Sunday, February 27, 2011

Road Trip

This past weekend I had to travel to Louisiana for work. Yes, I said weekend. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes it difficult to train for that 70.3 coming up in April. Not complaining, just stating the pays for triathlons and all the stuff that comes with them, so it's definitely higher on the priority list. ;-)

We were at the LSU campus to be exact. I didn't get in a workout on Friday due to working late on Thursday and then packing until 11:30 pm...getting up at 4:30 am the next morning didn't sound appealing. And, we had a reception on the campus to attend that evening. Next was dinner and before I knew it, it was 11:30 pm. Whew, what a day! Saturday was a somewhat busy day of interviews, but I had some free time in the afternoon. I had planned on riding the stationary bike in the hotel fitness center for a couple of hours. Not exciting, but I'd be getting that workout done.

Guess what?

There was no stationary bike at the hotel fitness room!

Scratch that. I did some weights and then headed out to do some shopping instead. (Does that count as a workout?)

On Sunday I didn't have anywhere to be until 11 am, so I headed out for a run around the lakes. A lap around both of the lakes near campus was almost exactly 6 miles. It was hot, humid and windy, but I got'er done. (1:02 and some change, ~10:22 pace) Oh, and I seemed to choose the direction that had the uphill portions with no downhill! Weird.

Here's a view of the pretty was nice to have something scenic to look for a change. Not that looking at houses in my neighborhood isn't scenic....

I also spotted this tiger on my route...I am still a little bitter about A&M's loss to LSU in the Cotton Bowl last year, so I wasn't sure I wanted to post this.

So that was my weekend. I have to head out of town again this week for 2 days of training. This time I called ahead to make sure there was a stationary bike in the fitness center...otherwise, I'd be bringing my bike and trainer to the hotel. I'm still trying to figure out when I will get back to the pool for some laps...hopefully, I can squeeze in an hour or two this weekend along with a nice, long bike ride!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Austin 1/2 Marathon - Race Report

Austin, TX...also known as ATX....where it's cool to be weird. :-) There's even a slogan, "Keep Austin Weird", that you see on t-shirts and bumper stickers.

We left Houston on Friday right after work and headed to the in-law's house in San Marcos. We dumped off the kids had a chance to visit before heading to ATX around noon on Saturday.

Our first stop was the Expo. I had forgotten that the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon was now sponsored by Livestrong. Kinda easy to remember when you see this plastered all over the place:

I have to admit that the Expo is one of my favorite parts of marathon weekend. I love checking out the vendors and shopping! I loved this shirt...we have little joke in my group of running peeps about being a badass, so naturally I sent this pic to the gang:

I ended up not buying it. Instead, the hubby and I were suckered into buying these:

Yes, you've seen them on TV. They're supposed to do amazing things for your balance, recovery, etc. Yeah, and I have some lakefront property in the Sahara....but the hubby convinced to to give it a try. Suckers. I also bought a couple of these cute headbands (thanks to June for the review on her blog!).

This is the swag from the, love, love the computer bag! And, we also received a special SPI belt in honor of the race's 20th anniversary.

After the Expo, we checked into the hotel. Here's the view from our room...we could see the Capitol building, as well as the clock tower at the University of Texas (which we Aggies call t.u.).

Here are a couple of other pics from downtown Austin....

Next, we headed out to meet my awesome cousin and her husband for an early dinner. They moved to ATX a few years ago and scoped out some restuarants in an area of Austin on South Congress, also known as SoCo. Dinner was yummy!

After dinner, we headed for paradise...also known as "Hey Cupcake!", where I bought a cupcake for the post-race celebration the next day.

Here we are in front of the cupcake trailer. Apparently there's a trend in Austin that I didn't know about...they take an empty lot in a trendy area and line up a bunch of trailers and trucks (think ice cream truck type trucks) that sell food. So, what we call a "roach coach" in Houston is trendy and cool in Austin. See what I mean about weird? :-) They sell everything from Sushi to shaved ice to cupcakes. We saw a couple of other lots like this along the race route the next day.

After cupcakes, we headed back to the hotel, set out of our clothing/gear for the race and called it a day.

It was great staying in the hotel that was only a few blocks from the start line, because it meant we could sleep in a little! Here's the hubby before the race...he doesn't look nervous at all.

We headed over to the race start, which was right next to the about an awesome sight!

It was warm - close to 70 degrees. And humid as heck. Oh, and windy too! You can see the flag on the capitol (on the right-hand side of the pic above) and it's standing straight out. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I hate warm temps and humidity. Perfect race conditions for me are closer to 40 degrees...but, I tried not to complain. Afterall, this was the Hubby's 1st race and I was there for support. Here's a really lousy pic of the two of us (darn camera phone!)

And one of the Hubby warming up...

