Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Do my eyes deceive me???

I wondered this as I was leaving the house this morning and heading to work. Did I need new contacts?? My external temperature gauge said it was 78 degrees this morning! And, according the the radio weather report, the humidity was only 45 %! Fall! Fall is here! Man, I wish I could squeeze in a run today.

It's supposed to be around 73 on Saturday morning! I am looking forward to that LR!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday Run

Sorry for the boring title, but I couldn't think of anything more exciting this morning. I ended up getting home from work late last night, so by the time I picked up the kiddo, fed us dinner, packed lunches for today and figured out what I was going to wear to work it was 9:30 pm. I still had homework to work on, so packing my bag to run at the park this morning was not something I wanted to do. (And I was very thankful that I had gotten my training run done that morning.) Instead, I opted for a Tuesday morning treadmill run.

I managed to drag myself out of bed at 5:00 am, put on my glasses, throw on the running clothes I had set out the night before and hop on the treadmill. I couldn't find the remote control for the tv, so I opted to watch one of the kiddo's "Signing Time" videos. Sounds silly to watch a children's show while running, but there are still a couple of videos that the kiddo hasn't watched. One of them shows the American Sign Language (ASL) signs for animals. Since the kiddo has a picture book with animals, I thought I would try to learn the signs and then show them to her as we read her book. No, my kiddo does not have any problems with her hearing, but research has shown that infants and toddlers benefit a great deal by learning sign language before they begin speaking - it helps eliminate the "terrible two's" behavior since many of the tantrums are thrown due to frustration and communication (when the child can communicate, there is less frustration!) and it has been shown that infants/toddlers who sign have had better vocabulary skills than those who do not. I don't know if all of that is true, but I do know that the kiddo LOVES her signing time dvds and has been able to ask for milk, water, more, etc. since way before she could say the words! And, the teachers at her "school" were pretty impressed with her vocabulary when she returned to school last week.

So, my run was both educational and healthy! I ran for a total of 30 minutes. I started out slow, but gradually increased my speed after feeling warmed up. Toward the end of my run, I increased my speed to see if I could finish the pretend "loop" on the treadmill screen. I did and went a little further. Not a bad run. And the best part - I don't have to run again until Thursday!

Running Stats
Conditions - indoors/treadmill
Total run time - 30 minutes
Distance - 2.64
Pace - 11:21

Run long & Livestrong!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday run

This morning I woke up early, well not as early as I meant to, and ran on the treadmill. I figure that I will attempt to run on the treadmill some mornings to alleviate the mommy guilt. When I run at home on the treadmill, I can at least be around when the kiddo wakes up, have breakfast with her, etc. Makes for a nice morning, even if it means being bored out of my mind while running.

I'm so afraid of waking up my sleeping beauty, that I didn't want to turn the volume on the tv too loud. This means that I can't hear a word anyone on tv is saying, so I just stare at the screen and try to read the newscasters lips. I'm really bad at reading lips, so then I try to read the top stories that run along the bottom of the screen. One thing I did discover is that MTV and VH1 actually play videos in the morning! It's been so long since I've seen anything other than a "Behind the Music" or reality show on either station that I didn't know what half the new artists look like in real life. I will have to eventually invest in those cordless headphone things, so I can actually hear the tv when I run...of course, then I wouldn't be able to hear the kiddo wake-up. Oh well!

Today, I ran 30 minutes easy. I still feel a little guilty about not running the full mileage yesterday, but I'll get over it. We have a 13-miler scheduled this weekend, which should be much better with a group.

Run Long & Livestrong!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not so long LR

The Houston Fit schedule called for 11 miles this weekend. I decided last night that if I could just run 3 loops around the park, I would be satisfied.

I headed to the park a little later than planned and arrived a little after 6 am. This was the first time in several months that I have been to the park this early on a Sunday and I was not surprised to see a ton of runners and walkers already making their loops. I decided that I would start at the mile 0 marker and run all the way around the loop, pass it and run to the mile 3 marker. Then, I would turn around and run the other way, around the loop until I got back to the mile 0 marker and then turn around and repeat the 1st loop to the mile 3 marker again. That way, I would run a complete 3 miles (since a loop is actually only 2.9 miles). I hope I didn't make that sound too confusing.

