Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Holy Sh*t!

It occurred to me that I never came here to share my news....

Know what this means????
How about now?

It means I'm in.  I'm doing IMTX 2015!!!!

The enormity of this whole thing has not hit me yet.  I tend to be one of those people who just doesn't think about it.


I still have either Oilman 70.3 or Austin 70.3 in the Fall (with a few sprints between now and then), then the Houston 1/2 Marathon in January.  And then, the real fun begins - IMTX training!  Until then, I will just focus on my next race.


Monday, June 02, 2014

The Funk

Sorry for the long hiatus, it seems that I’ve lost my blogging mojo. You see, I like this blog to be positive and uplifting, but over the past year or so, I just haven’t been feeling all positive and uplifting.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  I’ve had a few family issues, I’ve changed jobs, and while I’ve had some big accomplishments (my first 70.3 and the Goofy Challenge), I’m not where I want to be physically.  I’ve let social media get to me…you know, seeing everyone’s “perfect” lives online, when you’re life seems pale in comparison.  I’m envious of the “Hooray for summer!  We finally get to sleep in, no more packing lunches….” Yada, yada. 

For my family, summer doesn’t really change anything – I still have to get up at 4:00 AM to workout, the kids still have to be out of bed by 6 AM to be dressed and out the door by 6:40, the Hubs and I will still be packing lunches daily.  The upside?  No homework or projects…well, that’s something, right?  I’ve just grown so tired of the daily hamster in a wheel, rat race – the early mornings, the commutes, the rush to fit it all in.  I’m not sure how to shake it off, but I am working on it.

I heard the perfect quote the other day about social media, something I definitely need to keep in mind, “You’re comparing someone’s highlight reel to your behind the scenes.” So true!

So tell me, do you struggle with “the funk”?  How do you get out of it?

I had an excellent day with the kids yesterday.  We spent time together at the neighborhood pool and went to the movies.  My youngest, the Munchkin, declared while swimming, “I think we need to come to the pool every time it’s sunny on a Sunday!”  Dude, I totally agree!  Let’s do it.  On the way home from the movies, the kids and I had a very deep, compelling discussion about…The Avengers and the ties between all the movies like Thor, Hulk, Captain America, etc.  Very deep, indeed.  Suddenly, I felt a little better.  I felt the spark…the little spark that has been missing for quite some time.  Of course facing Monday morning and the re-start of the rat race diminished that spark a little, sigh.  But it’s reassuring to know that it’s still there.

Let's face it, being a parent is hard enough.  Add in a full-time job, a commute, kid's activities, mommy/daddy activities and it's that much harder.  But the spark still exists.  Whew, I was starting to get worried.

Friday, May 09, 2014

CB&I Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

Wow, it’s hard to believe that I actually completed a 70.3 just 6 months ago.  I’ve continued to run (obviously, since the Hubs and I were training for Goofy), I’ve biked some, but I hadn’t been swimming at all.  I felt so out of practice for tri’s…the bricks, the transitions.  With CB&I on my radar and the Hubs no longer working out of town, I was able to get back to the regular tri-training that I was accustomed to starting in late March / early April.  Finally! 

For CB&I, I checked my bike in the evening before the race.  I had finally ordered an OutRival team kit and was so excited to pick it up earlier in the week, only to discover that the sizing is really, really small.  There was no way in hell I was going to squeeze myself into it and actually race in it.  So, the day before the race, I borrowed a friend’s kit from a couple of years ago.  It was a completely different brand and thankfully, it fit well.  I know you’re not supposed to wear something you’ve never worn before on race day, but CB&I is pretty short and I decided I’d take my chances. 

