Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My 4th 5k ~ Go Girl Run

May 25, 2013 ~ Well today was going to mark my 4th 5k this year. The Go Girl Run would consist of a 1/2 marathon starting at 7:00 am and a 5k starting at 7:15 am..... I would be doing the later one. My life is busy (as many of you know) and between races I don't do anything.... I don't train, I don't jog and I don't eat the best. I eat the things I want but in moderation. I always try to choose a healthier option when I can but I'm not gonna lie.... I love a good ol' burger. On this challenge to get a little healthier I am doing things at my pace. I signed up for my first 5k on April 6, 2013 (The Glow Run) and surprised myself at what I could do. I didn't worry about a time but rather focused on not giving up. In this short month and a half I have again surprised myself with each race I have beat my previous time. My goal on the first two was to complete them in under 45 minutes which I was able to do. My third 5k I just wanted to complete in under 40 minutes which I did.

My accountability partner is Elizabeth Tate. We have decided that we have to hold each other accountable because it's so easy to just stay in bed at 6:00 am on a race day. We both feel if we pay to do this then we have to complete it.... rain or shine! (We have both done a 5k in the rain) It's amazing to see how many people you know also participating in the 5k's. This is Cara Christianson and she is participating in her 8th 1/2 marathon.... You Go Girl! Elizabeth and I know that we aren't even close to doing a 1/2 marathon but it's something that we want to maybe look at next year.

Many people have asked if I speed-walk/jog/run with anyone. My answer is always no. It's not because I don't want to but rather it's easier for me to go at my own pace and cool down when I need to and pick up the pace when I feel I need to. Currently I don't listen to music and all I have is an app that I downloaded on my phone called "Map My Run". At miles 1, 2 and 3 a voice will come on and tell you what mile you are at and what your pace is which is nice to hear. I also pick someone who is pacing at a good speed (not too fast and not too slow) and follow them. If they fall behind me then I pick someone else until I find someone that I can keep up with.

My goal for this 5k was to complete in under 40 minutes. I found a lady around mile 2 that I could pace. I felt good, my knees felt good and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself too hard but hard enough. Ended up we crossed the finish line together! (She was just a little ahead of me but I gave her a high-five when we finished!) You can't imagine the feeling of crossing a finish line, hearing your name on the loud speaker and seeing all the people waiting to cheer you on as you round the corner.... truly amazing! I did it!

I was proud.... I had no clue at what my time was but I felt that I was able to jog about 85% of the time and speed walk to cool down the remaining time. Elizabeth had finished just before me and was waiting for me. We were given wine glasses as our finishing gift and that was the best tasting water! Cheers! 

After I cooled down for a moment (this ol' girl was hot!) I went over to get my results printed out.....

Awesome!!! I was so excited to see that I completed this 5k in 35:44:84! What an accomplishment! This would be my best time yet!

The official results are found here by age....

Basically the cool part is:
Total number of finishers: 517
Total number of females: 481
Total number of males: 36
Average time: 38:26

My personal statistics:
My age currently is 36
I finished at number 6 out of 12 in my age bracket
I placed 251 overall
I placed 31 of 75 in my division (35-39 year olds)
I placed 227 out of 481 in the female division

Not too bad for an out of shape girl! A huge congratulations to everyone who participated in either the 5k or the 1/2 marathon, cheered people on, volunteered and helped to put this event together! What a huge success! 

I found these pictures of Elizabeth and I before the race....
If you look in the crowd you will see Elizabeth's blonde hair sticking up! 

This was the only "before" picture of me... 
If you see the guy in the front right side of the photo... that's my face over his left shoulder!

Elizabeth crossing the finish line! You Go Girl! 

 These pictures cracked me up... it wasn't pretty and I was pushing pretty hard but so was this woman. I paced her for the last mile and gave her a huge high-five when we crossed the finish line!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

12th Annual VAC Spring Into Action: The Reveal

May 21, 2013 ~ A few months back I was approached by Shawn Barnes and Lin Teasley about a new campaign for Voluntary Action Center in Columbia, MO. As I listened to their idea and vision I was impressed and excited. I told them to "Count me in!" and I would be happy to help! I was the first person they had really talked to about this and after hearing some of the names of other people they would ask I knew this would be an awesome campaign!

