Half-Full Triathlon

Well, it's been over a month since I did my triathlon so I think it's about time I talked about it. 
Let me first start off with the fact that my mom was a trooper. She spent basically all Saturday and Sunday hanging out with a bunch of smelly athletes just to cheer me on. She's a swell lady. 
Saturday we checked in, dropped off my bike, went to a newbie meeting, and than drove 25+ miles so I could check out the bike course (I had to do the loop twice for the actual race). While I was resistant to see what I was up against (I'm all about the element of surprise) I'm actually really glad we did it. I was able to mentally prepare for some of the most intimidating hills I've ever laid eyes on. The rest of the night was spent in front of the TV while my mom french braided my hair. There's just something incredibly calming about your mother doing your hair like a 6 year old. 
Sunday I woke up bright early, like 3:30 AM early, got dressed, ate some nasty tasting food, and then we were off. Now the day before at check-in it wasn't that crazy. Really I was surprised by the lack of people. (I did see Liberty University. When I walked by I made sure to give them the stink eye for never emailing me back when I was a residential student. It's likely they didn't notice some random throwing them the stink-eye, but it still made me feel better.) Sunday was a whole different story. If I remember correctly there were 2,500 athletes competing. 
Before the actually race started I set up my little "station" aka I threw my junk on the ground and called it a day. I did not warm up but managed to stretch some and force feed myself some gel that tasted like tar. All pre-race I basically felt like a giant fraud which was only confirmed when I lined up with my age group. There weren't that many of us but boy were those few girls concerned about what place/time they were going to get. There they were in their sweet body suites talking about previous races and PR's. And there I was, with clothes that didn't attach, mouth shut, eyes averted, looking forward to having a whole pizza to myself afterwards. You can imagine the intimidation I was throwing out. 
I have only ever done one other traithlon. It was a sprint two years ago. I still remember the ice cold Titanic water the second I jumped in. This water, however, was actually tolerable. Which really wasn't that surprising since it was going to be a disgusting high of 87...in October...bleh. After the tolerable .9 mile swim my legs felt like jello. About 15 seconds of walking and I was able to pick up my knees and run up the hill to the transition area. There the hardest part was before me....getting that dang wet-suite off. I basically laid on the ground and spazzed until it finally let me go. 
The 56 mile biking portion was almost weirdly relaxing. Everyone was spaced out enough to not make it feel like a race, but there were plenty of cops and volunteers through out to cheer you up those torture hills and remind you you were actually in a race so you best pick it up. My main motivation towards the end was reaching the porty-potty in time. I did. 
Now before the race I thought a 13.1 mile run would be a piece of cake. I'm a runner, this is what I do, this is what I'm good at. 13.1 miles? Please, give me a real challenge. Oh, Elise, you naive idiot. My body was over it the first mile. Still, I managed to silence the screams and pushed through till I crossed the finish line aka paradise. Paradise included a bag of ice, water, Gatorade, and a bench. At that point all of those things were better than Ryan Gosling's face.  
My absolute favorite part of this race was the cause. "We chose the distance of 70 Miles versus the more well-known 70.3 Mile distance for this race for one important reason. 70,000 is the number of young adults diagnosed with cancer each year. This is a statistic that needs people’s attention. It is unacceptable. We will change it. Despite these challenges, our vision for the future is HALF FULL! The Half Full Tri will help make the young adult cancer issue a priority and together we can improve the 70,000 statistic. Every Mile you race you're helping support this population of young people battling cancer." 
It was amazing to see the cancer survivors start off the race for us. There was also a group called "Team Fight" who gathered in a circle before hand and told stories of loved ones they were specifically racing for. I asked friends and family to give me the names of loved ones who have or are battling cancer. I wrote each of those names on my arms as a reminder and was able to pray over them during the race. Even during the most painful parts of the race those names kept everything in perspective for me. If you gave me a name thank you so much, and please know I still pray over them. 
While this race was incredibly hard both physically and mentally I think I might just have to do it again next year. 
*Apologies for the iphone quality photos.  


I actually managed to write five real deal posts! Well, if we're being honest, I wrote ten posts and am just being lazy rewarding myself for completing my goal with a "currently" post. I'll get around to sharing those other five in the far distant future. 

Drinking peppermint mochas out of those magical red cups once again. 

Appreciating Trying to appreciate this season of preparation. 

Reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac. 

