Monday, June 22, 2015


For the past couple of years I've dreamed of becoming a weekender, aka those people who seem like they have plans or do something fun every weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I'm doing well so far.

Working from home has its benefits for sure but a huge downfall is a lack of interaction with the outside world. If I wanted to I could quite literally never use my car all week. In fact, I could get by with only leaving the house to walk the dog and maybe get the mail. But even for as introverted and socially weird I am I still can't live like that so I make it a point to go out most days. But weekends are another story. I finally have The Colonel home to talk to me AND there's always something to do around here.

Saturday was the lazier of our days. The Colonel hurt his foot a little in kickboxing so we kept it low key. He slept late and I got up at my normal time, walked the dog then cuddled on the couch with my book for a few hours. Love. Then we went to a matinee showing of Jurassic World 3D because cheapo here refuses to pay $16 to see a movie. It was actually pretty good. I know most people were stoked about it and looking forward to it but I didn't really care. I was pleasantly surprised though and afterwards it was still early so we headed out to the Columbia River Gorge...again. This time I just wanted to drive the scenic highway and you know...see the scenes. The unexpected surprise were the waterfalls! We drove past 3 waterfalls and since it wasn't really peak visiting time, were able to park and get out to take some pics at 2 of them. The famous Multnomah Falls area was still packed so we skipped trying to get another pic of it.

Sunday we'd planned to drive out to the coast and by planned I mean Saturday night we said "Oh! We should go to the coast tomorrow!" Cannon Beach is about an hour and a half away and you get to drive on this gorgeous windy little road most of the way to the Pacific Coast Highway. The change in landscape is stunning as you go from actual strawberry fields to green green green natural forests to sad looking, depleted logging areas to the freaking beach and Pacific Ocean. All that fun in 86 miles. What a cool state. Anyway, Cannon Beach is the first of 9 or 10 beach towns to check out and I think it's one of the more popular ones too. Aside from being super cute it's also one of the few dog friendly beaches which I have mixed feelings about (Don't kill me dog lovers). We didn't bring our noble steed because she doesn't love other dogs lately and hates water and it was nice to have a relaxing time with nobody to look after. Once we finally found a place to park we walked towards the ocean hoping by magic we'd figure out how to get there. There weren't any noticeable signs telling you where the public beach areas were but we followed some random people and walked through a resort type area and found it just fine. The Oregon Coast isn't really your typical beach since it's in the Northwest and not the Southeast or Puerto Rico like I'm used to so for starters, it's not hot! Dream come true. It's also normally cloudy I've heard and sometimes foggy/misty. You know, my dream. But we somehow managed a pretty perfect day and had blue skies, sunshine and temps in the 60s. Since we were expecting something different I was unprepared to actually go in the water or anything but couldn't resist the urge. 2 steps in and holy crap is the Pacific cold! I played in it for a bit then we walked over to some of the big rocks and checked out where the puffins nest in the spring and where the seagulls were currently nesting.

Later in the afternoon the clouds and fog started to roll in but it still seemed pretty bright. We walked around and checked out the little shops before stopping for lunch. I actually managed to find and finish 2 whole beers that I actually enjoyed. Shocking! Blackberry Beauty and a guest cider from Atlas Cider Company in Bend. Our next long weekend may need to be spent #inbend.

All in all, very successful 2 days of weekending. Learned a lot about Oregon and about how awesome our new location is within the state. Also, we didn't die in a tsunami.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


I've been wanting to write a blog for quite a while but was waiting until I was in a great mood so it would be upbeat and fun! Unfortunately the times that I'm in a great mood are when I'm not anywhere near a computer or device and walking along some tree lined path/finding rivers/staring at mountains and incredible scenery while driving somewhere. In short, the Northwest is incredible and I absolutely love living here. BUT location alone doesn't change your entire life (although it seems like it would) so I'm still battling my regular issues of career, my ever changing mood and finances as we work on the moving rebound. Living far away is hard. It's kind of like I died. I don't yet have a busy enough life to distract myself in the day to day so not getting texts or calls or messages from my friends back east makes me feel lonely.

The show must go on and I'm sure you are absolutely dying to know what I'm doing right now so thanks to Pinterest I have a lovely set of blog post prompts to fill you in.


  • Listening: to the many fans in our apartment. Air conditioning is not common in Oregon apartments (who knew?) so we have 5 or 6 fans all going in different directions and at different speeds. They're surprisingly effective.
  • Eating: Nothing! This needs to change stat because it's basically dinnertime! Since we've been here I've been eating tons of oranges though.
  • Drinking: Water. Lots of water. My swimming stuff finally got here yesterday (the last of the boxes has arrived!) and I got so excited I threw on my suit an ran out the door to the pool. And I swam hard and then easy and then floated around and then swam hard again and after way too long realized I was exhausted because I'm out of shape and THIRSTY. And so today I'm still thirsty. Hydration station y'all.

