Friday, December 30, 2011

Update on the hip

First of all, thanks for the well wishes about the hip, I really appreciate the kind words! 

So, I used the elliptical again yesterday for another 5 miler.  The hip doesn't seem to hurt during the workout and even feels okay afterwards.  However, by the end of the day, I am limping around because it hurts to step down on my right leg.  I think this is partly due to the workout, and partly because I have been spending the rest of day playing with the kids (rather than sitting in an office or in meetings all day).  We've played putt-putt golf, we've taken strolls around the neighborhood while they've used their new scooters from Santa, etc.  Either way, this is not encouraging.  At all.

I e-mailed Coach and she told me to take the next couple of days off.  Completely.  She thinks that the hip doesn't hurt while I am working out, because it's warmed up.  So, no spin class and swim for me today and no 12-miler on Saturday (not even on the elliptical).  I am seeing the doctor on Tuesday, but that seems like an eternity away.  I feel like I've wasted over a week stretching and seeing what happens.  Even with the stretching, the hip isn't getting any better...but, at least it isn't getting any worse either.  I've googled every hip condition I can think of and can't seem to find quite the right description of what I am feeling.  Sigh.  This is extremely frustrating.

On a  happier note, we are taking the kids to see Phineas and Ferb this afternoon...that should be fun!

We're planning to have a really low-key New Year's Eve tomorrow.  The Hubby is on call, so we're staying close to home and hanging out with the kiddos (which probably means playing Wii!).  Hope everyone out there has a wonderful New Year's eve and day!  I will be back with a post of my New Year's goals in a day or two.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve?  Big party or low key like us?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stupid Body

Sometimes, when things are going great and the workouts are feeling awesome, our stupid bodies find a way to tell us to chill.  In my case, this is happening with my hip.  In my 10 years of running, I've only had a few aches/pains that have stopped me from running completely - bad ITB issues after my 1st marathon in 2003, achilles tendonitis while training for the 2006 Houston Marathon and pretty bad shin splints sometime after that.  I'm not counting the broken toe, since that was a stupid, non-running related injury.  And now, after having a great NYC marathon and some good runs afterwards, my hip is deciding to protest.  

To help let my hip get some rest, I took a few days off from running last week in hope of being able to still run my 18-miler on Saturday.  At the start of my 18-miler, the hip hurt a little - more of an uncomfortable feeling, rather than extreme pain.  By mile 5, I noticed that the hip didn't bother me at all. The rest of the 18-miler went great!   In fact, I'd say it was one of my best long runs this year.  My pace was consistent, my energy level never waned...maybe it was the Hammer Gel I've been experimenting with or maybe it was the pleasantly cool weather.  It even drizzled off and on during my last 5 miles, but even that didn't bother me.  My run felt so amazing, that I actually wanted to keep going!  I decided to stick to the Coach's schedule and not overdo it...but I did add another .5 on the way back to my house.  :-)  After my run, as the day went on, the hip felt okay - a little achey? Yes, but overall not bad.  Sunday, it continued to ache, but again, nothing major.

On Monday, I headed out for my 4-miler.  As soon as I started, the hip hurt with every step on my right foot.  After 2 miles, I stopped and walked for a bit.  After a 1/2 mile of walking, I started up was cold and dreary outside.  I had dressed warm enough for a run, but not warm enough for a walk!  After making it home, I logged in my workout.  In no time, I received an e-mail from Coach saying, "When you are hurting STOP! No running by any means for the next 4 days".  I was also advised to stretch, stretch, stretch, so that's what I am doing.  I tried the spin class at my gym yesterday and also got in a 2100 yd swim.  Today, instead of running 5 miles, I headed to the gym and used the elliptical there.  It felt like a punishment at first, but honestly it wasn't too bad!  I had my iPod shuffle to listen to, and I watched E! (and read the closed caption)...I never have time to watch TV these days, so that was sorta nice.

