Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Randomness

I met my old college roomate for dinner last night. Since we were meeting across town, I knew I wouldn't have time to run. So instead, I am posting some random crap...

Garmin woes...
As you know, I was having issues with my Garmin back in September - it would turn off mid-run with no warning. Sometimes it would happen after only a minute or two, sometimes after 10 minutes, sometimes after 2 hours. Well, I did send the watch back to Garmin and they quickly replaced my watch with a "newly overhauled" unit.

Woohoo! (or so I thought) The new unit started having the same exact problem. Sooo, I called Garmin's help desk again and this time they thought we should try a new power cord. Fine. That still didn't fix the problem. In fact, I couldn't even get my Garmin to power on after that. So, I once again called the Garmin people and this time they thought I should get a BRAND NEW Garmin with a new cradle and even a new heart rate monitor band thingy. SCORE!

Or not. I called several days later to confirm that they had received the Garmin I mailed back to them and when I did, they could not find me in their system. In fact, the "RMA #" I was given was linked to someone else in another state. So, my Garmin was floating around there somewhere and I had apparently never called there. After some research, they did find a record of my 1st two issues, but they never found any record of that last phone call. Oh, and they eventually did locate my Garmin. But, when I received that lovely package from UPS yesterday I had a little surprise...it was another "newly overhauled" Garmin. That's it. No cradle. Lovely.

I called again today. I am returning "newly overhauled" and should be getting "BRAND NEW" next week. I better...Houston is less than 3 weeks away. I NEED my Garmin dammit!

Weight Loss...
I decided a little over 5 weeks ago that I wanted to get down to a certain weight by race day. It's all part of this crazy plan I have to become a lean, mean swimming, biking, running machine.

Anyway, this became my "8 pounds in 8 weeks" challenge. As of last Wednesday, I was right on track - 5 lbs in 5 weeks! How was I doing this? Back to my previous eating plan - high protein, low sugar, eat my fruits/veggies and lots of water....and no alcohol or sweets until after the 1/2. The only exception to that last part would be Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day. Last year, I did great at keeping the junk food to a minimum over the holidays, so I knew I could do it. And I did okay...not as great as last year, but not terrible. I am right back at it now that my 2 splurge days are over and hoping that the scale will continue to move downward!

NYC 2010...
I decided to do something crazy...I threw my name in the lotto for the 2010 NYC Marathon. I ran this marathon in 2003. It was year that P. Diddy also ran and as much as I hate to admit it, it was my slowest marathon ever. Embarrassingly slow. However, it was the most fun I had during a marathon and I was able to run most of it with one of my best friends (who just happened to be nursing an injury - hence the slowness). I decided back then that I would DEFINITELY do NYC again to celebrate turning the big 4-0. Back then, 40 seemed so far away! But time flies, because next year I am going to be 38 and 40 is just around the corner. Honestly, I don't really intend to run NYC in 2010...I just thought that if I didn't get in, I could keep trying (if you don't get in 3 years in a row, you are automatically in on the 4th year). If I do get in, I will defer until next year. Either way, I will be running NYC sometime near my 40th birthday. Yay me!

Well, that's enough randomness for now. Have a great New Year's Eve and Day if I don't post again before then!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Needed: Direction and Purpose (a/k/a A PLAN)

It's that time of year - time for a shift in focus. I went straight from training for the 2009 Houston 1/2 and Zooma Austin to training for sprint distance triathlons to training for the 2010 Houston 1/2. (I swore I'd take a week long break in between each, but never did...I don't do well with breaks.) Now that Houston is almost here, it's time to shift the focus to triathlons again.

The problem?

Last year, I was just about covering the distance. I swam, I rode, I ran...but, I didn't really come up with a PLAN. I am a complete and total Type A personality, so how I just jumped in and "winged it" this year is beyond me. All I know is that I want to be stronger, faster and better in the upcoming season and for that, I need a PLAN. Guess I will start by checking out what beginnertriathlete.com has to offer and go from there. I know I really, really need to focus on my swimming again this year. I definitely improved last year, but I still pretty much suck....so, I imagine I will be spending lots of quality time in the pool. I'd love to join a training group, but with DH's work schedule and hobbies, it can be hard to work out with a group. But a group might help me get to that "next level". Plus, I have this thing about minimizing time away from the family....I did a lot of workouts during lunch or after the kids were in bed. Sucks, but it's worth it to have more family time (and to avoid the dreaded "mommy guilt").

That being said, does anyone know a woman who works full-time outside the home, has young children at home, and a hubby who doesn't do triathlons and has successfully trained for triathlons...maybe even a 70.3 or (gasp) an IM? If you do know this person, I'd love to meet her. I would love to pick her brain for tips on how she juggles it all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the dreadmill....again.....

Nothing too terribly exciting to report today - 35 minutes on the dreadmill at 9:15 pm @ 10:35 pace.

First, I hung out with the kiddos watching The Wizard of Oz...they are both mesmerized by that movie. Then, I nearly fell asleep while getting the Munchkin to sleep...something about sitting in a glider with a warm baby nestled in your chest in a dark room.... :-) Finally, I got the Kiddo into bed and after a little web surfing, I hopped on the treadmill.

I started out super slow (around a 11 minute pace)...legs felt heavy and I needed to get the cobwebs out. Why is the 1st half-mile to mile always the hardest?

And now a question for the ladies...

I am in dire need of new sports bras. Any suggestions? I bought a couple of Moving Comfort bras last year after I had the Munchkin, but I can't seem to find the same style in my size now. Mine are all worn out and beginning to cause chafing in areas that didn't chafe before. You know the feeling...the one that doesn't hurt at all, that is until you get in the shower. Ouch!

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

We had a great time on Christmas Eve seeing Riley perform with the children's choir at church and then celebrating with my in-laws. Seriously, we had soooo many new toys from my sister-in-law and her family, not to mention from my mother and father in-law, that I was concerned. Concerned about where in the hell we were going to put everything! Santa still had to come and we still had to celebrate with my parents! My dining room looked like a fully stocked Toys R Us. No joke! As usual, my parents overloaded the kids with toys on Christmas Day (as did Santa)...now, we have some serious purging of the old and organizing of the new to do!!! I'm a total type A, so seeing all the clutter and mess in the playroom is driving me crazy already. :-)

Two runs to report...

Thursday, 12/24 - 70 minutes 40+ minutes
Yeah, I was a bit of a slacker on Christmas Eve...I was scheduled to run 70 minutes, but seriously, the kiddos and hubby were at home, my in-laws we visiting and I had a gazillion things to do. I had pretty much talked myself out of running the full 70 minutes before I even started my run. Then, as I started, it felt like one of those heavy legs, no gusto kinda running days. One of those days where I don't like running very much. That sealed the deal. I ran 2 of the 2-mile loops around the 'hood and called it a day. It was chilly (around 50), but not cold. But there was a lady out running geared up in long tights, a jacket, a cap and gloves. And there I was in a running skirt and short sleeves (and sweating). I thought she was crazy, and I'm sure she thought the same of me. I'm not even sure of my pace or time, because somewhere along the way I must have accidentally bumped the button on my watch and turned off the stopwatch. Doh!

Saturday, 12/26 - 12 miles
Saturday I was lucky enough to have running peep, Katie, as a running partner. Katie and I trained for the 1/2 with Woodlands Fit last year and this year, Katie is doing the whole enchilada (the Houston Marathon). I was in luck, because her taper started this weekend with 12 miles and I wanted to get in one last 12-miler before starting my taper.

We had an out and back though The Woodlands, starting at the Y. There were a few inclines sprinkled in, but nothing too terrible. It was pretty chilly when we started (34 degrees), so I layered with a cap, short sleeved technical tee, long sleeved shirt, NYC Marathon jacket (it's light) and full tights. Around mile 2, I decided to get rid of the cap...my head was too warm. Somewhere before the turnaround, I shed the jacket too and tied it around my waist. I really need to learn how to dress properly in this weather. I used to have no problem, but for some reason since having kids, I tend to get much warmer during my runs.

As we were finishing our run, I realized that I felt really strong. As in, "wow, I feel like I could run a few more miles with no problem" strong. Then, Katie told me our pace - 11:30. Hmmm, that might be why I felt like I could keep running. It was about 45 seconds slower per mile than my most recent long run pace. I guess that's not a bad thing, but I am seriously questioning my ability to run the 1/2 at a 10:30 pace. Maybe running the Ten for Texas at a 10:30 pace was just a fluke? I hope not. Of course, I also realize that I will need nice cool temps, the wind at my back and the planets to be aligned on race day too. :-) Certainly couldn't hurt!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'Tis the Season!

