sFree 1-scoop sundaeNot used yet
Orange JuliusBOGO smoothieNot used
Kellogg's Family Rewards100-point codeUsed

Wednesday we had a crit race and then went to Rosepepper Cantina for dinner. Since Monday was a holiday, I racing, many of these are valid only in this area, many expire within a week of my birthday, and I am about to start a vacation, I won't be able to use all of these. But I am using as many as I can!

Friday sunrise

This morning's workout was with the sunrise: 30 push ups on feet, 30 lunges each leg, 30 squats, 30 side lunges, 30 pullups (assisted), 30 crunches, 30 curls, 30 dips, 30 shoulder presses, 30 lat pull downs, 30 hip abductor, 30 hip adductor, 30 jumping jacks and 121 push ups on knees (to complete 151 total push ups, since it's the 151st day of the year). Sensing a theme here? One dream workout includes a 30-mile run as well, but since we're racing this weekend, that's just not practical :-)

2012 birthday crit
2011 birthday ride
2010 dream birthday training day
2009 birthday workout

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 Crit #2

18 women starting (source)

We wanted to be aggressive tonight, so Amanda took off just after the start, leaving the other 17 of us in her dust pretty quickly :-) Lisa chased her for a couple laps, but it ended up being a mix of riders (including Lisa and Jess from IAR; Marsha from THR; me, Cath, Anna, and Cali from TBD; and maybe Kathy from SVMIC) together and separated and together again until it was just Amanda off the front with me, Catherine, and Jess behind her chasing. I tried to bridge up to AJ a couple times, but Jess was on me each time and I wasn't able to get to AJ by myself (if I caught her with another person, I was going to force that other person to do all the work to catch her). Catherine was riding super strong and waiting for me a lot, which I appreciated. We maybe got within 25 seconds of AJ before we settled in as the perpetual (at least for tonight) chasers.

Amanda off the front (source)

With one lap to go, Catherine started her leadout as I was getting a drink. Oops! Thankfully she sat up for a second to let me get back on, and then she kept the pace high for much of the rest of that lap. I was behind Jess who was behind Catherine, and I went around both of them on the right. Jess went around Catherine on the left, so I had the outside of both of the last two turns and much less to worry about as we were catching Emily right in those last two corners. Thanks to Cath's leadout, I won that field sprint and Team Bd took 1st, 2nd, and 4th. I also won a prime, which I didn't know until I went to pick up my payout from Kyle. Yay!

Then Anna M, Val, Parri, Cali, Kiki, Catherine, Anna S, Josh, Lisa, and I all headed to Rosepepper Cantina for dinner to celebrate the win and my birthday. Parri made some amazing brownies to add to the good Mexican tacos and veggies.

Race #2: 30:39, 11.31 miles, 22.1 mph, 2/18 and 2/4 Cat 2s
Race #1: 35:36, 12.88 miles, 21.7 mph, 4/14 and 2/3 Cat 2s (incorrect time and mileage because I forgot to stop my watch at the line)

Monday, May 27, 2013

US Pro National Championships Time Trial and Road Race

Catherine, Katherine, Katie, Jes, Amanda, and me before the RR

Market Street Bridge (source - Casey B. Gibson)

This Memorial Day weekend was absolutely amazing. Saturday was the US Pro National Time Trial, and Monday was the US Pro National Road Race. Both were in Chattanooga, TN, and so much fun. These were the US Pro National races, which means that the best of the best of the cyclists in the United States were out to race. And we were honored to be able to line up with and race against them.

Katie, Cath, T, me, and AJ after the TT

My teammates Catherine and Amanda, and guest rider Katie, all decided to race the time trial. The TT was 31 kilometers long, and 42 women raced. I went along for moral support (T was there for mechanical and strategical support, and I'm pretty sure my job was much easier) and got to cheer at a few places along the course. The Team Belladium women were amazing and so strong. We'd done this course at the beginning of the month for our state TT, and Amanda bettered her time by 2 minutes! Catherine and Katie were going at the course for the first time and were super strong. Katie was 30th (47:14), Amanda was 38th (49:05), and Catherine was 40th (49:57).

AJ, me, Cath, and Katie previewing the course

We had ridden one lap of the course on Friday, and on Saturday after cooling down, we headed to Lookout Mountain to ride down on Scenic Highway. This descent would be part of Monday's road race, and we wanted to be comfortable with it and to have done it before we actually had to do it in the race. We drove to the top, rode down, and then were shuttled back to the top by Todd. We repeated one more time and then headed home. The ride was about 8 miles total, and we got up to 42 mph on the descent (one time down, we had tons of traffic, and one time down we had much more open road).

Katie, Catherine, and AJ after the TT

We headed back to Chattanooga on Sunday and, after checking in and picking up our numbers, rode one lap of the circuit. The roads weren't closed and we weren't riding at speed, but the course was well-marked so we became familiar with the course. Dinner was at The Terminal, and dessert was at Clumpy's, and then we headed back to the house to rest up before Monday's race.

75 women all together!