I got to go to LG Patterson's studio (those of you in Columbia, MO are probably very familiar with LG's photos and if you aren't, all I can say is AWESOME! He is great to work with and I love his creative style!) and get suited up! We did a few different things to find the perfect shot! First up I had shoulder pads on with a red guitar and totally rocked some major air on that baby! Next up was the football helmet with a trumpet! I totally felt like Lucile Ball while acting like I knew how to play the dang thing! Totally cracking up! Then lastly we did just the helmet with a big ol' tiger roar and this is what you got! I love the picture because it's just me and my crazy fun self! Great job LG!

So, you have told me a lot about the campaign and what fun it was to take pictures but what the heck are you doing now? one might ask....

The campaign is a calendar of dedicated community members that highlight 12 of the services that the Voluntary Action Center provides through out our community. (They provide more than 12 services but they wanted to just focus on these services for this campaign)This is a very fun campaign to help raise funds for these services that are so important to so many.

So what can you do to help?

Let me tell you.... this is the exciting part! From now until August 15, 2013 you have an opportunity to vote for your favorite month (you know.... Mrs. November) by going to the following Voluntary Action Center website http://www.vacmo.org/covervote/ and scroll down to see the various pictures and description of the services they represent in this calendar. Then you have a "Buy Now" icon and just above it you type in your choice (example: Michele Spry)! Each $1.00 that you give equals 1 vote. So if you donate $20 you would give that person 20 votes or $100 would equal 100 votes. (hint, hint) 

The person with the most "votes" will win a second photo (different then the pictures you see) on the cover of the calendar! I don't know about you but I would love to see another photo from my photo shoot! 

Alright folks.... on a serious note.... I really would love your vote but the truth is that we are all in this together to try and help raise funds for Voluntary Action Center in Columbia, MO and help those that need it most. I will list the calendar in order and you choose which one you like best (please see Mrs. November and then stare at it until it's burned into your brain and repeat after me.... Michele Spry..... Michele Spry...... Michele Spry...... Ok now please click on the following link http://www.vacmo.org/covervote/ , scroll down until you see "Buy Now" and in the blank line above type the following.... Michele Spry and "Buy Now", enter the amount of money you would like to donate (which will equal the number of votes Mrs. November will receive) and then tell your friends to read this very informational blog post! 

Thanks y'all! 

Bob Burchard - Mr. January
Bob Burchard is a winner on and off the court. “People need to vote for me because I don’t like to lose!” he said. As the director of athletics and men’s basketball coach at Columbia College, Bob coaches his teams to victory, and as a friend of VAC, he represents the prescription assistance program.
Through this program, VAC provides help and hope in Boone County by covering the costs of clients’ medications. “Access to prescriptions and medical equipment is vital to healthy living,” said Bob. “VAC provides an incredible service and resource for our community!”

Kat Cunningham - Ms. February
Kat Cunningham, president of Moresource Inc., says that her life goal, like VAC’s goal, is “to help individuals, children, and families in need.” Sometimes the first way to help people is to provide them with the basics. When someone is low on shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste, or soap, VAC can provide a hygiene pack — everything needed to get squeaky clean.  
Kat is proud to represent this service, and she’s eager for your vote. “Every person in our community has the ability to give, whether of their time or treasure!” said Kat. “So, what say you, Kat got your vote?”

 Don Stamper - Mr. March
Don Stamper, lobbyist at Stamper Consulting, is a car enthusiast. “If it has four wheels and moves, I like it,” he said. But in order to move, cars need gas! Don represents VAC’s gas assistance program, which provides gasoline for those traveling to doctor’s appointments or work. 
“In many cases, VAC is the link to elevating people out of crisis,” Don said. “My hope is to support VAC so they can continue to support those in need.”

Paul Land - Mr. April
Paul Land, owner of Plaza Commercial Realty, has made a living helping businesses find the perfect place to call home, and he knows the importance of homes for families as well.
“Housing is critical and basic. Without housing, you can’t do greater tasks in life,” said Paul, who represents VAC’s rental assistance program. This program works to prevent eviction by helping those who have gotten behind on rent or need financial assistance to move to a new location.
“It’s great to be a part of a team in the inaugural year and for a great cause,” Paul said of his participation in this calendar campaign.

Vicky Riback Wilson - Ms. May
Vicky and VAC go way back. Her mother, Hazel Riback, was one of the founders! Vicky represents VAC’s uniform program. A new job can bring hope and a fresh start. But when new jobs call for new uniforms, the expenses may be too high for many families. VAC provides vouchers to cover those uniform costs. “We talk a lot about the importance of having a job, sometimes forgetting that there are unanticipated barriers and expenses,” Vicky said. “I am proud to support a service that helps remove at least one of those barriers so that people can become and remain employed.”

