27 May 2012

My First Citizen Watch

Yesterday I returned from a 7-day Carnival cruise of the Western Caribbean. The extravagant vacation was to celebrate my paternal grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. I am so happy for those two love birds! It was wonderful to see the family!

8 years ago my dad bought a super spiffy watch onboard a cruise as his big souvenir to mark the trip. On this cruise my grandpa and I both bought new watches. I'd been needing a nice watch for a couple years now, and I'd budgeted the money for a souvenir, so I bought my first Citizen watch. It's brilliant - I love checking the time, haha! Here is what I got:

15 May 2012

Be the CEO of You, Incorporated

I just read this great article from Dave Ramsey about how to be the CEO of You, Incorporated. Ramsey poses the question, "if you were your own company (which you are, really), would your current money habits make you an attractive hire?" Thought I'd share:


10 May 2012

YAWERS & Before I Go to Sleep

Since my East Orlando Twenty-Something Book Club has pretty much fizzled out like a dud of a firework I have I joined a new and very-much-alive book club. It is called YAWERS. It's pronounced ya-ers. It's an acronym which stands for "YAY! Adults Who Enjoy Reading Still!" It is not to be confused with yawners: this group has chosen several of my top favorite picks (I like to think I have pretty good tastes), numerous renowned titles that I've been meaning to read, and some up-and-coming reads which are gathering momentum.

Last month one of the books up for the running to be the month's book was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson.

Yesterday I finished Storm of Swords, Book III of A Song of Fire & Ice by George R. R. Martin, and, since I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket book, I stopped by Barnes & Noble to do some browsing and pick up a new novel. I walked out with Before I Go to Sleep, along with H. G. Well's The Time Machine & The Invisible Man, but that's beside the point.

I read the opener of Before I Go to Sleep last night and was captivated. Today I've been nearly constantly thinking about the story and what will happen and what it would be like to be Christine. I'm already a huge fan.

I'll post more thoughts after I finish the book. I expect I'll finish the book this weekend (even with the move!).

07 May 2012

TSRS 7/7: ZKS Winter Park 10K


Several Saturday's ago was the seventh and final race of the Track Shack's Running Series: the Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe Winter Park 10K in Winter Park, Florida!

Here is a snap shot of my race results:

Nike+ offers some neat stuff for runs. Here is a map of the route (with start, finish and mile markers):

 Here are some details of the run (the blue lines represent my pace throughout the race; I'm not sure how the Instant Pace works since my pace was actually 8'42"/mile):

Here is a graphic of my average pace throughout the race:

And here are my mile splits (blegh, Mile 4 was rough, apparently):

It wasn't my best 10K. In fact, the start of the race was one of the worst I've had: (1) late start because the lines for the port-o-potties were insane; since it was chip timed and a 6-mile race I decided to wait in line, (2) because of my late start I had to pass hordes of walkers and slower-paced runners, (3) I didn't get too much sleep the night before, and (4) I didn't eat a proper pre-race breakfast. Despite all of that, I was only 1'38" off of my best 10K time (52'13"), and it was still a heap of fun! Plus, my friends, Felix & Jordan, ran the race with me! It was a lot of fun having them along to catch up with after the race. They did really well!

So, a recap of the series, play-by-play: after the first race I was sitting fairly well in 7th place in the series for my age group (Women 19-24) because I came in 7th place in the race. After the second race, I was sitting pretty in 4th place in the series because I took 3rd place in the race. After the third race, I was still sitting in 4th place, and I was okay with that. I injured my back and had to sit out of the fourth race; this dropped me down to 6th place. After the fifth race, I bumped up to 5th place in the series, and after the sixth race, I was back in 4th place. Finally, after the seventh race, I landed in 5th place in the series for my age group. My goal was to finish in the top 10, so I'm quite happy with my results!

And that wraps it up for my first running series! I can hardly wait to register for the 2012-2013 series come July-ish! Thanks for all of your support and for tuning in to see how it went!

06 May 2012

First Group Bike Ride

This morning I had the pleasure of going for my first group ride with the new bike. I met up with a couple friends from the tri group at Lake Baldwin. We did a lap around the lake, then ventured onto Cady Way. What a great route! I can't wait to see more of it. It was a lot of fun to ride with friends and to help them become comfortable on a road bike. Afterwards we grabbed Subway together and had some delicious cookies! Here are a few photos from the ride:

Colleen and her new Specialized!