Monday morning, we all signed in together and then warmed up as necessary. Finally, we lined up with 68 other women for the US Pro National Road Race: Catherine, Amanda, me, and Katherine, and guest riders Jes and Katie. We had 3 laps of a 5.3-mile circuit to complete first, and it was super fast. I think I got a new fastest 5-mile time on each of these circuits! After the circuits, we headed to Lookout Mountain for a climb and descent. Then it was to be one circuit, one climb/descent, three circuits, finish. I was unable to finish because I was outside the time restriction. Out of the ~75 starters, maybe 42 finished the entire course. Others were scored by position but weren't allowed to complete the entire course. I wasn't happy about having to be pulled, and I have a lot to work on for next year.

Katie and me at T's car

I was in a fairly good position for most of the first lap of the circuit. I was much too close to the back on the second lap, and I was almost off the back on the third lap. In preparing for this race, I spent a lot of mental and physical energy on the climb and forgot to focus enough on the circuit. Lesson learned! Next time I will prepare for all aspects of a race before I begin it.

Climbing Lookout (source)

This was a big-time race, and being able to stay with the pros for as long as I did was an encouragement. I have a lot of work to do to be able to remain with them for the rest of the race, but it is definitely a start.

Collins family

We had fun all weekend, and I am super proud of all of my teammates! Katie was the only Team Belladium lady to finish, and she was in 26th place of the 42 finishers. I was pulled first, then Katherine, Amanda, Catherine, and Jes. It is definitely frustrating to be pulled, but it is not quite as frustrating when you know you've done your best. Maybe some day my best will be as good as some of these other ladies' bests :-)

Stats from Monday's Road Race:
1:26:20, 26.68 miles, 18.5 mph (38.9 max), 162 bpm (192 max), 2998' ascent, 2940' descent
Circuit: 33:02, 13.13 miles, 23.8 mph (38.9 max), 155 bpm (190 max)
(I fell off about 2.5 miles before the end of the last lap.)
Solo: 14:26, 5.14 miles, 21.3 mph, 197 bpm
Climb: 23:09, 2.63 miles, 6.8 mph, 183 bpm
Descent: 8:10, 3.6 miles, 26.5 mph, 135 bpm
Finish: 7:32, 2.19 miles, 17.4 mph, 131 bpm
(I finished at the feed zone.)

My max speed is so low, and appears during the circuit rather than the descent, because I was in the little ring and behind multiple cars for the entire descent. I was really bummed I didn't have an open road, but that will be more motivation to get up there with the group (or at least closer to it) next year.

Blue gets a break after the long, hard weekend

Street art by the Collins family

Ashly has a good video here, from one of the first few laps of the circuit when we were all together.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NC.Com Crit #1

Start line with Tim giving final instructions
Front: Marsha, Morganne, Jenna, Rachel, Jess, me, AJ, Anna
Back: Cali, Kristi, Jes
Kat took this pic

Today was the first of many summer crits at Titans Stadium. Not only do I love racing, I love racing crits, so this is my favorite series. In the women's race, 15 of us lined up for the 30-minute race.

We took one lap easy and then started attacking. Pretty quickly, we cut the field in half. Eventually, we were down to 6: AJ, me, Cali, Morganne, Jess, and Jes. We raced the whole time, with frequent attacks and obligatory chasing. Then, with 4 laps to go, Cali attacked and the other ladies let her go. She stayed away, and with 1 lap to go, AJ and I were pretty sure she'd be able to solo to the win. But Jes had other plans and picked up the pace enough that we caught Cali with less than two turns to go. I really tried to not start my sprint early, in hopes that Cali might still stay away. However, Jess didn't hold back and ended up getting around both AJ and Cali and taking the win.

Sprint: Jess, AJ, Cali, me
Tim took this pic

You can always look back on a race (or anything in life) and figure out what might have been a better way to do it. When you know what the outcome is, it's easy to know what decisions to make. I would have loved to see Team Bd pull out the win tonight, and ideally to have had Cali solo in. The decisions I made to not bridge  to her and to not sprint early were made with that hope in mind. That outcome didn't happen, but I didn't know it wouldn't, so even though we didn't win, I'm happy with the decisions I made at the time. I raced my bike and had fun, and I ended up in 4th place despite holding back. Next week we will hopefully win, and this week we will learn from the race!

I don't know what we averaged or hwo many miles we rode since I forgot to stop my watch when we stopped. We were well into the low 20s for average speed, and maybe around 12 miles.

Here's all the crit blogs I've written (32 total), which is about 3 years' worth (2009, 2011, 2012).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big Publix Trip

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a shopping trip, mainly because I haven’t made any good trips. But Friday I found some good sales at Publix and paid $45 for $90 worth of groceries (lots of real food, too, including veggies, chicken, and prepared lasagna, and also the essential TP and sandwich bags), and Saturday I found a couple things on clearance at Kroger, so here’s what I got, saving almost 50% at both Publix and Kroger.