That morning, I ate my regular breakfast and headed to the race.  About five minutes into my drive, I’d realized I forgot my phone.  Ack!  I parked and hiked over to the race start and set up my transition area.  From there, I said hi to a few friends and attempted to find a few others in the dark (without my phone, lol).  Before I knew it, it was time to head to the start.  I was a bit worried, because the Hubs hadn’t arrived with the kids yet.  Then I remembered…Saturday morning - the kids could be hard to get out of bed so early.  They had a talent for taking forever to get dressed.  They probably wanted to stop and get donuts.  They had to make the trek from the parking lot to the race.  Yeah, they’d eventually be there….and they were.  They arrived about the time the men’s waves were starting.
Pre-race with Woodlands Fit peep, Kate.  This was her first tri and she rocked it!

Getting a good luck smooch from the Hubs

With the good to have my own personal cheer section!
The Swim - 12:40 (500 m)
Finally, it was time for my wave to start (45 minutes into the race).  I decided to wear my wetsuit..the air temp was in the high 50’s (maybe 60?  I dunno, but it was chilly) and the water was somewhere between 72 and 74 degrees.  Not bad, but what the heck. 

Honestly, it took me awhile to really find my groove during the swim.  I inadvertantly started in the middle of a pack of women and couldn’t find my place or pace.  I stopped for a second and realized that not many people were swimming on the inside, closest to the buoys…so that was where I stayed.  Finally, I got going and found a bit of my mojo.  The swim went by pretty fast.  The sad thing about this distance, is that I finally managed to really get into my groove at about 300m…by then, the swim is almost over!  Before I knew it, I was at the shore and climbing out of the water.

Waiting for the race to start...
T1 - 2:24
I started unzipping the wetsuit and took of my goggles and swim cap as I ran.  For some reason, I felt a bit discombobulated (is that a word?) in T1.  I almost walked past my row and when I got to my bike, I managed to get my wetsuit off pretty quickly, but I just seemed to take way too long getting into my bike shoes and getting my helmet on.  I ran with my bike to the mount line, then had trouble getting my right foot onto the pedal.  I swear that I wasted HOURS getting on my bike and going.  Okay, maybe not HOURS, but I did waste precious seconds!

BIKE - 34:14 (10.59 miles / 18.35 mph)
FINALLY…I was on my bike and pedaling.  It always takes me a couple of miles to find my rhythm and get my heart rate under control.  The bike route was shortened from 15 miles to just over 10 miles due to local construction.  The ride went by pretty quickly…the route is a great, flat out and back.  My only complaint was that with the new route, there were two no passing zones.  I wasn’t 100% sure where they started, so as the road narrowed a bit I decided to be cautious and not pass.  Little did I know, just down the road, there would be a woman waving a flag telling us when the no passing zone started.  Dang!  I could have passed back there!  Naturally, I was stuck behind someone going about 14 mph.  When we could finally pass, I did.  Then, on the way back – same thing, no passing zone behind someone going 14 mph.  Ack!  But, once we were out of the no passing zone, I was able to make up for some of the lost time.  The breeze must have been working in my favor, because I was reaching 22 and 23 mph in some spots.  Luckily, the dismount went more smoothly than the mount and I was back in transition in no time.

T2 - 1:34
Nothing unusual here.  Just exchanged the bike shoes for my running shoes, grabbed my Garmin from the bike, my visor and race belt and headed out.

RUN - 27:03 (~2.89 miles / 9:21 pace)
The race directors are kinda mean when it comes to the run.  You exit transition, make a right hand turn and immediately start running up a bridge.  So, here you are, trying to get your pace and heart rate under control coming off the bike and you have to start a little climb!  I was happy to have the bridge behind me and then turn onto a dirt path.  I felt like my pace was good, my breathing was good…all in all, the run felt good.  It wasn’t as fast as I had hoped, but faster than the last time I did this race, so I am happy for that!  This course is also an out and back, so you have to finish the race by running over the bridge again.  (Mean!)  There may or may not have been a few seconds going up that bridge that I wanted to throw up.  The run was supposed to be a 5k, but it seemed to be a little short.

See?  I look way to happy here...of course, this is at the beginning of the run.