Craving homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

Watching way to much TV. I need to cut back. 

Going to the gym. I like working out. I do not like going to a gym to do it.

Laughing, still, at this. I cried the first two times I watched it. 

Eating macintosh apples like my life depends on it. 

Dreaming about summer. Not the season, that is gross, but the changes it's going to bring

Waiting for answers. 

Planning absolutely nothing. I prefer surprises. 

Praying about what's next. 

Sleeping a-maz-ing now that the clocks have turned back an hour. 

Missing Rwanda. I just realized yesterday I have been home for 5 months. 

Wearing "real" pants. Or at least trying to. 

Considering getting my pinkie touched up. It's looking unreadable. 

Working on this nonsense called school. 

Loving the fact that todays high is 46. 

Acknowledging that dyeing my hair was an awful decision. Advice: just don't do it. 

Enjoying all of the Christmas decorations. (Even if everyone else is peeved about it.)

Thankful for God sized problems. 

The Band of Brothers Stories: Foustin

Everyday I am reminded of how important peoples stories are. Right before I left Rwanda I sat down with each of the guys from His Imbaraga and had the privilege of hearing just part of their stories and now I get to share some of them with you. 
Foustin is the manager of His Imbaraga and my right hand man. He is the hardest worker I know, he loves to chat, has a child-like faith, and the biggest heart. 

“I live with the old man (father and mother), son, and sister Zwady at sewing school. Father is 82. I was trying to build my house. This house Tara helped me buy the roof but the house is not finished. My dream is to get the best house. The window is not corresponding with the house and the back of the house has been closed with no windows in the back. It’s my own house, I have all the documents, it’s mine. But it’s not like I want. I have the vision to build this house. If anyone gives me an opportunity I am interested in finishing my house. It’s big work to finish, it’s expensive. My vision can be finishing. If God helps me with to finish this house. Sponsors have this commitment to help me I am very serious to thanks them and finish my house. This is my vision only. If you return you can greet and thanks them and continue this good heart to help other person. God can thanks I’m sure my God can thanks them because they have good heart to help the others for different country. And they can be thanks for them for God I know and I am sure of this.”

Foustin took me to his house once and I was able to meet his parents. He was like a kid at Christmas time showing if off to me. He couldn't have been prouder that he owned his very own home and was able to support his parents. I walked through his doorways with no doors, onto his bumpy dirt floor, looked up and saw the sun peeking through the tin roof. This is where his family lives, sleeps, eats. And you know what? They don't complain, they celebrate! They recognized this house is a blessing. They know that not every person in Rwanda has a place to rest their head at night, let alone own their own house. And so they celebrate with great joy and praise God for his continued provision. I apologize for the poor quality in photos below. 

*Foustin's father passed away a few weeks after my visit. I was able to to attend his funeral and even though I didn't understand a word that was being said I could still clearly see that this man was loved by many who were confident he was resting in Heaven with his Father. 

Foustin is still using his salary from His Imbaraga to take care of his mother, sister, son, and finish his house. Becacuse you see, His Imbaraga is not just supporting 20 men, it is supporting 20 men and their families. Foustin is just one of the many men that have a story to tell. He is just one of many that I am passionately fighting to keep employed. Sometimes this can all be overwhelming and confusing but during those times God always reminds me that he is in complete control. I may not know what I'm doing, I may need a whole lot of help, but God is capable. I trust that He will take this as far as He desires no matter my weaknesses. I will work for these guys as long as God allows me to because they are his children, they are loved, they deserve to have someone invest in them, they are important.

If you would like to support Foustin and the rest of the Band of Brothers you can go to His Imbaraga's website and donate or purchase one(or two, three, four...) of our products. When you donate or purchase a product you are making a difference, not just in the life of one, but in lives of many. 

And don't forget about His Imbaraga's anniversary giveaway

His Imbaraga One Year Bash!

Well hot dog guys it's almost been a year since His Imbaraga started up and running! To celebrate our one year bash we are going to give you guys the chance to win some sweet sweet prizes. What can we say, we know how to party. The giveaway closes October 23rd so get crackin'!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

70 miles for 70,000

This Sunday I will be racing 70 miles. Those 70 miles represent the 70,000 young adults that are diagnosed with cancer every year. I would love to write down any names of those currently battling with or survivors of cancer. If you have a loved one, whether it's a family member, friend, their older, or younger, I would love the chance to represent their fight and pray over them while I race. So please send those names my way!