I have an appointment to see a Dr on Tuesday of next week. I am hoping there's nothing too serious going on with my hip!  Until then, spin, swim and elliptical it is!  All that I know is that I have no biking or swimming for the next 2 weeks during my taper...I hope I am able to run again soon, or I might go crazy!

Have you been sidelined with injuries?  How have you coped with not being able to run?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blogger Gift Exchange

Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas!  Our family had a busy few days, but it was a lot of fun.   I'll post a few pics from the holidays later.  I had every intention of coming here and posting a "Merry Christmas" post on Christmas Eve/Day, but just never had the chance.

I want to thank my Secret Blogger Santa, Amanda at Run to the Finish, for my awesome gift from the Blogger Gift Exhange.  Imagine my excitement when I saw a box addressed to me in the mailbox!  When it comes to getting mail, I am like a big kid - I love getting mail! Especially when the mail comes in a box. J 

When I opened the box, I found an awesomely cool, super soft t-shirt with the word, “Runalicious” on the front.  On the back, it says, “I ran, It rained, I wore cotton”.  So cute!  Also in the box was a cool sugar scrub in a cute tin and some awesome coupons that I can’t wait to use.  Amanda, I just have to tell you...on the weekends, I live in t-shirts and jeans.  This shirt fits into my wardrobe perfectly!

I love, love, love my blogger exchange gift!

Thank you, so much Amanda for the great gift!  And thank you, Jill, for organizing the gift exchange!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Re-Cap*

Monday, 12/19 - Easy Run, 4 miles
Tuesday, 12/20 - Spin Class, 45 minutes
Wednesday, 12/21 - Tempo Run, 6 miles
Thursday, 12/22 - Endurance Run, 5 miles  Rest (Coach's orders due to hip pain)
Friday, 12/23 - Rest Day
Saturday, 12/24 - 18 miles

* Eliminated swimming and biking workouts due to holiday craziness

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Hideous

Since I am "resting" my hip until my 18-miler on Saturday, I don't have workouts to bore you with blog about.  So, I thought I would re-cap the year's races with some race photos.

Let's just say that these are "the best of the worst" race photos taken in 2011.  Let me also add that I rarely feel that any of my race photos are purchase worthy.  For some reason, I am totally and completely oblivious of the race photographer until the very last second and by then, they've already captured me.  At my worst.  Not that it matters, because even when I do see them and try to smile or give a thumbs up to the camera, I managed to look utterly ridiculous - I am slouching -or- I look as if I am walking -or- even worse, I look as if I'm standing still -or- my face is bright red.  You get the idea.

So, here are some lovely race pics in all their glory...

In January at the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon.  I enjoy running with my eyes closed, it adds to the challenge.  And the way my hand is fisted up, I look like I am marching along singing, "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to jog I go..."  It was warm and humid that day.  Bad picture, but I did PR (barely).

This is from the Livestrong Austin 1/2 Marathon in February.  It was warm, humid and hilly.  The picture isn't horrendous, but I just love that my face is BRIGHT red.  I am only smiling because I am at the finish.

This is at the CB&I Triathlon in May.  I was super proud of my PR (especially on the 5k run), but my form needs serious help!  Love the slouchy shoulders, the flappy left hand and the loveliness that is spandex.  Don't you just love how spandex manages to show off every curve - especially the ones the shouldn't be there?
This is me at Bridgeland in August.  It was HOT and my hair looks supa HAWT in it's Predator dreadlock look.  Seriously, it's not long enough for a ponytail, but not short enough to stay tame...what's a girl to do?

This one was taken at the Ten for Texas in October.  A my running peeps and I decided to get our 20-miler in on this day, so ran 10-miles before the 10-mile race. It was warm and humid.  This is my attempt at looking cool for the picture.  Next time, I won't even bother.

This is also from the Ten for Texas, but at the finish line.  I do like that the photographer captured both my feet off the ground for the first time EVER, but the look on my face clearly says, "Get this shiznit over with already!" (and yes, my hand is flapping)

Ah yes, the NYC Marathon.  Can we say hello Stevie Wonder!?!? I just called, to say, I love you.......Oh, and there's that flappy left hand again, not sure what's up with that.  Maybe it's trying to play the piano?