Oh my gosh, I am soooo frickin' tired!

No run last night...we had to clean house and then "gift wrapping extravaganza 2009" began. We finished up around 12:30 am. I took a vacation day from work, just so I could get a few errands done and maybe even unwind with a movie (gasp!). I got the kiddies off to school, came home and did the previous night's run. The schedule called for 50 minutes, but I was short on time and decided to just run my neighborhood 4-mile route. The schedule called for an "EASY" run...coach figured with a holiday week that EASY just made more sense. I headed out of my section of the 'hood a little too quickly, but it felt good. I looked at my watch around the .25 mark and found that I was at a 10 minute pace. That's pretty fast for me...definitely not an EASY pace for me. But again, it felt good. So I just ran my route and ran what felt good. When I was just .25 away from the finish, I picked up the pace. When I stopped my watch, I was surprised to see 40:18. Ummm, so much for easy...that was a 10:04 pace.

I have 6 miles on tap for tomorrow and I know I will keep it at an EASY PEASY pace. Besides, the left quad is still achey...no need to make it angry only a little over 3 weeks from the 1/2!

I did run my errands and I went to the kid's school holiday party and I actually did see a movie. I went to see Blindside and lemme just say...

GO SEE IT!

The movie itself is very good. Both Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw did an excellent job, not to mention the kid who plays the main character, Quinton Aaron. The story of Michael Oher is just awesome and inspiring. Definitely a great movie to see just 3 weeks away from a big race!

GO SEE IT! REALLY!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Weekend Recap

Friday, 12/18 - Too busy to run day!

Friday was a crazy, crazy day! We started with the kid's Christmas pictures...trying to get your 5 year old and 1 year old to smile and look at the camera at the same time, with natural smiles, is IMPOSSIBLE!!! Here's what we ended up with:



Next, we headed to the ENT. The Munchkin has been having reoccurring ear infections since May. In fact, we've been to the doctor 17 times since that time...yeah, add up those co-pays!We've decided to move forward with tubes, so that will be happening in the next week or two.


Finally, we ended Friday with a "Girls Night Out". A friend and I took our 5-year old daughters to see "Princess and The Frog", then we headed to dinner and ended the night with a carriage ride (very princess-ish). The movie was great and the girls had a blast!




Saturday, 12/19 - 11-miler

I met running peep, Karen, in The Woodlands for a run. The weather was chilly (39), but finally seeing the gorgeous blue skies after a week of dreary weather was awesome! Karen originally planned a 9.6 mile route that included some "hills", but while standing in the cold on Friday night, I started to have some strange muscle pain in my left quad. I remember feeling a strange pull there the day before when I was getting the kids out of the car, but dismissed it. I requested a non-hilly route and Karen was nice enough to oblige. We did 11-miles at a 10:47 pace. Not too shabby! A huge thanks to Karen for being a great running partner...it made the miles pass super fast! I had 2 small oranges pre-run, plus a pack of Gu Chomps during my run. I also drank 12 oz of Gatorade and 4 ounces of water.

After the run, I headed home where I made the family some breakfast and then headed to the grocery store. Later that night, the hubby and I headed to a Christmas party. I am sooo proud of myself for not over indulging. I didn't snack before the meal at all and I had a 1/2 glass of wine with dinner. Plus, I only had a little taste of a dessert...normally, I'd have a larger helping or two.



Sunday, 12/20 - rest day

Jeeze, only 5 days til Christmas!!! The family headed to church on Sunday...we're getting better at attending regularly (finally). Afterwards, we decided to take the kids for their annual visit with Santa. We grabbed a Starbucks and headed over to a local shopping center where Santa would arrive in about 40 minutes. Fortunately, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed just hanging out in the sunshine while we waited. When we finally got to see Santa, the Kiddo gave a great smile just as instructed...the Munchkin, on the other hand, had a total and complete meltdown, lol. I pretty much expected that, since he's a total Momma's boy. Poor Santa. Later on Sunday, after washing mountains of laundry and watching Toy Story 1 & 2 with the Kiddo, the hubby and I had one more holiday party to attend. It was much more difficult to eat healthy at this party - hot wings were the main entree! Ugh, but I think I did pretty darn good with my meal. I guess I'll see when I weigh in on Wednesday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I like EASY

At least last night I did!

Last night's run - 60 minutes EASY pace. I've never been so happy to see the words EASY on the schedule. Earlier in the day at work, I had been stressed and ready to pound out some miles on the treadmill. Ready to see what kind of pace I could muster. But almost 5 hours later, when I finally got on the dreadmill, I wasn't feeling like I could push it.

60 minutes, 5.63 miles, 10:39 pace.

That was the best I could do and I'm cool with that. I started slow, pushed a little in the middle and slowed it down again.

Tomorrow's going to be a busy, busy day with the kiddos!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Latest workout and some random crap

Monday, 12/14
Monday, the legs were feeling pretty darn good considering I ran 12 miles the day before. At first I was going to do my P90X "Core Synergistics" dvd, but later decided to run a couple of miles on the ol' dreadmill and then do the P90X "Ab Ripper X" dvd instead. As usual, life happens - while putting the Kiddo to bed (at 8 pm), I realized that I had to bake cookies for the Kiddo's dance class holiday party the next day. Oh snap! Fortunately for me, I bought some cookie dough from one of the neighborhood kids and completely forgot about it. I used that and then worked on "Ab Ripper X" while the cookies were baking. Instead of running, I worked on my syllabus for the class I'm teaching in the Fall.....

*Warning - Off topic subject ahead*
Oh wait! I forgot to tell you! I am teaching a Human Resources class one night each week at a local community college! Yes, me....a "professor"! LOL! Scary, huh?

Now that I am actually working on my syllabus and course work, I am beginning to question my sanity. First, this class is not close to my home or work, so that one night per week will make for a very long day. Second, I still want to sign up for a ton of sprint distance triathlons and maybe an Oly...I'm not sure how much time per week this class will take, so I'm a bit nervous about that! Third, I am teaching students. Real people. People who may actually want to learn something. No pressure, lol! Anyway, this is something I've always wanted to try and this is my chance...maybe I will like it and totally rock, or maybe I will suck. We'll see.

Tuesday, 12/15
Back to the workouts - Tuesday, my schedule called for 45 minutes on the treadmill. Per coach, we were to run at a moderate pace, increase pace slightly at 20 minutes and then try to finish with a hard effort for the last 5 minutes. I did it - final pace was 10:38 for 4.23 miles.

Wednesday, 12/16
Rest day. I felt like running, but had to finish up my syllabus. I think I have that all done, but I'm trying to figure out if I want to have a large project to be done over the course of the semester, or a few smaller projects scattered throughout the semester. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What we've been up to...

Seriously, you wanna know why I haven't been blogging so much lately? This is just a sample of what we've been doing over the past month....

The Kiddo went to see her 1st musical - Mary Poppins


The kiddo's musical theater class performed "The Wizard of Oz". As you can see, the kiddo is a Munchkin, lol!


The Kiddo had her 5th birthday party...yes, it looks like someone threw up Barbie at our house now!


The kiddo worked on her 1st Advent project at church.


Of course we made time to have some outdoor fun!


Thanksgiving morning - watching the parade from our hotel window in downtown Houston (our Thanksgiving tradition)


Spending Thanksgiving afternoon at our cousin's house.


The day after Thanksgiving - we went to breakfast with our cousins from Florida!


Waiting patiently for muffins to bake!

And then there was the Kiddo's holiday dance recital...I haven't even had time to download those pictures!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm baaaaacccckkkk!

I've been a bad blogger. Holidays have hit and I've been a busy girl. But, I've been a good girl and I've been running!

The day after my missing mojo post, I decided to hop on the treadmill and just run my little heart out for a couple of miles. Guess I was just trying chase down that missing mojo...the 1st mile was run just under 10:30. The 2nd mile was a 9:48 pace. I found the mojo.

The day after that (Friday) it SNOWED! Yes, SNOW in HOUSTON! It was an awesome sight, even if it never really stuck to the ground in our neck of the woods...it stuck everywhere else around here, but oh well! Sorry, but we almost never get SNOW in Houston...especially 2 YEARS IN A ROW; therefore I must type SNOW in caps, bolded and red. :o)

Here's the kiddo swinging in the snow, I mean SNOW!