Food (quantity)
Regular price
Sale price
Final price
Celery (2)
(2.47 lb)
Publix zip-top bags (2)
Cottonelle TP
$1/1 MQ
Breyers ice cream (2)
2 x $1/1 PQ
Motts Snack and Go applesauce (2)
2 x $1.10/1 MQ
Stouffers meals (2)
2 x $1.50/1 MQ
Barber chicken
$1/1 MQ
Santitas chips
Hershey’s Simple Pleasures
$1.50/1 MQ
Publix whole sub combo
$2/1 PQ
Green Giant veggies (2)
2 x $1/1 PQ
Extra Qs
$5/$50 Kroger CQ
$1/1 Produce PQ
$1/1 Deli PQ
$2/$10 Produce CQ
8.70 MQ
8.00 PQ
7.00 CQ
40.90 + 4.49 tax
45.39 (saved $44.66 or 49%)

Food (quantity)
Regular price
Sale price
Final price
PowerBars (10)
2 x $1/5 MQ
Kroger pint ice cream
$0.40/1 MQ
Kroger sweet peppers
Tortilla chips
Kroger cookie cake
Coke 6-pack
Donuts (2)
Totals (17)
18.21 + 1.65 tax
19.86 (saved $18.93 or 49%)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Rides and Pics

Shelly, me, Emma, Kiki, and Catherine at
Granite City Food and Brewery in Franklin

Friday: 7-mile run + 1.5-mile walk. Trip to Publix and Kroger (details to come). Aunt Renee's party (and a late night!). Friday’s 7-mile run was rainy and beautiful. My average (including 4 minutes of walking at the beginning and a 2-minute bathroom break) was 8:33 min/mile. Omitting those, my average was 8:14. That’s closer to where I need to be, but I still have a little work to do to get my endurance and pace up. However, considering I’m running on average once or less per week, I’ll take what I can get.

Friday run

Saturday: 25-mile hilly ride. Catherine's and Ashly's birthday celebration. Saturday I rode up and down and up and down to try to get in some good climbing. In my 25-mile ride, I was never more than about 6 miles from my house and I climbed (according to my Garmin) 3245’. Here was my order of ascent: South Berry’s Chapel, Lynnwood, North Berry’s Chapel, Holly Tree Gap, Sawyer, Lynnwood, North Berry’s Chapel, South Berry’s Chapel. I never went up the same side twice, and I never descended the same road twice. The only thing I went up/down consecutively was North Berry’s Chapel the last time, when I went down toward Farmington and then turned around and came back up to Lynnwood. I did miss a few climbs (like the other side of Holly Tree Gap and both sides of Manley), but it was a great ride for today. Even despite the fact that my average speed was 14 mph (but my max was 44.5, so I did go fast at least a few times!).

Saturday ride with grades

Sat ride with elevation and climbs

Me, Kiki, and Catherine

Sunday: Team ride. Pool time!

Sunday ride

My list...I did all but one thing. Success!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weekly Recap

Monday I ran 5 miles and walked 1 because it was beautiful outside. Not so much a rest day, but definitely fun. Plus I ran well and felt good.

Tuesday I rode my bike home from work and then joined the HBC crew for a couple miles. Any time I can get in 40 miles on a weekday is a good day.

Wednesday I rode my bike to work and then walked at lunch. We also had a team photo shoot.

Thursday I joined Catherine at Endeavor Performance for a testing session. I wasn't her first choice for competition, but I certainly made her work hard, and she make me work even harder! My 13:21 and 244W finish was very close to my best result yet, but it was definitely not an all-out effort. I'm not sure why that is. I definitely worked hard and never let up, but the feeling when I finished was nowhere CLOSE to the feeling I had back in March (when after the test I laid down on the floor for 5 minutes, curled up in a ball, because I had spent everything I had and didn't have the energy to even sit up). On the plus side, going in I felt like I was in the worst May shape ever, but obviously that isn't true.

Here are all my test results:

Date Test Number Completion Time Average Watts
May 16, 2013
TT #11
244 watts
March 5, 2013
TT #11a
TT #11b
227 watts
246 watts
February 23, 2013
TT #10a
TT #10b
(6 mi: 16:45)
238 watts
239 watts
January 10, 2013
TT #9b
223 watts
January 8, 2013
TT #9a
213 watts
March 29, 2012
TT #8b
220 watts
March 27, 2012
TT #8a
212 watts
January 26, 2012
TT #7
226 watts
January 24, 2012
TT #6
228 watts
May 4, 2011
TT #5
237 watts
March 3, 2011
TT #4b
202 watts
March 1, 2011
TT #4a
229 watts
January 6, 2011
TT #3b
185 watts
January 4, 2011
TT #3a
217 watts
March 25, 2010
TT #2
223 watts
January 28, 2010
TT #1
208 watts

Friday is Aunt Renee's annual Amber Nest party, which I will help serve at after a good ride/run. I finished reading the book Though My Eyes Friday morning. This is a great book. I never realized how big of a deal football is. It's a big deal. I enjoyed reading author Tim Tebow's recollections of his games and season through the end of his first year in the NFL. But what I enjoyed more was seeing how he does everything he does for the glory of God. Win, lose, or draw, God is there and He is in control.

I also got an early birthday present from my sisters:

It's huge. I threw the Sharpie in there for perspective.