Saturday, December 29, 2012

The End of an Era Part III

One day, on a whim, I was on a career website scrolling through and found a listing for a Communications Specialist at Pier 1.  I applied without giving it much thought, thinking that at the very least it could freshen up my application/interviewing skills.  And my experience with applying for jobs online has been that you don't ever hear back.  I prayed that God's will would be done and that I would be able to accept the outcome one way or another.

Well I heard back, the next day I believe, saying that they wanted to do a phone interview.  So I did the interview and the job kept sounding better and better.  I didn't have any prior knowledge to Pier 1's corporate culture, but it sounded a lot like Southwest.  Laid back, fun, but hard-working.  They liked me enough to call me in for an in-person interview and again, it kept getting better and better.  The position sounded a lot like the job I was already in, working with one other Communications Specialist, a Manager, and a Graphic Designer.  I thought it went well (but of course you never know), and then got the call that I was going on to yet another interview.  Again it went really well and I was confident, I left saying, all right God, if this is supposed to happen then I would love that!

And then I had one more assignment (if this feels like a long process to read about, don't worry it felt just as long going through it!) to turn in before they made their final decision.  Again, confidence + prayer.

And then I got it.  :)

I was so thankful that I had stepped out there and tried something and it had been successful.  And there was also a mix of nervous feelings too.  As most of you probably know, my now fiance is a priest, but coming out of seminary he was in a curacy program where the Bishop essentially tells him where to go, and long story short we thought that there was the possibility that he wouldn't be in Fort Worth anymore.  I wondered what would happen with this new job if we ended up in Brownwood or Breckenridge?  But yet again, God was faithful and he found out that he was going to stay in Fort Worth.  Whew!

I want everyone who has taken the time to read this to know that this transition is incredibly bittersweet to me.  It's not easy.  Saying goodbye to Southwest means saying goodbye to a great company that took a chance on me and has treated me so well.  It means saying goodbye to working every day with someone that I've gotten so close to.  And it means saying goodbye to working within footsteps of my mom.  All of which I've cried over.   But it also means trying something new and seeing what else I'm capable of.  It means working in the city that I'll be living in this time next year.  It means lunch dates with my fiance.  It means making myself more marketable if I eventually want to branch out again or return to Southwest.

To everyone that has been a part of my experience at Southwest, thank you and I'll miss you!

The End of an Era Part II

Oh my gosh.  The relief.  I had been begging God all summer to throw me a bone.  Let someone contact me.  Let someone interview me.  Anything.  And I'm pretty sure the whole time He was sitting there saying, "Okay just hold on, I've got this, calm down already!"

So I was full time and beyond relieved.  About 9 months later Jenna had finished school and was hired on into the same department.  We were on different teams so we didn't see each other much there for a while, but a couple of months after she was hired the maintenance group moved over to headquarters and we had cubes that were right across from each other.

Christmas Party 2011

Although I was still grateful to have a job at Southwest, I started itching to find a different position.  I had always been told that they were big on you moving around in the company, and I wanted to see what I could do outside of technical writing.  So around July of 2010 I started looking at internal postings.  (Actually I think it was around May, but I know in July there was a better prospect.)  There was a position open in Cabin Services for a Communication Specialist.

I was intrigued and it sounded like something that I would enjoy doing.  I went and met with the team and the Manager and it sounded great to me, but there was one small detail that I still had to consider.  I had to make sure I'd be able to apply.  The guideline for internal positions is you have to have been in your current position for at least a year, and I hadn't yet, even though I was close, but sometimes they let you apply anyway.  Not in my case.  I was told, absolutely not.

But after that instance, I hit my one year in August and so I was free to apply for other positions.  Another 10-11 months or so goes by and two other prospects that I interviewed for and was first told that they were no longer hiring for that position and then for the second I was turned down.

But July came and the job in Flight Ops was opened.  I went through all the same protocol, asking the current position-holder about the job, talking to the Manager, etc. On the morning of my interview I found out that Jenna had applied as well and was also interviewing.  While I was still working with Maintenance in our department, she was working with Flight Ops.  I thought, "Oh well she's a shoe-in, I really should cancel my interview."

But it was so late in the process that I couldn't cancel.  So instead I just went in, having not prepared anything or really caring at all, and got a little bold.  I told the interviewers, "I don't know if you're looking to hire two people for this position, but if you are it should be me and Jenna.  We already work well together and get along and we'd both be perfect for it."