Here's the munchkin wondering around the backyard...he's not sure what all the fuss is about, but just happy to be outside playing. Don't mind the dead grass, lol!


Meet "Slushman"...the SNOW started to stick around 3 pm, only to stop completely about 30 minutes later. Mr. Slushman stuck around until the next morning. We will miss him!


Saturday following what I will now refer to as "SNOW Friday", I had the most amazing 10-miler. Friday night I actually toyed with the idea of postponing the 10-miler until Sunday...after all, it was predicted to be around 29 degrees! I set my alarm clock - you know, just in case. Sure enough, I woke up and looked out my window to see an amazing sight of frost everywhere. It was gorgeous and I knew I would be running after all. You northerners would have laughed at me, because I looked as if I was going to be running in a blizzard! I had on my running tights, my red Ten for Texas cap, a short sleeve technical shirt, a long sleeve technical shirt, my Chicago Marathon jacket (that is made for 0 degree, windy, rainy weather!) and my gloves. Thank God no one else was dumb enough to get out that early on such a cold morning, because I looked just plain stupid! I had the jacket off before I even finished my first mile!

The entire neighborhood was covered in ice...it was just awesome! The miles just ticked by. Before I knew it, I was back at my section of the 'hood...in 1:39. Yeah, I knew my mileage had to be off, but I didn't know because my Garmin is still not working. So, I did one more 2-mile loop around the hood. I drove the route later to find that I had run around 9.25 miles and with the additional 2 miles, it was a total of 11.25 miles at ~10:42 pace. Cool beans! And, I have to say that this run was one of my favorite ever. Running in the cool air during the quiet of the morning gave me a deep sense of contentment. Not because I was feeling strong, but because I was running...something I may complain about, but something I absolutely love to do.

The next week I ran on the dreadmill as usual. Friday I had a zillion things to do, so my long run was scheduled for Saturday. Plus, I had the opportunity to run with my running peeps! But, the weather was predicted to be totally craptastic on Saturday and the run was postponed until Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather was still incredibly crummy on Sunday too, but it didn't matter because my running peep, Kelly, was still planning to run! This was an amazing run. I guess it was all the chatting we did, because the miles went by so quickly! Before I knew it, it was time to turn around and head back towards our cars. Not only that, but we managed to run just under 12 miles, maintain a great pace and have a negative split! As for fuel, I think I could have had more Gatorade - I had 12 oz of Gatorade (some of which was consumed after my run) and 4 oz of water. I also had an orange (small Clementine) and 4 Honey Bee Stinger gels before my run, 4 more Stingers between mile 4 & 5, then the last 3 stingers around miles from the finish. I really should have been paying better attention to what I consume during my long runs, so I am starting now.

Sooo, life is good. I hope to be a better blogger between now and the 1/2 marathon in January. There are so many awesome options to come after that and I have some decisions to make - TIR? Zooma? Gateway to the Bay? Lucky Trails? MS150? Lonestar Sprint? CB&I?

Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Who stole my mojo?


Reward to the person who returns it!

Tuesday, 12/1/09
Holy crap, it's December already! How'd that happen? The stomach was feeling better on Tuesday, so I tried to eat my normal stuff - yogurt, banana, string cheese, strawberries, baked chicken, brown rice, green beans, almonds, oranges....and then I tried to run.

FAIL!

My stomach was not feeling good by mid-afternoon. During the kiddo's dance class, I felt like I had a huge rock in my gut. Yeah, I should have eaten with caution all day. Just shy of 2 miles into my treadmill run and I began to feel nauseous. Not only that, I was sweating buckets! Not that I don't usually sweat - I do, trust me. But, I usually don't sweat this much, this early in my run. I didn't want to stop altogether, so I walked. After about .25 mile, I ran again only to get nauseous and have to walk again. I stayed on the treadmill for a total of 45 minutes and more than 1/2 of that was walking. Blah! So, one hour did not quite happen.

Wednesday, 12/2/09
Determined to redeem myself, I decided early in the day that I would try for an hour on the treadmill after the kiddos were asleep. This time I decided to start out with a little walking, just to make sure I was feeling a-okay. I walked for 5 minutes, then increased my speed - still slow though. After a mile, I increased the speed more - only to about a 10:40 pace though. However, I found myself being distracted a lot and I stopped numerous times - once to turn the bathroom light on for the kiddo, once to adjust the thermostat (i.e. turn down the heat), once to let the dog back in from the frosty temps, etc. You get the idea. I was not wanting to run. I felt heavy and slow - I wanted to walk, not run. This time my stomach wasn't to blame - this was just me being a wuss. After 3 miles of the craptastic run/walk/walk some more thing I had going on, I compromised with myself. Do 5/1s for 2 more miles and you can call it a day. So that's what I did. About the same time, an Ice Cube song came on the ipod....who knew Ice Cube could really motivate my butt to move???

Not guilty, not guilty the filthy devils tried ta kill me...

Yeah, full of bad language, but it makes the booty move! So I finished my run, but I wouldn't say I even came close to redeeming myself. Blah!

I have 10 miles on the schedule for Friday, but the weather is supposed to be super nasty - 38 degrees and rainy. Kinda reminds me of a 21-miler a few years ago! In fact, the weather folks are predicting SNOW!

IN HOUSTON!

SNOW?!?!?!

It normally only snows about once every 10 years here. It snowed like crazy my senior year of high school (1989) on December 20. The next time it snowed was 2004 on Christmas Eve - I'll always remember that, because the kiddo was exactly 1 month old. But then, the 10 year curse was broken, because it snowed several inches on December 10 last year! And now this! So much for global warming, lol!

Anyway, sorry for the tangent...I will be doing my long run on Saturday instead. It's supposed to be 29 degrees, but at least it will be dry. If I was running with a group, we'd be out there no matter the temp, rain or shine...so that means I will be out there no matter what!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

If it's not one thing....

It's another.

My training was going well for so long. No, it was going GREAT. Then, I get the sore throat, earache, fever thing. Next week is the holiday and well, life happens. I get in my 12 miler and the next day - a stomach bug! Doh!

This, coming from the girl who almost NEVER gets sick. Before kids I NEVER got sick...well, maybe once every 5 years I'd get a cold, but that was it. Since having kids (and before this year), I'd picked up a cold and a stomach bug from them. But this year...jeeze! Enough already! I'll admit, I was sore on Sunday from my 12-miler, but overall it wasn't too bad. But I also had this weird feeling in my stomach. Not exactly queasy, but just not quite right either. I had afternoon lunch plans with some of my girlfriends and by that time, I was feeling pretty good. I had a salad, some chicken with a pesto sauce and 2 Bellini's (dumb, especially when your stomach isn't feeling 100% right). On the way home, I had to stop at Target to pick up a few things and I noticed that my stomach was kind of growling and churning. By the time I made it home, the old tum tum was feeling icky. An hour later....well, I won't go there.

On Monday, the stomach still felt "off", but much better than Sunday night. I consumed a total of 725 calories throughout the day - trying toast, then a banana, finally a meal and later some almonds. I decided the scheduled 6-miler on the dreadmill was going to have to wait until the next day. I hadn't consumed enough calories to have a good run, plus I figured I better make sure the stomach was back to normal.

There's only 7 weeks left until the 1/2 marathon here in Houston...I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there are no more weird bugs, illnesses or injuries in my future!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

12-miler - DONE!

Since we had soooo much going on Thursday and Friday, I decided to run my long run on Saturday. It just happened to work out perfectly, because my running peeps were running their 17-miler on Saturday and there was a great place to park exactly 2.5 miles into their route! I could meet them, run their out and back course, and get my 12 miles in - and I could catch up with everything that has been going on with them at the same time - SCORE!

The temps were great for a long run - 50 degrees! There was a little humidity, but nothing too severe. For some reason, I decided to wear a long sleeve technical shirt over my short sleeve one - that was totally unnecessary and I was taking it off before we reached mile 2. I brought my Garmin with me as well, since I just received a new power cord for it...the Garmin people are helping me trouble shoot the problems I've been having. The replacement Garmin they sent to me is now doing the same thing the old one did - turning off during my run for no apparent reason. Well, when I arrived at the meeting point for the run, the freaking Garmin would not even power on!!! Grrrr!!! And, this was the 1st time since April that I've run with a fuel belt...it felt a little weird to be wearing it again.

