A brand new place to stay in Nashville

A few months ago when my fiance and I purchased a new house, we were given the idea to turn our extra building, which at the time was a 17’x17′ shed, into a tiny house.


What a great idea! The wheels started rolling and we were ready to go.  Fast forward several weeks and we found someone who was willing to take on the job.  We had a few days in between the deciding date and the start date, and in that time, our new contractor called and mentioned a new idea that he had.  A shipping crate.  He had it on his property and it had already been started. He’d insulate it, build it up just like a house.

Ashley passed on the info and I told her she was nuts. NO WAY. That sounds horrendous.


I listened to the schpiel, though, and I slowly began to fall into the trap…. this may be a good idea!  We didn’t know how old our building was, we didn’t know what kind of condition it was in, and if we started working on it and found any problems, it could cost a whole LOT of extra money.

We gave our guy the go-ahead, and agreed to let him build us a house out of a shipping crate!  He got to work immediately and has been sending us photos along the way.  In the photos below we can see how well it’s insulated, and we can see the electrical work. We also had him wire it for a stackable washer and dryer in case we want to add that someday. That way it’s all done and we don’t have to go back in and destroy any walls!

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Well, it’s June 23 and our building has been destroyed…and let me point out it was fairly easy to destroy… it crumbled once the plywood was off.  As you can see here, the cinder blocks are not in good shape.  Our shipping crate house, which our contractors Cary and his brother Matt are mostly finishing at Cary’s place, will be delivered on Monday (update: Wednesday!) and will hopefully be ready to rent out by July 3!

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More updates coming soon!


Leukemia and Lymphoma

I have been training for the Knoxville Triathlon for a few months now. In the midst of all that I am also doing the Daily Burn “videos” that Bob Harper puts out. They have a promotion going on right now where you can get about 60 days free before you have to sign up. I highly recommend them… The videos are tough but I love them! I have missed a few days because I let life get in the way, but when I do them like I am supposed to, I feel a whole lot better! I have more energy, I feel more fit, and I am overall a much happier person!  I really believe these Daily Burn workouts are helping me with my training. They are short and sweet but they get my heart rate up and I’m not a sweater…but I am during these!

Anyway, my goal right now is the Knoxville Triathlon in May. I am doing this for fun and also to raise money for those who need it most.

Check out my fundraising page please and read about my story. 🙂  Every little bit helps. Please help me get to my goal!

As marathon day gets closer…

My running career began in 7th grade with track, which I despised. Running in circles is boring! In high school I ran cross country all four years and finally began to appreciate running. I enjoyed both the company and the scenery.

I believe this photo is from my senior year.

I made and developed some life-long friendships out on those courses. I cut back on running while in college, naturally, but when I moved to the Nashville area in 2006, a year after graduating, I picked it up again. I lived out in the country in Greenbrier, TN. I had an easy two mile route from my front door to the stop sign, which was four miles round trip. I signed a friend up to sing in the 2007 Country Music Marathon and decided to sign up to run my first half marathon since I was already guaranteed the support of a good friend along the course. By the way – one of the most amazing feelings in the world is hearing your best friend cheer for you through a microphone while running a half marathon! My other motivation to sign up for this half was knowing that my dad had done the Ironman Triathlon five times, so my thoughts were “if he can do that, I can do this.” My time for that race was 2:26. After that I was addicted. Two years later I did the same race and my time was 2:25. Talk about consistent! My best time for a half marathon was 2:13 in Indianapolis when I first ran the Indy Mini Marathon in 2013. I have now done 7 half marathons and I am one of those people who could buy that bumper sticker that says “13.1…cause I’m only half crazy!”

That time will come to an end on Sunday, though.

If you would like to track me on Sunday in the Chicago Marathon, text 23360 to 37619. You’ll get text messages when I cross check points, about every 6.2 miles (once you send the text you should receive a message back confirming that you are signed up). 🙂 I do not have a time goal for this race because I have been advised not to set a time goal for my first marathon. Everyone says if you set a time goal and you don’t meet it, you will be disappointed. Call me crazy, but I believe there is no reason to run a marathon and be disappointed!