We lined up with a pace group and waited for the race to start. Finally, we heard the National Anthem and the crowd got quiet. After about 15 minutes, we started to move forward and cross the start line. Little did I know, the race route was going to be pretty crowded the entire race.

We were almost instantly greeted by an incline. I'm not gonna lie, it sucked. The 1st few miles were all hills. By mile 3, we both agreed that we would more than likely not hit our goal pace. We had done no hill training. None. Hills on a cold day would have been bearable. We would have groaned here and there, but we'd suck it up. Hills combined with warming temps, humidity and a bit of wind and we were losing some of our umph with each mile. But, I have to give the Hubby props - he handled the hills like a champ. I wanted to walk up a few of them, but he kept running and that made me keep running, too. He's been reading Chi Running, so he used some of the concepts in the book on the hills and it seemed to help. Around mile 3, I told myself that doing this 3 weeks after Houston was just plain STUPID.

Luckily, miles 4-8 were pretty flat. We seemed to pick up the pace a bit and make up for some of the lost time. Then, we hit some hills again. I started to think about how much I didn't want to do this and wondered how bad I'd feel with a DNF. I decided that I couldn't handle a DNF and kept trucking along. I also questioned whether or not I really wanted to do NYC in November. I'm still pondering that one.

Around mile 9, I started getting grumpy...honestly, I'm surprised it took me that long. :-) I starting walking up one of the hills. I tried to start running again before the Hubby noticed, but I got caught. Busted! I told the Hubby to go on, but he stopped and walked too. Later he admitted that he really wanted to walk, but didn't want to be the first one to stop running. By mile 10 we were happy to only have a 5k left. The worst hill came at the end of mile 11. It was the kind of hill that makes you want to punch the race director in the face and yell, "WHAT IN THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING????"

There was one more hill at the end, but by that point we didn't care. We started seeing the signs stating "800 meters", "400 meters", "200 meters" and sped up. Hallelujah, we were almost there!!! Finally, we could see the freaking finish. The hubby grabbed my hand and threw it in the air. Yes, we were one of those cheesy couples holding hands at the end of a race. It was great. ;-)

We got our medals, grabbed a little food and headed through the crowd to claim our finisher's shirts. We could hear the announcements about Desiree Ficker winning the women's race and Lance Armstrong competing in the half (it's his race afterall...). Exciting stuff! Here's a pic of the Hubby after the race...I am so stinkin' proud of him!

The shirts were cute (although the women's seems a little short) and the medals were great as usual.

After showering, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to the in-law's house where I enjoyed my cupcake. It looked prettier, but got a little banged up during the transport to the hotel and San Marcos...I promise, it was AWESOME!

After visiting with the family for a few hours, it was time to head back to H-town. We had originally planned to stay another night, but the Kiddo's holiday at school ended up being a make-up day for our "snow day" a few weeks ago. Can you tell the kiddo's had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa? They were tired!

All in all, it was a great weekend and a great race. I'll give you some of my post-race thoughts about the race next time.

Peace out!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We Survived!

Austin 1/2 Marathon...

We came, we ran, we conquered!

More details later, but I will say - HILLS SUCK!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just keep swimmin'.....

I love Nemo...and my kids do, too! Now, if I could only swim like a fish...

Last night, I left work at 5 pm on the dot. I wanted to make it to the Kiddo's gymnastics class (because I rarely ever get to go) and the Hubby wanted to leave gymnastics class so he could get in one final run before the Austin 1/2 marathon this weekend. But, that also meant that my swim was going to be late. No biggie.

I made it to the pool a little after 8 pm and was surprised to see a few folks in the pool...I usually have the place to myself when I get there earlier. I had "splashers" on both sides of me. Splashers is the name I've given to the folks who are there to get in some exercise, but swim like I did 2 years ago - you know, freestyling with the head above water, making all kinds of splashes with both the arms and legs. Yes, that was me just 2 short years ago...I'd like to think I've made some progress. I figured if nothing else, this will get me used to having people splashing around me at a tri. :-) I started with 100 warm-up, then did some ladders - 100, 30 sec rest, 200 30 sec rest, etc. - I didn't swim as long as I did Monday - only 45 minutes and 1,700. As I was finishing my workout, a few high school kids came in.

Definitely swim team.

It's humbling to get lapped over and over by a bunch of 14 year olds. Just when you think you're making progress.... :0)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I guess most of you have heard about this....

Yeah, well Boston was never on my list of goals anyway. As you know, I am a um, eh, slow runner. Not that I couldn't work really hard over the next several years to get faster. In fact, I am working on it (with the limited time that I have). But, let's be honest here....I am not interested in working that hard to qualify for one little race. I'm doing really good to keep my head above water as it is and I'd much rather focus on something Lone Star! :-)

(Yes, I know funner is not a word...)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snoozing, Cows and Waffles

No, not snoozing cows eating waffles....I'll explain...