Yours truly and my new Cannondale

tri girls

the trio of riders this morning

02 May 2012

Hello, Triathlon

After a 7-year hiatus, I'm getting back into triathlon. With my swimming background, my having become very much a runner, and my re-found love of cycling, I'm back at triathlon with a passion!

I picked up new swim gear last week: fins, spare googles, spare cap, new suit.

I was torn between purple and blue; I ended up going with the blue one

I'm only 150ish miles into my Brooks running shoes, so I'm set on gear for running.

Now the fun news: yesterday I got myself set up for cycling! (Fun fact: I paid for everything in CASH (thanks, Dave Ramsey)!)

My new baby is a 2012 Cannondale Synapse Women's Alloy 6 Tiagra!
I had sold Sunny (my old Felt F70 from 2004) and all gear a year ago, so I had to get the works:

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD) M520 pedals in black
Specialized Women's Spirita Road Shoes in black
Cannondale IQ200 11 Function Wireless Computer
Camelbak Podium Chill 610 mL insulated water bottle
Camelbak Podium Big Chill 750mL insulated water bottle
Specialized Mini Wedgie saddle bag in white and black
Specialized Align helmet in white
Orange Cycle aluminum bottle cages
Tire levers
Spare tire tube
CO2 tire inflator

Now I just need to choose a name for the bike...

PS - the folks at Orange Cycle are phenomenal. Incredibly knowledgable, friendly, honest, and personable. Their reputation preceded them, and I didn't even bother looking around at other bike shops. I have no regrets about my decision to do business with Orange Cycle. Bonus: they are super dog-friendly. Heidi helped me pick out the bike, waited patiently while I did my test rides, and was there all throughout the experience of shopping for gear and the bike fitting. She was so well-behaved and just soaked up all the attention! I am such a proud doggy mommy!

Dave Ramsey LIVE!

This is another post about something that happened a while back, but I felt it still worthy of posting, so here goes.

On St. Patrick's Day I took advantage of the opportunity to see Dave Ramsey LIVE! at UCF. A year ago, in February of 2011, I began taking control of my finances using Dave's Debt Snowball program. Let me tell you, it has made a WORLD of difference. I've paid off $13+ in debt since I started applying his practices to my wallet.

So, I'd been sticking to my budget and being smart with my money for a year or so, and I figured that attending this financial seminar could only help to keep my momentum going. So I went. I thought it was really cool that Dave only accepted DEBIT cards for online plastic purchases! Way to practice what you preach, Dave!

The seminar was set from 1-6 on a Saturday afternoon. Holy moly - 5 HOURS? Really? Really. It went by incredibly fast; it felt like I was only there for maybe 2 hours. Dave is a super energetic, down-to-earth, straight-forward guy. He's easy to listen to and knows his stuff. He also has a sense of humor: he opened the seminar with a statement to the effect of "when you leave here you will walk out thinking, 'man - I knew all that; and I PAID him!'"

Throughout Dave's seminar he outlined key concepts of the Debt Snowball program, provided financial statistics (that weren't skewed or taken out of context), and pointed out how society behaves (and how past generations behaved) when it comes to money. Did you ever pick up on the notion that your grandparents acted as if incurring debt was a SIN? Now Visa backs the Hasbro financial game, Monopoly; the game no longer has paper cash - instead it has plastic credit cards and a swipe machine. I was shocked to learn that, and grateful that I have the vintage cash version of the board game.

The seminar was a great experience and reminder of why I'm taking control of my money. I HIGHLY recommend attending one of his live events if you get the chance to do so.

PS - the book that got me started is "The Total Money Makeover." Check it out. You can thank me later.

Beachmania Half Marathon

This post is for an outdated event, but I wanted to get it on my blog. Back on Sunday, 4 March 2012 I ran my 4th half marathon: the Charlie Alewine Beachmania Half Marathon along Huntington Beach in California.

My training paid off as I dropped my time to run 13.1 miles from 2:10'22" to 1:56'56" (14' improvement). 

The event was SUPER low-key; only some 30 participants. Charlie keeps things intimate. There were no mile markers, no fancy start or finish lines, no chips - just a good, ole, plain race. It was an out-n-back along Huntington Beach. It was a great race!

It was an especially fun event because I got to do the race with my mom! = )

jumping after the race

with Charlie Alewine at the refreshment station after the race