And these aren't even my worst photos...these aren't from 2011, but I've noticed that some of the worst are pics are those taken when I am coming out of the water.

This is my 1st season of triathlons in 2009 and I just have that "Thank you baby Jesus, I can't believe I survived that swim!  Geeze, it seemed so much longer than 300 yds! Hallelujah, I didn't die!" look on my face.

This is me coming out of the water at the 2010 Trigirl Sprint Triathlon. Again, I have a look of relief that I am still alive, but this time I closed my eyes.  You know, to add to the challenge.

So that's it from me today, hope you had a chuckle or two at my expense.  Have a wonderful Friday!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have finally gotten around to re-capping each day of our trip to NYC.  If you're interested, the posts are here:

Day 1 - The awesome Expo and Top of the Rock

The Swag - Because I know you wanna see it!

Day 3 (Since Day 2 was the marathon and you've already read about that!) - 9/11 Memorial and Brooklyn

Day 4 - Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, endless meanderings and the Guggenheim

Day 5 - Central Park

Peas in Pants

As I mentioned in my previous post, Coach graciously removed the swim and bike workouts from my schedule this week. Yes, I feel like a slouch, but it’s so much better than being an over-stressed mess. And, I know I mentioned my uncertainty with the heart-rate training, but ultimately I’ve decided to trust the Coach.

I headed out on Monday’s 4-miler in the evening and stayed within my Zone 2 heart rate like a good girl. While I was running, I noticed that the upper part of my right leg felt kind of tight and stiff, but I just figured it was because 1) I was wearing my Brooks shoes and they may be getting up there in mileage, 2) Since it was nighttime, I was on the sidewalk which at times can be a little uneven and wonky (there’s more traffic at night than at stupid-thirty) and 3) I was trying to count my strides and get to ~22 per 15 seconds (I am still trying to get used to this and it doesn't quite feel comfortable yet). I only made it to ~3.5 of the 4 miles, because I could see lightening in the distance and it seemed to be getting closer. I noticed that my hip was sore not long after my run, but I dismissed it thinking it was just a flukey thing that would go away by the morning.

Tuesday was supposed to be a rest day, but it’s slow at work due to the holidays, so I snuck off to spin class during lunch. The hip was still bothering me, but it didn’t seem any worse after spin class.

Wednesday, I was up at stupid thirty for my 6-mile tempo run. Hooray for tempo runs!!!! I *heart* tempo runs! And, my friend Julie was meeting me for my final 3 miles, so that was nice. The hip felt sore at first, but once I got going, I just kind of forgot about it and focused on staying in my tempo pace race (9:59 – 10:15). But, once I made it home and started getting ready for work, the hip was feeling bad. I took an Aleve and went on about my day. Then, I had to run a little to catch the bus home…I think the Aleve had worn off, because I definitely felt the hip after that. After I made it home, I grabbed the bag of frozen peas and stuffed them into my sweat pants! Sometimes frozen peas are a girl’s best friend!  And yes, the kids looked at me like I was crazy.  Maybe I am.

Last night we had some crazy rain storms, complete with thunder and lightening. While I can often sleep through these storms, my kids cannot…and when the kids are awake, Mommy and Daddy are awake! When my alarm clock went off, I could still hear the rain and thunder, so no 7-miler for me. This is probably for the best, because the hip is still feeling sore and I am thinking I should rest it until Saturday’s 18-miler.

And, speaking of Saturday's 18-miler...everyone I usually run with (a/k/a the people who also run as slow as me) are running on Friday.  I have to work on Friday, so I won't be able to run until Saturday.  My original plan was to run 8 on my own on Saturday, then meet up with my running group peeps for their scheduled 10-miler.  Now I am thinking that I might just run the 18 in my neighborhood. It's boring, but I know I can get it done!  And, after 18-miles, I should be able to eat as much as I want during our Christmas Eve celebration with the Hubby's family!