Well, we both got it.  :)

On August 10, 2011, we moved into our office that we would share.  We also spent that weekend painting two of the walls purple.  :)

I'm afraid if I try and put these last 16 months into a blog post I will surely be paying them an injustice.  In a nutshell, we have spent them giggling, sharing music, closing the door and having an all-out rant session, drinking wine, running, talking about boys, crying, and basically being attached at the hip around the department.

I couldn't have asked for a better person to share an office with and become one of my best friends.

10 miles & The End of an Era Part I

Who wants to run 10 miles on Christmas Eve?? Nobody?? Thought so!  Did it anyway.  Blah blah blah.  Nothing exciting to report.

What I really want to blog about is something completely different.  The end of an era.

Yesterday was my last day working for Southwest Airlines.


I started as a wee baby intern in May of 2009, four days after I graduated from college.  I had been given the opportunity to start either May 20th or June 1st.  I knew that if I waited until June 1st that I wouldn't be as excited/motivated to start working full time, so I chose the 20th.  

I'm so glad I did!

There was only a handful of us that started that day so it wasn't quite so overwhelming.  The first person I talked to was Tim, who turned out to be a UT student.  Of course I had just graduated from OU and so I didn't know if we could be friends or not.  haha.  Fast forward a few years and we're still good friends!

I got to learn the ropes of the job before the other two interns in my department started, and got to know the team.  I was also in charge of choosing who sat next to me and who sat across the room.  Out of the two options, Jenna and Natalie, I chose Jenna to sit by me.  I want to say we had 65 interns that summer total, but I might be completely off, it might have been closer to 80?  I'm so old now I can hardly remember. ;)

Dress like a cow day for Chick-fil-A

The great thing about Southwest (one of them anyway) is that they hire a lot of like-minded people.  They're fun and outgoing but driven.  So from our first intern happy hour we were excited to get to know each other and talk about the trips we would go on with our flight benefits.  We ate lunch together, spent a few Thursday nights at Blackfin, attended deck parties, participated in the intern Amazing Race, and tried to get pictures with Gary Kelly whenever we could. Oh, and we worked our butts off.

That summer was a nail-biter for me.  2009 was not a good year to be looking for a job, and since I had already graduated and didn't have plans for grad school, I was desperate.  The area I worked in wasn't always busy enough for 3 interns, and I was doing all that I could to find work and stay busy.  Eventually I started going over to the maintenance hangar half the day to work with that part of the department.

Passing out peanuts!

They were always busy, so there was always something for me to do.  The Supervisor there was Angie, and I was continually going back and forth to her, asking what I could do.  She took a chance on me and let me have a lot more work than just something to keep me from being idle.  And when she was out on vacation I sent some of her emails and managed a little more of the workload.  She said that she would do all she could to help me get hired, even if it meant a contract position.

Jumping on the bed in Vegas.

The day before my internship was supposed to end, after a summer of applying for other jobs and not hearing back anything, I scheduled a meeting with my Director.  I'll never forget it.  It was 9 in the morning and I was on the verge between a panic attack and just sobbing.  What was I going to do?  I had no job and no prospects for a job.  But in the meeting he told me that he had found out the day before that they could hire me, even during the hiring freeze.

He went over a few of the terms and I thanked him and then did what most girls would do.  I went outside and called my mom.  Bawling.  Full-on ugly cry.  "What?? What is it??" my mom was saying on the other line.  "You can't just call me crying and not say anything!"

"I have a JOB!!!"

See how excited I was??

Friday, December 28, 2012

Halfway there!

So on December 15th I ran the mileage I was supposed to do on the 8th... 13.1!

I modified my schedule a little bit to accommodate for the missed long run.  It was supposed to be 13 on the 8th, 10 on the 15th, 15 on the 22nd, and 16 on the 29th, but instead I did 0 on the 8th, 13 on the 15th, 10 on the 24th, and I'll do 16 on the 29th or 30th.

Did I confuse you at all?  :)

But anyway, back to the run!

Since I completed my 13 miles on the 9th week of training, technically it was a half marathon halfway through my training.  :)

Who wants to bet on where I ran?  If you guessed around my neighborhood, you'd be right.  Sadly my long runs have mostly been poorly planned.  This one was poorly planned x2 because I overestimated how far I needed to go.  My stopping point was at the end of the trail that would have been 1.7ish miles back to my apartment.