"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" - Hebrews 12:1

The elderly have it made

So the other day while I was driving home I saw something wonderful. That something wonderful was an old woman wearing a flannel pajama set taking a stroll with her walker. I like to dress cute…for about 3 hours. The other 21 hours I would much rather be comfortable, and for me typically comfortable means I look ridiculous or as my mom likes to call those incidents “quirky” (thanks mom). I do manage to contain the quirk (for the most part) to my house. The times I have tried to look smashing I’ve been stopped (thanks mom and Christina). I still have dreams of the day I can strut my attire of choice and not give two cents about what anyone thinks. I already have a flannel pajama set so I’m one step closer to living the dream. This brave old woman not only remind me to reach for the stars by looking awesome but she also reminded me of all the other benefits of being over the hill take 2.  
1. I already said this but I feel like it needs to be on the official list it’s that important: You can wear whatever your little heart desires. Whether it’s a Worlds best Grandma/pa sweatshirt or flannel pajamas the world is your oyster so dream big.
2. There will be so many check marks on your bucket list. Oh the adventures you will have even Peter Pan will be jealous. Which brings me to my next point.
3. You will have so many stories to babble on and on about and people will listen because you’re old and they think you have wisdom or they feel sorry for you, either way.
4. You’ll have a growing old home. After all the adventures and moving about from place to place you’ll be old enough at last to just kick it in your sweet rocking chair, throw back a couple of butterscotch candies (because it's finally acceptable to eat those) and enjoy the calm bliss.
5. Senior discounts. ‘Nough said.
I could go on and on about the splendidness of being advanced in age but I’ll just leave it at that for now. 


I’m one of those crazy people that actually like to push myself passed what I thought I was capable of. Running does that for me. There’s plenty of pain, joy, pushing, and moments of triumph. But there are also moments that make me never want to move my legs faster than a walking pace for as long as I live. Like Sunday night for instance:
I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I decided to add a half iron man and a marathon to my birthday bucket list and then actually follow through. I think I must have had a stroke….or been possessed…maybe both? Anyway, Sunday night was the big 13.1 mile run. I felt good about it, well rested…because I hadn’t done anything in 6 days (I wasn't feeling good sheesh). It was a night run, so I didn’t need to worry about that awful round object in the sky called "sun". I did need to worry about my mental state as I ran in circles and creepers galore. All was fine and dandy for a while. No creepers lingering and there was plenty of entertainment. At one point I may or may not have been singing out-loud and dance-running to Usher's "Yeah".  Like I said, fine and dandy. Then I hit that 11 mile mark. Everything from my hips up felt great. I was breathing normal, mentally I knew I was capable of running a measly two more miles but everything below my hips, you know those two limbs that were actually moving the rest of me and doing a lot of the work, those bad boys were dying. I pride myself on being tough with a high pain tolerance so take me seriously when I say I have never experienced that much pain while running. When that magic number finally appeared on my Garmin and I was allowed to stop I was overjoyed. Not just because I was able to stop, but also because my legs didn’t disincarnate into dust and blow away with the perfectly cool fall breeze. 13.1 miles, intense pain, and no disincarnation. Talk about a good night ya'll. 
The next day I could barely walk down the stairs due to my new old lady knees and hip. I’m assuming my legs felt like barely-moving-corpse-legs because I don’t move them enough during the day. (Schoolwork typically requires you sitting on your bum.) Since the rise of the dead I’ve iced my knees and been stretching. I’m not in pain anymore but I’m still incredibly tight. That triathlon business is a mere 12 days away and I am most certainly nauseous just thinking about it. So, if you’re a runner and have any suggestions/explanations/tips, please feel free to spill your knowledgeable guts. 

Happy Monday

Drinking Gatorade. And lots of it.

Eating dinner at 5. I’m telling you guys I’m secretly a really old person.

Watching The Middle. If you haven’t seen it you’re missing out.  

Laughing way to hard at this video

Waiting for some holiday goodness to get here already.

Wondering if it’s OK to purposefully bump into a couple that decided the perfect time and place to suck face would be in the middle of the sidewalk after they had clearly seen you running in their general direction. (Don’t worry I didn’t do it. And I even waited until I ran passed them before rolling my eyes. My kindness can sometimes even overwhelm me.)

Sleeping a whole lot. Napping everyday. It’s kind of wonderful. Also kind of a time waster and I don't have much of that to spare but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the things you love. 

