Friday, December 31, 2010

Margaritas and Miles

The kids are on break from their activities, the Hubby is on break from his martial arts classes and work has been slower than usual with everyone on vacation this week...bring on happy hour / dinner time with my running BFFs! Or should I say 'rita time?

As always, it was a fun time. Yes, any workouts earlier in the day were completely wasted...I had some chips (not too many), one taco al carbon in a corn tortilla (still being good) and a thousand calories worth of frozen margaritas (yes, that would be 2 drinks). But it's not about the drinks and food, it was all about the girl time. Yes, we talked about running. A lot. We talked about work and our families. Then, we talked about running. For hours. And triathlons too. And running. Here's a pick of the whole gang...they're the bestest (hope Kelly doesn't mind me borrowing this).

And here's one of me...apparently I am flipping someone off and didn't realize it! :-)

I set my alarm clock for 4:00 am as usual. Naturally, as soon as I hit the snooze button I realized that I did not need to get up at 4 am...1) the Hubby would be home today with the kids so I didn't need to get them dressed and to the daycare, 2) the traffic on my commute would be non-existent since it's NYE so I would make it downtown in record time and 3) mass transit was closed today so I'd be driving - this is much faster than the bus since I don't have to stop multiple times to drop people off. I ended up rolling out of bed at 6 am, ran the scheduled 2 miles (9:53 pace), and still made it to work in time (well, almost). Oh and I stopped at the suburban Starbucks, since the one downtown near my office will be CLOSED. Seriously?

I do intend to do P90X this afternoon when I get home from work and that will be the final workout of 2010. Best wishes for an awesome 2011 - BRING IT!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You spin me right 'round baby...

My schedule is out of whack a bit since I've decided to move my long run to Sunday. I did the P90X stretch workout on Wednesday morning, but that didn't feel like a "real" workout, so I ended up going to another spin class at lunch.

I did several months of spin in 2009 when I was preparing for my 1st triathlon. Never during that time, did the instructor work hand weights into the routine. You can imagine my surprise when the instructor at yesterday's class told us to get 2 hand weights - one slightly heavier than the other. The spin class focused mainly on spin - break aways, hill climbs and jumps - but, for a portion of the class we used the weights while we pedaled. We worked out our shoulders, lats, biceps and triceps and during our cool down we did about 8 push-ups. Overall, it was a good workout...the music, not my favorite. Rob Thomas? I can do without Rob Thomas.

This morning, I headed out in the wee early hours to run. I had 5 easy miles on the schedule (a break from the speedwork, since I ran 13 over the weekend). In all honestly, I didn't want to get out of bed. This was my internal conversation:

"Just do 3 miles."
"Three easy, peasy miles and then come home."

I also remembered that it was an easy run day, so I told myself:

"Just take it easy, run at a comfortable pace. Five miles is no big deal"

I did manage to get out of bed, get dressed and go outside...but still did not want to run. But I did. The weather pretty much sucked - 65 degrees and 1000% humidity. It was even foggy enough to make the neighborhood look a little spooky.

Once I got going:
"Okay, let's go 4 miles. Four miles and you're done."

Then I made it to 3 miles:
"WTH, just HTFU, do your damn 5 miles and get it the hell over with!"

grumble. grumble.

Hopefully, I am not the only weirdo who not only talks to themselves, but also bargains. :-) My run was done at a very comfortable 10:29 pace and I was pleased with myself for not wimping out.

Tomorrow will be a quickie 2-miler followed by some chest and back exercises! Have a very happy new year's safe!

Happy running, biking and swimming!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spin, Spin and more Spin

Tuesday may just become my official spin day...depending on my work schedule of course. The past 2 weeks have been fairly slow with so many people at work out on vacation, so it's been easy to sneak out for spin class during my lunch break.

Yesterday's spin class was tough - lots of jumps, hills and intervals. I think it may take me a few more classes to really get used to spinning again, because I was sweating like crazy and my legs felt like jello. Good stuff!

Today would normally be my run day, but my left quad has been sore for a couple of weeks so I decided to give it one more day of rest. I'll do today's 5-miler tomorrow. I'm also pushing back my long run to Sunday, so that the hubby and I can actually run together...that means I may sneak in a quickie 2-3 miler on Friday and ride my bike on Saturday (depending on how the NYE festivities go).