Me and the hubs!
The Take-Aways
Like any race, there are definitely things that went well and things I could have done better.  I try not to dwell on this too much, but instead, try to remember them for the next race.  Here’s what I took away from CB&I: 

Swim:  I am extremely happy that I held the panic back.  As you know, my swims are not usually calm and relaxed.  I used some tactics in Oilman that helped at CB&I, too.  The swim was calm, so I am happy!  However, I think I need to just deal with the fact that in a tri, people are going to be all around you.  I should not need to stop to figure out what to do.  I need to swim and strategize instead.

Bike:  I know I could have been faster on the bike.  First, I need to mount and go much faster than I did.  This is easy to practice at home and I intend to do just that.  Second, knowing where the no pass zones were would have helped a lot.  Third, for a 10 mile ride, I think I could have pushed harder.

Run:  I am super happy that my pace was faster than last time.  But,  I was too comfortable (well, after getting over that bridge).  I *think* I could have pushed a little more and gotten closer to a 9-minute pace.  That’s what sprint distances are kind of about, right?  Sprinting?  Pushing more than you would on say, an oly or 70.3?

Transitions:  Seriously, this should be the easiest part of the race.  T1 needs to be faster.

So that’s CB&I.  I plan to do it again next year! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break!

So, the kids were on Spring Break last week.  They spent the first couple of days at daycare, which is always fun because of the activities and field trips they get to take.  However, I took the last half of the week off and we took some field trips of our own!

Huntsville State Park
 Actually, we started our Spring Break with a family reunion at Huntsville State Park. That's right folks, the same location of my first trail race and the place where I earned my black eye!  The weather was a bit drizzly and cold at first, but luckily it cleared up enough for us to take the kids on a walk through the nature trails.  It was fun listening to the kids talk about what creatures might be living in the woods, where they live, etc.  Of course, after about a mile the adventurous talk soon turned to whining about aching legs and being tired, lol!  This park is quickly becoming one of my favorite places! It's only about 35 - 40 minutes from our house, so we may be getting a season pass and coming out here more often.

The kiddos...not really wanting to get their picture taken!

Checking out the trail map before we set out on our adventure...

Blue Bell Creamery
Being a native Texan and only a little more than a hour away from Brenham, you'd think I'd been to Blue Bell numerous times...but no, I'd never been.  We woke up super early in hopes of beating the spring break crowds and make the trek to Brenham. My Mom joined us for the day (thanks for helping me corral the kids, Mom!) and even though we hated waking up so early on our day off, it was totally worth it!  There were not many people (yet) and we were able to take the first tour of the day.

Brrr...not very spring-like weather!

Inside where it's warm, waiting for the tour to start!

The tour was great!  We were able to learn a little about the history of Blue Bell and see how the ice cream and other frozen treats were made (never, ever say Popsicle!).  We saw the cookies being added to the Cookies & Cream, we saw the strawberries being poured into Strawberries & Homemade Vanilla, we saw ice cream sandwiches being made and much more.  And, at the end of the 45 minute tour, you get a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream.  It was the perfect brunch!

Enjoying some strawberry (Munchkin) and dutch chocolate (Kiddo)!

The Munchkin showing us how ice cream really should be eaten!

Washington on the Brazos
After enjoying our ice cream, we drove to Washington on the Brazos state park.  Not to be confused with "Washington on the Potomac", Washington on the Brazos was the site of the Convention of 1836 and where the Texas Declaration of Independence was know, back when Texas separated from Mexico and became its own country.  Since it was getting close to lunch time, we decided to tour one of the park's three attractions - The Barrington Living History Farm.  The farm is great way to see how pioneers lived back in the mid-1800s.  There was a main house, a kitchen, smokehouse, slave quarters, barn, gardens and amazing people who work there.  On the farm, you're encouraged to participate in the work of the farm.  The kids tried to wash clothes, pick carrots and saw how thread was made on a spinning wheel.  After hearing about all the chores that the children were required to do back then, the kids realized that they had it pretty easy!