  • Wearing: Shorts and a tank
  • Feeling: Hungry, a little bit lonely, and a little sleepy
  • Reading: The Silent Wife. I randomly found this book when I was in Tucson with my sister a couple weeks ago and dragged her into a used book store. It was on the featured table and I don't really read a ton of fiction but it caught my eye. Instead of spending the $4 on it (cheapo) I came home and downloaded the ebook from the library. I've got 19 days and 200 pages left so I'm confident I'll get it done. I have If You Have to Cry, Go Outside on the back burner until this one is done.
  • Wanting: A steady income. My current remote position isn't working out at all like it was supposed to and has really put a hurting on the wallet.
  • Needing: To get my ass up and go to the grocery store! 
  • Thinking: About everything since I have that whole overactive brain thing happening. New blog posts, what to do with my life (per usual), what to eat...etc. etc. etc.
  • Enjoying: Being lazy. I'm actually back to working out regularly again which makes the downtime feel so much better. A lot of things are up in the air right now and with the constant stress it feels good when I just ignore it all for a few minutes and do nothing.
  • Anticipating: the weekend! Working from home makes me feel kinda like a desperate housewife so I look forward to weekends when I have someone to talk to all day.
A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

What are you up to? Do you want to text me?

Friday, May 22, 2015

First Impressions

Well hello there from your friendly neighborhood Oregonian! I think that's what people in Oregon are called. I may need to confirm that or wait until someone says it so I know without having to ask.

Anyway, thought now would be a good time to pop in and let you know that I'm alive and well and have been living in Oregon for about a week now. I'm sure some of you think you're interested in a recap of the road trip but trust me, you're not. It was quite long and quite boring. I'm not one who loves a road trip anyway so loading me up for 5 days wasn't exactly thrilling. Here's a quick rundown for you though, just in case you don't believe it happened:

Day 1: Louisville to Kansas City

We'd hardly crossed into Indiana before I started crying but luckily it didn't last long. It took forever for us to leave and starting out 3 hours behind wasn't exactly how I wanted to begin the journey but it really wasn't a big deal. We made it to the hotel in KC with no problems and hit the hay.

Day 2: Kansas City to Cheyenne

This was the longest travel day and I was thoroughly dreading it. The night before I tried really hard to reign in my mental process and get in a good frame of mind. No use bitching or being grumpy about it because it was going to happen. It had to. The only thing that made it terrible was driving through Nebraska. No offense to Nebraskans (????) but the state is so incredibly boring. We entered eastern Wyoming only to find...well, more of the same. Once again, no troubles with check in or travel in general and made it to the hotel nicely. I can't quite remember if we'd entered mountain time or not by then but our schedule was already jacked up and sleeping was welcome...although my anxiety was killing me and I hardly slept a wink the whole time we were traveling.

Only 9+ hours of this...

Day 3: Cheyenne to Salt Lake City

I was really looking forward to this day mainly because it was about 3 hours shorter than the day before and I've always wanted to see Salt Lake City. Western Wyoming got a lot better looking and Utah surely didn't disappoint. I'll have to make it back to Utah for an extended stay some time.

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on
I was pretty busy geeking out over seeing snowcapped mountains from the hotel to bother taking pictures. The pictures didn't do justice anyway. As I like to say, sometimes life is better being lived than photographed. Or something.

Day 4: Salt Lake City to Baker City

Another shorter driving day which was good. We were also going to enter Oregon so I was mega pumped about that and hoping to get some good scenery. Utah kept putting on a show for us and Idaho tried to counter but it was just ok. We kept getting gas because we'd heard there were big stretches of nothingness between Utah and Oregon which was true. But they weren't really more than 100 miles apart and The Colonel's car gets like 450+ miles per tank so we were a little overly cautious.

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on
Day 5: Baker City to Portland (Tualatin)

The last day was just under 5 hours and we were soooo pumped. It was tempting to just tack it on to the day before but we would've killed each other and our apartment wasn't ready until Friday anyway. We planned to sleep in a little but finally being in the Pacific timezone with Eastern time bodies we were up pretty early and just decided to leave. The day before we'd had the same problem and ended up needing to kill about a half hour since we were due to get to the hotel before check in. Oregon is a beauty and I totally see why people gush about it. We drove through wine country, the Cascades and the Columbia River Gorge and I just couldn't even. I took pics but my retinas do a better job than retinal display. We got to our apartment around 2 pm and since we sold all of our stuff unpacking was a breeze! It was great to get out of the car and finally have a new home! We were also super lucky with the apartment because it's really cute and I like it a lot! Definitely could go 50/50 with the whole renting sight unseen thing.

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on
And now we're here. I've been making sure to work for at least a couple of hours everyday but it's actually been pretty crazy trying to get life in order. We have a couch that was delivered the day after we got into town and our bed is coming today. The pets adjusted pretty quickly and I've been taking Armani for walks every morning just because I can and because the weather is amazing. We also got our wifi hooked up and despite a minor snafu with my car, everything has gone really smoothly which I couldn't be happier about.

Today has been a tough day actually. I think finally slowing down has let it soak in that my family and friends are all really far away. We have 2 weddings to go to "back east" (yes, I'll start saying things like that now to refer to anything east of the Rockies) and I realized just how far away we are when searching for flights this morning. It's also Memorial Day weekend so hearing about it is reminding me that I'll have no one (other than The Colonel of course) to get together with and that's hard to swallow. I also haven't really heard from most of my friends. Very few texts and not much more than a Facebook like here and there. It's just a reminder of how permanent the distance is. But I did go back to Orangetheory Fitness and had a good workout yesterday and met a couple of people so I know it won't be long before I make some friends here and start to feel more comfortable and like I have a life. So to all those in a different timezone, you can still text me! I'm here!