One of my many goals for the 2011 is to stretch more. I am notoriously bad about stretching before and after my runs. I may stretch a bit after a really long, tiring run, but I rarely stretch after my shorter, weekday runs. I plan to incorporate either the P90X Yoga or X Stretch video into my weekly workout routine. Who knows, maybe it will help this stupid sore quad issue too! In fact, I decided to start working on this goal a little early and did the X Stretch video this morning. My problem with this? It didn't feel like a "real" workout, so I brought my workout clothes to work with me and intend to do some kind of cardio today during lunch.

More about the 2011 goals later. Until then, happy running/biking/swimming!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lazy Day

After the craziness leading up to Christmas and then Christmas Day, Sunday was declared by me to be Pajama Day (aka be LAZY day)! It was cold outside and the family had no plans, so we were not leaving the house. We had been so busy the past couple of days, that the kids never really had a chance to play with their new toys and we had not had time for any peace and quiet. It was just what we needed – we slept in (okay, so 7 am in sleeping in for us), we had a nice big breakfast, the kids played, the hubby watched football, we watched Polar Express (for the 187th time) and we had leftovers for lunch. All in all, it was a nice change of pace. And yes, I have some very non sexy pink flannel PJs with garden gnomes on them and added my thick green Santa socks to complete the look.

Of course, being the type of person who can’t sit still for too long, I did go out for an hour long bike ride around the neighborhood. (My friends doubted my ability to be lazy all day and they were right!) The temps had warmed up into the high 40’s, so it was still cool and it was a bit breezy – the combination of the two made for a somewhat slow pace. I got in just over 15 miles. For the most part, I was pretty warm the entire time….except for my toes. My toes were so cold that they hurt! It took them awhile to get back to the normal, non-numb feeling. The hubby also had to get out for his long run – he’s up to 8 miles (go Hubby go)! After showers, we went back to pajama-day mode again. :-) Awesomeness!

On Monday, it was back to the grind – running, work and getting the kids to daycare. It also happened to be the coldest day of the winter so far – a chilly 27 degrees at 5 am! I know some of you folks on the East Coast are scoffing at my reference to “cold” weather, but for us Southerners, this IS cold! I got out my running tights (instead of my capris), layered a short sleeve tech shirt with a long sleeve top over it and added some gloves…that was pretty much perfect. Usually, cold weather makes me want to run much faster than my usual pace, but this time I was having some issues – maybe it was all the holiday food, or maybe it was just too damn cold – but I stayed around a 10:20 pace for the 1st 3 miles and finished with a 10:16 pace overall. Even after a warm shower, it took me awhile to really get warm. Naturally today, we’re starting the day with temps in the 50s….Texas! Like I said yesterday, the weather is bi-polar here.

Today, it’s spin class during lunch since I didn’t wake up in time for P90X am so motivated like that.

Happy running / biking / swimming!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday time!

Christmas Eve started off our celebration. First was Christmas Eve service at Church. The kiddo was super cute in the children's choir and was so excited to play the bells this year. The Munchkin made it very clear that he didn't want anything to do with the Christmas singing, so I ended up watching from the Narthex while he ran around like a heathen. Ah, two year olds! Next, we headed to my Sister-in-Law's house to exchange gifts and pig out and drink wine eat dinner. We had a great time watching the kiddos open gifts...and a BIG thanks to my teenage, drum playing nephew, Ant, for buying the Munchkin a DRUM SET. My neighbors thank you too.

And, I survived the big Christmas craziness celebration at my house. It was a crazy, hectic day, but still a lot of fun. People starting arriving around 1:00 pm and it never slowed down. As hostess, I hardly got to really visit with anyone...just a "Hi, thanks for coming - you can put your coat here" or a "let me take that side dish" and "another glas of wine please!" or "the drinks are on the patio" or "here's a spoon for that". There were around 35 people, plus 3 dogs. Whew, what a day!

As for Santa, he was good to me this year....

I scored a Nook from the Hubby...which will be sooo much easier to tote on the bus! I didn't ask Santa for the color one. Seriously people, I'm reading books. The non-illustrated kind.

I also scored this cute triathlon necklace. Yep, that Hubster is awesome! (If you like it, check out

The kiddos bought me several pairs of my favorite running socks....