How are your workouts going during the holidays so far?  Are you going to try to get a workout in on Christmas Eve?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis the Season!

I don't know about you, but I love the holidays.  I really do.  However, it seems that as a Mom, who also happens to work outside the home, who also happens to be "in training", all the duties that come with the holidays just stress me the heck out!

I usually start the Christmas shopping in early November, sometimes earlier if I catch a good sale.  However, this year has been different...with training for NYC, then the trip to NYC, immediately followed by the Kiddo's birthday party and then Thanksgiving, I fell waaaaaayyyyyyy behind!  As I've mentioned over and over, I am a total type A and doing things last minute just drives me nuts.  I have been thinking up a post about this for the past fews days when I ran across a post on this same topic at Mommy, Run Fast!.

Let's face it, when you have to choose between workouts or getting your family's Christmas presents purchased and wrapped, I would imagine that taking care of the family stuff will trump the workouts for most (if not all) of us.  Hmmm, that long bike ride, or getting the Kiddo to Church early for choir practice for the Christmas Eve performance...yeah, the Kiddo wins.  And add a late night out at a work holiday party the night before...ugh. 

On Sunday, I found myself with way too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.  I had presents to buy (that needed to be mailed asap), a photobook for the grandparents that needed to be created (in time to be shipped), gifts to wrap, laundry to fold, a house to clean (before the inlaws come to visit), I wanted to visit a friend who is in town for the holidays, get the Christmas cards in the mail and I needed to get in 1:15 on the bike.  Things were going well - the hubby and I divided and conquered!  He took care of the laundy while watching football and entertaining the kids and he wrapped a lot of presents. I managed to visit with the out of town friend for about an hour and pick up the gifts that needed to be mailed.  Oh, and did I mention the kids had birthday parties to attend?  The bike ride never happened and my house is still a mess, but we made progress, dammit!  Finally, after the kids were tucked in bed (again, a divide and conquer effort), I tackled the photobook - I spent the next 4 hours on Shutterfly and was almost ready to order the book when Shutterfly asked me to log in again and then told me that it didn't recognize my e-mail address. FML.  After a full day of rushing around, the photobook incident just about pushed me over the edge.  I went to bed angry at stupid Shutterfly around midnight knowing damn well that I would NOT be waking up at stupid thirty to run my 4-miler.

And, in the midst of all this, I received an e-mail from Coach telling me that my she would be putting my Monday swim workout in Training Peaks.  I responded with something about how I appreciated that, but that I was super stressed and not sure how I was going to get all my workouts in with all the holiday crap I had to do.  Waaaah, waaaah, I'm sure that was not what Coach wanted to hear.  But, to my amazement she gave me a "no worries" type of response.  She was emphathetic and told me that she didn't want to add to the stress.  Then, she said, "Let's just focus on the run this week.  Let's leave the rest for after Christmas (next week)".  It was that easy.  I don't know what I expected, maybe a "Suck it up, we're all busy" type of response.  I should know better.  Coming from Coach, this made me realize that it's okay to take a little break.  Not that we should do this all the time, but sometimes it just has to be done.  I could have fit all the workouts in - heck, if they are on my training schedule, I will do everything I can to get'em done.  (It's the type A thing.)  But, the result would be a tired, worn out mess of a girl just in time for my 18 miler on Saturday. Not to mention that no one wants to be around a haggard, tired, grumpy Mommy on Christmas Eve and Christmas day!

So that's it...the Holidays should be a fun, enjoyable time of year, not a stressed out to the max crazed mess.  So let's rearrange, relax and enjoy!