Reading boring schoolbooks. No matter where you are in the world I can gureentee you will hear my screams of delight when this torture is over forever.

Feeling like an 80 year old woman. My knees and hip have never hurt so bad.

Loving this. Worth the 31 minutes and 17 seconds. Pinkie promise. (And you know I'm serious about those.)

Listening to Christmas music while I sleep….and study….and run. Don’t judge me.

Enjoying the one on one time with the mother. Who knew being a pretend only child could be so lovely.

Acknowledging that a sweet baby boy falling asleep on my chest is going to be the best part of my week. And I am more then OK with that.

Committing to not writing another one of these currently post until I've written at least five normal posts with paragraphs and everything. 

3 months later

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been back in the states for 3 months now. Sometime it feels like just yesterday I was drinking Phunda tea and making popcorn in our outdoor kitchen laughing with those crazy girls. I miss it. I miss Tarason’s sweet contagious smile. I miss watching movies with Ange and hearing her reactions. I miss Fanny and her love of chocolate and pizza. I miss deep-talking/complaining with Tara and Alison. I miss Benoit’s big hugs. I miss riding motos. I miss the mountains. I miss listening to the rain falling on our tin roof. I miss the simplicity.
Despite the fact that I miss a beautiful country filled with even more beautiful people I feel at peace. I know that I am exactly where God wants me. Why? Well God hasn’t revealed that just yet. I have ideas. I have hopes. But nothing is for certain. I have learned that God reveals all things in perfect timing. So while I wait I will continue laying my life down everyday asking Him to use me right where I am at. I will rest in His all-knowing arms and remain content that He still has great plans for me. And I will continue to be forever thankful for the time I had in Rwanda. 

 Told you it was contagious 

Lets try this again

My name is still Elise. I'm still very much in love with Rwanda (and Africa in general). I still run like a cheetah (or I still wish that I ran like a cheetah). And my main reason for still running is because I still eat like a baby dinosaur. So not that much has changed around here. Currently....

Drinking Naked (the green one's my favorite.)  

Appreciating being home alone. This introvert need it.  

Watching Pretty Little Liars. And why yes my jaw did hit the floor after that last episode. Come on!

Laughing at all the junk I've hoarded over the years. Deep cleaning my room was kind of really necessary.      

Waiting patiently for Fall to really begin. 

Wondering who's been drugging me. My dreams have been too weird as of late.  

Sleeping not so great. (Probably because of that last PLL episode.Come on!)

Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling. 

about this next year. It's going to look a tad more different then I originally expected. 

Making lists. Lots and lots of them. 

Feeling content. 

Getting ready to take a much needed nap in my snuggie. 

Loving all the possibilities.   

Listening to I won't give up by Jason Mraz. All the time. Constant repeat. 

Enjoying unemployment. 

Thankful for this calm season. I didn't realize how badly I needed it. 


"How is it being back?" That is how I have been greeted for the past several weeks. I wasn't exactly sure how I felt so I just responded with a, "It's good, but also a little weird." I mean I know I have feelings, but labeling them is where it get's tricky, so why not just call it weird?
Well "weird" wasn't it. What I should have been calling it? Uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable. America has so much stuff. And we consume it like air. Why? Because we can. Americans have a more is better mentality and as a result we often get what we need confused with what we want. But just because we can indulge, spend, and consume, and be comfortable, doesn't mean we should. 
Before Rwanda I had a real problem and that problem was clothes. I have two dressers, a drawer under my bed, a closest and my sisters old closet. Each and every one of those things were overflowing. There is something very wrong with that. I discarded a lot before I left but I still have a ways to go. Do I still love clothes? Dur. I'm a girl and I like to look decent occasionally. But I resist that cute dress because it's a thing that I don't need, because I already have more than one, because I know my money can be better spent. Clothes are things. I will survive with out two dressers, a drawer and two closets full of things. 
I was not created to hoard and consume a mass amount for things. How can I be sure of this? Because Jesus didn't. He didn't make and spend his money on earthly things, toss a coin at that homeless guy, and call it day. Because that is not enough! Jesus had the clothes on his back, the sandals on his feet, and that was enough. He didn't have a place to lay his head or call his home, because He knew his citizenship was not here on this earth, but in heaven with his Father, so he didn't complain. He called His disciples to the same life. They left everything. They didn't place value on their things. They didn't place value on being comfortable. 
I am not a Christian. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and as His disciple I am called to live differently, generously, in love. The whole "leave everything" should have been my clue but it wasn't until this last year that I realized the key ingredient to this life, to being a true disciple, is to live simply.
I have been living simply for the last year, but I knew coming home it would be a lot more difficult to continue this life style. Difficult, not impossible. Not easy, but worth it. In preparation I started reading "7" by Jen Hatmaker. Today I got to her "spending" chapter and read this little beauty:

"What if we are actually called to a radical life? What if Jesus knew our Christian culture would design a lovely template complete with all the privileges and exemptions we want, but even with that widespread approval, He still expected radical simplicity, radical generosity, radical obedience from those with ears to hear, eyes to see?" 

I am uncomfortable and I praise God for that, because that is exactly how I believe He wants us to feel. I am uncomfortable with spendingI am uncomfortable with laziness. I am uncomfortable with being selfish. I am uncomfortable with complaining. I am more uncomfortable with the general idea of comfort. 
This is not all to say that I don't do these things. I still watch movies in my monogramed onezie. sometimes I don't want to do anything, and if I do it's for my self. I had to eat cottage cheese today (enough said). I am not as good at being uncomfortable in every area as Christ was, but I want to try. I am a sinner, but I want to be transformed. I want to fight against it all and be even more uncomfortable. So, starting in July I will be doing my own "7". 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

So I've been pretty awful about blogging these last few months but now that I'm home where internet is my speedy friend I'm going to really try and get back into the swing of things. With that being said, it only makes sense that I would start off with an easy one.

This was an early birthday present/roommate trip/last boarder hopping experience. We shopped, ate, swam with wild dolphins, saw monkeys, went on an extreme biking adventure, enjoyed a spice tour,  relaxed on the beach, dipped in the pool, watched the sunset on a dhow, and shopped and ate a little more. It was kind of wonderful.

The best things in life are free

I am doing my first ever giveaway
And it's a good one if I do say so myself
All you have to do to enter is go to the His Imbaraga facebook page
Click the "like" button and you are automatically entered
The giveaway ends on June 1st
In order for the giveaway to happen though the page must reach 400 likes
That's only 158 "likes" in 8 days
(Tots possible)
Because of this you may want to share the giveaway but it is not a requirement
Now you're probably wondering what I'm giving away
And if it's really worth it
Well, that's a good question, and it is
I will be giving away a His Imbaragra crossbody 
Filled with surprise Rwandan goodies
A 75 dollar value
So what are you waiting for?
Go enter already! 
(And share if you wish) 

22 before 23

It only makes sense that I have a birthday bucket list. 

Knit a scarf
I really just want to say that I knit. 

Go thrift shopping
Other bloggers have inspired me. Plus I'm broke. 

Memorize 52 verses; One for every week of the year. 
I have the worst memory but I'm going to give it a try. 

Hike Mount Visoke
Crushin' it. 

Run a marathon 
I really want to come back to Rwanda next year and run in Kigali, but I may have to choose a place closer to home. We'll see. 

 Do a half iron man  
Thinking Oct 6th looks like a good date and the training looks brutal. 

Read the bible front to back
I've done this but not in a years time.

Shoot a gun
I've got my trusty red rider but I'm thinking a real one needs to be present for it to count.

Road trip to Ralphie’s house
Dreams will be coming true. 

Eat a hot dog from a vender on the streets if NYC
It just seems like the cliché thing to do.

Go apple picking
I like apple pie. 

Do a handstand
I did gymnastics once. 

 Ice skate in NYC
232 days till Christmas.

Try a food challenge at a restaurant
I'm a pretty good eater. 

Turn my room into a giant fort
Who wouldn't want to do this?

Spend the night in a hammock
They're just so nice. 

Color run
I'm ready to jump on that bandwagon.

Travel somewhere I’ve never been
A new country would be ideal, but even a new city will do.

Carry a baby on my back
I've lived in Rwanda a year. This needs to happen.

 Read at least two books every month 
I've been reading 3-5 books a month but once school and work starts I think that will be harder to keep up with.

Make two pinterest meals a month
I pinn way too much a do too little. 

Learn the Evolution of Dance
I really don't like to dance. Mainly because I'm bad at it and would rather embarrass myself in other ways. And then I changed my mind when I saw this video. I'm about to get 10X cooler. 

I'm thinking being 22 wont be so bad.