First off, I swam last night after work. Here's the deal - with all our activities, my schedule only allows me to swim on Tuesday and Thursday nights. But, the gym I belong to (it's the cheapest and closest) has "Aquafit" from 6 - 7 pm, which means that I can't swim until 7 pm. If I start swimming at 7 pm, I don't get home in time to hang out with the kiddos before bedtime. If I wait until after bedtime, I will be at the gym until almost 10 pm. Sucks either way, right? Last night, I worked a little late, which meant that by the time I could get to the gym it was 7 pm...I went and I swam. 2,350 to be exact. My longest swim to date (*I think*). And it felt good. But, it was BORING! Even with drills, it was just boring.

What does this have to do with snoozing? Well, swimming makes me tired. And, when my alarm clock went off at 4 am, I pushed the snooze button 3 times. 3 TIMES PEOPLE!!! That meant that my scheduled 5-miler had to become a 3.5-miler. Bummer.

But, it was a pretty good 3.5-miler. Why? Because I got to see the infamous neighborhood cows! They are known for leaving their care packages on the sidewalks, on the street and sometimes on your driveway. I have seen them once, but it was on a foggy morning and I almost thought it was some strange mirage or just my imagination. A neighbor who was also jogging that particular morning even mentioned them as our paths crossed, so I knew I had really seen them. But still.

But today, there was no fog and I was pretty darn close...three of them crossed the street in front of me. A car went by right after they passed and then two more crossed the street. They were huge. And cute. I don't know why I get so excited about these cows, but I do. :-)

And finally - the waffles. I know I said I had made the decision to do the HIM in April, but I am seriously waffling. Is that a word? Anyway, I want to do it. It is my all-time triathlon goal (because I have no desire whatsoever to do a full IM)....but then the reality hits:

1) It is expensive...I have already purchased bike shoes and a wetsuit, but there's still the new bike seat, aerobars, aerobottle, bike-fitting, hotel costs, yada yada, etc. We're planning to surprise the kids with a trip to Disney in April (and hopefully catch the shuttle launch). Disney is not cheap, especially when we want to do it right for the kid's 1st time. Then there's the Munchkin's birthday in May - parties are not cheap either. Then there's this trip to NYC in November for some little race ;-). The Hubby and I haven't had a trip together in awhile, so we're making that into a a mini-vacay. NYC is not cheap. Especially on a huge race weekend.

2) It is time-consuming...we're in our busier season at work, but that's about to end. Regardless, I feel as though I only have an hour to 1 1/2 hours with the kids in the evening as it is. Weekends is when we have our quality time. Sunday I was gone 1/2 the day riding my bike...and it only gets worse from here. On the other hand, it's less than two months before the race...after that, it's back to sprints. Sprints = less time training + more time with the family.

3) Training...I have been riding my bike since last tri season, but never more than about 25 miles. The 40-miler was rough, but I survived. And, I definitely have the run nailed down - I did the Houston 1/2 less than three weeks ago and I'm running the Austin 1/2 this weekend. Which is also a bad thing - you should have an easier workout week the week before each race and will probably need a bit of recovery time after...that cuts into critical training time. Also, I have neglected the swim and just started back on a regular basis last week. And - this is the big one - I have 7 weeks left to train.....AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE A TRAINING SCHEDULE YET. I just printed the one from If I am going to do this, I feel that I need to do it right. I need dedication to a schedule, I need a swim coach, I need UNLIMITED FUNDS. :-) Or maybe that's just my type A coming out.

So here I am. On the fence. Waffling. Debating. Pondering. Contemplating. Deciding.

Decisions, decisions...maybe I'll find an Oly to do instead. But then, the swim in the Oly is only 400m less than the swim in the HIM. Might as well do the HIM, right. See? This is what is going through my head non-stop.

Okay, now I want to eat waffles!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Catching Up (with pics this time!)

So, my last post was a quick summary of what I've been up to. Now, here it is in pictures...

As you might know, it's been freaking cold here. Let me clarify: that is cold as in S. TX cold...I know you guys to the north of us think we're pansies and that's okay. But, it has been FREEZING! We even had a "snow day", which ended up being nothing more than a bunch of ice. But, I did get to work from in on the sofa, in front of this:

This is about the time the Hubby introduced me to this product, which he refers to as "coffee crack" and it's great for these FREEZING temps:

The nice thing about FREEZING temps, is that we have plenty of time and zero excuses to work on school projects. This little doozy is the Kiddo's island...yes, that Amazon stick figure to the right is supposed to be me. :-)

And when the projects are done and it's still FREEZING, we just play...I think we need some more cars and trains, don't you?