The first 7-8 miles felt pretty easy. I have no idea of our pace, but it felt like a good effort. I was happy not to push it too hard, because I really hadn't been running as much as usual over the past couple of weeks...I just wanted to finish the distance this time. Around mile 9 or 10, I started to notice my left IT band making itself known - it wasn't horrible, but it was there. At the same time, I began to notice that my hip flexors hurt. That pain was new to me, so I am wondering if it was just the different route. My usual neighborhood route is very flat. This route had the teeny bit of slope on the shoulder of the road, plus there were some gentle inclines that my body is probably not used to. Yeah, those last two miles were ugly - my hips hurt and it seemed like I'd never get back to my car, but we pushed on.

My goal is to do 2 more 12-milers between now and taper time...and, I am hoping that they will get easier each time. Next week is an easy, peasy 10-miler for me and it looks like it's going to be nice and cold - yay!

The rest of the day flew by...we decorated for Christmas, took the kiddos to McD's for lunch and then hung out around the house. I am loving the holidays with the kids! It's so fun to see them get so excited about the decorations and tree - good times!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Easing back into it...

This past week was a pretty easy one with the running. I decided to ease back into it, since it had been quite a few days since my last run. Unfortunately, I didn't get in any longer runs this week with Thanksgiving and family stuff going on beginning on Wednesday...time to kick it back into high gear now that the holiday stuff is over!

Monday, 11/23 - Treadmill run - 3 miles, 10:40 pace
Can you tell by my pace that this was indeed an "easy" run? I can!

Tuesday, 11/24 - Treadmill run - 2 miles, 10:03 pace
This wasn't a scheduled run day and I didn't have much time, but I knew there wouldn't be much time to run for the next few days. I decided to make this a progressive run - quality over quantity, I guess. It also happened to be my sweet Kiddo's 5th birthday! I had a Dr's appointment in the morning, so I was able to take the kiddo to breakfast beforehand. Good times!

Wednesday, 11/25 - no workout
The goal was to leave work around 3 pm, run a couple of quickie errands and then hop on the treadmill for a few miles before picking up the kiddos from school. Then, we'd be off to a hotel downtown where we could watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Yeah, good intentions. The school called me at 2 pm to let me know that the Munchkin had just thrown up. Yikes! So, I had to head straight over to the school. Next, the hubby called me to let me know he had to work late. Not a great start to the holiday weekend!

Fortunately, the Munchkin was okay. After talking to his teacher, it sounded like he was coughing a lot (from yucky drainage) and threw up a bunch of mucus. I was just happy he didn't have some sort of stomach bug. We were able to head to downtown as soon as the hubby made it home and enjoyed the parade. Oh and as I type this on Friday, those errands are still not done. lol!

Thursday & Friday, 11/26 & 11/27 - no workouts
We headed out to my cousin's house for Thanksgiving dinner after the parade, so no workouts on Thanksgiving. On Friday, I had a date with Target at 5 am, followed with breakfast with the family and some cousins in from Florida. I knew I'd be doing my long run on Saturday, so there would be no running again! This is where I begin to feel like a total slug - I did get the house nice and clean, the grocery shopping done and all the laundry washed, dried and put away though!

Monday, November 23, 2009

L-O-S-E-R-!


Just put that big 'ol "L" on my forehead...I've been slacking with the blogging. I have been running (sort of), but just no time to blog. It's been a crazy week, but I'll leave that for the updates:

Sunday, 11/14 - 40 minute run

The running schedule called for a 40-minute run and that's exactly what I did. I woke up early (around 6:15) to fairly warm temps (for November) and headed out for a run around the 'hood. I met up with some of the folks from the neighborhood running group. They were headed out for their first 10-miler and a tad bit nervous about the double digits. The Garmin is still not working, so I have no idea of my pace. And, let me just say the mosquitoes were all over....jeeze, I thought we didn't have to worry about skeeters in November!!! After the run, I headed home to make the family breakfast, head to church and then hang out with the family.

Monday, 11/15 - 4 miles, treadmill
Back to the treadmill! I ran 4 miles @ a 10:32 pace. Nothing too exciting to report - although I did add some old school Green Day to my ipod which made for some fun running music.

Tuesday, 11/16 - rest day
I was going to squeeze in a little P90X here, but didn't get home from Dallas until around 7:45 pm. I definitely was not feeling like a workout!

Wednesday, 11/17 - 40 minutes, treadmill
For some reason, I just did not feel like running. My legs felt tired all day, even though my last good workout was on Monday. I did, after much procrastination, finally get on the treadmill for a 3-miler plus warm up and cool down. This was supposed to be a 60-65 minute run....

Thursday, 11/18 - no workout
I was feeling achy and just plain crappy all day. My throat hurt and I had a headache. By the time I got home from work, I was feeling flushed. My temp was only 100.2, but I decided to head to bed early....maybe this was why I did not feel like running the day before? And I thought I was just being lazy. :-)

Friday, 11/19 - no workout
I already knew I wouldn't get my Friday long run done in the early morning hours - the kiddo had her 5 year check up at 8 am and I was meeting a friend at 9:30 for a 10:30 showing of New Moon. I wasn't even sure if I'd get it in later in the day - I had to run to Sam's and Party City to get stuff for the kiddo's birthday party on Sunday, not to mention the weekly grocery shopping at Kroger's! But, I thought I could get it the run done in the evening or maybe Saturday morning.

Nope, not happening...by the time I got home from running errands, my Motrin had worn off - my temp was between 101.5 and 101.8 and I had the achy feeling again. Grrrrrr....I do not get sick often and when I do, it pisses me off! Fortunately, my sweet hubby entertained the kids and made me go lie down on the sofa.

I'll tell ya more about the weekend later...and I'll even have some pictures! It was a crazy one!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Slow Long Run

Ahhhh Friday, how I love thee! I got the kids off to school and headed home for my long run. On my way back from the school, I noticed 2 deer heading out of the woods and into the road directly in front of my car! Then, after a short pause, another deer darted across the road. It was an amazing site and almost exactly like the one during my run last week. Oh and the best part? It was a freaking fabulous 48 degrees! Yiiipppeee!!!

I started off rather slow...just trying to avoid a re occurrence of last week's crap out. Overall, the run went well. I found myself thinking a lot about work and other stuff, which really kept me from getting into that zone. You know the one - where my mind just wanders off, my eyes just take in the views of nature around me, my ears just listen to the rhythm of my footsteps beneath me and my feet just go. If I think about anything, it's my cadence and every now and then, I give myself a little mental push. When I finally did get into "the zone" it was around mile 4.5 and about the time I reached the neighborhood elementary school...I had to stop several times for cars and my pace and "zone-iness" went out the window!

When I finally felt myself picking up the pace a little (around mile 7), I decided that I'd run around some different sections of the neighborhood. That was about the time that my Garmin crapped out on me (AGAIN!). So, I ran some extra at the end just in case and later found that I had actually run 11 rather than 10! When my Garmin stopped, I was at a 10:58 pace...so, I really don't know what my final pace was. I am assuming about the same, but who knows. I did walk a bit to press the buttons on the Garmin, curse a lot and then press the buttons some more (as if it would help!). Needless to say, I really want to put my Garmin in the street and run over it. Then, I want to put the car in reverse and run over it again! Grrrrrr!

Anyway, it was a slow run. My slowest long run in a long time! But, I am happy to have successfully run 11 and feel pretty good doing it! I can work on speed during the week and hopefully run 11 & 12 in the next few weeks and get stronger and stronger!

Best of luck to all my running peeps doing San Antonio this weekend - Jamie, Stephanie, Mary, Lacy, Dawn, Toby, Sharla, Jay and Vic - go kick some asphalt!!!

PSA: Why oh why do people feel they must stop at stop signs and then just sit there? This happened to me 3x during my run...I was approaching the intersection and had to slow down to see what the person was going to do. Twice, the person at the stop sign proceeded to sit there and play with their phone. Ugh! So please, look for runners as you approach a stop sign in your neighborhood! Don't screw with their pace by making them slow down or stop waiting to see what you're gonna do! Okay?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

First, let's talk workouts! Or should I say workout?

Tuesday, the Hubby and I cleaned house after the kiddos were in bed. The Hubster has martial arts classes on Wednesday nights and his parents are coming into town on Thursday, so Tuesday had to be the cleaning day. No workouts....