Luckily my fiancé (crazy!!) came to my rescue and picked me up because I really didn't want to run more than I had to.  :)

I wasn't exactly proud of this run.  I kept running out of sidewalk and I overestimated how far to go.  Boo!  And my total time was 2:12:22.  Meh.  That's an average of about 10:05/mile.

My time splits are all over the board too, but I am proud that my fastest mile was mile 5, which usually doesn't happen since I normally run fast at the start and then slower throughout.

Just see for yourself!

Really need to work on that 6-11 section.  Eek.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

White Rock - 1 Year Later

**So the weekend I got engaged I gave myself an off day for my long run.  I mean, I guess getting engaged and spending time with your fiance, family, and friends is a good enough excuse. ;) So here is my post from Facebook after I completed my first full marathon, White Rock, December 4, 2011, with a few added annotations.(Highlighted)**

So since this is most likely the only full marathon I'll do, I thought I'd do a complete re-cap before I forget all the fun details.  ^hahaha fat chance. 

It was predicted to rain all weekend for the marathon weekend.  Excellent.  But the morning before the race, when I was out at camp it was only mildly drizzling.   I thought to myself that if that's how it would be the next day then I'd be fine.  Of course later that day the heavens opened up and let out a downpour.  (This happened right after I got done shooting Barbara's senior pictures, so the walk back was a big preview for what was to come.)

After the youth rally mass, some of my closest friends laid hands on me and Bobby, who was also running the next day, and prayed over us.  It was so encouraging and uplifting and was a reminder that no matter what, God would be there along the way and to remember to give all praise to Jesus.  :) (Thank you again to Fr. Polley, Michelle, Catherine, Abby, Paula, Megan, Megan, Katie, Trey, Liz, Andrew, and everyone who prayed for us this weekend, your prayers are remembered and were definitely felt!)
And one year later I'm getting engaged to Fr. Polley. :)

That night I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest.  The rain was still pouring down, but I hoped that it would finish before the next morning.  Haha... NOPE.  I woke up around 4:30 still hopeful.  Nope.  After that I had a dream that I received an e-mail saying because it was still raining/lightning the race was canceled.  (Darn?) WRONG AGAIN.

About an hour later I got out of bed, added some music to my running playlist that I'd put off (which I don't recommend), and big thanks to Jenna for that!  The night before I had put together all my essentials: GU, SPI belt, body glide, bib, safety pins, watch, arm band for phone, headband, gloves, and shoe tag. 
The next thing I did was somewhat on a whim and it's probably the best thing I did to prepare for the race.  I grabbed some iron-on letters (which I didn't realize the massive amounts that I have... contemplating my own t-shirt company...) and ironed on "FROSTY" to the front of my zip-up long sleeve shirt. 

Best idea ever.
Seriously I suggest this to everyone.  

All throughout the race spectators would yell, "GO FROSTY!!!!" and it was amazing!  It gave me that little kick that I needed to keep pressing on. 

Back to this morning.

It was mildly drizzling when I left.  (Now I'm thinking, "okay sweet this can be good!") Traffic was awful, the line for the bathroom was just as awful, and then it was time to go.  Whoa. 

Within the first mile it started pouring down rain again.  Awesome.  At first people were trying to side-step puddles but that was a lost cause.  I decided to just accept that I was going to be drenched with squishy shoes so I just powered through the small ponds. 

My family was waiting for me at about 5.5 with their "Run Frosty Run" shirts on, and my sister's boyfriend had come along as well.  (Trooper!!)  I was feeling great at this point.

Fast forward a few miles where the marathoners split from the half marathoners.  This was like, okay time to get down to business, this is really happening.  The split monumentally thinned out the group, which was nice to have more personal running space.  The people on Longview and Ellsworth were my favorite.  So many had come out of their houses to cheer on the runners and had really entertaining signs. My favorite was "You're all Kenyans to us."  hahaha.
Read this.  hahaha.

It wasn't long until we were headed down Williamson to the lake, which was going to be a big familiarity to me since I'd been training out there since June.  (Side note:  There is a cross-street section of Williamson and Alexander.  haha)

Not long after we got to the lake we hit the halfway point.  WHOA.  I was still feeling pretty good.(My thoughts were "Marathons?? Cake."  ...Wrong again.)