Also, and most importantly, I think it's time to change the name of the ol' blog. What should I change it to?? Help!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Driving the Oregon Trail

We are driving all the way to Oregon so there's definitely planning that has to go into such a trip. We have to make sure we buy enough ammunition, spare wagon parts and clothing at the general store which can be hard on a carpenter's salary. We have to stop and talk to people to get their opinion on what we're doing and how we're doing it and most of all, we have to ready the oxen.

Oh wait, sorry, we're taking the trail for real by car, not on pix-elated computer screens by wagon. My mistake.


I'll probably never stop making Oregon Trail jokes so you should just go ahead and accept that. The original OT traveled from Independence, MO (where I almost booked our Day 1 hotel just for kicks) to Oregon City, OR. Our fair city of Tualatin lies just 11 miles west of Oregon City so we're going a bit further than the true OT but we're also in a car and not a wagon so I think we'll make it like the true explorers we are.

And there's your geography lesson for the day.

Recall this little image:

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

We have a lot of ground to cover so like the planner that I am, I signed up to handle logistics. I had a few things to keep in mind like how many hours can I and the pets comfortably travel (The Colonel loves to drive so he doesn't count), how many miles will that equate to per day, where are there actual cities to stay the night in within those limitations (Nebraska is not known as a bustling metropolis), are the hotels pet friendly, oh yeah, how much does it cost?

That may sound like a lot but I love a good plan and got right to work. I decided we'd like to travel for around 8 hours per day so I didn't go crazy and my cats didn't pee themselves. It turns out only 1 day will be a bit longer than that which I'm counting in the win column. In looking at hotels, I found that the most affordable, well rated by TripAdvisor and pet friendly ones all fell under the Wyndham Group of hotels. I contacted the company to see about discounts and although they weren't jumping at the opportunity to give me free stays, they signed me up for the rewards program and pointed me to rates where I can stay in budget and earn extra points towards future free stays. An added bonus of the hotels I chose is free breakfast. That's a must for people like us and will allow us to save money on the first meal of the day, eat well so we aren't starved after only a couple hours on the road and stock up on "free" fruit and other snack food for the ride. #clutch.

Now for the big unveiling. Here's the travel plan I've come up with:

Day 1: 7 hours 27 minutes and 513 miles from Louisville, KY to Kansas City, MO
Day 2: 9 hours 29 minutes and 648 miles from Kansas City, MO to Cheyenne, WY (remember what I said about Nebraska? We won't be stopping there unless we see something super awesome like the World's Largest Rubberband Ball)
Day 3: 6 hours 30 minutes and 443 miles from Cheyenne, WY to Salt Lake City, UT.
I thought we'd need a shorter day after nearly 10 hours the day before and I've always wanted to see SLC.

Book of Mormon anyone?

Day 4: 6 hours 40 minutes and 468 miles from Salt Lake City, UT to Baker City, OR.
Funny story about deciding on Baker City. Boise is only 4-5 hours from SLC and we wanted a longer leg than that. Eastern Oregon isn't crawling with cities so it was between Baker City, La Grande or Pendleton. Of the 3, Baker City is the only one that had a single hotel that allowed cats. And seriously, it's just 1 hotel. The other pet friendlies in the area are weirdly dog only to the point they even write ABSOLUTELY no cats. Um, alright...

Day 5: 4 hours 57 minutes and 313 miles to our new home in Tualatin! This is also our move in day so we'll be able to get there and get our keys right away so no more hotel stays! Also, no more beds...because we won't have one. But that's another story.

So what do you think? Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What About Your Stuff?

Let's take the emotions down a notch from my last post and get back to that moving across the country thing.

As of last night we're officially not homeless! Hooray! We got the approval for an apartment in a fun little town called Tualatin which is a few miles southwest of Portland, aka the 'burbs. The apartment is within walking distance of lots of stores (including a grocery store and farmer's market, top priority obvs) and is centrally located to a lap swimming pool, 3 (count em, THREE) parks and 2 hot yoga studios. I'm pretty pumped to say the least.

But back to the moving thing.

The easiest way to move your stuff across the country is to not have a lot of stuff to move across the country. Seriously. Read any moving blog or website or whatever and they will tell you to sell your shit. Or donate it, or whatever you have to do to get rid of it because hauling it all is expensive and the farther you go the more expensive it is. I can't remember which of the many moving tips posts it was, but I really liked their idea of the 2 year test. Look at what you're considering taking with you and if it's something you will probably replace in 2 years or less (whether or not you were planning to move) toss it. The Colonel and I have crappy furniture. It's not terrible but it's still early 20s stuff that was all bought from some kind of discount/clearance store which we were hoping to upgrade anyway once we became adults. We clearly aren't adults yet but what better way to give yourself the push to grow up than by trying to do a hugely expensive thing on a budget?