I began with my usual stretching and started my 1st loop. It was warm and humid, but overall, not too terrible. As I made my way around the park, I began to get bored and irritable. It felt as if the 1st loop was taking forever! I began to question myself - Why am I doing this? Do I really enjoy this? Blah, blah, yadda, yadda...You get the idea.

Maybe it was those three boring treadmill runs last week. Maybe it was just because I hate running a LR alone. Maybe I was just tired from being in class all day on Saturday. Maybe my lack of hydrating the day before because I was in class and I didn't want to have to run out of class every 10 minutes. Maybe it was a combination of all those things, but I am usually not this negative. I usually go through all that crap in my head for a few minutes on every run and then get over it and keep going. Eventually, I get into my running groove and start thinking about more pleasant things, like what I'm going to eat when I'm finished. But not Sunday. I finished my 1st loop and stopped at my car for some gatorade and water. I actually considered hopping in and going home, but knew that I would beat myself up about it later if I did that. So, I made a 2nd loop. It was was just as bad, if not worse. I don't know what my problem was, but I just did not want to be there. I finished my 2nd loop and decided to call it a day.

Honestly, I think I am feeling some running burnout. So, I am going to vary my routine this week. I'm going to get in my training runs, but maybe take the hubby's bike for a spin on my off days (if I can locate my helmet). Maybe I'll stop in at the dance studio where I used to take lessons and be a walk-in for a class. Yoga? Pilates? Something, anything to make me feel like running again.

So that's my report, sorry for being a debbie downer!

Running Stats:
Conditions: 81/70% humidity
Total Run Time: 1:10
Distance: 6 miles
Pace: 11:40 (pretty good considering I did some walking!)

Run long & Livestrong!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fun with Treadmills

From now on, when I moan and groan about running on the treadmill, I will forever think about this and have a nice laugh....

Had to postpone the LR today because of school...which went great with the exception of having 6 chapters to read before the next class. Be back tomorrow.

Run long & Livestrong!

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Powerful Image...

Race for the Cure is coming up next month on September 30th. Since I have nothing to report today because it's a rest day, I thought I would post this powerful reminder that no woman is immune from this terrible disease...(click on the pic to see a larger, readable image)

Sign up for the 5K and help support the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. According to their website, Komen-Houston provides breast cancer education, screening and treatment for the uninsured and medically underserved in Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery counties.

It's a great race! It's very inspiring to see all the survivors and they have great give-a-ways and live entertainment. Don't miss it!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another dreadmill run...

Okay, so this is 3 days in a row that I have had to run on the treadmill. Not the best for marathon training, but you gotta do what you gotta do! I am hoping that next week, things will be back to normal and I'll be able to do at least 2 of my 3 weekday runs outdoors.

Because of some changes to the hubby's schedule, my Thursdays running with the night crawlers at Luke's are going to be limited. So, that will probably have to be my treadmill day. I think I'll be able to squeeze in park runs the other days.

Tonight, I ended up working late. I stopped by the store for more yogurt (the kiddo's favorite at the moment), picked up the kiddo at my parents (luckily, she already had dinner), got the kiddo bathed and in bed, started a load of laundry, loaded the dishwasher (thanks to the hubby for emptying it!), made lunches for both of us, heated up dinner for the hubby & I just in time for him to eat between Hapkido class and work, organized the clothes for work tomorrow and finally hopped on the treadmill for a 35 minute run. Whew, what a night! Gee, this Saturday my MBA program starts and I'll have to add homework to the mix. I'm not sure how I'm going to do all this and keep my sanity! I know I'll manage, but it won't be easy. Ugh, I better get to bed...I'm tired just thinking about all that!

Run long & Livestrong!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sorry to blog & run...

Today's Fit schedule - 35 minutes. Life happens...I ended up running my 35 on the dreadmill while watching the "True Hollywood Story" of Punky Brewster. What an exciting life I lead!