Joe Moseley - Mr. June
Joe Moseley, Vice President of Public Affairs at Shelter Insurance, is proud to represent VAC’s Air Conditioner Exchange and Summer Fan Program. “Heat and humidity are significant problems for members of our community who can least tolerate them and can least afford to address those problems,” Joe said.
Through the programs Joe represents, local low-income families and individuals can receive new fans for free and can exchange old or broken AC units for new, more efficient ones. Talk about cool.

 Mayor Bob McDavid - Mr. July
Ho ho ho! Columbia’s Mayor is representing VAC’s Christmas in July event! VAC puts on this Christmas-themed picnic — complete with a visit from Santa — for local families. It serves as a reminder that Santa may be seasonal, but local needs are not.
“This event has been held at my church for many years and is a fun activity for families to attend during the heat of the summer,” said Mayor McDavid. “Donations of church members and local businesses make it all possible. It is also an important fundraiser for VAC.”
“Your vote for me will be a vote for all of those who believe in the miracle of Santa Claus. Let’s enable VAC to raise record funds needed to provide services to low-income families.”

Dr. Chris Belcher - Mr. August
 Dr. Chris Belcher, Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, knows all about what students need for a great education. “I’ve been an educator for more than 30 years.  I have witnessed the impact of limited resources on children and families,” Chris said. That’s why he’s representing the school supplies program, which provides the items students need to be excited and prepared for each new year. From crayons to calculators, this program has them covered.

Teresa Rouse Maledy - Ms. September
Teresa Maledy, President and CEO of the Central Missouri Region Commerce Bank, is proud to represent VAC’s Warm-Up Columbia, an annual drive that ensures that local families and individuals will have the coats, blankets, and other items they need to stay toasty each winter.
Since 2007, Commerce Bank has partnered with VAC and served as a collection channel for the warm items collected for this drive. “Many Commerce Bank employees and customers contribute each year, and we are really proud we help make a difference in our community,” Teresa said. “I’ll admit I’m a bit competitive, so I do hope that folks will vote for me and the Warm-Up Columbia campaign!”

 Cathy Scroggs - Ms. October
Cathy Scroggs, MU Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, doesn’t take diapering teddy bears lightly, which is why she’s serious about representing VAC’s diaper and formula service. “People don’t know how much it costs to diaper a baby, much less feed them!” Cathy said. (She would know. She’s done it twice.)
Cathy, who serves on VAC’s board of directors, shares VAC’s hope that every local child will stay happy and healthy. Why vote for her? “I want to make a ton of money for the families we serve,” she said. “That’s why this campaign is really important.”

 Michele Spry - Ms. November
Michele Spry represents VAC’s Youth Enrichment Fund, which enables kids to participate in sports, the arts, and other activities that provide them with invaluable life skills and lessons. Through this fund, VAC assists low-income families with fees for sport programs, camps, college applications and tests, summer school, fine arts classes, and more. These opportunities change lives and brighten futures.
As president of Midway Electric, Michele knows all about leadership, and she knows that it starts from a young age. “I believe we need to take time to invest in our youth as they will one day be our future leaders when given opportunities to do something they enjoy,” she said.
“I am excited and honored to be a part of this campaign, and my hopes are to bring a larger awareness of the Youth Enrichment Fund to our community. Through this program we are able to provide opportunities to our youth that might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

Chris Kellogg - Mr. December
You already know Chris Kellogg as one-half of KPLA’s Chris & Monica in the Morning, and now you also know him as a supporter of Voluntary Action Center’s Christmas Program. Through this program, low-income families, elderly, or disabled people submit a list of needed holiday items, and generous folks in the county are matched with them as sponsors to provide these items.
“Christmas is my favorite holiday,” Chris says. “With a family of four kids, you can’t help but feel like a kid yourself. It’s important to me personally, but also for KPLA — as each year, we become ‘The Christmas Station,’ playing continuous Christmas music.”

Thank you for taking time to read my blog and thank you for any amount you are willing to donate for this campaign. Together we can make a difference in the lives of others... one dollar at a time.

The Mission of Voluntary Action Center
To help low-income individuals and families bridge the gaps between crisis and stability and improve quality of life in Boone County.

The Vision Statement of Voluntary Action Center
 VAC will be valued as the essential agency providing connections and resources for health, employment, education, and housing for low-income residents of Boone County. VAC will be regarded as the agency providing the most value for clients, volunteers, and donors.

Illinois & Wisconsin ~ A Weekend Get-A-Way!