Fresh Carrots!

Checking out the slave quarters...awesome history lesson!

We ended the day with a late lunch in Brenham and then checking out a few cool stores.  The kids loved the candy at Yumm!  I have to admit, I did too!
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

I'll be the first to admit, that I am not really a country music person.  t, I will also admit that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is an amazing event and one of the coolest things to do while on Spring Break! 

This is the 3rd or 4th year we've made a point of going to the rodeo over spring break, so a spring break just isn't complete without it.  However, I should probably clarify - we don't really go to the rodeo with the kids (yet), but we take full advantage of the livestock show and carnival. Every year, we arrive super early and see the livestock first, then have lunch (hello carnival food!) and finally play games and ride rides. This year was a bit different, because the Munchkin decided that he would try out Mutton Bustin'!  He'd been telling us all week that he would do it, but earlier that morning it sounded as if he wasn't quite sure about it.  In fact, I was a little hesitant about signing him up (and paying for it), because I wasn't quite sure he'd really do it.  To our surprise (mine, the Kiddo and Grandpa), he did it!  And, he did great!  He didn't win the grand prize (a big, shiny belt buckle), but we were still super proud of him.

Before:  Looking confident, but still a little unsure in a "What did I just sign up for?" way

After:  Proud and giving me the thumbs up that, other than the dirt in his mouth, it all went well
After congratulating our little cowboy, we grabbed some grub, played some games and rode a few rides.  The weather was perfect and it was just an all around awesome time.

Riding this case, the Ferris wheel

Awesome view of the's HUGE!
The Kiddo enjoying one of the many treats...she's checking out the Kona Ice here

After the rides, we finally made it to the livestock show. We saw the baby animals, learned about milking cows, saw baby chicks hatching and so much more. It's a great learning experience for the kids (and us grown-ups, too).

Checking out the livestock show...lots of fun for us city folk!

Before we left, I decided that I would get something that was deep-fried.  I couldn't make up my mind - deep fried oreos?  cheesecake?  pop-tarts?  snickers?  Finally, I decided on none of those and ended up with a funnel cake.  I hadn't had a funnel cake in years!  And no, I would not typically eat anything deep fried, but once a year at the rodeo?  Heck yeah!

Yes, I went there...Yummy fried goodness!

Since we were gone pretty much all day on Wednesday and Thursday, we decided to do something a little more low-key on Friday.  We went to the movies to see the Lego Movie (yep, I was taking one for the owe me, honey!). 

Clowning around before the movie

Now this, I want to see!

Ready for some 3-D action!

Afterwards, we went to the mall and let the Kiddo chop off about 6 inches of hair.  She's been tired of the tangles and wanted it short again.  As much as I hated to see the hair go, I have to admit that I do love her new 'do!

The Kiddo sporting her new 'do!  Bye, bye tangles!

Overall, we have a great week!  It was probably one of the most enjoyable Spring Breaks we've had...well okay, other than our Disney Cruise last spring.  We loved the mini-road trip, the rodeo and just hanging out.

When is your Spring Break?  What do you have planned?

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Project: Love One Half Marathon Race Report

I'm kind of going out of order with my race reports.  Technically, I should be posting my race report for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, but that one might take consumed an entire weekend, after all.  Instead, I'll start with my first trail race!

(also known as tree root.trip.fall.)

The race was located at Huntsville State Park, which is about a hour north of where I live.  I left super early, since I hadn't driven to the state park before and wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to figure out where I was going. 

Entering Huntsville State Park...let the adventure begin!

When I arrived, I headed into the lodge, grabbed a cup of coffee and hung out a bit.  It was pretty chilly (high 30s I think), so the warmth of the lodge was awesome.  I actually ran into a couple of my peeps from my Houston Fit days and chatted for awhile.  On my way back to my car, I ran into my Woodlands Fit peeps and hung out with them until it was time for a final potty stop before the race.