Wednesday, the Hubby ended up working late and didn't get to make it to his martial arts classes afterall. Unlucky for him, but lucky for me. It meant that with his assistance with the kiddos, I could hop on the treadmill earlier than usual. The schedule called for 55 minutes easy and 55 minutes it was! I started with a 10 minute warm-up, then followed with 40 minutes of running at a 10:30 pace, then began my cool-down at the easier than usual pace. Then, I decided to walk for another 5 minutes just to make my workout an even 1-hour. Overall, my 55 minutes running was at a 10:38 pace. This run started out a little iffy, but once I got into the groove, it felt great! So far this week, I am at 13 miles. I have 10 on Friday for my long run and then a rest day on Saturday.

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So remember that yummy protein shake recipe I posted earlier this week? Well, it may be awhile before I make it again. When loading the dishwasher yesterday, the hubby accidentally bumped the glass jar on our granite counter and it broke! Aaaaaccckkkk! So, I ordered a new one thanks to the friendly Kitchen Aid Customer Service Rep and it will be here next week. Maybe I will have to substitute a Starbucks skinny vanilla latte in the meantime. :-)

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So, I have been utilizing my little ipod shuffle during my treadmill runs. I have a nano, which was a hand-me-down from the hubby when he bought his iphone, but for running I still prefer the shuffle. I seriously need some new running music! So tell me dear internet people, what music do you like to listen to??? Share please!

Happy Veteran's Day!


Thank you to all of those who have served or are presently serving in the U.S. armed forces. Much gratitude to you and your families for all that you have done and continue to do. May God Bless you, and may God Bless America! And a big 'ol thanks to my favorite vet of all - my Dad (a Vietnam Vet)!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

Let me start with running stuff....afterall, this is supposed to be a running blog! I've had 2 runs since the super duper sucky run on Friday and I am confident that it was just one of those days. On Sunday, I ran 4 miles around the 'hood. I'd love to tell you my pace and time, but my Garmin crapped out on me after only 9 minutes. In those 9 minutes, my average pace was 10:27 though. I don't know what's up with the Garmin. I tried to turn it on again once I was home and it would come on for a second and then turn itself off. The next day, I tried turning it on again and it stayed on for 3 hours. This Garmin stuff is becoming really annoying! I think that means I need a 405, hehehe! My hubby would probably disagree.

On Monday, I was doomed to run on the dreadmill. Since I haven't received this week's schedule from "the coach", I decided to follow last week's schedule again. I did the same 3 min hard/1 min easy (x10) workout as last week, but this time I increased the incline on the treadmill to 2.0. My final results - 1/2 mile warm-up, 4 miles at a 10:18 pace, followed a 1 mile cool down. Definitely slower than last weeks 10:04 pace, but maybe that was due to the extra effort required by increasing the incline. Regardless, it felt great!



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You might remember when I posted my version of the "green monster" protein shake here. Well, I quickly grew tired of that shake and found a couple of interesting recipes in the hubby's "Ab Diet" book. Since I didn't have all the ingredients for the ones that sounded good to me, I combined a couple of recipes and came up with this:

1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon chocolate syrup (you can use 1 cup of pre-made chocolate milk instead of these two ingredients)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 1/2 cups spinach (fresh, not frozen)
1 banana
1 teaspoon chopped almonds (I use a 1/2 teaspoon of almond butter instead)
1/2 scoop of chocolate flavored protein powder
2 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt
ice (the recipes only call for 6 cubes, but I like to use a lot more!)

If you like the Starbucks Mocha Light Frappacino, you will like this! You can also use a packet of Swiss Miss diet hot chocolate instead of the chocolate syrup if you want fewer calories and sugar. I actually look forward to drinking this in the morning, it's sooo yummy!



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Aerosmith's Joe Perry announced that Steven Tyler has quit the band. So what's gonna happen now? Joe Perry and the band are looking for a replacement lead singer. Aerosmith with no Steven Tyler? After 30 years - with Steven Tyler?

I.don't.think.so.

So glad I had the chance to see them live before this happened! Didn't think a Runner Mom could be a fan, did you?


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Speaking of being a fan, I saved the best for last....I have been a HUGE Rockets fan for over 2 decades. I love basketball and it's really the only sport I can tolerate watching on TV. Naturally, a huge part of the Rockets for most of the time I've been a fan was #34 - Hakeem Olajuwon. I *heart* Hakeem and was heartbroken when he was traded to the Toronto Raptors late in his career. While the hubby is not much of a NBA fan, he was a UH fan in the days of Phi Slama Jama and is still a fan of Hakeem. I still remember watching the Rockets play the Celtics in the NBA finals in '86...and of course, there were the back-to-back championships in '94 and '95! Ahhhh, the good old days! So this weekend, while attending the wedding of a friend, you can only imagine how excited I was to see #34 himself! I was super stoked!


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Super Duper Sucky Run

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I've been having so many great runs lately, that a bad one was bound to sneak in there eventually.

Friday should have shaped up to be a great run...the skies were sunny, the temps were low (mid 50s) and the humidity was pretty low as well. I took the kiddos to school, got a few little things done around the house and was off. I'll admit, for some reason that 1st mile is always the toughest. I have to get the cobwebs out, get my rhythm - both pace and breathing - and get into the groove. In that 1st mile, I usually question my sanity and do the internal whining. Fortunately, after that 1st mile, I usually get those thought out of my head and really enjoy my run. Even in those final miles, I've been loving it!

However, Friday was different. I made it past the 1st mile, but never really found my groove. In fact, my legs felt like lead, my breathing was not right (I was out of breath) and I just did not feel like myself. Before I even hit mile 3, I was ready for a walk break. A long one. And I gave in and walked. I looked at my watch...my effort felt like a good 10:30 pace kind of effort. Maybe faster. But my pace was 10:50. I started running again and before I finished mile 4, I felt like I needed to walk again. And I did. It was a quick break, but within 5 minutes I was ready to walk again. And I did...for what felt like a looooonnnngggg time. Then I proceeded to run again and walk again. As I was approaching my section of the neighborhood again, where I would normally get some energy gels/chews and refill my bottle, I decided to call it a day. Rather than put myself through the misery of another 4 miles, I decided to stop. Besides, at the pace I was going, I wouldn't have time for another 4 miles! So, my ten miler ended up being 6.35. With all the walking, my pace was close to a 12/minute pace. Yeah, I am almost embarrassed to type that!

I don't know what happened but I figure it could be one of the following....

1) The lack of sleep for 4 days straight catching up to me - having a sick kiddo and hubby has been hard. I slept on the couch one night, with a 4 year old who was throwing up every hour the next night, then in the kiddos bed another night and then with the kiddo and hubby the next night (where I had a 4-year old's arms and legs all over me...we need a king-sized bed!).

2) The lack of good nutrition the day before - I worked from home on Thursday in order to stay with the kiddo who was not quite ready to return to school. I've been great about not touching the Halloween candy all week, but when I am home all day with the bowl just a few feet away, I tend to lose all will power. I SWEAR that candy was calling my name!!!

3) I was getting whatever crap the kiddo and hubby had earlier in the week. I was hoping that this was not the case.

4) It was just one of those running days. We all have them.

5) A combination of one or more of the above.

Regardless, I think I can honestly say this was the worst run I've ever had. Ever. Not even the gorgeousness of the sun shining through the trees or the 3 deer that crossed the road in front of me could inspire me to get my legs moving...they just wouldn't go. I swear my perceived effort was much, much greater than the actual effort! I am trying not to beat myself up about being such a wuss. We'll see how the coming week goes...hopefully, it will be MUCH better!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Running in Place

Kids asleep - check
Running clothes on - check
Procrastinating by playing on Facebook - check
Finally got on the treadmill - check

Fortunately, the Kiddo and Hubby are both doing better. The hubby can finally eat some food again and the Kiddo is not running to the bathroom every hour...in fact, she was doing great until we switched her from water to Gatorade. Yeah, her tummy was not ready for that yet. Poor baby! Thankfully, the Munchkin and I are both fine so far...I'm just hoping it stays that way.

I really, really didn't feel like running! But I figured I'd better run while I can, since I don't know what tomorrow will bring with the illnesses in our house!

The schedule gave us 2 options:

1) 60-65 easy followed by lots of stretching

2) 3 min hard followed by 1 minute fast (10x), then 10 minutes easy cool down

I choose option 2. I started with a 5 minute warm up, then got right into the intervals. The result was 4 miles at a 10:02 pace (40:08)! I think this is my fastest set of intervals on the treadmill so far...yeah, this is "fast" for me. :-) I followed with a 1 mile cool down, which actually put me over the 10 minute cool down on the schedule.