How are you doing with juggling the workouts with the holiday frenzy? Or, have you already gotten everything done and just chillaxin' right now?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Re-Cap

Here's a recap of all the workouts last week:

Monday, 12/12 - 1,900 yd swim w/active recovery
Tuesday, 12/13 - 1 hour endurance ride & 7 mile endurance run
Wednesday, 12/14 - 3 mile easy run
Thursday, 12/15 - 2,000 yd endurance swim & 6 mile marathon pace run
Friday, 12/16 - rest
Saturday, 12/17 - 12 mile long run
Sunday, 12/18 - 1:15 endurance ride  rest  crazy, run around, do errands, make photobook day

Typrically, I wouldn't run 3 days in a row.  I should have run Monday and adjusted the rest of the week in order to run my long run on Saturday (it was originally scheduled for Sunday).

Friday, December 16, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

Oprah used to do the "My Favorite Things" episode every year. Well, this is my version...which also might help anyone who is looking for a gift for the runner in their life.

Holiday gift ideas...

Have a runner who always seems to look cute and sporty at the same time? They might like some of the goods at Ink n Burn.  If skirts are their thing, check out Skirt Sports or Running  Cute headbands?  Check out Sweaty Bands!

This is one of my favorites - the pink 2010 Run or Die shirt

Have a runner who likes to run at night or in the wee hours of the morning?  Check out these fun stick-on reflective decals from Flashbrite.

See, I told you they were cute!

Not into reflective decals, but you want to something other than the traditional blinky light?  How about a cool LCD arm-band from Nite Beams?  They come in a variety of colors, too!

Naturally, I love the pink one!

While on the topic of safety-related items, how about a Road ID?  Having one of these items is never a bad idea...just in case...

How about jewelry?  These designs from Finish Line Charms will both show off your runner's accomplishments and help them keep their eye on the prize.  These are great for triathletes, too!

I want one of these after my 70.3!

Does your runner have a great collection of medals, but have no place to put them?  Why not help him/her show off their bling with one of the awesome medal hangers from Allied Metal Displays?

This is one of my favorites!

Okay, this is going to sound lame, but it makes a great stocking stuffer - gels or other nutrition.  Let's face it, every endurance athlete will have to stock up on this stuff at some point...and it does add up!  Why not find  out their favorite product and buy some!

This is my personal favorite!

Another great stocking stuffer....socks!  Really!  I can't be the only one who finds that their dryer eats their expensive running socks on a regular basis.  And these bad boys can really add up!   But, we runners can be very particular about the socks we use, so be sure you've done your homework and know what works best for your runner!

My personal favorite - Feetures Light No Show

And finally, what runner wouldn't love a little shopping spree?   Why not give a gift card?  Back in the day, gift cards were thought to be impersonal and cold…now days, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t mind getting a gift card!

The perfect gift...especially when you're not sure what to buy!

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ye of Little Faith!

Yesterday's workouts went well. Actually, I did Tuesday's run (the EASY! 3-miler) and Thursday's swim...I had to rearrange a few workouts in order to make time for family stuff. Hey, whatever works, right?

First, I started the day with the easy 3-miler. Again, coach's instructions were to keep this at an "EASY!" pace and in zone 2. The result? 3 miles at an 11:52 pace with my average heart rate at 129. After work I went to the pool and did my 2,000 yd workout. As part of my warm up, Coach gave me 8x50 "your choice", which means I could do any stroke, kick, whatever. This was the perfect opportunity to try out my new toys! I used the new kickboard and pull buoy, but the best part was using the fins. Holy cow, I could propel across the pool at warp speed (or close to it) with the fins on! Fun times. Even with the new toys, I don't love swimming, but they certainly make things more interesting. And the workouts have been challenging, but fun. Last night, I actually had a few brief moments where I felt like my swim was starting to come together - I felt like I was actually propelling myself forward, instead of barely crawling down the lane. Again, brief moments. Very. Brief.

This morning I set out for my 6-miler. This time I was allowed to run at my "Marathon Pace". According to McMillan, marathon pace should be around a 10:59 minute/mile.

This is where my faith kind of falters...