Gorgeous view of the lake!

Just trying to stay warm before the race...

The Race
Of course, before the race I realized that I could have signed up for the 10K, since this was my first official trail race.  But, no...I had to register for the half-marathon!  I was worried about feeling out of place, being a newbie to this trail stuff and all.  But, the gun went off and everyone (including me) started moving forward.  It wasn't a huge crowd and trust me, after doing Disney, it was a nice change!

The turning back now!
I have run the trails near my neighborhood, but they are not quite as technical as the trails in Huntsville.  There were lots and lots (and lots) of roots, plus some uphill and downhill sections that I am definitely not accustomed to running. I had a couple of almost know, where you trip, fly forward, but manage to regain your balance just in time.  Honestly, after a couple of those jolting trips, I wondered if it might hurt less to just fall.  It didn't take me too long to find out...I think I had my first fall around mile 6.  It hurt a bit, but honestly, you just get up, dust yourself off, keep going and chuckle a little.  (Yes, I laughed at myself. A lot.)  And just to be clear, a lot of people we falling, so it wasn't just me! Every so often you'd hear the sound of someone tripping, followed by a "humph" (or a swear word), and finally a "Are you okay?"  That's one thing I can say - trail runners are courteous and caring, anytime someone tripped, there was someone there checking to make sure he/she was okay.  I quickly learned that when we were on a less difficult area, like a dirt road, I could pick up the pace a bit.  Then, I would slow down and be careful when there were more obstacles to watch out for.

Just one of the amazing views along the way...

The trails were gorgeous!  The views of the lake were gorgeous, even if I had to watch the ground more than I could look at the lake.  For a split second I questioned why I had signed up for the half, but the thought passed quickly as I ran through the woods.  I talked to quite a few people along the way - a lady who had run marathons in all 50 states, a woman training for a double Ironman (hello?  How did I not know this existed?), etc.  The temperatures were warming a bit into the 50s, so it was still nice running weather.  There were several aid stations and the volunteers were encouraging and fantastic!  We ran on a little sand, through a little mud, uphill, downhill, over bridges, on a dam and through more trees.  I tripped a few more times, tweaked an ankle once and managed to fall again.  When I was a little more than a 1/2 mile out, I got excited. I could hear the announcer at the finish and I recognized parts of the trail from the beginning of the race.  I remember picking up the pace a little in my excitement and must of stopped worrying so much about the ground, because a second later I was flying forward with so much momentum that I fell forward and my face slammed into the ground.

Yes, that's right - I managed a face plant.

After my initial shock, I slowly picked myself up.  My head hurt and both of my hands were bleeding.  I had dirt and leaves all over me.  (And huge thanks to the couple behind me who stopped to check on me.)  I tried to run it in, but running made my head hurt.  So I walked.  When I was almost at the finish, I finally managed a slow jog through the finish.  I accepted my medal and went straight to the information tent to find out where I could get a couple of band aids.   I was directed to an ambulance and felt kind of silly asking the paramedic for help.  She was nice enough to help me wash off my wounds (including my face) and cover everything with band aids (not including my face).

I had no idea what was in store, but it felt great to finish!

The awesome bling! 

Post Race
After getting all cleaned up, I grabbed the most awesome, warm soup ever and waited for my peeps to finish up.  They also had mini-cupcakes and great music, so it was party-like atmosphere. The race wasn't a large one and well, we were in the woods, so there weren't a ton of people around.  But still, those who were hanging out were cheering.  One highlight of the day was cheering for Ken Johnson complete his 101st (and final) marathon.  He came through the end of his first loop not long after I finished the race.  Ken is 72 years young and a member of the 101st Airborne Division, which is why Ken is stopping at marathon #101.  He was running with Team RWB, who were carrying Amercian Flags.  Cheering for Ken was the perfect way to end the whole exprience.

The amazing Ken Johnson during his 101st marathon!