Whatever won't fit in our cars or in a box to ship is getting a new home. And speaking of cars, we have 2 of them that both need to get to a new home. Driving 2 cars means filling up 2 cars and since we aren't in a Prius and a Tesla that will cost money. We calculated the costs and decided to ship one car and drive the other. Aside from me being a snot and not wanting the miles on my car, we decided to ship mine because it's an SUV and can fit a lot more stuff than The Colonel's sedan. Why does this matter? Because another fun money saving tip is to load the shipped car to the brim with your stuff and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. *tip: make sure the company shipping your car will allow that. Some companies require additional insurance or have guidelines regarding what type and how much of your personal belongings can tag along for free.

We also got a few big moving boxes to send things like blankets, winter coats, sweaters, movies, books and wedding dresses (ok, there's just one) the old fashioned way. Those things tend to take up a lot of space since they're so bulky but aside from books they're pretty light which makes shipping them pretty inexpensive. It also helps we're moving in May so we don't immediately need winter wear and blankets.

If at all possible, sell your stuff. I'm a big fan of donation (hello nonprofit employee) but there is that small matter of arriving in your new home with no furniture and potentially no money to buy new stuff. Also, if you're moving to an apartment, see what amenities they already have. Most apartments have some version of overhead lighting so lamps may not be necessary and check out the appliance situation. Is a microwave built in? Washer and dryer hook ups alone or will you have the actual units? Knowing this information will keep you from dragging along extra items for no real reason.

Renting remotely is hard by the way so don't get discouraged like me and stay positive. Explore all of your options and make a plan B in case you get out there and are in fact homeless. Find someone you trust and who likes you a lot to hold onto those boxes you plan to ship until you have an address. Pester the crap out of your potential landlord. Yes, it is probably annoying for them but if they can keep their cool and help you during an incredibly stressful time, they'll probably do the same if you have a major disaster (i.e. your basement floods 2 feet and ruins your dryer and furnace and leaves the floor covered in smelly mud...not that anything like that has ever happened to me). That is the kind of landlord you want. Ask for pictures and video if you can. Clarify EVERYTHING and make a list of all of your questions. Some people place a lot of emphasis on reviews and I read them but don't necessarily take them to heart. In my experience, people one write reviews when they're really angry or really happy. Otherwise, they don't waste their time.  

So there's where we are now. I have 8 work days left, will be on the road in 13 and *hopefully* in the PDX in a mere 18! Time sure is flying!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why I Hate the Ironman

I figure it's about time to put this out there and I'm pretty sure if you know me really well, you won't be surprised by any of what I have to say.

I've been having a lot of issues lately. I've been working hard with my counselor to determine who I really am and what brings me true joy in life and it's been surprising, frustrating, difficult, fun, exhausting, enlightening, exciting and sum it up in a few words.

I spent some time in Puerto Rico back in March and finally got back into doing some writing while I was out there. It wasn't anything long and certainly not anything particularly newsworthy but it made me feel good. I enjoy writing. When I was young I used to write short fiction stories on my mom's computer whenever I had free time and though a lot of them remained unfinished, they were always fun for me and surprisingly effortless to compose. Blogging has never quite been the same as my true writing and I've been working hard to figure out why. I read a lot of my old posts from the past couple of years and once I stopped trying to fight my brain to figure out what I didn't like I figured it out.

It was glaringly obvious.

The last day in Puerto Rico, I wrote a lot. Probably the most profound thing I put on paper was this, "Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a hell of my own making." I listen to a daily "motivational" podcast called The Daily Boost (check it out if you can use 9 minutes of "motivation" during the week) and he says a lot of things that stick with me. Lately I've been stuck on an episode where he said "What if what you think you want isn't what you really want."

Holy Shit. Mind Blown.

(I promise this is all about to come together)

In my last post I whined about how nobody was asking me anything about my big move across the country. And I wasn't being entirely honest about that. People are asking me questions, or rather one question. What about the Ironman?

The first time I got this question I rolled my eyes and ignored the text. The second time I logged off of Facebook (which has become more and more common for me these days) and quit answering messages for a while. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. These people are all wonderful people and I don't mean to come off as a total asshole but what was incredibly frustrating and actually hurtful for me was that nobody was asking about me. When I sat down to think more about it I had a lightbulb moment and realized they were asking about my next big race because I'd trained them to. I have turned myself into nothing but races and fitness goals and athletic achievements. My entire self worth, all self esteem and emotional being is tied to what event I have coming up.

Training took over my life. And not in a good way.

As embarrassing as it is, I will confess that it has been at least a year since I've truly sat down and just read a book. I have more unfinished writing pieces than I care to count, and they're really good pieces that deserve to be finished. I can't tell you the last hot yoga class I took (yes, I know this is technically still fitness but it's quite mental for me too). I hardly bake anymore and only cook what's fast and healthy regardless of how good it tastes. I don't just lay on the floor and play with my dog. The Colonel and I don't sit and play cards while listening to music like we used to because I never have time.

Bottom line: I don't do any of the things I enjoy. 

You probably know that I'm obsessed with the Canadian tv show Boundless. One of the stars of the show, Turbo, brilliantly says during a particularly awful and grueling event "If it's not fun, why do it?" I've really been trying to focus on that and I'm realizing that most of my life is full of things I force myself to do for no real reason at all.