Run long & Livestrong!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back from the beach

Well, we're back from the beach! We had a great time. The kiddo loved running around the shore and playing in the waves. We spent most our 1st day at the beach, then checked into our hotel later that afternoon. After finding our room, we headed to the pool which the kiddo loved almost as much as the beach. She loved splashing around on the steps and "swimming" - we would hold her under her arms so she was horizontal and she would kick her legs and say "I'm swimming". The hubby and I loved that the pool had a swim up bar! :-) That night we took the kiddo to the Rainforest Cafe' and she was in awe of everything. When we were trying to head inside, she would just stop and stare at the big alligator, the tree frog, the carnival type games and all the people. Once inside, she just kept staring at her surroundings. Her favorite atraction were the mechanical elephants; her least favorite was the gorillas. When the mechanical gorillas began moving and making noise, she reached for me and gave me a death grip around the neck. I was beginning to think that I was going to have to eat my dinner with her sitting on my lap...wouldn't be the 1st time! We order her a kiddie mixed drink (something with pineapple, grapefruit and orange juice) and I partook in a yummy mixed adult beverage concoction in a blinking light-up glass. Hubby was driving, so he had a coke. After the kiddo was asleep the hubby and I sat on the balcony where we could see the movie "Grease" playing at the "Dive-In Movie" at the pool below. We spent most of the next day at the pool and on the strand before heading home. I did think about getting up early on Monday to go running on the Seawall or the beach, but changed my mind. So, no running on Monday, which means I'll make up for it by running on Wednesday. It was a nice, relaxing quickie vacation, which was exactly what I needed before getting started in my classes this weekend. The only bad thing...long weekends definitely make it harder to return to the real world! (By the way, I would post pics, but blogger is not cooperating!)

Back in the real world, I woke up this morning at 5:00 am to run. The hubby has some meetings going on at work that made it impossible to get to the park this morning, so I had to settle for the treadmill. Houston Fit schedule said to run 30 easy. I started with a warm-up at a slower pace before setting the treadmill at an 11:15 minute/mile pace. It was a great run, and much needed after all the food and beverages I consumed during our mini-getaway. I took a 1 minute walk break after 15 minutes and then picked up the pace to 10:10 for the final 5 minutes of my run. I watched the morning news as a distraction, which made the time pass much faster.

That's it for today. Run long & Livestrong!

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill
Total run time - 30 minutes
Pace - 11:15
Distance - 2.6

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Catch up

Since I haven't had a chance to post since Wednesday, I have a little bit of catching up to do! Bear with me...I've been awake since 3:45 am, so I may not seem coherent. :-)

I ran Thursday night with the Night Crawlers at Luke's. As I was driving to Luke's from work, my car's external temperature gauge stayed between 100 - 101. HOT! When I arrived at Luke's the heat was the topic of conversation with everyone. I noticed that the group was much smaller than usual...the smart people had stayed indoors. I wondered to myself what in the hell I was doing out there when I had a treadmill at home in the cool A/C.

As Felix was giving us instructions, he said to foget the tempo run on the training schedule...just go easy. The heat was more extreme than it had been so far this summer, so he warned us not to worry about the pace and just finish the 35 minutes slowly. He also mentioned that with the heat index the temp was somewhere between 108 & 111...I wasn't sure if he was serious or just kidding, but I wouldn't have been surprised if that was true.

We ran from Luke's to Allen Parkway and followed the trails along the bayou. There were only two of us slower folks that showed, so we stuck together. We made it all the way to the bat bridge, then turned around and headed back. I don't particularly like the heat, but it is much more bearable when you have someone running with you. Plus, on the way home I felt pretty darn tough. What do they say...what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger? Hmmm...who are "they" anyway?

Today the HouFit fall group was scheduled to run our 15-miler. It's one of those big milestone runs to help us prepare for our marathons. When you're training for the Houston Marathon, you get to run the 15 miler in the nice fall weather, usually in an actual race with cheers from spectators and a great finishers shirt to take home to show off your accomplishment. Unfortunately, when you're running a fall marathon, you have to do all your long runs in the summer heat.

As I was driving to the park at 4:15 am, I was reminiscing about my younger days when I might have been stumbling home from a crazy night out at that hour. Perhaps after going dancing with the girls and then stopping for breakfast at a place that we'd never visit during the day while sober. Then I realized that I must be getting old, because I thought to myslef that I'd rather be up at 4:15 am to run than crawling into bed at that hour only to wake up with a hangover a few hours later.