And when the kids are bored from all the projects and playing and it's STILL FREEZING, they tend to get creative. Sitting in a plastic box is oh so fun and entertaining for a 6 year old....I told you we needed more cars!

I did run the Houston 1/2...naturally, it was the one weekend that it was not FREEZING. Yes, I am still a little bitter about the warm temps and rain. But good swag can usually make up for it.

Oh and cupcakes! Cupcakes make up for a lot too (even when it's FREEZING) . In fact, I am sure we would have world peace if every meeting of world leaders started and ended with one of these...

When it's FREEZING in TX, you wait until mid-day to take your long bike ride so that it's warmer. But, dressing for cold weather on the bike is soooo different than dressing for cold weather for running. As you can see, I haven't quite figured it out yet...nor do I have bike clothes that match - that's me in the pink with the blue on top. Don't hate, I know it's trendy.

And, last week I was educated on what FREEZING really feels like. I went to Denver where I was greeted with a temp of -7. When I texted my husband with this information, he responded "-7 or just 7?". No babe, that was negative seven - FREEZING. It did warm up to a blustery 12 degrees before I left though.

And, we finally had a weekend that was not fact, it included highs in the 60s without any rain! This is good, because it also happened to be the weekend of the Kiddo's 1st soccer game! We got our butts handed to us, but the kids had fun anyway.

So now you are completely caught up...have a great day!

Catching Up (AGAIN)

Let the blogging begin….
I haven’t updated in several weeks, so here’s what been going on….

I ran the Aramco Houston ½ Marathon 2 weeks ago. The weather sucked, but it could have been much worse. We were expecting major thunderstorms, but only managed to get drizzle. And, the temps were close to 70 degrees, which I hated. But, the end result was a 3+ minute PR….and a huge blister on the arch of my right foot. I’ll see if I can come up with an actual race report at some point.

I decided to commit…I am doing the Lone Star Half Ironman race in April. Yeah, that’s 8 weeks away and I need to make up for lost time – especially in the pool. I have been so focused on the ½ marathon, that I had been in the pool only one time in January. Bad! I took most of the week after the ½ off, because my quads were killing me (especially the left one). But, I did get in 8.5 on Friday after the race. Also, my friends and I did a 35 mile ride last weekend and my legs felt horrible afterwards…I was sure there was no way I could do 56 miles and then run a ½ marathon. But, I went home and ate and viola…I felt fine. Funny how important nutrition can be….Doh! Lesson learned.

So that brings we to this week…I got back into my tri-training routine. Swam 2x last week, rode on the trainer 2x and ran 2x. And, I did my 1st 40 miler on my road bike on Sunday! It was 42 miles to be exact. This is my longest ride so far on my road bike, so it was a major milestone for me.

I rode with a group that some of my tri friends are training with. The group consisted of a pretty hard core group of cyclists, many who have competed in ironman distance races. I felt a bit out of place without a tri bike and all the fancy gear. And, I’ll admit, they were much, much faster than me and my friends who have never done more than 35 miles and have only done sprint distance triathlons.

I’ve mainly been riding in some of the local neighborhoods near my house, which is flat. Pancake flat. The route on Sunday was freaking hilly! I won’t lie, I wanted to turn around so many times – at the 10 mile point I thought “Screw this, I’m doing the Oly! I’m turning around”. That same thought crossed my mind at mile 12 and 15, too. But, I kept going and by the time I made it to 17 miles, I was committed to getting to the turnaround at mile 21.

But then I had to ride back.

I think the toughest thing was just being alone for a majority of the time. On the way out, I was excited to catch up to a couple of people, including my friend Kelly. It also helped that the coaches were waiting for us at the turnaround and that gave me a burst of energy. But then I was pretty much alone again the entire way back which sucked. On the way back, it was also very windy, so that combined with the hills pretty much kicked my butt! And, an 18-wheeler went flying by one time and the wind from that freaked me the heck out!!! Seeing no one almost entire way back was hard – the negative thoughts were going through my head A LOT. But, I kept telling myself to HTFU and get back. It was quite a humbling experience. I honestly don’t know how people can ride for 60, 80 or 100 miles. I used to want to do a century ride, but now I’m positive that I don’t!

One thing I was careful about on this week's ride – nutrition. I did not want a repeat of last week– I drank my gatorade, I had some Bee Stinger Energy Chews and at the ½ way point I had a small Cliff Bar. I think that really helped me get through the ride better than the week before.

But anyway, I did it!!! And, my legs felt good afterwards...almost like I could go and run a few miles. (But I didn’t)

This morning, I ran an easy peasy 3-miler. My legs were a little tired, but not too bad. I will probably not ride the trainer this week, but will run one more time and spend some time in the pool....the hubby and I are getting ready for the Austin Half-Marathon on Sunday!!!