Case in point, Ironman Louisville. When training for endurance events (or I guess anything) gets hard and generally unpleasant you have to talk yourself through it and as I and a bunch of other people like to say "remember your why". Why the hell are you doing this? When I was running along in my solo 20 miler before my last marathon I didn't have to ask myself why I was out there until probably somewhere after mile 18 (a good sign!). I had that ever so popular thought of Jesus Christ what the hell am I doing to myself out here? I marathon because it's fun for me. I don't know why and I don't especially care but I genuinely enjoy it. Even during the race when after mile 15 I couldn't keep down a single solid and after mile 26 watched as my goal time slipped out of my hands I was having fun. I wasn't worrying about anything in particular, I wasn't even thinking about anything. I was just being grateful. For my surroundings, for my body, for my life.

When I hop onto my detested bike (I like Dottie, I just don't care to spend hours on end with her...) I immediately have to remember my why. But through some soul searching and deep convos with my counselor I learned that my Iron-why wasn't actually a legitimate why. I signed up for Ironman to be proud of myself. I wanted an accomplishment that was so big I could never doubt myself again or feel down about myself. If I finished an Ironman, I wouldn't be myself anymore. I'd be someone better.

But here's the thing. I should already be proud of myself. I have accomplishments, some that are quite big. Why do I need to finish something "even bigger"? If I'm not proud of any of my marathons, of my first triathlon, of learning to ride a bike, of losing 60 pounds, of graduating college in 4 years with honors, of not marrying an asshole, of becoming a certified trainer or of anything else I've ever done, why oh why do I think Ironman will be any different? The issue is with me, with my own self and my own brain and no amount of physical punishment (yes, to some degree endurance sports can be defined as punishment) is going to change that. In my current mind, I'll never be fast enough or go far enough. I was training for Ironman and already looking forward to finishing ultramarathons. I always say I prefer to run far because I'm not fast. Nobody asks about your time for an ultra but they always seem to ask for a 5K (which I think are way harder than marathons btw).

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I don't remember who said that quote but it's fucking brilliant. I have consented to let myself feel like I must complete longer and longer races to actually be somebody. But in doing that I've lost the pretty great somebody I actually am. I want to be well rounded. I like to read and write and exercise. I like to run but I hate to bike. I'll swim for an hour or so, I'll ride for an hour at best and I'll run slowly for days. So why don't I just do that? Why can't I or anyone just do what we want to do, what we like to do, what we live to do?

I have surrounded myself with some pretty great people, but I've also inadvertently surrounded myself with people who are my particular version of krytonite. People who are overly competitive, people who reek of false modesty (i.e. Omg I ran such a sloooow 7 minute mile today...), people who, like me, force themselves to do things they don't enjoy doing. And when you're around people with the same issues as you, it's hard to see when there's something wrong. I don't determine what's wrong with other people but I do know there's something wrong in my life.

I downloaded a new book on my kindle. I'm writing again. I've already googled yoga studios near our potential new apartment. I'm ready to be who I am and to do things I like. So in case it wasn't obvious, I won't be doing Ironman this year.

And for that matter, I may not do it any year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Logistics of a 2300 Mile Move

As self centered as I can sometimes be, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. After spending almost 8 years in Louisville (holy crap has it really been that long!) I was really expecting to have made very close connections. I was expecting to have friends who upon hearing the news would start asking me questions.

When are you leaving?
Where will you live?
Do you have a job lined up?
How will you get your stuff there?
Do you need help?

If I'd heard my friend was moving quite literally across the country, I'd like to think I would be asking those questions. Aside from my sister and 1 or 2 people I honestly haven't known for very long, nobody really seems to be asking anything. That makes me sad because in my sensitivity and dramatics, it comes off as not caring. I mean, surely they don't have anything going on in their lives that could need more attention than my move right? *I'm being dramatic here, I know people have important things going on and probably don't want to stress me or themselves out worse than we already are. Work with me.


I'm really into logistics which makes me assume I'd ask way too many questions about someone's impending move which would likely stress them to the max. Nonetheless, I love to make things happen, especially if they're things that shouldn't happen or at least shouldn't happen easily. So for those of you who can appreciate logistics and tiny details, here's an outline of the way we are hoping going to make this 2,300 mile (or 2,317...but who's counting) move happen.

What Needs to Move?

Ah, the purging process. Every time we move, and I'm using a collective we in hopes you do this too, the first thing we think of is getting rid of all of our unnecessary clutter. Luckily for us, I attempt to declutter regularly and before our last move 2 ish years ago we trashed a TON of stuff.

In a short distance move like our last one (6.8 miles...but again, who's counting?) you can pretty much load all your stuff in a car/truck/van and drive back and forth until you've moved it all. If you have a few extra boxes, no big deal. I've never facilitated a long haul before other than that time I moved to Texas but luckily my mom has moved us to 3 states throughout my life and had some words of wisdom. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for a big move:

  • You have to pay to move things. If the cost of the item is less than the cost to move it, it may not be worth it.
  • Sentimental items also have value and the cost ratio changes significantly when it comes to these things.
  • In a year or two, will you probably be buying this item again? Leave it. If you know you want to buy a new couch or kitchen table in the near future, sell what you've got and buy a new one when you get to your destination. You'll save the cost of shipping big furniture and you get new stuff. Win.
  • How flexible are you? If you're moving on a budget, you'll need to get yogi with it and become as flexible as possible. Can you leave your bed and use an air mattress for a couple of weeks? How comfortable are you towing a trailer behind your car to save money on movers? Stretch it out.
In our case, we don't have a lot of things that need to move. I don't love our furniture, aside from my mattress and as luck would have it, a local organization called Cedar Lake sent a post card saying they'll have a truck in our neighborhood that will pick up donations. Hello, perfect timing! We've bagged up about 6 bags of clothes and are now boxing up things like printers (why do we have so many?), dishes (ditto) and linens (extra towels, blankets etc.). We will need to make a call on some of our furniture but I'm seeing the coffee and end tables, dining room set and extra desk heading to a nice new home. This is how things are divided as of now:

To Take

  • Ourselves (duh)
  • Our pets...all 3 of them (triple duh)
  • Both cars
  • Spring/Summer Clothes
  • A set of dishware and silverware
  • A set of linens
  • Sentimental stuff (photos, journals, books)
  • Some small kitchen appliances
  • Bikes (what kind of Portlanders would we be without bikes?)
To Leave aka Donate
  • Above mentioned furniture
  • Fall/Winter Clothes
  • Some books
  • Treadmill (possibly sell since it's brand new)
  • Dressers/Nightstand
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Couch/Chair
  • Bed
  • Microwave (depends on whether or not our new place has one)
  • Probably some other things I'm forgetting
It helps to move when you are still young enough to only have discount furniture you purchased from American Freight, Big Lots or stuff you found because it's much easier to say so long to it. Plus cheap stuff is lighter.

I'll be back soon to chat about HOW you actually get the things you decide to take to the new location but you'll need to give me a chance to actually figure that out first ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Oregon Trail

A lot of things have changed.

Like, a lot of them.

The biggest thing that has (or at least is about to) changed is my location. In a few short weeks The Colonel and I will be embarking on a real live Oregon Trail and moving to Portland!

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

To make a long story short, we've been talking about moving for ages but wanted to do it the right way (i.e. save up money, purge excess crap, visit a few cities, pick one, get jobs etc.). You know what they say about best laid plans right? Turns out The Colonel accepted a transfer to Portland at the end of last week and now we have roughly a month to be moved the 2300 miles to Oregon.

Holy moly.

Interestingly, a few weeks ago I started watching My City's Just Not That Into Me on FYI and thought just for kicks to take their My City Personality Test. My results?

I mean, is anyone surprised? I love mountains. I like to be outside. I hate humidity and hot hot summers. Why wouldn't I be in one of these cities? The Colonel took the quiz too and matched 2 out of 3. We're apparently meant to be.

Anyway, logistics are currently being figured out in a panic in an orderly and adult fashion but I have figured out that my last day at work will be May 8th and we will be taking trip 1 of 2 out west starting May 12th...or 13th...ok so that part isn't figured out yet.

I haven't felt entirely like blogging lately but I thought a 2300 mile cross country move seemed particularly blog-worthy. Do you agree?

Keep up with me on instagram and see the photos of the adventure well before I get the time to sit and write about it. And tell me, have you ever been out west?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Best Tweets of February

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

26 Things

The other day I sent a text to my sister that went something like, "Remember when I used to write a blog? That was fun." I spend a lot of time nowadays watching my head movies (as RER calls them) and when you have tons of time to think you can come up with all sorts of things to write about. What I'm saying is, my absence isn't due to a lack of material.

Since today is my last day as a 26 year old I thought I'd at least throw something together very quickly for the sake of...I don't know, 26-ing. Also yes, tomorrow is my birthday!

Here are 26 things I've learned or thought about since beginning Ironman training:

  1.  My laundry is finally being done regularly. I only have 4 sports bras and 1 bathing suit so laundry needs to be done all the time.
  2. I truly don't have time for things. You know how you say you'll call someone or write that blog or watch that show but you never have time because you're too busy doing some equally unnecessary task? That's not really my life anymore. I wake up, work, train, cook, eat and sleep. Fun stuff
  3. I'm learning to make time for things I really enjoy. Like watching Scandal on Netflix the news.
  4. In making time management decisions I'm also learning which people and activities are truly important to me. This is a good thing.
  5. Sleep is even more important than even I, a certified Good Sleeping Specialist (or GSS for short) realized. I'm sleepy a lot.
  6. It scares me to think I haven't even dipped into the actual training pool yet.
  7. There are only 2 reasons I don't like winter as much as I used to and 1 of them is because of training. I don't hate the treadmill or the trainer like everyone else but I do miss fresh air and sunshine as I sweat it out.
  8. I read somewhere (or maybe someone told me) that if you can't control your mind for a couple hours on a treadmill or bike trainer, you'll have a hell of a time controlling it for a 12+ hour race day. I love that. And believe it. When I'm outside I can distract myself with just about anything but inside I have to face my own mind. Even when it's mean to me. Learning to deal with it now will pay off big time on race day.
  9. Eating 2 rice krispy treats a day won't kill you. In fact, it's fun.
  10. Drinking 4 glasses of wine in a couple of hours won't kill you either, but it will kill your run the next day.
  11. Fun is a choice. That was my wisdom filled gem I released before the Lovin the Hills trail race and I remind myself of it regularly during my workouts. I always say if it's not fun, why do it? So I choose to have as much fun as possible.
  12. I Lived by One Republic is my favorite song. 
  13. By the time race day comes, I'm pretty sure I'll be thrown off when things don't unfold as I imagined them. And not race performance things or anything normal. Things like my friends not standing where I've imagined them standing. I'm very detail oriented.
  14. I'm still a terrible cyclist but I'm making greater gains there than anywhere else. Maybe it's because it's the worst of the 3 disciplines for me so I'm learning a lot or maybe it's because I really am built for power and not speed.
  15. My running is not speeding up. In fact, I think it's slowing down. 
  16. Heart rate training destroys my enormous ego everyday. 
  17. I'm not sure if I want training partners or not. I roll the idea around in my head all the time and I'm sure once I'm doing long runs or rides without specific workouts I'll appreciate it but for now it just feels like a hassle to have people join me for my very specific sessions.
  18. I'm still reluctant to call myself an Ironman in training or even a triathlete at all. I've hit some really big milestones but I'm still too afraid of criticism if I share those gains so I just sort of sit silently in limbo.
  19. I remember being really bummed when one of my blog "friends" blogged less once their training started because I was DYING to know what was going on. Now I realize that they were probably choosing between writing or sleeping and we all know the clear winner.
  20. Aside from my sister, I don't think I know a lot of people who care enough about my training to indulge in every detail of it. If there are, tell me because I will divulge every ridiculous second of my sessions!
  21. I'm in need of more shows to watch on Netflix that The Colonel won't like. Right now it's Scandal but I can't watch without him. Help!
  22. I had no idea I had this many thoughts....
  23. I just read an article regarding weight for Ironman and really enjoyed it. I love science! Read it here.
  24. I decided to splurge on the hotel room for IMLOU and think it'll be money well spent. Even though I live here, not worrying about driving will be one less thing on the long list of to-do's that weekend.
  25. We got a new person at work and she doesn't yet know things about me. So far she's only learned that I'm a vegetarian and that I drink a lot of water.
  26. I would love to get back to blogging regularly but I just can't guarantee that will happen. But in the meantime, just subscribe and you'll be the first to know if I ever post again ;)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Commit to Fit Round 3!

Round 2 of Commit to Fit was triple the size of round 1 and just as much fun as the first go!

For the short month of February we took a short break but don't fret, Commit to Fit is BACK for March! If you haven't joined in yet, what are you waiting for? 

The goal of this challenge is to remember that being active is a lifestyle and not necessarily a specific workout plan. Think ahead and plan to do what you want to do when you can do it.

CLICK HERE for more information and to sign up! There have been some changes for the better this round so please read carefully:

  • All official participants will be required to pay the $15 fee and use the Trainerize software to track their progress. With the size of the program, it has become difficult to manage points effectively through manual tracking. I think it's best to rely on a software system than my tired eyes to make sure everyone gets the points they deserve!
  • People can still play along for free by joining the Facebook group but they will not be eligible for prizes or any other benefits afforded to official participants.
  • Every paid member of the challenge will have access to me through messaging within Trainerize software for questions or concerns.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When I'm Not Blogging

Sarah posted her version of this post just the other day and I thought I would follow suit. It seemed particularly appropriate as I've had an absence of blogging as of late so I might as well do a little explainin'.

I'm a busy bee and I like it that way so here are just a few of the many things I'm doing when I'm not chatting with you fine people. *Cue Titanic reference

Training Myself

With that little Ironman race coming up I've been spending a lot of time trying to get my life in order before training actually starts. In the meantime, I'm getting in 2 solid swim, bike, run and strength sessions in 6 days each week. I started up with my awesome Coach on January 1st and so far so good. The workouts aren't long but between commuting (I live a good drive from the pool, gym and most safe outdoor running routes), changing clothes, showering and eating it takes up much more time than I realized. Luckily I'll be moving before ish really gets real...hopefully.

Training Others

I'm up in the air about what to do with the whole personal training thing but I have still been doing some legitimate work in the field. Most notably has been running the Commit to Fit activity challenge and I just got a new online client from an auction I participated in. I'm really excited to work with her and possibly generate some new business. I'm also in talks with a local facility here about doing some in person sessions so we'll see how that turns out.


I love to sleep. I take my sleep very very seriously and when my new coach said he wanted me to focus on getting 8-10 hours a night, I knew there was one part of training I wasn't going to have any trouble with.

Seriously. I am totally honest joking when I say I'd go to bed at sunset and partially hate summer because it's too bright to sleep. I know and respect the importance of sleep when it comes to training and I don't care what it means I have to sacrifice, I will sleep.


I do have a day job. You knew that right? Unfortunately my life isn't just training and sleeping and training some more. I also work at a local nonprofit doing super important, life changing database work. Oxymoron? The organization I work for does indeed do super important life changing work, just can't say I'm one of the people in the field. But even though it is just part time, 30 hours of my week are spent there.

Unlike Emily, I really do like my job. I'm lucky to have it because it is incredibly flexible, my coworkers are fun and it accommodates my training schedules. So I win.

I went a little heavy on the gifs today! I just think they're fun sometimes and I'm always proud of my pop culture knowledge when an idea for one to use pops into my head.