I'll admit, I started this run slightly faster than my marathon pace, but it was a pace that was pretty easy to me a few weeks ago. And today that pace felt hard. Maybe it was because it was freaking warm outside (~70 degrees with 100% humidity), maybe it was because I was soooooo tired this morning and barely made it out of bed (must go to sleep earlier!), or maybe it was my lack of stellar nutrition the past couple of days (not horrible, but I had some sweets I wouldn't normally eat), but I felt slow and my legs felt heavy. Naturally, I also questioned whether it was because I've been running so dang slow lately. What if I forgot how to run faster? I was frustrated during this morning's run. I wanted to toss the heart rate monitor in the nearest trash can.

I know a lot of people who swear by heart rate training. I know you have to be patient with it. But, I couldn't help wondering if all this slow running was going to screw up my chances of having a good, strong race at the Houston Marathon. Then I had to remind myself that Houston is not my "A" race. I don't have to PR. Yep, I told myself this, but deep down it's hard not to try to do better. I want to finish knowing I did my best. And yes, despite what I keep telling myself, I do want a sub-5 (if the weather is just right and I feel good on race day!). I run because I enjoy it, but I have a hard time running a "race" just for the sake of finishing it regardless of my time. Part of what I also enjoy is the internal competition with myself.

I hear Coach's voice saying, "be patient" and "trust the process", but with only 1 month before Houston, it's hard not to just go back to what I was doing before. Patience is not my strength!

Have you or people you know had success with HR training? Do you really run "EASY" (aka a much, much slower pace) each week? Do you run slower to run faster -or- run faster to run faster? How competitive are you with yourself?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Haiku Humpday

This Haiku comes from Stephanie over at at Running with Lumpy. Go check out her blog!

You are creative.
Wordless Wednesday makes me smile.
It's my lazy day.

Feel free to get creative and send me a haiku to post!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vacation time to get away...or run errands

Happy, happy, joy, joy! I used a vacation day today and that always makes me happy. What doesn’t make me happy is being given large window of time for a repairman to come (i.e. sometime between 8 am and 5 pm). Yes folks, don’t get too excited – this was not a “fun” vacation day, this was a “sit around the house waiting for the GE dude to show up” day. Part of me wanted him to take his time getting to my house – that would give me an excuse to sit around and relax (something I rarely do). I mean, the house was clean, the dishwasher empty, the laundry done…I really could just do nothing.


I am super sure I could have come up with 150 miscellaneous projects – for example, I still need to address Christmas cards, the Kiddo has a mountain of art projects that I need to go through, I could have organized the playroom, blogged, wrapped Christmas gifts, worked on our budget, etc. Unfortunately (and fortunately), I never had the time to be lazy or start a project, because GE dude was at my house by 9:30 am and I was out running a zillon errands before 10 am. Really, a zillon.

Here’s what I accomplished on my day off:

  • Kroger - What can I say? The only reason I stopped here was for the Starbucks. Bad news - the line was super long, not sure what was up with that! Good news - I had a a coupon for a free drink - yay me!

  • ACE Hardware – I needed stamps and they have a post office in there with an uber-friendly worker. Bad news – they were out of stamps. Good news – they have an awesome gift area and I found gifts for the Kiddo’s teachers. Bad news – I spent way too much time looking at all the goodies. Good news – hey, the teacher’s gift is done.

  • Alterations place – had to pick up 2 pairs of pants. One pair needed a new zipper and one (brand freaking new) pair was coming apart at the seam in the rear (not good). Good news – I made it in and out of the store quickly. Bad news – I realized this morning that they did not repair the seam in that one pair of pants…grrr!

  • Dry Cleaners – Not much to say about this. Bad news – this particular place is expensive. Good news – I had a coupon (yay me!) and they do a great job!

  • Wal-Mart – Had to take back a pair of cheapie sweat pants I bought for the Munchkin. They were perfect for leaving swim class on cooler days, but they were too small. Bad news – they were out of his size. Good news – I managed to get a number of other items I needed (but probably didn’t really need...maybe this falls into the bad category, too?)