It felt great to hammer out those miles...stress relief at it's best!

Poop, puke and more puke

Ugh, the stomach flu has hit our home once again. It was just September when I had it (yes, the day of the Eastside Tri too!), then the Hubby and then the Kiddo...luckily, the Munchkin made it out unscathed!

This time, it started with the hubby on Monday. I know when he misses his martial arts classes that he feels like complete and utter poop! He was feeling better yesterday, so he changed the sheets in our room (I slept on the couch in an effort to avoid getting it!) and sprayed everything in the house with Lysol. Still, I was leery about entering our bedroom (aka the "hot zone") when I arrived home from work...especially the "powder room" where the toilet resides. But, when the hubby managed to hold down some soup and crackers, and later even ate a Kit Kat from the Halloween candy bowl, I knew he was better. I still handled everything kid related last night - just in case he was contagious - took the kiddo to dance class, got the kids bathed and fed, tucked them each into bed and made lunches for the next day.

But, it seems that I let my guard down too early...by 10:40 pm last night, I knew something wasn't right. The Kiddo woke up:

Kiddo: Mommy! (pause) MOM-MY!
Me: What is it Kiddo??? (yeah, I'm rolling my eyes because I think she's trying to avoid going to sleep)
Kiddo: I love you!
Me: I love you too, now go to sleep!

This is not uncommon when she 1st goes to bed and is trying to avoid going to sleep...but at 10:40 it seemed weird. Then, 20 minutes later I heard it again, but this time more urgent:

Kiddo: MOM-MY
Me: What is it Kiddo?
Kiddo: I HAVE TO GO POO POO!

Yep, this was not a good sign of things to come. Knowing that, I decided to bring her downstairs to the "hot zone" where she could be near me and closer to a bathroom. From that point until about 4:00 am, she woke up every hour to throw up. Fun times, I tell you! And, she kept wanting water. More and more water. But, her tummy didn't even want water.

Ugh, it was a Starbucks morning for sure!

Fortunately, the Munchkin and I both seem fine so far...let's just hope it stays that way. As soon as the kiddo starts showing signs of improvement, I am gonna arm myself with rubber gloves and clorox spray and start cleaning like crazy - and I will be starting in the "hot zone". Wonder if I can borrow the local HazMat crew for an hour or two? In the meantime, I need some of that yellow tape to rope off the entire area - DO NOT ENTER!

Needless to say, there were no workouts yesterday.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Return of the late night dreadmill.

No Y membership means no lunchtime runs, which also means I will be doing my runs on the treadmill at home after the kiddos are asleep. Yuck.

I don't know why I'm whining, because I've been doing this for years. But, that doesn't make it any more fun and therefore I will continue to whine!

Anywho, the hubby ended up not going to his Hapkido and Jiu Jitsu classes tonight. I know, you're thinking, "Great, then that means you could have run outside, right?" Not this time. The hubster has a pretty bad stomach flu (at least I hope that's all he has!). In fact, it's so bad that I think I will be sleeping on the couch tonight. I don't want to get whatever he has, and I certainly don't want to pass it on to the kids! So, I hopped on the treadmill after about 45 minutes of procrastination and managed to get in 6-miles...I was still running when the 10 o'clock news came on...and if you know me, this is when I usually stop. But kept going - I had a 1/2 mile left to go. And, I think I actually had a negative split (if that's even possible on a treadmill). All I know is that last mile was at a 10 minute pace, because I was just ready to get this run done!

10:33 pace, 1:03:18

The bad thing about running on the treadmill at home is that I can find so many other things to do instead of running. And, while I'm running I can think of things to do. For example, I take sips of water much more frequently than when I am on the road or at the Y. Or, my neck will get all sweaty, so I'll hop off the treadmill real quick to grab a ponytail holder from the kiddos room. Or, I'll stop to go adjust the thermostat or turn on the fan.

Really, I have to stop this crap and just run!

Ugh!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Whew, what a weekend!

The weather in Houston has been un-freaking-believable!

After weeks and weeks of 100+ degree temps, Mother Nature decided to give us a nice break. Lows in the upper 40's/low 50's and highs in the low 70's - that's what I'm talking about! It almost makes you forget that April/May will bring us the 90's again. I intend to enjoy it while I can!!!

Friday, 10/30 - Neighborhood long run, 8.5 miles
The schedule called for 8.5-9 miles. I intended to do the whole 9, but after getting the kids to school I did a few things around the house until I only had enough time for 8.5. Oh well, that's how it goes. Plus, my tummy felt weird - almost like an "I drank to much the night before" feeling, but I hadn't been drinking. I almost talked myself out of running in the morning and came really close to postponing the run until the evening. But then I asked myself, "if it were Saturday and you were running with the running group, would you still show up?". Of course, the answer was "YES". So out to the asphalt I went.

Overall, the run felt great. I think I've mentioned the other lady in the neighborhood who does a long run on Friday mornings...well, I ran into her again. This is the woman with 0% body fat and a killer 6-pack who runs like the wind. Yeah, she was my inspiration to get my feet moving a little faster. I ran for just over 1:30 at a 10:42 pace. Not too bad.

After my run, I headed to the kid's school for their Fall Festival. Due to some miscommunication, I missed out on the kid's trick or treating but I did get to each lunch with them. So cute! Let's just say I have a ton of respect for their teachers...I couldn't do it!

The kids before school...the Munchkin would not let me put him in his costume!

The kiddo with her friends at school...time for lunch!


Saturday, 10/31 - HALLOWEEN! (rest day)
So much fun! The kiddo had her musical theater class in the morning and she got to wear her Halloween costume...I am so glad when the kids can wear them more than once! Later, we took the kids to the neighborhood playground - gotta enjoy the gorgeous weather!!! Before we knew it, it was trick or treat time. The munchkin refused to nap - today of all days! But, both kids had a great time trick or treating. The kiddo showed the munchkin the ropes - how to say "trick or treat", be sure to say "thank you", etc. The munchkin had no idea what to think of all the chaos. He stared at the kids in costume, remembered to say "thank you" about 50% of the time and would not let go of his big green jack o' lantern bucket for anything! It was all so cute!

Finally a picture in his costume...sort of. He did not like to Elmo hood on his head!

Riding around the 'hood in style. Yeah, this is the life! See that look on the Muchkin's face? It says take my bucket and die!

At home and out of the costume. See? He's still hanging onto that bucket!

Sunday, 11/1 - Neighborhood 3-miler
Miles = 3.15, Candy = 6

The one thing I do like about the time change is that the sunrise is soooo much earlier! I woke up at 6 am to try to sneak in a run before the kids woke up. Naturally, the kiddo woke me up about 5 minutes before the alarm clock went off. So much for being sneaky!

For some reason, I could not seem to get my feet moving. You'd think with the perfectly awesome temps (47) and the gorgeous sunrise, I'd be inspired to get going...but, I could not seem to move faster than a 10:48 pace for most of the run. I guess that's okay, since it's supposed to be my "easy" run anyway. I sped up a little in the last 1/2 mile, so my final pace was 10:40 for 3.15 miles. Oh, and I saw 6 pieces of dropped candy on the sidewalk from the night before, lol!

Later, the kiddo and I had a "girls night out" and went to see Mary Poppins. I have to admit, the movie kind of gets on my nerves and I wasn't sure I really wanted to see the musical. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the stage production. It was awesome! And, the kiddo and I loved that Mary Poppins flew with her umbrella right over the audience at the end. What a fun way to end the weekend!

Friday, October 30, 2009

One last spin...

Saturday is the final day of my Y membership for now, so I managed to get in one last spin class. It was fun as usual and for some reason, maybe because I knew I wouldn't be spinning for awhile, I gave it my all. I pushed up those hills, ran fast across those flats, you name it. Good times!

I am soooo looking forward to this weekend! Friday is my day off and I have a 9-miler on tap...of course, that depends on our crazy weather! It's 12:30 am here and raining cats and dogs. I am wondering if I will even be able to get the kids to school in a few hours...I know the kiddo hopes so, because it's the school's Fall Festival and she is looking forward to wearing her Halloween costume. Of course, Saturday is Halloween and I can't wait to see the kids all excited to go trick-or-treating! Sunday is church and Mary Poppins with the kiddo - I'm supposed to get a run in here too, but we'll see! To make the weekend even better, the weather is supposed to be awesome! (could I have any more exclamation points in there? LOL!)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Workouts

Thanks to everyone who commented on my post yesterday! And, if you haven't read yesterday's post, please do...I'd appreciate your input too!