What about you? What kinds of things do you do on the reg?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lovin the Hills Race Report

Guess what I did this weekend???

I was a very good girl and asked my coach very nicely if I could please please please do the Lovin' the Hills 6 mile trail race and because he's the best he gave me the green light to participate. So, I did my very first trail race on Saturday!

I'm not necessarily a stranger to trails but I definitely wouldn't say we're friends. Trail running goes on the same list as all of those really great athletes I "know" and am Facebook friends with and want to be able to be real friends with but I'm too intimidated to try. You know what I mean right? Anyway, I've run trails before and volunteered at many a trail race but I've never actually "raced" myself so this was going to be a fun new experience.

The site wasn't far from my house and since I'd waited to sign up for various reasons, I didn't have to get up too too early to get there in time for race day registration. I drove to Jefferson Memorial Forest and drove up and up and up and up to the start/finish line. As my car groaned up the neverending hill it occurred to me that I may have been in over my head. Then my oil change light came on and I decided my car just needed a tune up and that the hill wasn't really that bad. I parked my car and quickly realized I was surrounded by those people I totally want to be. It was a crunchy crew. Subarus and camelbacks and happy, fit people. I say this every time I'm around trail runners but they really are some of the nicest people around. I'm sure the front runners are a bit more intense but in general I find them to be a super supportive, super fun, very laid back group of people. It's awesome. I want to be one.

....back to the race. I don't know as many people in the trail circuit as I do at road races but there also aren't nearly as many participants so it's not overwhelming for me. I saw a couple of people I knew as soon as I walked into the lodge to register and pretty much always had at least one or two people in my sights who I recognized. It's been a long time since I've gone to a race totally solo so it was a little strange to be on my own. I wore my HR monitor and my Garmin which is rare but I've finally figured out how to upload data and I'm sure my coach appreciates stuff like that. I do have to admit that as cool as it is to be able to see an entire race mapped out in graphs and charts I'd still rather go without. I don't know why numbers stress me out so much.

I was staying calm and really embracing the opportunity to have a lot of fun without worrying about the numbers but I think everyone is always a little anxious at the start. I also had to make sure not to break anything.

The run started and we all stayed together for about a quarter mile until we reached the first trail head when we got onto some single track (look at me using trail terms!) and it bottlenecked pretty bad. I saw a group of women I knew and they said it was normal as we made our single file march through the trees. Then we were off again and as the trail widened I stayed right to let people go past me. Right around 1.5 miles I tripped and almost took a massive dive but saved myself and actually laughed quite a bit. One of the guys coming up behind me said "Nice save!" and another guy said "You're one of us." I giggled like a schoolgirl and decided to take much smaller steps for the rest of the way so I didn't kill my Ironman before it even started.

There were a few really wide spots and a lot of people came past me at that point. On the road it always stings me a bit when I feel like everyone is passing me because I'm a bit more competitive (in my head, not in my talent) there but out in the woods I was hoping they'd go by so I didn't slow anyone down. Before mile 2 we came up on the first steep descent and it was a whole different world. Trails are scary! Luckily it was still early so the trail was cold and hard packed but there were still some slick spots and I slowed to a crawl. Another man came past and said I was really smart for going slow. I got to the bottom and picked it up again until a creek crossing when I tiptoed so I didn't get my feet wet. *Note to self, probably time to buy trail shoes. What goes down must go up and it wasn't long before I hit the first climb. It was huge. I walked. It sucked. My HR spiked to the 180s and I was working! But in a sick way I was enjoying it. I've always liked going up more than coming down since I'm a weenie and afraid of speed and a lot of the people who were gaining on me in the flat fell off once we started going up. I hit the top and broke into a slow jog to bring my HR back down and recover and the runners behind me caught up at that point.

The trail was tough but beautiful. I always think of trails as being pretty in the summer or fall but even in winter with everything brown and bare it was so nice to just look around and take it all in. A little bit later we hit another steep downhill and I let a few people go but one woman said she was fine to stay behind me. She stayed there for a bit and we got to talking. Her name was Sarah and we did the rest of the race together which made it really fun. Turns out she'd lost over 100 pounds and was really into triathlons so naturally, we had lots to talk about. She was taller than me and was a great hiker so she hiked while I "ran" and it turned out to be about the same pace. Since we were both out for fun we stayed at a conversational pace and talked about everything except the hills when things got tough.

When we came towards the finish there were volunteers telling us which way to go. We were doing the 6 mile short course but there was also a 15 mile and 50K option. For once I finally picked the right race! We came around the bend to the finish all smiles and got a medal which I totally wasn't expecting! We went inside to get some food and I introduced her to a few more of my friends who had already finished. We hung out for a bit longer and then said our goodbyes before I headed out to the aid station my sister and our church were in charge of.

Overall the course had over 700 feet of climbing over just under 6 miles and I could really feel it in my glutes as the day went on. I spent some time at the aid station and was DYING to already be out doing the 50K (have I mentioned I'm hoping to get into ultras next year?). I had a great day and can't wait to start getting on the trails regularly. Sunday I wasn't too too sore which was a good thing because my coach had 2 minute hill repeats written for me on the bike trainer.

How do I feel today? Well...let's just say I'm glad it's a rest day.