  • Swim Shops of the Southwest – Oh my gosh! This was my 1st time visiting this place and it’s paradise for all things swim. Since I am actually using a coach and doing “real” swim workouts, I figured I needed to get my own swim gear and stop trying to borrow the Hubby’s stuff. (Sharing doesn’t work so well when we need to swim on the same days.) Good news – I walked out with fins, a kickboard, paddles, and a cool new TYR bag (LOVE IT!). Plus, I picked up my tri-team technical shirt and swim cap! I can’t wait for my next swim workout! Well, almost. Bad news – I spent way too much time and money on said swim gear, when I really only went there to pick up my team shirt/cap. Good news - I have some new toys and there is less and less for the Hubby to buy me for Christmas.

  • Isn't this bag AWESOME? I *heart* it!

    • THE MALL – I feel like those words should be followed with some really suspenseful music, “dum, dum, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum”. In my opinion, anyone braving THE MALL this close to Christmas is just plain crazy. And yes, that includes me. I am quite the list maker and knew exactly what I was going there to pick up – gift for one nephew, gift for sister-in-law, pick up bracelet being repaired (for me), find Christmas dress for Kiddo. Oh, and do not stop at the Great American Cookie Co. Good news – I accomplished everything except for one thing, I did not leave with a dress for the Kiddo. I decided I’d rather take her along and let her pick out what she really wants. Bad News – I have to go back to the mall with the kiddo.

    • Kohl’s – this was just a last minute stop to see if they had any cute holiday dresses in stock or if their holiday decorations were on sale. Good news – I didn’t buy a single thing. Bad news – I didn’t buy a single thing, because the lines were extremely long and I just wanted to get home.

    Once I was home I hopped on the bike trainer for my 1 hour ride. I had rented a movie, Larry Crowne, just in case I was stuck at home all day waiting for the GE dude. So, I watched the movie while I rode the bike. Oh, and I forgot to mention…I still woke up pretty close to stupid thirty to get my 7-mile run out of the way. It was only supposed to be 3 miles (with my 7 miler was scheduled for tomorrow), but I decided to take advantage of not having to rush home to get ready for work and do the longer distance today.

    So much for a relaxing day at home! Oh, and I still need to address Christmas cards, go through the Kiddo’s art projects, organize the playroom, wrap Christmas gifts, work on our budget, and buy stamps! Who am I kidding? I like to be on the go and constantly busy...maybe that's why I like training for races so much. Of course, a little break now and then is always nice.

    Do you manage to find time to relax and take it easy? Or, do you feel like you are constantly on the go?

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Weekend Randomness

    Getting Organized...
    I know it’s not fun to have every minute of life planned out and to live by the calendar, but sometimes it’s what will keep the sanity in my house. Last week, we actually had some free time on Wednesday evening (no activities for the kids, no workouts to do), so we took advantage of it – after getting lunches and clothes ready for the next day, we had a family game night. And yes, I managed to get totally schooled in Candyland Bingo! After the kids were in bed, I commented that we needed to work on the Kiddo’s project the next night. I knew we’d have a busy weekend and it was due on Monday. Then, the Hubby reminded me that the project was actually due on Friday (as in the day after tomorrow), not Monday.


    I was annoyed; after all we just spent an hour playing games when we should have at least started the project. Grrrrr. Because of this (and this isn’t the 1st time I’ve managed to get dates confused), I decided that we needed to get organized. The hubby and I both missed our workouts on Thursday, so he could entertain the Munchkin while the Kiddo and I worked on her project. Shame on us for working on school projects at the last minute!

    To help remedy this problem, I recently bought a cute calendar that gives you enough space to have a line for each member of the family for each day and space to write in activities for each person. It’s a 2012 calendar, so beginning in January the goal is to be uber-organized. So no, it isn’t fun to live and die by the calendar, but it does make things a lot less stressful because it’s easier to stay on top of things! We'll see how it goes.