And, they also bought me a cover for the Nook! They're awesome too, I think I'll keep'em!

And big thanks to my parents for the great gift card, my in-laws for the great watch and sunglasses, and my sister-in-law and her family for the cute sweater, scarf and jewelry set. Also, thanks to my boss (a fellow runner) - she bought each person in our department a $50 Sports Authority gift card. (I think I was the only one who let out a little happy gasp when I opened the card!) Yep, it was a good year!

We had a great time watching the kiddos open their gifts too. Playing Santa was definitely the highlight of Christmas. I will never forget hearing the Kiddo gasp with excitement when she saw that Santa had eaten most of his cookies and drank almost all of his milk, lol! It was so cute!

So what was your favorite part of Christmas this year?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wednesday "Speedwork" and a long run...

Texas weather. It's December - one day you're wearing flip flops and shorts and the a/c is on, the next you're wearing sweaters and the fireplace is going. So bi-polar, but so typical.

Wednesday is my designated speedwork/tempo run day (it alternates each week). This week was supposed to be 8 miles - 1 mile warm up, 6 miles of 800s @ 9:15 w/400 rest, 1 mile cool down. As always on my speedwork day it was the flip flop hot weather. Why? Why is it always warm on my speedwork day???? So, it wasn't HOT, but 69 degrees with 90% humidity in December is warm in my book. I hit my goal pace on my 1st 3 800s, but it was hard for me...after that, it was all crap. I slowed way down. My final pace was slow - I was at my long run pace from Sat - 10:16. Ugh.

Since Saturday was Christmas Day, and we were playing host to about 40 family members, I decided to get my long run out of the way on Friday. Plus with Santa visiting, I knew the kids would be up before I could manage a long run. :-)

I slept in until almost 6 am and then set out for my run. Originally, I had a 14-miler on the schedule. However, I've had lots of nagging aches and pains all week, so I decided to cut the run down to a 10-miler. I also decided to give my body a break by slowing the pace way down. A cool front from the day before had made the temps much more bearable (high 40's), so it felt great to be out. I kept my pace around 10:40 for most of the run...just taking it easy. When I made it to mile 8, I was feeling great and knew 10 would be no problem. By mile 9.5, I decided that I wasn't ready to stop. I ran to my house to fill up my hand-held water bottle and headed back out for a 3-mile loop. My total run was 13.15, which took me 2:19 (a 10:36 pace)...funny because that was my finish time in January at the 1/2 marathon. This run made me feel a little better about my crappy run on Wednesday.

Only 5 weeks 'til the Aramco 1/2 Marathon...hard to believe it's almost here! I am actually more excited about the Austin 1/2 in February, because it will be the 1st time the Hubby and I will be running together.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and Santa brought you everything you wanted!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a Love/Hate thing...

with spin that is!

Last year during tri season, I didn't go to any spin classes at all. My bike times didn't improve, but fortunately, they didn't get any slower. This year I've decided that I need to add spin back into my training schedule, along with some time on the trainer. Lucky for me, my company has a gym on-site that is totally and completely free! Not only that, they offer all kinds of classes - Zumba, Karate, Pilates (mat), Body Sculpt and some others. Oh, and they offer SPIN! Not just that, they offer it 4x per week. The classes are usually pretty early, but today the class was a 12:15 pm - perfect to fit in between meetings!

I completely forgot how hard spin class could be. Going back for the 1st time in a year was tough. I miss going to my old classes at the Y, mainly because the instructor was so much fun and had music that rocked. The instructor today was good - she definitely made it challenging. When I spend an hour in a spin class, I want it to be a good workout. No, I want it to be a tough workout (i.e. hand me my ass on a platter, please). This class did the trick! The music was just okay - well, except for that Muse song. :-) I think I might try a couple of the other instructors too, just to see which ones I like best.

I also completely forgot how much I HATE spin class. But I love it too. I hate that I sweat like a pig. I hate that my legs feel like jello. But I love that I feel like I had a great workout. I love burning 400+ calories on my lunch break. Like I said, it's a love/hate thing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us. For most, the holidays mean holiday parties, lots of over indulging and gaining an extra 5 lbs. For those of us training for a January race, it means excusing ourselves early from the holiday parties and not over indulging...after all, we have a long run the next day and we want to avoid putting on that 5 lbs!