May 16, 2013 ~ We had planned an extended weekend get-a-way with friends a couple weeks ago. We knew we would leave on Thursday late afternoon, we would be driving and  that we would head to Chicago. We didn't have any plans, no hotel rooms or even a clue of what we would do once we got to Chicago let alone where the open road might take us. We are "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-britches" kind of people. We enjoy traveling and seeing places we have never been to before. (Remember a bucket list item is to see all states but not just fly in and fly out of them. Actually do something to remember that state)

We hit the road around 2:00 PM and picked up Doug and Gretchen. We had a small game plan of what we would like to see while in Chicago such as the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the Cloud Gate (or what we call "the bean") and other than that we wanted to spend a little time soaking up whatever Chicago had to offer. We would not eat chain foods but rather something unique to them.

We finally made it! After a few stops for Thumbelina (this is what I call Brandon as his bladder is the size of a thimble) we were here! After driving around a lot because of confusing streets we decided to find something to eat! (I know OnStar was totally sick of us by the time our trip was over but they were always super nice and helpful) We settled for a place called Flemings. (remember how I said we weren't going to eat any chain food stuff.... well we were starving and it sounded great) We had a great dinner and our waiter was excellent at answering our questions about where to go and what to see. Next up.... a hotel! It appears that we parked in a parking garage that had a hotel attached to it so that's where we stayed! Hilton Garden Inn worked out perfectly..... well until we went to get in our room and our keys wouldn't work. So I leave Brandon at the door with all of our bags and make my way to the front desk. The front desk clerk didn't know why the key wouldn't work unless the batteries were maybe dead and said to try it again and if it doesn't work they would get an engineer to get in the room. In the mean time Brandon is calling me on my cell phone saying "There's a woman in that room and she is freaking out that someone is trying to break in her room. She's calling security!" as he is heading down the elevator. I told the front desk clerk this and she just said "That's strange and we'll move you to another room". Um... apparently so because we won't be staying with the other woman! Seriously!

Captain George "Cap" Wellington Streeter
Born 1843 - Died 1921
"The eccentric resident to gave Streeterville its name."

We went down to the Navy Pier and checked it out.

It was amazing to see so many huge buildings! 
We finally made our way to Willis Tower! 

The Spry's on the see-thru ledge in Willis Tower!
(Not gonna lie... you walk easy when you see what's below you)
The Fifer's next to the ledge!
(Doug doesn't do stuff like this but he did awesome and faced his fear)
This is a picture of the picture they took at Willis Tower. 
We all stood out on the ledge and looked up at the camera... 
I still can't believe we talked Doug into doing this but it was awesome and the view was amazing! 

We were told we needed to eat at Gino's East Pizzeria so that's where we went!
So in this way cool pizza place you get to leave your mark! 
After searching for a place to mark I finally settled for the bar...
and the handrail! 

This is the "Cloud Gate" or what we call as "the bean"
I've seen too many pictures of this to not see it for ourselves! 

We even took an architectural tour via a boat which was really interesting to hear about the history and stories of some of these old and tall buildings! We were glad we did this! 

Doug and Gretchen introduced us to this amazing dessert at McCormick & Schmick's several months ago and it just so happened when we turned the corner there was a McCormick & Schmick's here! We went in for dessert only and then hit the road and headed to Wisconsin! 

Welcome to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! 

We arrived to Milkwaukee just as it was getting dark. We drove around to see what we might find and to get our bearings straight for tomorrows adventure. We finally decided we better find a hotel to get some shut eye and that was an adventure! After a few phone calls we found one! The Hilton Garden Inn would be our home for the evening. As we were waiting for the elevator to head up to our room other people were jumping on and then apparently they looked at us and asked if we were getting on. Brandon looked right at them and said while scratching his head "No go ahead....We are waiting on a few more people". WHAT??? I looked over at him and we all busted up laughing! Seriously Brandon... who else are we waiting on? He said he wanted his own elevator and didn't want to cramp those people.... that's my husband!

I won't bore you with the details but we decided we wanted to go eat breakfast so I started looking for places to eat. Let's just say the suggestions that I came up with prior to using Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com) was not good ideas as they put us in not so good areas and come to find out they were no longer open. After a 2 hour drive through town I found us a great little breakfast place! 

I highly recommend you visit this place if you get a chance to go to Wisconsin! It's called Blue's Egg (http://www.bluesegg.com/) and it was awesome! The wait was almost an hour but the waiter and food were amazing!!!!