Here are my workouts so far this week:

Monday, 10/26 - no workout
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, no workouts on Monday! I had a meeting at work that ran through lunch and then I went to see the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour. Maybe my judgement was influenced by the 2 margarita's I had at dinner, but I thought the tour was just awesome! I was a dancer from age 4 until my senior year in high school. I took a few classes while in college and even a year or two after I got married, just for fun and exercise. Let me tell you - in my 14+ years of dance, I was nowhere close to the level that these folks are at! They are simply amazing to watch!

Tuesday, 10/27 - 5 mile neighborhood run (sort of)
Tuesdays mean spin classes! I love spin class! I headed over to the Y at lunch and remembered that all the construction that has been going on there for months was finally over! And, when I arrived at the Y, I learned that the new spin bikes had arrived and we were using them for the 1st time! Whoot! Of course, it took us all about 15 minutes of the class trying to figure out our settings on the new bikes, but it was worth it. The new bikes are pretty cool and the seats are even a bit more cushy for the tushy!

Tuesdays also just happen to be the kiddo's dance class nights, so that means we don't get home until 6:30-6:45-ish. By the time I changed clothes and said hello to my munchkin and hubby, it was already beginning to get dark outside. Grrrrr, the only reason to not like the Fall! I made it 1/2 way around my 3-mile neighborhood loop when the skies seemed to go from a little light to dark in a matter of seconds. So, I hurried on my way to get back to the house, then ran 2 of the 1/2 mile loops around our little section of the neighborhood. By that time, it was really dark, so I decided to go inside and run that final mile on the treadmill. Not what I really wanted to do, because the temps outside were sooooo awesome! But, I got the run done and that's what counts. I'm really not too sure of my pace, because I forgot to charge my Garmin (again!). Based on my watch for my 1st 4 miles, I was around a 10:36 pace. The final mile on the treadmill was at a 10:28 pace.

Wednesday, 10/28 - 6 mile 3 mile treadmill run
I've been trying to follow the schedule that the neighborhood running group's coach has been sending out. However, since I have not been running as many miles as the group, I decided to cut this run short and work my way up to more mileage slowly....anything to prevent injury! Plus, I have been needing new shoes for awhile now and I am feeling some aches and pains in my feet and ankles that aren't normally there. I am assuming this is related to needing new shoes, so I figured I'd save that area from more pounding than necessary. The good news...I finally got around to ordering my shoes and I got a sweeeeetttt deal on roadrunnersports.com! If you use the code RM090510, you get 10% off your purchase. Plus, if you join their VIP club from $1.99, you get an additional 10% off and free shipping! My shoes are normally $124 at the local running stores and I paid less than $95.00 for them on-line. They'll be here on Monday, so I can't wait!!! It's almost like Christmas! :o)

So anyway, I wanted to utilize my Y membership once more before it ends on Saturday, so I headed to the Y during lunch for a quick 3-miler. The best part was being able to use the shiny, brand spanking new, Precor treadmills! You know, the ones with the cute little TV screens attached. Unfortunately, I didn't figure out how to use the cute little TV screen until I was 10 minutes from finishing my run. LOL! Oh well, it was a good run anyway - 3 miles at a 10:29 pace.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too slow for too long?



Hello internet people!

Just curious about your opinions on this....but first a little history for you:

I have been running since the summer of 2001. I began running because I had a "to do" list of things I wanted to accomplish before my 30th birthday. The goal was only to be able to run a 5k without stopping...little did I know that little goal would turn into an obsession. If you would have told me then that I would be running a marathon a little more than a year later, I would have told you that you were C-R-A-Z-Y!

By October of that same year, my friend Marlina talked me into training for Houston's very first 1/2 marathon. I decided to go for it! I ran that 1/2 marathon and was hooked. Later that year, I joined Houston Fit and trained for my 1st full marathon - the 2003 Houston Marathon. My friend Marlina and I were running buds. We didn't get to see each other during the week, so we could catch up on everything during our long runs. I was a "social runner"....I didn't realize it then though. We didn't care about our time all that much, we just wanted to have fun and finish. She had an injury and couldn't run Houston with me in 2003, but we ran NYC together that same year and Houston in 2004. After that my good friend stopped running. Well, I did too, but only because I got pregnant with my sweet Kiddo. I came back to Houston Fit in the summer of 2005 to train for Houston again. That's when I decided I didn't want to be slow anymore. I still enjoyed socializing during my runs, but I also went to the track and hill workouts and ran my arse off. Coming back from my pregnancy was one of the hardest training years ever for me. I made it back to my previous pace, but had an injury before getting much faster than that.

I ran 3 marathons in 2006 - Houston, Austin and Chicago, but then started grad school and knew right away that I did not have time for marathon training anymore. But, I did continue to run with the intent of doing 1/2 marathons. At the end of grad school, I got preggers again with my lil' Munckin. :-) Again, a loooonnnnggggg break from training. A little over a year ago, I returned to training. I was slower than ever last year. It was depressing.

And then came the triathlons! Triathlons ignited a spark in me that hadn't been there before. It's funny, because in running I've always been a mid to back-of-the-pack runner. But in triathlons, I was in the top 1/2 and top 1/3 of the group - and that was fun! (Of course, these were mostly smaller triathlons, so that makes a difference too.) I realized that if I could increase my mph on the bike a bit and get my running faster that I could rank even higher. Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for an AG win or anything, I am just competing with myself...that's what matters, right? So, this year I have been working harder and have decided to stop being such a pansy ass runner. I really do feel stronger.

So why am I bringing all this up? Well, I guess I want to know is this - is it too late to get faster? I've been slow all this time...I've read up on the whole slow twitch/fast twitch muscle fiber thing. I am just wondering if I've been working those stupid slow twitch muscles for this long, is there any hope for the fast twitch ones? Am I wasting my time trying to get faster, or will it eventually happen with more hard work?

What's your take on this?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheater

I'll admit it, I've been cheating.


Cheating on my Vanilla Bean Gu.

It has served me well for the past 7 years, but now there are so many newer, more tempting products out on the market, that I figured it was time for a little experimentation. In fact, I've been moving from one product to another for the past few months - trying them out, tossing them aside if I don't like them, then quickly moving on to another. User.

So here's the run down:


Jelly Belly Sport Beans





I tried these 1st....I mean, they're jelly beans! Who wouldn't like these? Yummy flavor, but the lemon lime jelly beans left a nasty residue on my teeth that seemed to last for days. And, I didn't notice much difference in my energy levels after consuming.


Cliff Bar Shot Bloks




Okay taste, but too gummy for me. I don't like the consistency - it makes them hard to chew and they stick to my teeth (I was trying to get them off my teeth for the remainder of my run). And, I think the blocks are a little too big in size. Again, I didn't notice much difference in my energy level. I do like the newer packaging - definitely makes them easier to carry!



Luna Moons - Watermelon and Pomegranate



I like the size of these - easier to pop in your mouth and chew. They taste yummy - I prefer the watermelon flavor over the pomegranate, but that's just me. I had 2 awesome runs with these, so I think they work!


Bee Stingers - Cherry Blossom & Fruit Smoothie



This was my overall favorite! The chews are a little on the large side, but the 2 flavors I've tried - cherry blossom and fruit smoothie - were super yummy! And, the consistency was good and easy to chew. I have had at least 3 great runs with these in various temps, so I know it wasn't just a fluke because we were having nice weather.


Gu Roctane - Blueberry Pomegranate




The consistency and flavor alone made me want to gag. I didn't notice any major difference in my energy level compared to regular Gu...although, I have several friends who swear by these! I'll pass thankyouverymuch!


Gu Chomps - Blueberry Pomegranate




For some reason the blueberry pomegranate flavor in the energy chews doesn't bother me as much in this form. I do really like these chews! I felt great before, during and after my run. My only complaint is that they are a little large.


Sharkies - Berry Flavor
These are cute and they taste great. At first. I noticed a bit of a yucky aftertaste after chewing them. And, I didn't get a "boost" of energy from them either.

I still have a few more new products to try - Hammer Gel, Perpetuem (energy drink from Hammer), Cytomax, etc. I am reluctant to try new gels, because it took me awhile to find my Vanilla Bean Gu...some of the other gels, like Chocolate Gu, are sooo much thicker and more difficult to choke down.

