Monday, September 15, 2008

Not running a marathon yet...

...but wow, preparing the mailing for the fundraising aspect is starting to feel like it's own "mini-marathon." I thought it would be a relatively simple process, but leave it to me to want to have it "just so" and what for most people is a three step process mine is more like nine or ten. Here's what I did, for those of you who have nothing better to do (like sleep, apparently which is what I should be doing):

1. Write letter, rough draft, and revise.  (is this one step or three?)
2. Finalize letter, get it all to fit on one page, mooch some paper from your paper trader job, make copies. 
3. Purchase 500 envelopes for cheap, and on same shopping trip, decide labels are waaaaay too expensive and you can find a cheaper way to get your address on the return envelopes that will hold the funds for LLS.
4.  At work the next day, decide that the UPS labels you haven't been using would fit the bill perfectly for above mentioned task.  Find the correct Avery template which is somehow already on your computer (note: Avery is the expensive brand), and print up labels. Which at this point are actually two giant labels with your address on them 15 times. 
5. Meanwhile, gather addresses from wedding invitation lists, church directories, mom, etc. Address envelopes. There are 147 to be exact. The addressing of the envelopes was done by hand, in blue.
6. Sign the letters. Also in blue, for the record. I am working a blue theme.
7. Make a plan for stuffing the envelopes. This may sound easy, but read on, friends.
8. Tri - fold the letters.
9. Cut the "labels" and attach to return envelopes. Really involved process but TOTALLY FREE. Thanks, UPS.
10. Meanwhile, actually way before all the above, order free business cards with the fundraising information on it (especially website where folks can donate and check training progress). Order a really cute blue design with flowers and girly design. Design the entire mailing around this card (my letters were printed on light blue paper, the insert was a little darker of the same blue, etc). Check out for your free cards. You get 250 and just pay shipping. They try to get you to get all this other stuff and they try to sell you the faster shipping, the shipping I paid for was 21 day delivery, I got the cards in about 5 days. $6.00 my friends.
11. Place the "donor card" with the return envelope - yet another piece to this growing puzzle.
12. Tri fold the return envelopes.
13. Stuff the letters, return envelopes, donor card and one business card into the pre-addressed envelopes. Leave open. The reason I have to leave them open is because I am including a little information card about LLS and Leukemia / Lymphoma with my letter. For credibility. And information. I won't get this card until my team meeting tomorrow because the nice folks at LLS brought the wrong item from the state LLS office in Columbia and since they are all about cost effectiveness, they don't ship these kinds of things. 
14. I added two steps, because (1) apparently I don't have enough to do, (2) I don't want the USPS to get mad at me for not having a return address (in case I have someone's address wrong) and (3) because EVERY MAILING FROM SARAH NEEDS SPARKLES. So the next step was to take MORE of the aforementioned UPS labels and create return address labels for the outside of my envelopes.  Note, I also used an Avery template for this. And these labels are smaller, 80 to a page. Means more cutting. Good times. So I printed those out and then affixed them to my almost completed mailing.
15. I decided at a little after 11 pm that I needed to add some sparkle, so I affixed a small sparkle smiley face sticker to the back of each envelope, in blue, of course. Te reinforce my theme and also because I guess I didn't really want to go to bed yet....???? Here's the coolest thing - I didn't want to use any other colors except blue and purple and I had just enough for all 147 envelopes. Man, it would seem like God has a plan! 
16. Last step, take to my team meeting and stuff with the information cards. Lick to seal and hand over to the LLS.  

For those of you who made it this far in my post, I did not do all those steps in one sitting. No, it took me about two weeks to get all this together. What with the husband, child, job, running, giving a baby shower, church, and laundry. 

Now, doesn't that seem a little much? Well, in my opinion, yes, yes it does, but it is well worth it. I was so proud of my achievement that I took pictures and then blogged about the experience...

At any rate. Yeah, the fatigue just hit me. So my team did 4 miles on Saturday but it was walking because I have had a bit of a cold and it makes for miserable and difficult breathing. But the weird thing about it was my legs started to hurt near the end of the third mile and so I felt like I needed to jog (so we did). I don't know about most people, but this urge doesn't happen often, but I felt better after I started moving a little faster, strange, huh? Maybe my body is adjusting. That would be nice. So we jogged the last little bit. I told my coach that the positive thing about that experience is that soon enough our warm up will be those first three miles and then we will want to jog/run the last 12, 15, 23, whatever. So it was good. 

That is all. Cheers.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pace getting faster?

So this morning I was t-i-r-e-d and really didn't want to get up to run. But I had two lovely ladies meeting me at 6 am and I was scared all night for some reason (utter fatigue maybe?) that I would miss our appointment (thus causing fitful sleep and exacerbating the utter fatigue). I made it on time to our appointed location and we set out. The weather was great, and after much silent cajoling with myself, we started trotting. The amazing thing about today was we did 3.6 miles (the last lap around the lake we walked) BUT our pace improved. I am constantly amazed that run-walking actually does improve your times, contrary to some people's thoughts on the matter (my husband for one). So it was good. I'm so glad the workout is done for the day, I might go to bed at 8 pm tonight...

In a completely unrelated train of thought, we watched Sarah Palin's speech last night and it ROCKED my socks off. That also might have something to do with my tiredment.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Giant Hill Goal

I ran today. By myself. It was a nice change and I did an OK pace too. I am too shy to post the pace but rest assured it was still rather slow. But I added a little extra to my route, .5 miles to be exact. .25 of that mile is a GIANT HILL. So my new goal is to Make it all the way up that huge hill running / trotting at least. I got half way this time. I'll keep you posted.