Just a few stats:
· History of the marathon: In 490 B.C. Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon and passed away just after yelling “Victory!”. Twenty six miles and 385 feet was the random distance chosen for the 1908 London Games; this has now become the customary distance of the marathon. The race began on the East Terrace at Windsor Castle and ended about 26 miles away at the Olympic Stadium in West London. The runners ended at the opposite end of the stadium from the royal entrance and in order to enhance the view for the queen and others, ran clockwise for 385 yards to the royal box, thus resulting in 26.2 miles.
· The first Chicago Marathon, which started at 8 am on September 25, 1977, was called “the Mayor Daley Marathon,” named after the mayor. The entry fee was $5 and about 4,200 runners made it the largest marathon in the entire world.
· Today, up to 45,000 people run this race and the entry fee is $175.00. They cap off the entry to the race at this point. There are on average 1.7 million spectators along the course (I won’t get lonely!)
· There are two groups (waves) at the start. I’m in the second one that starts at 8:00 am (central time).
· My dad ran his first marathon when he was 34 years old – it was the Chicago Marathon. Sunday he will be running his 7th marathon at age 68.
· The cut-off time is 6 hours and 30 minutes. Anyone who finishes after this time won’t be counted. Fifteen minutes after the last runner crosses each mile marker, they begin opening streets back up.
· The course goes through 29 different neighborhoods of the city and it is known for being flat (yay!)
· I signed up for this last year and then got very sick so I was unable to train for it. My dad had signed up too, and ran it despite having bronchitis. His time was 6:07.

A marathon is something I NEVER thought I would do but I couldn’t be more excited to be doing this with my dad and my girlfriend. Ashley and I are leaving Nashville tomorrow night to fly to Chicago. Saturday we will attend the race expo and on Sunday evening we will each be able to say “I ran a marathon this morning.”

My dad during the marathon portion of his first Kona Ironman in 1983.


Cedars of Lebanon Triathlon, May 17

It was 1997 and I was a week away from turning 13. I cannot recall the exact temperature but from what I do remember, it was a comfortable, sunny day and I felt honored that my dad was allowing me to do a triathlon with him. I had done plenty of swimming and biking despite my young age, but not a whole lot of running unless it was to chase after something. Either way, I was fresh and full of energy.

I made it through the race and finished a few minutes before my dad.

A few weeks after the race I received a medal in the mail. As it turns out, I had won a medal for getting first place in the 12 and under age group. “What did you get, dad?” He still remembers my obnoxious question. I won something and I was proud of it.

Fast forward 16 years and here I am doing another triathlon. Ashley had asked me for weeks to do the Lebanon Triathlon with her and I refused, stating that I wanted to watch her do another one before I committed to doing one myself. However, to my surprise, the opportunity popped up and I found out two days before race day that I needed to be ready because I was doing it also.

Ashley was in charge of setting everything out the night before our race. I was nervous enough; the last thing I needed was to forget something that was essential to my getting through the day.

I did pay attention to what she did, though; she broke it down into sports. I’ll try to remember everything we had that day. There is a list in the triathlon book I am reading but it has a few extra items I am unable to identify so they were clearly not necessary. 🙂

Before the race:
-Tri-suit (or swim suit)
-Sports bra
-Flip flops
-Sweatshirt and sweatpants (because it was 45 degrees)
-Water bottle

-Swim cap

-Sweatshirt (because it was 50 degrees)
-Water bottle
-Bike shorts if not wearing a tri suit


Optional: some people will want to wear their watches as well… I on the other hand don’t have one nor do I think I need one since I seem to do just fine without. Be sure to have air in your bike tires as well…get the bike ready a day or two in advance.

I felt (and slept) better knowing that Ashley had prepared everything for me so I didn’t have to worry or risk forgetting something. The morning of the race was fairly easy since everything had been laid out the night before. We arrived at the state park about 30 minutes before bikes had to be in transition, then set our bikes where they needed to be. We set everything out according to the order in which we would complete each sport. I had the honor of wearing a brand new tri suit so I didn’t have to worry about wearing a swim suit and dealing with bike shorts later. I wore my flip flops and long sleeves/pants to the race, I put my socks in my running shoes (I bike in my running shoes), my sunglasses with my helmet and my towel in front for easy access. My hat was in back so I could grab it before I started running.


A few minutes before 8:00 we left our warm clothes (I really had to psych myself up for that) and headed over to the pool area. By this time it was still about 50 degrees out, not much of a breeze which was nice, but we were standing on the concrete around the pool which caused our feet to be numb after about 15 minutes. The race director asked us to line up in numerical order, made a few announcements and let us know that we would be starting about 3 seconds after the swimmer in front of us. 6-10 people would stand in the water at a time, waiting for their turn to start the swim. The director also mentioned that we were allowed to move back in line but not forward. Since Ashley and I were 100 numbers apart, she moved back and started around 210 since I was 216. This way we would finish swimming closer to each other and possibly be able to do the rest of the race together (she promised she would do my first one with meJ ).

