Derby Festival has started!

Yesterday was the day I had prepared for since January. About a month ago was the 10 miler, which I ran a little slower than expected due to asthma & bronchitis. Since then, the longest I was able to run was a 7 miler the following weekend, and a few 3-4 miles.During that time I went to the doctor to get a new inhaler and medicine for bronchitis again and also had the stomach virus. After the stomach bug, I did AbsOluTelY nothing that week, and didn't eat 3 full meals until a week after--last weekend. So, all this past week I was debating just walking the half. The thought of that seemed so disappointing and embarrassing to me. I didn't want to try to just run and have a super slow time. I decided I was just going to walk the half marathon, and at least I trained up until the 10 miler & completed it! But once I got to the start line, it was a little hard to walk.
I actually never got tired or out of breath--probably because I was going so slow ;) I jogged mostly and walked some. At one point I called Luke to see if he was at his spot yet with the kids, and he told me i HAD to walk because we had planned on me walking. He didn't want me to get to his spot yet, and him not be there. So the majority of miles 6-8 were walked. Then I stopped for a minute or 2 right before mile 9 to see my babies and take some pictures with them. 

My ankles definitely felt the pain of not hitting the pavement for 3 weeks prior, then going for 13.1. I wasn't quite sure how the last 3 miles were going to happen. But when I slowed down to a walk, they actually felt worse, so I just had to keep jogging. I actually seemed to enjoy this one more than my first. ( I ran with a stressed fracture during the first, so it wasn't too enjoyable!). I wasn't worried about my time at all, and just enjoyed being outside. I definitely was planning back in January to finish around 2 hours and 10 minutes. I am NOT a fast runner. I do not even enjoy running that much. I just know if I pay money, and set a goal like this, I will keep it up. 10 minutes miles are perfectly fine for me! I don't think I could ever finish under 2 hours , mainly because I don't have the desire or care to. Plus, I've always been slow.So I finished around 2 hours and 44 minutes--taking away time that I stopped to say 'hi'. So slow. I know.Over a 12 minute mile average with jogging and walking. But hopefully half marathon #3 will be run fully healthy! Maybe 3rd time is a charm, and I'll finish in a good time after putting in 4+ months of training.
I didn't get any finishing pictures because Luke and the kids decided to head to Starbucks after saying hi us, then they got gas, then he couldn't figure out how to get to the finish.  I sat FREEZING my booty off ( I had goose bumps the entire race. It was mid 50's with some pouring rain around mile 4.5-5), munching on a bagel , some chips, and powerade for about 30 minutes, then finally walked back to the finish line ( it took me awhile to stand up!), got a foil blanket, and waited for Amanda to cross. Then we sat down for a few more minutes, and headed to find Luke a few blocks away...still freezing, but the sun had come out. So we took a picture before getting into the cars.
We've also attempted the balloon glimmer ( it was cancelled), but we hung out at the chow wagon for a little bit. We went to the balloon glow Friday night, right before they had to let the balloons down due to wind.

Elyssa has her Healthy Kids Day this afternoon at Papa John's, and then we're planning on going back down to the waterfront for the Christian Concert night (Jonny Diaz,
Chris Sligh, and Building 429 ) & maybe get some good fried oreos, or fried Twinkies, or funnel cakes, or Lemon shake ups, or Italian sausage, or pulled pork, or Philly cheese steaks....
This week is the last week of Derby Festival   and we are planning on going to the parade preview on Wednesday, the parade on Thursday, and then Luke and I are going to The Oaks on Friday.

After all the fun Derby festivities are over, we have another countdown to look forward to! June 2nd we'll load up the car and head down south to my grandparents. We'll be spending the week at..........

Yay for a week away( 5 at the resort, 2 with family) walking around with just the kids, enjoying some swimming, and no housework!

34 days! =)
Then Luke still has 2 more weeks of vacation he needs to use before the beginning of August, so we'll be heading back down to Orlando the first week in August to stay with family & see my new baby cousin. Jam packed Spring & fun filled summer ahead!


11 days left
until the March for Babies
in Nashville!
There is still time to donate. =)



Thank you for the cross, Lord

Thank you for the cross, Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace.
Thank you for this love Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know
Your forgiveness and embrace.
Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with man
You reign victorious
High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

It's finally Holy Week! We're now at Good Friday, and we ( Luke and I) are missing our home church in Nashville. We're debating driving down Saturday evening to be able to attend church there Easter morning.Or I wish Orlando wasn't so far of a drive, and I'd hop into the Nitro and take the kids to my grandparents, hit up the sunrise service at Lake Downey, go to the Easter service, and let them egg hunt with my cousins.
We still don't have a home church here, after visiting several for a few weeks at a time. We are going to try a new one tonight for a Good Friday service. I know I have posted this video before, but I still love it. This was in 2009, Landon was a few months old, and Easter service was in the gym for the first time with combined services.I know it isn't the best quality, but the message is still there.

Find me here, and speak to me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light that's leading me to the place
Where I find peace again
You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the life to my soul
You are my purpose
You're everything
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Now, on to some of those pictures of the precious kiddos!