The Frost clan + Steve met up with me again just after mile 14.  I wasn't feeling so hot here.  My shoe had been rubbing the back of my ankle and apparently had been bleeding pretty bad.  Ashley applied some anti-chafe gel and I went back to running wondering how much longer this was going to take. 
Around mile 17/18 "Unwritten" came onto my iPod and I felt this overwhelming sense of love, support, and pride.  I almost started crying. 

Musical interlude:  These lyrics got me:

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
  Drench yourself in words unspoken
 Live your life with arms wide open
 Today is where your book begins
 The rest is still unwritten
Music makes me emotional okay??

The wall is supposed to hit anywhere between mile 18 and 20 but I never felt it. 
I did however get incredibly frustrated/bored around mile 24/25 when the crowd thinned out and I'm once again wondering if I can make it or why I'm doing this.

At mile 20 my sister joined me and ran the next mile or so with me.  Pretty sweet!  She got to experience both the Dolly Parton hills (and "the Dollys" handing out water. hahahahaha) and the Hooters-sponsored water station. 

At this point my pace had slowed drastically, but picked up again a little after 21.5 when "Zero to Hero" came on my iPod.  A- Hercules is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies and B- it reminds me of the Junior Co-Ed routine my first year at Spirit of Texas.  I was so happy to be on that team... it was something I didn't think I could do (kinda like a marathon??).  It also reminds me of two people who pushed me during those years... my coaches Brad and Brett.  I like to think of them when something is challenging and remember when Brett told me that he'd rather see me eat carpet than put my hands down after a standing back.  (Snapped me into shape! haha.  Tough love.) 

It got more difficult the last few miles mainly because I knew that I had such a short distance to go.  Sounds weird but I think that having more miles ahead of you is easier when you know it's just going to take a while... and with those last few miles it should be cake but being at the end of a long race it's a huge challenge.

This is also where the crowds thinned out so it was harder to keep up the motivation. 
Seriously, spectators make such a difference!!

Finally I entered Fair Park and saw the "Mile 26" marker and almost started crying again.  I was there. My family was at about 26.1 and gave me that last kick for the last .1.  (Even though it wasn't much, I mustered all that I could and powered through.)  I was done. I had run a marathon. 
Just got those excited/proud feelings again.  Such an awesome feeling.

Katie was waiting at the fence just after the finish line and it was great to see her and Bobby.  :)
I hobbled into the finisher's area, got inside and stretched, got my medal, my finisher's shirt, and a beer, a bagel, and a banana.  Leaving that warm building was one of the most difficult challenges of the day.  haha.  Simply because of having to go back out into the cold and rain.  By the time I got to my family I was SO cold and I couldn't stop shivering.  My dad helped me walk to the car by basically holding me up as we walked.  Afterward I changed clothes and we had a celebratory lunch at Mia's. 
I did it. I finished.

I hadn't wanted to get a sticker for my car at the expo because I didn't want to jinx it, but now you can bet I'll buy that puppy.

I still think "Booya!" to myself every time I see that on my car. haha.

Also, big shout-out to everyone who texted me while I was running.  You have no idea how such a small thing can have such a big impact.  THANK YOU.

Aaaand mad props to EVERYONE that finished today.  Half, full, relay... we kicked...asphalt.

And for those interested, I "GUed" at miles 5, 11, 16, and 21.  I also discovered that when they hand out Gatorade I like to have water too to rinse out the sweet taste.
Next time I'll try 5/10/15/20/25.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Engagement!

So... this happened this weekend!

Ahhh!!! :)  I'm engaged!

Here's the story:

Mark and I met at Camp Crucis back in the day.  We're pretty sure the first time we remember each other is from the Sr. High session his senior year and my sophomore year, but neither of us can remember talking to each other, other than a small "hey, how's it going"... if that... until this past year.

A bunch of our camp friends have a young adult ministry called A1:8 (stands for Acts 1:8), so we were hanging out in the same crowd with those events.  A1:8 also hosts Youth Rally and College Retreat each year.  It was at the College Retreat that it kind of clicked with me that I might want to date this guy.  :)  (Fast forward about 4 months and Mark tells me that he had similar feelings that weekend.)

So!  The part you've been waiting for.