As I stood on the pool deck (concrete) I tried to keep my blood circulating by moving my feet a bit. It didn’t work too well since the concrete was so cold, but it made me feel better knowing I was doing what I could to warm up a little.


As we got closer to the pool, I remember Ashley glancing back at me, and I realized this was it. We really had to do this. I had heard people saying earlier that the pool water felt decent since it was warmer than the outside temperature, so I had my hopes up. The tall, athletic-looking woman directly in front of me in line was covered in goose bumps as she told me that she had recently become a triathlete. She said her main passion is biking but she had recently picked up swimming. She said she ran only when she had to. This gave me the idea that I may catch her during the swim, but since this was my first time swimming with others in several years, I had hoped she would be fast and I wouldn’t have to worry about passing her.

It was time to get in. I tried not to think about it too much; all I had going through my head was that there were hundreds of other people doing this also, and they all seemed to be fine, so I shouldn’t have any trouble. I eased my way in, and although it was certainly cold, it was not completely unbearable. Every three seconds, another swimmer took off. Ashley pushed off the wall and began her swim. I moved up in line as I waited for my own turn. I got about half of my body under water and decided the rest would be forced to get in when I no longer had a choice.

The lady in front of me took off and I waited for them to say “216….go.” I went under water and pushed off the wall with both feet. The water was certainly cold but still not unbearable, or so I thought. I made it down to the end of the pool. I just had to do that three more times. Breathing was quickly becoming difficult and I had to breathe every two strokes rather than every three as I usually do. My oxygen level was so low that I started to hyperventilate. I quickly convinced myself that I was okay and I just needed to keep moving even if I had to slow down. How had everyone else made this look so easy while I was watching from the side? I wasn’t entirely sure whether I was breathing that way because I was freezing or if it was due to nerves. Either way, I got through it somehow and finished my swim.

I walked a few steps before I started running (slowly) to transition. Once I got to my area, I dried off quickly and started layering; sweatshirt, socks and shoes, helmet and sunglasses. I headed out for my 10 mile bike. It was a slightly hilly 5 mile loop that we had to repeat once.

My body would not warm up. My hands and feet were extremely cold and uncomfortable and I still had a hard time breathing. I managed to keep Ashley within eyesight as I made it through the 10 miles. As I finished my second loop, I dismounted before the green line as instructed. Although I knew every second counted, I was too cold and stiff to run. I walked my bike over to my place in transition and took my helmet off. I proudly put on “my Da Bears hat,” slowly worked my way into a jog as I merged through the transition exit with Ashley by my side and headed out for the third and final part of the race. Running was hard. Our legs were stiff and our feet were in pain since they were so cold and still wet. We walked/jogged through the two miles and tried our best to just get through it.


The good thing is that it wasn’t a dull course and there were plenty of other triathletes suffering around us! The run was a loop also, mostly through the campground area of the state park, so the scenery was pretty and there were plenty of people around.

As we ran up the very last hill, with about 200 m left, a lady heading out on her run yelled for the man beside us and said “great job, dad!” This made me think of all the races I have done with my dad and how encouraging it is that he does races with me! It was exactly what I needed to get through the last bit of the run.

We made it up the last hill, turned toward the finish and made it through!


It felt so good to stop running but it only took about 30 seconds before I was immediately freezing.

We were not able to get into the transition area yet since the last runner had not gone out of there yet, but luckily we had been thinking ahead. We packed a bag of warm clothes and we gave it to Kim, who came to support us. We were able to change clothes and it felt good to have dry pants on, but I had forgotten my sweatshirt. I was so cold that I had a hard time eating the food they had out for the triathletes. We were offered drinks that I was too cold to hold. I figured out a place to set a drink, however, when I found out we each received two cans of Rammer Jammer, an Alabama beer that I quickly fell in love with.

Although I put up a big fight when I was originally asked to do this triathlon, I have to say I am very happy that the opportunity to do this race was placed in my lap. I had a hard time due to the lack of training and the bitter cold temperatures, but once I was finished (and warm), I realized how much I had enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait to see the results and photos, and I couldn’t wait to hang up my finisher’s medal at home because I was proud of my accomplishment even though I didn’t win anything for my age group this time. 🙂