Last year, I had a lofty weight loss goal for the months of November and December. Lighter = Faster, I thought. I actually did lose weight during the holidays! This year, my goal isn't quite as ambitious - I just want to maintain during the holidays. No weight gain! Of course, the ever increasing mileage is certainly helping with that.

This past week was a tough one. The hubby was out of town, which meant no 4 am morning runs. And since the treadmill is officially dead, that meant no runs after the kiddos were in bed. I did manage to get in 4 miles on Monday morning before the hubby left town. But the lunchtime runs I was hoping for never happened. Well, except for a mediocre 2-miler I squeezed in between meetings one day. I also did one day of P90X and one day with Ab Ripper X.

Fortunately, the hubby was back in time for me to run my long run on Saturday. 12-miles. My last 12-miler was a few weeks ago...the day after one of those holiday parties. For that run, I was really proud of myself - I managed a 10:23 pace for the distance, which is faster than my January 1/2 marathon "race" pace of 10:34. And, that pace felt fan-freaking-tastic. So maybe that speed work is actually working? Hmmmm, imagine that! This week, my pace hovered around10:20. I wanted a negative split, so at mile 7 I picked up the pace a tiny bit. My final pace was 10:16....however, I will say that the last two miles were rough. I felt great until I hit mile 10 - that's when my legs were done. Bonk. Toast. I even took a short walk break at mile 10. Miles 11 and 12 were done at 9:59 and 10:22 respectively...not terrible, but I can usually really pick up the pace in my final few miles. That was just not the case on this run.

I'm not sure what might have happened. Maybe a 10:20-something pace is all my legs can take right now. I hope not. Maybe I should have planned my nutrition better - I only had gel one at mile 6 and about 16 oz of Gatorade. The temps were perfect (high 30s), so that wasn't it. My nutrition all week had been right on target, so that wasn't it either. I didn't eat a real dinner the night before, but that's not unusual.

What I do know is that my quads were super sore for the rest of the day. What I know is that the 1st 9 miles of that run felt great. What I also know is that if the temps are nice and cool, the planets align, and the running gods are smiling down on me on race day....I might just have a nice little PR in January. What I do know is that I would love that! Maybe eventually I won't feel like such a slow runner...heck middle of the pack is better than back of the pack, so I'll take it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Still here...

I'm still here.

Tri season is over, but I am still running and biking! Running about 3x per week, biking once a week on the weekends and doing P90X for strength training 2x per week. All in the wee hours of the morning (read: 4:00 am!). Well, except for the bike riding - I only do that during the daylight hours. I have been diligent about sticking to my training schedule and doing my speedwork and tempo runs like a good girl, and I've been pleased with the results. Two years ago, my average long run pace was an 11:30+ minute mile. Last year, I got that down to about 10:45 - 11:00. So far this year, it's been around 10:15-10:30. My shorter tempo runs up to about 7 miles have been a sub-10 minute pace, so I'm pleased as punch about that.

What can I say? Life is busy - I'm back to working full-time...this time last year, I was working a reduced work schedule, and later laid off. Being back full-time took some getting used to, but it's working well. The Kiddo just finished up the fall season of soccer and is still taking dance and gymnastics. The Munchkin just finished his first session of Soccer Tots, which was fun but a bit trying because he'd only cooperate if I was participating with him (and not the Hubby). The hubby is still doing martial arts 2 evenings per week and he decided to train for his 1st 1/2 marathon! I am super proud of the Hubster, because he's been consistent with his training and doing great! He selected Austin as his first....not necessarily the easiest course for a 1st timer. I am planning to run it with him...hopefully I can keep up!

The only area I don't feel I am doing as well in is my eating. Ugh, I am a stress eater and food addict. So, being super busy has not helped with the stress level, which in turn, has not helped with the stress eating. I've really been working on it though...only 8 weeks until the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon and I don't want any extra pounds on me to slow me down!

I am trying to decide if I want to commit to doing the Lone Star IM 70.3 in April. I REALLY, REALLY want to do it, but I feel stretched thin already and can barely stay on top of everything. Plus, our busiest time at work coincides with what I think will be the hardest training weeks (Feb/April). More to come on that decision....

Well, back to being busy! I'll be back again soon (I hope)!