We ran from the park to Shepherd. It's only about 2 miles, but for some reason, it felt like the longest 2 miles ever. I wasn't the only one that felt this way...I heard a few other folks moaning and groaning. Must have been the heat. Once we made it to Shepherd, the run felt a little better. We made our way through the streets of River Oaks and then to our 1st water stop at Luke's Locker. Next, we would head to Rice. We were supposed to do the Rice Loop before heading back to Luke's, but Mother Nature had other plans. Back at the park, some of us spotted lighten way off in the distance. As we got closer to 59, we realized that the lightening was getting closer and closer. By the time we arrived at Bissonnett, we saw that the faster runners were already making their way back. The coaches told us to turn around and head back toward the park. If we could beat the weather there, we might be able to squeeze in a loop at the park instead of doing the loop at Rice.

So we did just that. We headed back to Luke's for more water, then through River Oaks and back to the park. We were able to squeeze in a loop at the park. We did cheat a little though...the overachiever, die hard runners passed the 1st Picnic Loop turnoff and ran all the way down Memorial, past the volleyball courts and did a full loop. We took the shorter route and turned right at the 1st picnic loop turn, headed past the pool, Beck's, the tennis center, etc. I'm not sure of the exact mileage, but I think it may have been closer to 14 miles. Overall, I felt good during the entire run. I did get tired toward the end, which was to be expected. I was a little bummed that we couldn't do the entire route, because the 15 miler is usually my hardest run. And, after checking my school schedule, I realized that I will be missing the group runs for our 18 & 21-milers. I'll have to do them on my own, which will not be fun.

We'll we're off to Galveston in the morning for a couple of days of R&R before starting school next weekend. Hope you have a great weekend!

Running Stats
Conditions - 81 w/some humidity (lightening)
Total run time - 2:49:20
Distance - ~14 miles?
Pace - ~12:06 - 12:30?

Run Long & Livestrong!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Early morning loop...sort of

Yesterday morning, I did something I usually don't do. I ran the morning after running the previous evening. I usually give myself close to 24 hours to rest and recover...but it was that or try to squeeze in another evening dreadmill run between sweeping and mopping and folding and ironing the kiddo's laundry. Since I prefer to have at least a little downtown in the evenings, running in the morning sounded much more appealing. Well, at least it did the night before! By the morning, I was feeling tired and not really ready to run a loop.

I think part of it had to do with the mommy guilt I was feeling. I had worked late the evening before and didn't have as much time with the kiddo as I would have liked. Then, running in the morning meant that I wouldn't see the kiddo until the evening...this was silly, because most of the time the kiddo is sleeping when I leave for work anyway. Plus, I was out of town all last week and still feel a little guilty about that. Blah, blah...I over analyze these things too much! I thought that maybe it would be better to get up early and run on the treadmill in the mornings from now on. At least that way, if the kiddo wakes up early, I would at least be there to give her a morning kiss. Then again, I run at the park because it's so much more therapeutic than the treadmill. It helps me keep my sanity, which in the long run is a good thing for the kiddo too!

So my question of the day is this - do men get cases of "Daddy Guilt" like we women do? Somehow, I don't think so. I always hear women at work talking about how they'd like to spend more time with their kiddos instead of at work. However, I don't know that I have ever heard that from the men. Sorry for going off on a tangent...let's get back to the running!

When I arrived at the park, I was surprised to see so many cars. I had to park a little further from the Tennis Center than normal. I was still feeling that "I don't feel like running vibe". Usually, I push these thoughts out of my mind and follow Nike's advice and "just do it". But not this time. This time I allowed those thoughts to linger. I began my run slowly. Maybe it was my negative attitude, but I felt heavy and it seemed like I could not get my breathing right. After about a 1/2 mile I took a walk break. By 12 minutes, I decided to turn around and head back in the direction I came from. The thought of doing the full loop just didn't seem like fun and I just decided I wasn't going to do it. Plain and simple. So, I ran for a total of 24 minutes. I only needed to run for 30 minutes, so I am not beating myself up about being a quitter. I was just having a crappy run. I will get over it by Thursday and have an awesome run.

By the way, Vic, I did look for you this morning! I didn't see you, but I did see Lisa Foronda jogging her morning loop.

Running Stats
Not even going to bother today!

