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All aboard!

15 Nov

This Fall has been jam packed! We’ve had so much going on with races, trips, events, work, etc…it has been insane. Good, but busy. So hard to believe that next week is already Thanksgiving…what happened? Where did 2010 go?

We have two more races on the agenda for the year. The Turkey Trot in Dallas on Thanksgiving morning, which is 8 miles. Then the 3rd of our 3 Fall half marathons, White Rock in Dallas on the first Sunday in December. We have several friends who are doing this race too, some of them registered for the full marathon! Gonna be a fun one, for sure.

But with everything bustling around us, there is a thought that keeps going through my mind and is usually accompanied with a reggae tune and the scent of coconut…

In t-minus 11 days, we will be boarding on OUR CRUISE and heading to the Caribbean for 5 whole nights! YES!!!

A very special weekend.

10 Nov

This past weekend’s trip up north was awesome. From laughing hysterically to sharing memories to finishing 13.1 in honor of Dad to shedding tears together – it was a fabulous and very special time. The healing continues.

Ryan summarizes it so well, I figured I’d just send you over to his blog to read about it here.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and for those who sent us encouraging texts, emails, and FB messages! I’ll leave you all with some pics.

Tomorrow we fly to Boston.

4 Nov

Tomorrow morning, we are getting up early to take the girls to Grandma’s and then Ryan and I will head to DFW to hop on a plane to Boston! This upcoming weekend is one that is sure to be special. A memory maker.

We are going to Manchester, NH to run in a half marathon. But not just any half marathon. My Dad was registered to run in this race…the last race he had registered for and one none of us could have ever imagined that he wouldn’t be here to run in. He & my sister did this race last year and both had registered to do it again. Here’s a pic of them last year that I absolutely love. It captures so much.

So we are all headed North to run it in his honor. In fact, my brother Kelly is going to pick up my Dad’s bib at the expo and run as Kip Clark. Knowing my Dad – he would love this and think its neat.

My Aunt Debbie (Dad’s sister) and her family live there and we will get to stay with them for the weekend. I look forward to spending time with them. My Dad loved visiting Boston and New Hampshire – he along with my sister Jen have told me all about it there and I can’t wait to see the sites and experience it for myself.

Its going to be a special weekend and one of celebration of my Dad’s life. I will post pics and details about the weekend and race day soon. But, in the mean time, we certainly appreciate your prayers…for my siblings, Ryan, and myself as we travel and as we run – no doubt, it will be the most emotional race we’ve done.

en-cour-age

19 Oct


I’m feeling good. Not too hot, gentle breeze, endorphins pumping…it’s race day. My iPod is filled with a wide array of awesome tunes courtesy of my husband working on the “ultimate running mix” for hours the night before. I had an awesome pasta dinner and a great night’s sleep. I was sporting my Garmin watch, my favorite shorts, my Saucony’s, and my Dad’s yellow “Livestrong” bracelet that he wore at races (see below). Things are looking good for these 13.1 miles I was about to log. I was ready.

As I made my way along the course of the Tyler Rose Half, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Go Traci!” a few times and see some familiar faces along the side of the roads waving and cheering us on. At about mile 8, a point where my legs usually start feeling tired, there were two cute little girls standing outside of their house on the curb giving out high fives to those who ran by, so I gladly took them up on their offer. They looked to be about my girls’ age, and I needed that sweet encouragement at the time! It’s amazing how much of an impact the smiles and cheers from the spectators makes on runners. It’s most definitely appreciated! Then, as I turned the final corner downtown and headed towards the finish line, I see my cute husband standing there smiling at me. I love, love, love this part of the run. Knowing he’s there waiting for me always pushes me to finish strong! Of course, I ended the run with a huge high five to the sky – my Dad’s life will always be an encouragement to me.

Ever since this race, I’ve been pondering on the word, encouragement. It’s so simple really. Webster defines encourage as follows:

The spectators along the course were an encouragement to me that day. My race was definitely made better because of them! My family and friends are an encouragement to me every day. I feel truly blessed to have people in my life who spur me on. They inspire me with courage and for that, I am so grateful.

On the course of life, it’s made so much easier & definitely more motivating to continue on when you have people like that around you. People who will cheer you on when you are down. People who will attempt to persuade you to stay on course. People who will walk beside you to help give you hope. Jesus was the ultimate example of this. We should strive to encourage those around us daily, we are a team after all. And there are so many ways you can do this! I genuinely hope that you have people that surround you that provide this source of strength for you! Again, it’s so very simple – but so very important.

I’ve set a goal, starting this week, to do something intentional to encourage someone else at least once each day. Whether it be my husband, my children, a friend, or a stranger. Because you just never know who might be ready to give up, and just a simple smile and a wave might be just the encouragement they need to keep going. Will you join me in this?