This past weekend was Youth Rally, which is held out at camp.  I had a feeling this might be "the weekend" but I was trying my best (and failing) not to think about it too much.

After a long and incredible day of theme sessions, small groups, and activities, we had an end-of-the-night staff meeting in DeWolfe.  It was around 11/11:15 and I was exhausted.  To the point of being a little giggly and delirious and trying to get things moving as quickly as possible so we could go to sleep.  On top of that I hadn't seen Mark in a while and he had kept disappearing.  Finally he came in for the closing prayer.

He started walking me up to the infirmary, where the young adult girls were staying, and when we were close to the building he asked if I wanted to go to St. John's to pray.  Of course I said yes.

So we headed up to the little chapel, chatting about the day, and finally get to St. John's.  We walk inside the dark chapel and Mark turns on the lights.  Down in front of the altar are pink roses and rose petals scattered around.  "Oh my gosh," I'm thinking, "This is happening."

So we get up to the front and he turns to me and says, "So, I didn't bring you up here just to pray.  I love you [this is when I started crying], I want to spend the rest of my life with you, I'm going to do my best to be the best husband I can be...[and I think he said some other sweet things but I can't remember at the moment!]...and I had a lot of other sweet things to say but I can't remember them now."  :)

And then he got down on one knee and proposed, and I said yes.  :)

After hugging and kissing and crying and saying "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" Mark said he had bought another ring as a backup and asked if I wanted to see it (uhh, what??) and turns out it was a big blue plastic heart-shaped ring.  hahaha.  (I happily kept the original.) Then we sat and prayed for our relationship and our future and thanked God for putting us in each other's lives, and for His good and perfect timing.

Then we headed back down to DeWolfe where I could see the glow of some Christmas lights and all the shades were drawn.  What?!  We walked in and all the girls came rushing at me saying congratulations!  (Followed by the boys rushing at Mark saying congratulations!! hahaha)  Cue more tears from me and lots of picture taking.  :)  (And music playing in the background... like songs from Titanic... hahaha)

Pretty sure Mark is saying "Ahh! Surprise!"
...And I'm crying. haha

Scott, Mark, and Luke with the "backup"

Some of our Bible study girls!  Love these Godly women!

But wait!! There's more.  :)

The next morning I went to church and was standing around talking with some people there when my friend Starr walked up.  What?? And after some, "What?? What are you doing here??" I see my parents walk up too, and then Mark's parents, and then some of Mark's friends, and then more of mine.

That sneaky man!!

So there you have it, folks.  :)  Now on to wedding planning!

Your prayers and good wishes are very much welcomed and appreciated.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Biggest Loser

Christmas is on December 25th, but a small gift I'm looking forward to returns on January 6th...


Yup, I'm an addict.

If you've never watched The Biggest Loser, I strongly encourage you to watch next season.  First of all, my girl Jillian Michaels is back!!!  She practically scares away the pounds just being in her presence.



Watching The Biggest Loser's contestants run their marathon is what convinced me (2 days after my first) that I want to/should run another.  Yup, that inspiring.

And to top it off, they have a Pinterest account.  They have pictures of the upcoming season's contestants, trainer tips, before and afters, etc.  My favorite is the Motivation board.

Seriously, I challenge you to watch it and not become emotionally invested in the contestants.  This season will have 15 adults and 3 kids.  I can already tell I'm going to cry.  Also, training with any of the trainers on the show is probably number 1 on my fantasy bucket list.

Marathon Training: 12 miles

I decided to spend the night at my parents' house on Saturday because a) I love them and wanted to be able to hang out the night before without having to drive back late and b) I wanted to be able to do my long run around Cedar Hill the next morning.

I haven't started any specific hill training yet, but with Austin's elevation changes and the results of yesterday's run, I definitely need to.  Like now.  If I could I'd be doing hill repeats right this second.

Let me just say... ouch.

Here is the elevation profile:

I knew that first hill would be a little [insert expletive here], but what I wasn't expecting was that middle hump there.

So needless to say... I need to run that course more and train hills.

12 miles, 2:06.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tomorrow's Line-Up

Tomorrow morning I'm running 12 miles, so I thought I'd show you my "line-up" that I set up tonight to prepare:

-Water bottle
-Nike shorts
-New Balance shoes
-Nike sports bra (looove)
-Team in Training race day tank
-Feetures socks
-Arm band for phone/headphones

Wish me luck!