Run long & Livestrong!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dreaded Dreadmill Run

After a busy weekend, I just didn't feel like getting all my clothes ready for a morning run at the park. Hell, I was even too lazy to get by butt out of bed for a morning treadmill run. So, I had to do the dreaded after work, after the kiddo is in bed, treadmill run. The Houston Fit schedule called for 35 minutes easy.

I flipped through the stations of the 13" tv that is positioned directly above my treadmill. Gee, 100+ stations and there's nothing interesting to watch. Why do we pay TimeWarner so much each month anyway??? I eventually stopped at some sort of international home finder show on HGTV and watched a guy find a home in Buenos Aires. It's amazing what $150K will buy there in the city! After that, I watched a couple with 3 boys find a larger home in's interesting what $150K won't buy there.

So, not much to report...I ran my 35 minutes easy at an 11 minute pace doing 5/1's. I averaged at about a 11:25 pace with the walking. It really wasn't so bad, as long as I had a between the TV and the hubby occasionally telling me to look at his new myspace background, the 35 minutes passed pretty quickly!

Running Stats
Conditions - evening run on treadmill in the A/C
Total run time - 35 minutes
Total distance - 3.06 miles
Pace - 11:25

Run long & Livestrong!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday LR

Saturday we ran 12 miles. It was only the 2nd time since running the Austin Marathon in February that I've run any distance farther than 10 miles, so I was a little nervous. The run began at Memorial and was an out and back to the George R. Brown Convention Center (aka the GRB) with a few side streets worked in at the end.

Of course, the weather was warm and by the time I was finished with the first mile, I could really notice the humidity. Hard not to notice it when you're drenched with sweat! It was a typical nasty, balmy summer morning. I normally love this route, because there are some nice hills and you get an excellent view of the Houston skyline at sunrise. Plus, there's just something I like about running through the streets of downtown...I'm not sure why, but I love it. However, I just wasn't feeling "it" at first...whatever "it" is. The entire way to downtown, I felt heavy. I could feel all the crap that I had eaten all week long in the pit of my stomach just sitting there like a brick. I remember running the hills of Allen Parkway and wondering to myself if I was up to 12 miles today. I remember wishing that I was faster, so I could be finished faster. And, of course, I wondered what the HELL I was thinking...why in the HELL do I want to train for ANOTHER FREAKINGMARATHON!?!?!? And yes, I was yelling HELL and ANOTHER FREAKING MARATHON to myself in my head, in case you're wondering. ;-) Just one of those mental mind games we distance runners tend to play when we're not feeling "it".

As we entered downtown, I began to feel a little better. Maybe it was the extra little breaks when we approached traffic at an intersection, but I actually began to feel like it wasn't going to be so tough afterall. As we began to get closer to the GRB, we were greeted by the faster runners who were already on the way back. Finally, we made it to the GRB- the start and finish of the Houston Marathon! It's kind of a unwritten rule that you have to touch the wall of the GRB before turning around...maybe it's more of a tradition. We each took our turn tapping the wall and headed back in the direction we came from. Around mile 7, we reached the Sabine Bridge again. It's a great area that has just been renovated. There are stairs that lead down to the Bayou and hike/bike trails. At night, this area is lit up with blue lights and looks amazing. This was also where Coach Tom set up a water stop. Since we were the last runners in the pack, we refilled our water bottles and poured the remaining water on our heads to cool off.

We made our way down some side streets back to Crestwood. Seeing Crestwood was a welcome sight, because you're practically back at the park at this point! Crestwood took us back to Memorial Dr. and to our final destination. I was tired, but not dying, which was good. We're running 15 miles next week, so I might have been a little worried if I had been completely exhausted at this point. We took advantage of the wonderful frozen wash cloths once more and then called it a day.

Afterwards, I had just enough time to go home, hang out with the hubby and kiddo for a few minutes before showering and going to new student orientation at the university. My friend Roberta (who is also going to be starting school there this fall) and I decided to meet for coffee beforehand and catch up. Orientation went well! I learned where to park, buy books, etc. and even got my student ID....hmmm, does that mean I'm now eligible for student discounts at the movies? This could be good!

Running Stats
Conditions - 80 w/high humidity
Total Run Time - 2:40
Total Distance - 12 miles
Pace - 13:15-ish (yes, remarkably slow!)

No WW stats this week...I skipped it for orientation.

Run long and Livestrong!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm Baaaccckkk!