10.10.10

11 Oct

Yesterday, we ran the first of our three half marathons for this year. The Tyler Rose Marathon. This was the first official marathon event ever here to be held here in big ole Tyler,Texas. They usually have the half every year, but this is the first time they’ve had a full. It was a big deal! This race was also a Boston qualifier event. Started and finished downtown on the square. Very neat.

My friend Alison from Lubbock did the full and she rocked it, finishing all 26.2 on the very hilly course! I had several friends participate in the half and the 5k as well. I am proud of all of them! Laura Jenz, I told you that you could do it! Ryan did awesome, as usual. His pace was 7:45…which, in case you aren’t aware is VERY fast! I ended with a pace of 9:47, which is a big deal for me to break a 10 minute pace. We were both pleased!

It was a tough course with a lot of hills and the sun was beating down warming things up a bit, especially towards the end of the run. I was appreciative of those along the course there cheering us on! It was a fun run and a neat experience, right here in our hometown. I loved it.

High five to the sky!

Next up….Manchester Half Marathon on 11.7.10! Can’t wait to go to Boston!

This weekend…

8 Oct

Busy weekend coming up! Tonight is our Date Night Co-op. On Ryan & I’s agenda for a date tonight? Run 5 miles at the trails, cook chicken lettuce wraps, then end the night at Andy’s for a pumpkin pie concrete…delish! Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Tomorrow is the Grand Opening event at Brown’s Landing, so I’ll be working there. Excited about this new venture! It’s been a great first week, by the way. Loving my new job and the girls are loving their new school! Back to Saturday…Ryan has a studio mix session that afternoon with a band he recorded live recently. Tomorrow night, we are looking forward to hanging out with the Blalock’s! Alison is coming all the way from Lubbock to run in the FULL marathon this weekend. We are going to Joe’s to get carb-loaded before the race with them.

Sunday is race day! This will be the first of three half marathons Ryan & I are registered this Fall. We went this afternoon to pick up our race packets. So exciting. Have I told you how much I love running?!

Night away in the big D.

27 Sep

Ryan & I left the kids and escaped away to Dallas this weekend! My friend Loretta was getting married Saturday night, so we decided to go see her & enjoy a night away. We headed out and drove straight to Chuy’s for lunch. Obviously we couldn’t focus on getting anything else done in Dallas without going there first and consuming massive amounts of creamy jalapeno dip. YUM. I couldn’t be more excited that we are getting one here in Tyler!!! That rumor better be true or else I will be highly upset.

Anyways, after lunch we went to the Apple store to check out the new shuffles, which are very cool. Didn’t get one, don’t need one…just went to admire. Then, we headed over to Luke’s Locker. Such a cool place. There is something inspiring about going to running stores! Got some shoe recommendations and Ryan got a flashy light to wear when he runs in the dark. Next on the list…Central Market. The grocery store of all grocery stores. This place amazes me. The produce aisle is unbelievable. They also have a great wine selection. And a whole aisle dedicated to granola, are you kidding me? Are we weird that we love going to grocery stores while out of town? We are foodie dweebs.

Saturday night was the wedding and it was much fun. It was at the Biblical Museum of Art, which was interesting. Great to see Loretta and meet her man! We stayed the night with my cousin Danny & his wife Kelly at their new place in Las Colinas. Always good to see them…I love my cousins!

Then, Sunday morning, Ryan and I got up and ran at White Rock Lake. My Dad always tried to go run ten miles around White Rock every year for his birthday. Since his birthday is this coming Thursday, we decided we’d run around the lake while we were there in his honor. Perfect weather for our run. It was overcast and cool, with a slight breeze. When we started the run, I looked across the beautiful lake as the sun was rising and my emotions overcame me. I burst into tears. I so longed for Dad to be running his birthday run with us. I miss him so bad. I thought of him the entire time. I prayed that my life would be meaningful, like his was. I prayed that I would make a difference and make my life count, like he did. I imagined God calling Dad over and saying, “Kip, I want you to see something” as he pushed back a cloud to show him us running. That made me smile to think of Dad watching me. It was a great run physically, but tough emotionally. We finished with a high five to the sky and a few more tears.

We headed back, stinky & sweaty, for our normal Sunday lunch in Quitman and to pick up our babies. Great night away with my love!

13.1 miles, done. Now 26.2?

14 Sep

This past Sunday morning, Ryan & I got up early to run 13 miles. With three half-marathons coming up this Fall, we had to prove to ourselves that we could do it again. It was awesome! Ryan blogged about it here. There is something so satisfying about completing the amount of miles you set out to complete. If its 3, it feels good to complete 3. If its 13, it feels great to complete 13. Running is such a mental game! There are days when I plan to go 5 , and when I get to 5 I am d-o-n-e. But when I set out to go further, I can. I have to predetermine how far I’m going in advance. I have to have a goal, or I’ll sell myself short and end up stopping.