Landon Pierce

Lucy Emilia




Well, basketball is over =( It was an exciting tournament, and I loved being able to watch the 1st 3 rounds in Las Vegas. I'd love to be there every year for those first few rounds. Good thing Home Depot has 2 more years in their contract with Mandalay Bay! =) Louisville did great, made it to the Final Four.
 This past week was ridiculous waiting for that match against Kentucky. I remember getting so upset as a kid, and thinking life was OVER when Louisville would go down in the big dance. I'm glad this season is over. So many injuries and so many unexpected things; so many heart attacks at the end of games! 
As we finished our 10 mile race on Saturday in Papa John's stadium, we ran past the football practice field. the first spring scrimmage was underway! They've been at it for a few weeks, and had a few open practices too.These next few weeks are PACKED full of exciting things here in Louisville in anticipation of the Kentucky Derby.
We also have a few things going on in the Howell house as well. I'm finally going to the neurologist after I had to cancel my appointment in Nashville in October of last year. Hopefully we can figure out these headaches. This Saturday is April's Home Depot Kids' workshop, and I think they are making window flower boxes. We'll also take the kids to church for an Easter egg hunt Saturday, and then head to a birthday party later in the evening. EASTER SUNDAY! ! ! ! The next week is my niece's Spring Break. I'm sure we'll do the zoo a few times, and find some other things to do around here. Then on Monday the 16th, Lucy has an EEG here in Louisville. We have to try to keep her up as long as we can that night, wake her up as early as we can, and be at the doctor at 7:45 Am. They said the test will start at 8AM, and then we will meet with the doctor at 11 AM. I'm not looking forward to a LONG day with a tired, sleepy, cranky baby. Hopefully she will be so tired she will sleep the whole time--which I think is the goal anyways. We just have to try to keep her awake on the car ride over there too. This test will give us some answers ( we hope!) as to why she still has tremors when she wakes. I don't think she is having seizures , and neither does her pediatrician, but I guess this is the first step of tests. Then on Friday the 20th she has another hearing test in Nashville. We are coming down for the weekend for the March of Dimes walk! It's not TOO LATE to donate your money or prayers for these babies and families! If you live in Nashville and want to come walk, please join us! Go look at our page: LUCY'S MARCH FOR BABIES PAGE <3. Our initial goal was $350. We are almost at $100, and we will be happy with whatever we can do to help. I'm hoping for at least half of our goal at this point.
 The following weekend will be my Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon! I'm almost to the point of being over it! After the anticipation and nervousness for the 10 miler, I'm spent. It's getting harder and harder to find an extra 2 hours every day to run and lift. I'm working just 2 hours a night on Tuesday and Thursday nights teaching swimming lessons at the Y, and Luke as to rush home to watch them while I go. I can't take them with me, or I could only work out an hour after ( max time for Y world is 3 hours a day). So we've managed to make it work, and sometimes Luke comes up a little after I'm done teaching ( 7pm), and we lift together. But the longer my runs become , the less we have been able to do so. Life will be so much more relaxed when I'm not trying to squeeze a 6 mile run in 3 times a week and a long run in on the weekends. I'll be glad to finally have time to work on my arms and abs again! That sad jiggly belly of mine will finally get some attention. And no, I don't lay on my floor and do abs when I watch American Idol or The Biggest Loser because I'm too tired to do anything but sit at that point. I'm heading up the Y this morning to let the kids play and get some miles in. I'm not a fan of being in the pool for 2 hours, and then spending over an hour on the treadmill. Maybe spacing it out today will help me a little!

I'll have some cute pictures of the kiddos to post later in the week, but here are 2 from Sunday afternoon at Sesame Street Live.



I finished the 10 miler! It was much slower than I'd like, but I caught whatever everyone else has and then add allergies on top and my asthma, and that equals bronchitis for me. And my inhaler was out. Yep, excuses for me. But they are legit =) I wasn't the last to cross the finish line; I was actually a few seconds faster than the average time. I had to stop 2 times to stretch my calf. I'm so glad it didn't hurt like it had been the past 2 weeks.  And I'm so glad the pizza tasted SO GOOD!

Around mile 3 I thought that I might actually end this race starting to half-way enjoy running.I honestly have always believed that everyone who said  they enjoy running,just says that. I've always said they are all liars.There is no way that anyone likes running. It hurts. It takes FOREVER. It requires SO much laundry--without fabric softener. Don't get me wrong, I like the benefits of running. I like the atmosphere of a race, sometimes. My 10 mile run yesterday was MUCH easier with 9,500 other people. It was easier than if I were to just be training on my own. I also like the t-shirts. But to say I like running, I'm still not there. I like to fit into clothes better. I like that if I pay for something, I sort of HAVE to train for it.
I have a month left until the half marathon. I'm hoping to take quite a few minutes off that 10 miles I just did, and finish the last 3 strong! I'm not out to set a PR ( which is NOT hard for me ;) ), but I'd enjoy if I beat my previous--which was after only running 8 for my longest AND running on a painful stress fracture.

These sweeties were waiting in the stadium at the finish line. Apparently Landon was yelling for me because he said, " I was yelling at you Mommy, but you had your music in!". I honestly didn't look for them TOO hard. My first half marathon, no one was there at the finish and I walked around for half an hour to find anyone. That was not fun. But they came to this one! I left Luke the camera, but he forgot to take pictures. He told me he had left the camera in the car, but it was in the diaper bag the whole time. Thank goodness for phone cameras ;)