Denver was great, but it feels wonderful to be home! Here's a little re-cap of my week. I had intended to include pictures, but blogger was not cooperating. I'll try to get them posted later....

I wasn't sure how often I would get to run while in Denver, so I ran for 30 minutes on my treadmill Monday morning before the kiddo was out of bed. I arrived in Denver around 1:30 pm on Monday. My boss and I traveled together, so we decided to take some time to unpack and unwind, then we'd meet up to check out the town a little. The hotel was very cute...there was a goldfish in my room that I named Fred and the "honor bar" was fully stocked with every kind of liquor you could possibly want, plus some cute items like a sleeping mask, manicure set, stress relief cream, etc. I also discovered that we were only one block away from the "16th Street Pedistrian Mall", so we did a little exploring there before we had to meet the rest of our group for dinner.

Dinner was began what I later labled a week of the "dieter's nightmare". We had a wonderful meal, complete with wine and tiramisu. We played a "get to know each other" game and I learned that I work with a former Miss Arizona (also an actress), someone who was offered a job by the CIA, someone who met and received a kiss on the cheek from JFK Jr., etc. Later that evening, after feeling a little guilty about the tiramisu, I decided to check out the hotel's workout room. It wasn't anything too great - the usual treadmill, eliptical, a couple of stationary bikes & free weights. I decided to do a 30-minute core workout using the exercises I had learned from "The Ab Diet Workout". Afterwards, I retired to my room and hung out with new friend, Fred.

Tuesday, after speaking to the hotel staff about the safety around the hotel, sunrise time, etc. I decided to get in a morning run. I found that if I jogged about 4 blocks, I would find access to the "Cherry Creek Trail" which extends for 8 miles. That was the route I had in mind, but when I reached the Pedestrian Mall, I changed my mind. We had only explored a small portion of the mall the day before, so I decided to investigate this area further. I headed toward the capital on 16th Street and was very pleased with the sights! There was a Virgin Records Superstore with a Lucky Strikes bowling alley upstairs, a Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes and Noble, Victoria's Secret, Ann Taylor, etc. along the way. I eventually made it over to the library and capitol building, which were seperated by beautifully kept grounds complete with a gorgeous flower garden. I decided to head back in the direction I came from and saw the U.S. Mint and the Denver Police Department among other things. I ran a total of 45 minutes.

It's a good thing I did get in a run...the day was filled with a healthy breakfast of yogurt and berries, but a dangerous lunch of salad, gnoche and pizza. Later in the day, we had an ice cream bar and an italian soda bar. I managed to resist the temptation, but ended the day with dinner and drinks at Maggiano's. Dinner was okay, but when I travel to a new city, I prefer to not eat in a restuarant I can eat in at home....however, since the company was picking up the tab, I wasn't complaining! As our group went their seperate ways to shop, I stopped in at Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of the Stephen King novel I have been meaning to read before school starts up.

Wednesday, I decided to run in the morning again. Wednesday is normally my rest day, but after consuming so much food the day before, I decided that I must run again! This time, I decided to run on 16th street in the opposite direction toward Union Station. Going this way, I saw several other runners. Going toward Union Station, I passed the clock tower and a herd of metal buffalo. I also noticed a restuarant called "New York Burrito" and wondered when New York became known for it's burritos? Seemed like a bit of a oxymoron to me, so of course I had to make a mental note to take a picture of that before I left.

I found that 16th street pretty much dead ends at Union Station. Then, you run through an open area that has park benches on either side which leads you to a cement staircase. As I was running up the stairs, I noticed a sign that said "Riverfront Park", so naturally I thought that when I reached the top of the stairs I would see water. Instead, I saw that there was another set of stairs leading down to a big, green park. I saw that if I crossed the lawn of the park, I would reach another staircase identical to the one I had just ascended. When I turned around to go back in the direction I had come from, I discovered that I was on top of a great scenic outlook. I could look in the direction I was coming from and see a beautiful sunrise over the skyline of downtown Denver with Coors field to my left and the mountains to my right. It was really beautiful. As I began to head back toward the hotel, I weaved through some different streets and discovered Larimer Square and a few other neat areas. I ran a total of 35 minutes.