After our run Sunday, Ryan was talking crazy talk. I think he was suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain or something. He said we should plan to do a full marathon next year. What? Like double what we just ran? Like 26.2 miles? You have no idea how much that scares me! But yes, he was serious. In fact, he suggested we do the full at White Rock THIS December, instead of the half. Or maybe wait and do the Austin Marathon next February. Either way, it freaks me out! But, I do however have a strong desire to complete a full marathon in my life. I just keep putting it off and putting it off because half’s are such a challenge for me! I guess I keep thinking it will get easier to run 13…but it doesn’t. I know Ryan can do 26. And he says I can do it too. Yikes! Maybe I can? I’m giving it some serious thought. Am I crazy? Should I go for it? Maybe if I tell myself I’m going 26, I can complete 26? Other runners…which marathon do you suggest for a first timer?

Fall-tastic

1 Sep

As I ran at the trails this past Sunday morning, I noticed that a few leaves had already fallen off the trees. It made me smile…Fall is just around the corner people and I can not wait! I heart Fall. I do believe its my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the temperatures, the holidays, football, food, races…I love it all! The changing of the seasons always reminds me of how big God is – and how extremely creative He is. The ultimate artist, for sure!

We have a lot of stuff going on this upcoming season. Good stuff. The Dixon iCal is getting filled up! The next few months emotionally will be tough for my family – with Dad’s birthday coming up, my parent’s anniversary, the holidays without him, and running without him in races we’ve all done together in the past. Everything that is a “first without him” is tough. Definitely will be a hard season, as it has been a hard year. Incredibly grateful to have so many wonderful memories with him. And I am thankful we have some good stuff going on – and things to look forward to. Dad would want us to make the most of this beautiful season (he loved Fall too) and live life to the fullest – so I will try to do just that!

Some things coming up that I’m excited about are…

1. Going to Lubbock Labor Weekend to see old friends (leaving tomorrow actually – yay)

2. Joining a new downtown Women’s Bible study group

3. Attending a friends wedding in Dallas – a night away for me & Ryan!

4. Celebrating both of my brother’s, my sister’s, Ryan’s, and Kam’s birthdays

5. Running in 3 half marathons in 3 consecutive months & the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day

6. Ryan’s brother Ross coming to Texas and our camping trip to Beaver’s Bend

7. Trip to Boston & New Hampshire

8. Thanksgiving & Christmas

9. CRUISE

10. Several baby showers for dear friends

The Uphill Battle

16 Aug

Yesterday, I went out for my long run for the week. I was actually really looking forward to this run. Sometimes you dread it, sometimes you are pumped up. This particular morning, I was pumped & ready to attack the 8 miles ahead of me. I woke up before my alarm clock (rare), threw on my running clothes, pulled my hair back, grabbed a bottle of water and headed out while my husband and kids were snuggly and sleeping away in bed. I walked up the road, stretched, took a sip of water, hit play on the ipod, start on my garmin and took off.

Nice and slow, I had determined I was going to enjoy this run. And I did. There are hardly any cars on the road at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. Very peaceful. I did pass an occasional person walking their dog or other runners here and there. Tyler really is a beautiful place. I love running here. There was a slight breeze and it really wasn’t unbearably hot yet. Great run.

It wasn’t hard until the very end – when I got to the big…no, make that the HUGE hill. We like to name hills on our running routes. Usually if someone we know lives near the hill, we dub it with that person’s name. In Quitman, there is Wilson Hill and Cates Mountain. Here in Tyler, we have Death Mountain- 1/4 mile uphill by a cemetery. Well, Death Mountain was in the last stretch of my 8 miler. And it inspired this blog post.

As I approached this hill (or what really feels like a mountain after 7 1/2 miles), I took a few deep breaths before I started uphill. I focused my eyes, leaned my body forward and went for it. I have found that if I keep looking up ahead, I see how far I still have to go uphill and it discourages me. However, if I focus on a just few feet ahead of me the whole time, before I know it, I’ve made it all the way. The hills tend to slow my pace down some, but that’s OK. After I get up to the top, I regulate my breathing again, take a drink and finish out the run strong…all the while thinking, I just killed that mountain! And I’m going to be stronger because of it.

Isn’t this how life is really? We have mountains to climb and they are absolutely tiring, and hard to get over. Life is hard. There are many ups and downs, no doubt.  The older I get, the more I realize this. But the good news for us is that God promises to never give us anything we can’t bear…and He gives us the strength to get uphill. We don’t have to go at it alone. If we stay focused on Him and not look at how far we have left to climb, we will be over the hill before we know it. He is using the mountains to mold us and grow us…making us better runners in this race of life.

I have experienced many hills in life. But the death of my Dad has been the hugest mountain by far for my family and I. One that we are still climbing and stumbling on. It’s hard, I’m not gonna lie. There are times we are out of breath, don’t know how to go on, and want to quit. But through prayers, encouragement, and love, we press on. And I know, because we press on and press into God, we will be stronger because of it.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13