We then drove past Miller Park and apparently Kenny Chesney & Eric Church would be having a concert here later tonight! Who knew!

We wanted to take a brewery tour and while we were waiting at Blue's Egg we sat next to a lady that highly recommended this tour over the others. She was right... it was a blast! They did a great job of keeping us laughing and gave everyone beer before, during and after the tour. (The root beer was very sweet!)

It was a really cool place with some really cool stuff! This was on the baseball park and they bought it at an auction and they have the original assembly line from the Lavern & Shirley show so of course they played the theme music while one of the ladies put a glove on the beer bottle as done on the show! I gotta say... there was too many dudes that got into singing the theme song....

We decided to drive up to the captial of Wisconsin...
Welcome to Madison, Wisconsin!
We were going to eat somewhere good and find a hotel here but it was prom and graduation and you couldn't find a hotel anywhere around here and every good place to eat was booked and couldn't take any more guests. Bummer.... it was a beautiful town!

And this is where the real adventure starts.....
As the sun was setting we were heading to House on the Rock Inn. Earlier I had talked to a lady on the phone that said the road was closed but she would help us get there if we would tell her where we were coming from. We told her that we would be coming from Milwaukee. She started talking to me and said we could go around the road block as they were just another couple of miles away up the hill. I gave the phone to Brandon since he was driving and she told him the same thing. She said if you take the detour it will put you 45-60 miles away from where you need to be.

So as we are driving down the road we come to a road block. We drove around it and as we were heading up the hill there sits a Iowa County Sheriff....

Of course he turns on his lights and pulls us over. As soon as he gets out of the car he says "I'm gonna have to write you a ticket".  We began to explain why we were there and Doug and I got in the back of the Sheriff's car to explain what was going on because outside there were tons of huge mosquito attacking us like crazy.... seriously it was something the Sheriff couldn't even believe! We explained that we were told to go through the road closed as they were just a few miles up the road. He was super nice and after a good 10 minutes he took out his map and showed us how to get to where we needed to be. We totally talked our way out of a ticket and what we figured out what the lady thought we were already in Dodgeville and we did have to drive through signs that said "Road Closed in 4.5 miles" which we had to drive through and the driveway to House on the Rock was literally just before the road was closed. (Apparently Gretchen and Brandon thought this was all funny as they were taking pictures in the truck. It's hard to find people that appreciate others getting them out of trouble... just sayin')  :)

We finally made it! So just as giggle box and the photographer were laughing about us Doug and I decided to have a little fun. We went inside and got checked in and came back to the truck and said "Houston, we have a problem". We begin to tell them that they didn't have two rooms available and we would have to share a room..... Gretchen's eyes lit up and she's happy and says "Yippie, a sleep over!" and just then we busted her happy bubble.... we told her that there is one queen bed and they would bring two roll out beds as one of the guests was going to give up one in their room... if you could have seen her face.... priceless! She had a look like "What the heck! This isn't good at all!" then we said "Just kidding... get your bags and let's go in!" I'm pretty sure she could have killed us both! Now who has the last laugh! Ha!

Before heading out we wanted to stop by Don Q's to check out this big plane. It's just like it was flown in right here, opened the door and left. You can check them out on the web at

We made it to House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin!
You can visit them on the web at

It was a very interesting place. I am glad we went and still trying to figure out this guy. Alex Jordan Jr. was a very interesting guy and a creative imagination. His bio is here http://thehouseontherock.com/PDFs/PR/Alexbio.pdf

From what I gather he was the creator or the mastermind behind instruments that played themsleves.

This was the Infinity Room
This room is 300' long and at the entrance is 30' wide and at the end is 1" wide.  This room is 218' cantilevered over the adjacent valley with no vertical support. You could feel the floor move under your feet!

It was so much fun putting tokens in to the various rooms to hear the music play. What a creative mind he had and such a vision! Wow!

Inside the House on the Rock is the Largest Carousel in History
Number of Lights: over 20,000
Number of Chandeliers: 182
Number of Animals on the Carousel: 269
Width: 80 feet
Height: 35 feet
Weight: 36 tons
Premiered: Easter 1981
Value including the House on the Rock collection of carousel animals: $4,800,000
These animals are among the most unique collected from all over the world
Note: There is not one horse on the carousel

Needless to say this place was really weird yet really awesome! Highly recommend you checking it out if you have the chance!

We headed back home and went through Iowa to see some more country we haven't seen before. A huge storm was on our tail but never really rained until we got home around 9:00 pm. It was a fast paced trip but full of adventure and laughs! Awesome time!