I might be able to make it farther up the hill if I hadn't saved it until the last leg of my route. I'll try that tomorrow.

Gotta Trot.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Grace and Movement

I have two random thoughts. They are:

(1) Today as I was working in the yard (thank you national holidays that we're not sure why we're off work but thankful anyhow), I was thinking about my upcoming fundraising letter, and trying to figure out how to make it "pop".  I was thinking about my motivation to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- why was I really doing it? And my thoughts turned to things that folks do "for charity" - one example is the television show "Extreme Home Makeover." The reason I like this show SO MUCH is that it is all about grace. Most folks don't "deserve" that new house, with all those fancy things. But abundance and mercy and charity are lavished on them. I'm not saying that raising my measly $2100 is lavish, or even amazing. But the money goes towards folks who are fighting cancer and who might only get a little taste of mercy and charity through the work of LLS. As a Christian, I ought to show mercy to everyone I come into contact with - as Christ did. Raising money through TEAM in Training just puts feet on that attitude and gives me a "real and present" opportunity to be reminded of the grace I have received from God. I challenge you to find the grace in your life (what God has given you freely) and then, out of gratitude in your heart, show some mercy to someone else. It is humbling and rewarding all at the same time.

(2) Running is good for your mind. I was reading in a running book about the good running does for us can be summed up in one word: Movement. If one stays still there isn't the opportunity to move forward (this is what some might call a VERY OBVIOUS statement). Movement is not just good for your physical well-being, it is also great for your mind, for mental dexterity. When you run, your thoughts just flow and come one after the other, and they move quickly. This is mostly the case for me (unless I am at the end of my run and/or a huge hill and all my fortitude must be focused on putting one foot in front of the other). I think that any kind of exercise is a great way to work out problems, let your mind "flow",  to come to crossroads and move forward,  and make decisions; however, running doesn't have a whole lot of "other" stuff you have to focus on like your equipment or a machine, or your teammates, etc. It's just you, your thoughts and the road.  

I shouldn't write this late at night. Probably the above two paragraphs seemed like good ideas a few hours ago but now my descriptions are rather stale.

In other news, I ran today and it was humid. I counted it a "victory" because at least I WENT OUT THERE. So get out there, and get trottin'! 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

busy times

I wish I could say that I was busy with my training. No, not exactly. I have only exercised once this entire week. I have been very busy at work - we are moving our offices and I am pretty excited about it because it will be lots closer to home and also where I work out, but it has been taking it out of me. Also, we have been very busy with new orders, which, again, is great and I am happy about that but it takes more energy than I remember. Also, I had a meeting this week for team in training to go over fundraising, and I spent the wee hours last night cranking out my letter. I'm pretty excited, and am pretty confident that I can raise the funds. 

And on Saturday, I have my first TEAM RUN! Yay. I got the email about it this afternoon and my coach said we were going to start off nice and slow. Easy and slow I think are the exact words she used. Sounds good to me since I am unfortunately having a little more pain in my left foot. So I am kind of glad that I have been taking it a little easy with the exercise. 

This is probably the most boring post ever, so I am going to stop now. Maybe the next time I will be full of wit and charm to make up for this one.  Happy Trottin'!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Injury and Miracle Healing

So last thursday I somehow hurt my foot - I had never had this kind of pain before but it seemed pretty serious, I didn't run any the rest of the week. I was pretty nervous, because the "formal" training hasn't even started. Well, I decided to just play it cool, and not worry too much about it. Well, I was at church yesterday morning, and I adjusted a bit while I was holding Benton and all of a sudden, my leg popped once, hurt like fire, then popped again. Well, then I was really worried. However, when we were leaving I noticed that MY LEG DIDN'T hurt anymore! I was so excited, the popping fixed it! So I got to go running again this morning! YAY. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Picking yourself back up

OK, so all I have to say is watching those young athletes compete in the Olympics is an AMAZING life lesson. When they fell, without blinking an eye, they got right back up and started again, smoothly, calmly, collectedly. I Love this. Whenever I make a mistake, I like to marinate in it, soak right up in those feelings of guilt and "if onlys". I'm not saying Alicia Sacromone (sp?) isn't experiencing a few of her own "if onlys" but the way that the automatic response was to pick right back up and get going again. Powerful. If we can all train ourselves to make our first response to be pick right up and move on, what better lives I think we could live.

I definitely have lived life with the "if onlys" and the "what ifs" and I am now slowly starting to realize that isn't a real quality life. The fact of the matter is, you cannot undo what you have already done or said. But you CAN control your response and what you do after that.

So instead of "IF ONLY my thighs weren't so large, I could run faster" how about:
"Wow, I bet my thighs are more toned than they were a month ago!" and

"IF ONLY I hadn't eaten that pizza last night" how about:
"I wonder what my heart would look like on the inside if I NEVER exercised at all?" and

"IF ONLY I didn't have to work out side the home I could go exercise any time I wanted." how about:
"Thank goodness I have a job that keeps me disciplined and on a schedule, and for forcing me to work out in the morning when it is cooler."

So those are some thoughts for the day. Change your mind, change your life. I am really starting to believe that is true. There is something to that "renewing your mind" that Paul talks about in Ephesians. Thank God that we have the Holy Spirit to be our helper in this journey, otherwise the changing of the mind would never be possible in the first place.

And finally, I did the 2.7 miles this morning. It was GREAT.