Again, I was happy that I had taken the time to run! We had a full breakfast, a huge pasta lunch, more ice cream (which I didn't eat - good for me!) and a cocktail hour with wine and hor odeurves. Afterwards, I decided to walk around town to work off the food and take some pictures of the areas that I had explored on my morning runs. I was beat when I returned to the hotel room and ordered the "Lavender Relaxation Bath" which was supposed to help get a good night's sleep and was heavenly! The lavender must have worked, because I slept like a baby! Of course, the Cosmopolitans I had earlier may have helped a bit with that too.

Knowing this was my final day in Denver and knowing that I had eaten horribly again the day before, I decided that I wanted to run in the morning once more. I also wanted to see if I could capture a few pictures of the sunrise. So, I headed down 16th street once more in the direction of Union Station. I made it to the observation deck and snapped a few pictures before heading to the Cherry Creek Trail. I ran past a cute bookstore called the Tattered Page and wished I had discovered it before spending my money at the big Barnes and Noble earlier in the week. I made to the Cherry Creek Trail, which reminded me a bit of the trails that run along Allen Parkway and Memorial near the bayou. As I ran on the paved trail along the creek, I saw other runners, as well as biker and in-line skaters. Since I didn't have much time, I enjoyed the trail for a few blocks then returned to the streets to head back to the hotel. I ran a total of 35 minutes, but did stop quite a bit to take pictures.

When I returned to the hotel, I received a call from my hubby informing me of the big news headline - 24 people suspected of planning airplane highjackings had been aprehended. This was not the news that you want to hear when you are going to be boarding a plane later in the day. It set the tone for the rest of the day and since everyone in our group would be traveling home that day or on Friday, everyone was a bit uneasy.

Later in the day, our group headed to Stapleton to check out the new community being built there. Stapleton served as Denver's airport from the 1930's until the mid-80's when the newer, larger Denver Airport opened. When the new airport opened, the city voted to convert the airport land into a master-planned community....however, the community had to look seamless and blend in with the rest of Denver. It was very interesting! Of course, the usual food was offered and of course, I ate it. This time, I even gave in and had a Drumstick ice cream was extremely yummy, but I'm not sure it was worth the 24 grams of fat! We were released from our meetings about an hour early to allow more time getting through airport security.

So, I made it home! Saturday's LR will be 12 miles and then I am off to school for orientation. It feels a little strange to think of myself as a student again!

Run Long and Livestrong!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A good 10-miler

Saturday, the Houston Fit fall group ran a 10-miler. I remember telling my husband that we were only running 10 miles. I hate it when I phrase it that way. Whenever, I think it's only however many miles, it ends up being a tough run for me. It's like I set myself up for an easy run, but then get my butt kicked by the heat. This happens to me often when it's time to taper off. After running a 21-miler I think, "oh, we're only running 10, 8 or 6"...then I end up feeling like I've just run the longest, toughest run of my life. I made a mental note to not call any run over 5 miles easy anymore.

Our run began at our usual starting point in Memorial Park. We ran down Woodway and turned onto Sage. There's a beautiful church on the corner - St. Martin's Episcopal, I think. Next, we ran to San Felipe and turned left. We followed San Felipe past 610, took a couple of side streets, finally making it to Willowick in the lovely River Oaks. We followed a winding road that took us past Tilman Fertitta's estate (yes, the Tilman Fertitta of Landry's, Joe's Crabshack, etc.). It's great to ooh and ahhh at all the beautiful homes. Whatever it takes to distract the mind from the miles!

The highlight of this run is always making it to the "Rose Garden". This is the 1/2 way point when doing a six miler from the park and a good indication on the 10-mile route that you're almost done! Of course, the water stop that Coach Tom prepared was a welcome sight. Cold was awesome! The last stretch in River Oaks, before heading back to Memorial Drive is on Troon, which is one of my favorite streets. There's a small hill that takes you to a fork in the road. There are trees on each side of the street and on the median which create a cavernous feel and give you a few minutes of relief from the hot sun. Of course, making up the hill to the shade is tough, especially when on the last leg of a LR.

Along the way, I met up with some new faces - Courtney, Bridgett and one more that I forgot (I'm sorry!!!)...I'm terrible with names. It made for some new topics of conversation and since these gals are normally ahead of me on the long runs, I felt like I was pushing myself a little more than usual. The best part is that I didn't stop for one extra walk break. I have this tendency to take a few extra walk breaks on Memorial Dr...especially around the Starbucks. It must be some mental block...I'm usually feeling tired and just say "forget it, I'm walking". This week I felt pretty good. Good enough to keep going and good enough to say that I felt strong the entire run!