And, keep in mind that these are just my opinions on these products - there were some products I hated, but my running peep absolutely swears by! What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. In other words, take my opinions with a grain of salt and try some of these for yourself!

Monday, October 26, 2009

More of the week...

Thursday, 10/22 - Rest Day
I had lunch with a friends, so no lunchtime spin! And, I met up with my running peeps at Crush in The Woodlands for dinner and drinks, so no evening workout. I was a good girl and only had one glass of wine. An older gentleman gave us a hard time, because no one seemed to have more than one drink. We explained that as runners, many of us had a run to do the next morning. :-) Yeah, we're such party animals!!!

Friday, 10/23 - Neighborhood Run - 10 miles
I got a late start on my run, because I had to take the munchkin to the doctor. We've had a very difficult time getting rid of his ear infections, so this was a follow-up visit to see how he was doing. Good news - his ears are all clear! Hooray!

My run was a pretty good one. My overall pace was quite a bit slower than the 10 for Texas despite similar cool temps...makes we wonder if that pace was just a fluke. Then again, this was just a training run! But, it was a good run and I felt strong through the 1st 8+ miles. My average pace was 10:48...not bad, but a little too close to the 11 minute miles I am trying so desperately to stay away from!

Afterwards, I cleaned the house and did the grocery shopping, so it was anything but relaxing. But, it's good to get all that stuff done while the hubby and kids are not home!

Saturday, 10/24 - scheduled rest day
No workouts...unless you count chasing kids around the backyard and local playground a workout. The weather was soooo perfect that we just had to stay outside! And, we headed over to the neighborhood clubhouse for an outdoor movie night. Fun times!

Sunday, 10/25 - neighborhood run, 4 miles
I was planning to meet up with the running club for a run, but that didn't quite work out. As I was running, I heard footsteps coming up behind me - it was the running group coach. We talked a bit about training and decided that I would continue doing my long runs on Fridays, but meet with the group on Sundays and just run part of the run with them as a shorter weekday run with me. I forgot to charge my Garmin, so I don't know my final pace - before it died I was averaging a 10:40 pace, but I know I sped up in that final 1/2 mile so who knows!

Monday, 10/26 - no workout!
Normally, this would be a treadmill-run-during-lunch-day. However, I had a meeting that went through lunchtime and tonight I am going to see the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour. Woohoo! So, tomorrow I may have to make it up by going to spin and running! :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Workouts this week (so far)

Monday, 10/19 - Treadmill Run
I went to the Y during my lunch break for a treadmill run. My schedule called for 60 minutes, or ~6 miles. Unfortunately, since it's lunchtime, the most I can manage to fit in at my pace is 5 miles...and even that makes me a bit late coming back from lunch. Fortunately, I work for a pretty flexible company and can make up the time by coming in early/staying late, etc. Of course, I don't want to take advantage, so 5 miles it was!

Mile 1 - warm-up - 10:45 pace
Mile 2 - 10:30 pace
Mile 3 - 10:20 pace
Mile 4 - 10:10 pace
Mile 5 - cool down - 10:50 pace

Tuesday, 10/20 - Lunchtime Spin Class
This week our class was held indoors. Still, it was a great time. It always is! Our instructor, Richard, had us riding from Houston to New Mexico...he narrated the entire ride and gave us updates on the locations and different landmarks. Good times!

Wednesday, 10/21 - Treadmill Run
Even though I haven't been running with the neighborhood run group, I have been following the recommended schedule that comes from the group's coach. Here's what was on tap for today:

5 minutes easy, 30 seconds hard
5 minutes easy, 1 minute hard
5 minutes easy, 1.5 minutes hard
5 minutes easy, 2 minutes hard
5 minutes easy, 1.5 minutes hard
5 minutes easy, 1 minute hard
5 minutes easy, 30 seconds hard
5 minutes easy, 15 seconds sprinting

The result? 4.66 miles in 48 minutes....a 10:18 pace! I enjoyed this workout. Even though it was only a little over 7 minutes at a "hard" pace, it was fun and challenging and I sweated my butt off! At least I remembered to bring my towel...I don't like to sweat all over the equipment if I can help it. :-) Oh, and I a LOVING my lunchtime workouts! Too bad my Y membership is ending at the end of the month. Bummer.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ten for Texas Race Report

Let me just say that I was a bit nervous about this race. I started feeling a pesky sore throat coming on by Thursday, so I was afraid I’d get the normal progression – sneezing by Friday, stuffy nose by Saturday. I decided to just ignore the sore throat and hope for the best! Fortunately, by Saturday I only had the pesky sore throat and nothing more. I did register for the race at packet pick-up and got this cool swag:


Okay, so the shirts are not as cute as last year...grey is not really my color. But, it's another new shirt, so no complaints from me!

I arrived at the race around 6:40 and met up with my running peeps. It’s been a long time, since I’ve run with anyone, so it would be great to at least start the race with friends. We headed to HEB for to use the bathrooms and then got to the start line with a few minutes to spare. We heard the anthem and then the gun. We were off! We started out the race at about a 10:08 pace and kept it there the first couple of miles. I was running with my former Woodlands Fit friends, Kelly and Katie. They’ve both been working really hard this year with a new running group, Strides, and doing lots of speedwork. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. I knew for sure that I would not be able to hold a 10-minute pace for 10 miles. But, we all seemed to get into a nice groove at a 10:30 pace and kept it there for pretty much the entire run. By mile 2, I was already sweaty…it may have been 60 degrees at the start, but it was humid as heck!


Me (on the left) with running peeps Kelly and Katie. They're so much fun to run with!

I did question my ability to maintain a 10:30 pace for 10 miles. A year ago, I would have been content with an 11-minute or maybe even an 11:15 pace for 10 miles.

That was then.

This year, I have been pushing myself on all my runs. I’ve grown tired of being complacent and just getting the runs done. I think the Tri training has helped a ton with me getting more fit and stronger than last year, too. Tri training has also made me want to push myself harder. I’ll admit, there were a couple of times that I thought to myself, “Just keep this pace until mile 5” and then you can slow it down. But then, I reached mile 5 and thought, “Damn, I’m halfway there…and I feel good!”. Next thing I know, we were headed back towards the start and at mile 6. Our pace stayed between a 10:30 pace and 10:31 pace the entire time. The miles seemed to pass pretty quickly – mile 7, mile 8….At that point, I really felt great. Up until around mile 8, the three of us stayed together. And, we were super excited about our pace. We only walked through 2 water stops and even then, it was a short walk break. Around mile 8.5, Katie took off – she was having an awesome run! I wanted to pick up the pace, and I did just a bit, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Katie. Before I knew it, I was heading back into the Market Street parking lot and could see the finish line. I reached the finish at 1:45:10 (per my Garmin) – an average pace of 10:28!

Yay me! And yay for Katie, who finished before me and Kelly who was right behind me!

I am extremely proud of all three of us, because:

1) We’ve gone from 5/1s to running straight through. I’ve been doing 5/1s since 2002 when I trained for my 1st marathon….you know the saying “old habits die hard”, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!

2) We’ve really picked up the pace! Seriously, I’ve never run a 10-mile race, but I know on my training runs, I’ve never run a 10:30 pace. In the heat of the summer, I was happy to run 10 miles in less than 2 hours…maybe 1:50 on a cooler day. We’ve come a long way baby! And, it felt great…not that I could have run any faster, but it didn’t feel that difficult.

3) For me, not whimping out at the end was a big deal. I was the girl who got to the bridge and said "SCREW IT" and walked up. I was the girl who reached mile 12 and said "SCREW IT" and took an extra walk break...notice I said "was" - not this time! Nope, I got up that little overpass and said "SCREW YOU" instead and didn't stop till I reached the finish line. No more of that crap.

I will be honest here too - the nice cool temps were helpful…I KNOW I would not maintain this pace if it had been 80 degrees! And, having my friends there next to me helped a great deal too. I may have taken an extra walk break (or three), or slowed down a bit if they had not been there. That’s what I am worried about the most, as we get closer to the Houston ½ Marathon in January…Katie and Kelly are doing the full. What happens if I don’t get to run with them? Will I be able to maintain a 10:30 (or better) if I don’t have them there to keep me going? I think the next couple of months of training alone will be interesting. I have to work hard not to let myself slip in to “Slacker Christy Mode”. When you’re running alone, the only on there to hold you accountable is YOU. I want to run Houston no slower than a 10:30 pace and I think this run helped me realize that I can do it.


I think I am up for the challenge.