Even with the bleeding hands, scraped knees, road rash and what eventually turned into a black eye, I had so much fun at this race.  I am in love with trail running - the solitude of the woods and being out there in the middle of nature is an amazing feeling.  And, I love the added challenge of needing to carefully plan your every step.

Yep, nothing like a little road rash on your face!

One of my should have seen my thigh and knees!

I will definitely be doing this race again next year. And, I think I may have even convinced the Hubs to join me!

Oh, and here's the eye.  One week later.  With make-up.  I'll admit, at first I wore my shiner proudly...kind of like a badge of honor.  After a week, and then two..well, I'm kind of tired of it! :-)

Why no, that isn't mascara under my eye!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

What I've been up to...

Holy moly, life has been crazy!  I'm sorry for not posting more regularly lately, but promise to at least post once a week for the remainder of the year!

Here's a brief summary in photos of what I've been up to.  I will be spending the next couple of weeks writing my race reports and getting you all caught up!

The Hubs and I finished The Goofy Challenge!!!

It felt weird to not be running the Houston Marathon or Aramco 1/2 Marathon, so we got our cheer on instead!  So much fun!!!

Since my running season is officially over, I volunteered to man an aid station for the Woodland's Fit 21-miler to help prep runners for the upcoming Woodlands Marathon...this group was crazy, fun!

I ran my first trail race - a 1/2 marathon...can't wait to tell you this story!

I had the opportunity to serve on a committee for The Woodlands Marathon...I was head medal lady (not to be confused with heavy metal lady)!  So much fun!

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Now?

So a lot of friends have been asking me this -

"What's next?"
"Are you registering for an IM next?". 

I know that the next logical step would be to register for an ironman distance race, or IMTX 2014.  At first, I said no because I really want to get a new bike for this distance.  I have been riding my trusty road bike for the past 4 years. While I love my road bike, I feel it would be best to race an ironman distance race on a tri bike.  (Anyone disagree with this?)  And to be perfectly honest, it would take me some time to buy the bike I really want.  The Hubs and I are big Dave Ramsey fans and while we could simply charge the bike with our one and only credit card, I refuse to do this.

Then about a month ago, I found a second reason that I could not train for IMTX 2014 - the Hubby's work schedule.  The Hubs is going to have a different working arrangement from the time we arrive home from Disney (literally that day) until the end of would be extremely difficult to dedicate the time I need for training while the Hubs has this schedule...hello, 2 young kiddos at home means no running/biking at 4:00 am and no trips to the pool after work.

So that's it.  No IMTX 2014.  I also considered attempting to register for IMFL or IMAZ in 2014...I mean, the race conditions are way better than Texas in May!  But, doing your first Ironman on your home turf is just way too appealing....even with the heat.  So, the goal is IMTX 2015.  We'll see...I still have a year to talk myself out of it. :-)

So next up?  The Goofy Challenge in January!

This will be the Hubs' first official marathon (not including the one he ran in IMTX) and we're looking forward to running both the 1/2 and full marathons together.  This one is difficult for me...I know that this is not a race you run for a PR - it's way too crowded (from what I've heard) and it's designed to be fun (as in, you stop to take pictures with characters along the way!).  I may not be the fastest runner, but I am very competitive with myself.  I want PRs!  So, as hard as it is, my goal is to have fun and not worry too much about my time for either race.  In fact, if I have the opportunity, I may even stop to ride a roller coaster - during the race.  Really!

Other than the running, I am happy to report that strength training has been added back into my workout routine.  There just weren't enough hours in the day to add it to the 70.3 training schedule....I have soooo missed lifting heavy objects, pull-ups and push-ups!  Much like when the Hubs was training for IMTX, I imagine this will be my main focus from January - March when his work schedule changes and I am unable to get much running and biking in.

So that answers the "What's next?" question.  I am looking at some spring and summer races for 2014, but I haven't quite decided which ones just yet.  Stay tuned!