Running Stats
Conditions - 80 w/70% humidity
Total run time - 2:03 (1:57 without water stop)
Total distance - 10 miles
Pace - 12:21 (11:45 without water stop)

WW Stats
Lost 1.6 lbs this week!
Total loss since starting HoustonFit ~7.2 lbs

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Luke's Run

Today, I met up with the "Night Crawlers" at Luke's. I missed the Thursday runs for 2 weeks in a row and I was suprised that the size of the group had grown. It looked like the group has doubled since I last ran with them!

We headed down to Memorial to run along the bayou. The route is great - there's an aspalt path and rolling hills for a nice little hill workout. And, we got to jog under the bat bridge...well, that's what I call it. It's really the "Waugh Bridge Bat Colony".
There's more information about the bat bridge here. It's pretty interesting, even if it is quite smelly!

We ran 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. I ran with Pam, Gigi and new friends, Courtney, Pam and Chris. We did great on the stretch leading out, but once we reached the 1/2 way point, a few of us switched to 5/1s. It was warm, so the 1 minute walk breaks were welcome. Plus, there were a couple of walk breaks at the stoplights. At one of the stoplights, I very stupidly stepped in front of a van that was stopped, but about to turn right. The driver was looking in the other direction when she began to I was walking right in front of her. I made a mental note to be a little more careful about where I walk from now on.

So, that's it until my Saturday LR. This week it's back to 10 miles. On Monday, I head to Denver for work. I'm curious to see how well I run in the high altitude of the "Mile High City". Hopefully, it's a little cooler, or at least less humid.

Running Stats
Conditions - 93 w/79% humidity
Total run time - ~40 minutes
Distance - ~3.3 miles
Pace - ~12:07 (slow)

Run long & Livestrong!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Today was a "rest" day. I had planned to do a little core workout, but the kiddo gave us a good preview of the "terrible twos" and did not want to go to bed. So instead of a running report, I give you...."The Evolution of Dance" (for those who have not seen it yet). Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Busy day at the park

This morning at the park was crazy! I've never seen it so crowded on a weekday morning. Of course I'm no expert, I've run in the weekday mornings for what? Maybe 3-4 weeks??? As if I'm an expert. But honestly, it was pretty crowded - there were only one or two spaces open in the general vicinity of the Tennis Center and by the time I was leaving, there was about a 5 minute wait for the showers. Not only that, but with so many women using their hair dryers, flat irons, etc., we kept blowing fuses in the locker room! Thank God I was done with my primping...heaven forbid I can't blow dry and flat iron my hair! That would have been a disaster! :-)

I had an errand to run on the way to work, so I arrived at the park a little earlier than normal. I know I always start by complaining about the heat and humidity, so I won't go there. In fact, I didn't even check the temp this morning. I've established that it's damn hot in Houston right now and that I hate it, so I won't mention it again. Really, I am not going to re-hash the whole HEAT thing again. You know it's summer and it's hot, so why even talk about it. You know?

But seriously, I did my usual loop around the park. I ran the good old 5/1s. I enjoyed my run and saw some familiar faces. I am beginning to recognize the "regulars" there. I really felt like I was going at a faster than normal pace, but everytime I checked my watch I seemed to be at my regular, weekday morning, loop around the park race. I am happy to report that I had no aches or pains from the knee or shins! I finished my run with some stretching and stopped at the Smoothie King counter for a Pineapple Pleasure smoothie with an energy boost. Yum!

Tonight, I was watching The Real World. Yes, that's right, I am a 30-something and I still watch MTV from time to time. One of the roomates, Tyler, ran the West Palm Beach Marathon. It looks like there was some great scenery along the route, but crowds were pretty scarce. It was Tyler's 1st marathon and he finished around 4:40! See, MTV can be interesting...of course, I could never convince my hubby of that.

Running Stats
Conditions - warm & muggy (notice I didn't use the "H" word)
Total run time - 32:16
Distance - 2.9 miles
Pace - 11:07

Run long and Livestrong!