    Random Weekend Stuff - The run & the swim...
    This weekend was a lot of fun. Friday we were supposed to go to a holiday party, but we had an appointment that ran late. By the time we made it home, we were just not feeling like getting all dressed up and heading back out. Plus, I knew I’d be waking up at stupid-thirty to run 16-miles, so no party for us! The kiddos were staying at their Grandparent’s house all weekend, so the hubby and I ran a couple of quick errands (like FINALLY picking up our Christmas cards) and grabbed a bite to eat.

    Saturday my running peeps only had to run a 12-miler, so I started early enough to get in my extra 4 miles and then met up with them. It was a great run. Definitely warmer than the weatherman predicted (it was 48 rather than 38), but overcast and nice. No complaints at all during the run – at the advice of Coach, I worked on consuming more calories and tried Hammer Gel. The gels are definitely easier to carry than my Honey Stinger gels, but since I haven’t used gels in awhile, I started with the Honey Stinger chews and ended with a Hammer Gel. I tried the espresso flavor – normally, I like espresso, but maybe not in a gel! Next time, I think I’ll stick to the apple or raspberry flavors! Coach was right though, with more calories consumed, I didn’t feel like I wanted to eat an entire cow after my run and my recovery was great – very little stiffness or soreness.

    After our run, I met up with some of my running BFFs for Starbucks and girl talk – It’s been too long since we’ve all gotten together on a Saturday and I’ve missed it! After my run and coffee, I headed to the gym to get in my missed swim from Thursday. I figured if nothing else, the cool water would feel great on my legs. And it did! I swam 1,800 in about 45 minutes. I’ll admit – after that, I could have eaten a cow, lol!

    The shopping...
    After both workouts and a shower, the hubby and I did some Christmas shopping for the kids. Oh my god, we had so much fun trying to figure out what to get (they want EVERYTHING!). And the crowds weren't horrible either. However, I will say one certain Target in our area needs to get their crap together - the shelves there were a mess!!! We still need to buy for some other family members…not sure when that’s gonna happen, though. We ended our outing with dinner at PF Changs. Yummy, yum, yum! The Hubs and I had every intention of watching the Kona coverage that night, but all that running, swimming and shopping wore me out (well, maybe that and the glass of wine I had at dinner)...I was ready to hit the hay by 9:30 pm. (LOSER!)

    Everything else...
    Sunday we had to get to church an hour early because the kiddo had choir practice for the Christmas Eve performance, so we had to get the kiddo from the Grandparents and get to church. And, we had a lot of other things to accomplish as well…so that meant no sleeping in! I woke up at 6 am to ride for an hour on the bike trainer and the Hubby had to head out for his 7-mile run. Luckily, we managed to get everything done through the course of the day, and we still had time for some football (GO TEXANS – AFC South Champs and playoff bound!!!!)

    We ended our weekend with our tri-club’s holiday social. So much fun and too many margarita’s! Actually, I only had two and they were the smaller ones…I am a cheap date. Monday’s word for the day will be “HYDRATE”! ‘Tis the season!

    Any tips on staying organized and keeping all the deadlines straight? How was your weekend? Holiday shopping? Holiday parties?

    Thursday, December 08, 2011

    Brrrrrrrrrrr....part II

    Hard to believe it, but it was actually COLDER this morning!

    It was 28 degrees and there was frost on the rooftops and cars. I headed out for my 5-mile TEMPO run a little after 4:00 am (yes, not stupid-thirty, just stupid). With my slower paces, I have been running late in the morning, which makes for a stressed out Runner Mom - running all over the house, hurrying everyone around, driving myself and the kids crazy, and well, that's just not fun. So I decided to lose a few minutes of precious sleep and get out there a little earlier.

    My McMillan pace for a tempo run is supposed to be between 9:59 and 10:29...YIPEE, I was allowed to run faster than a 12-minute mile today! I started out too fast, which is easy to do when it's freezing outside, and then reigned it in a little and held steady around a 10:14/10:15-ish pace. I ran 2-miles and then met up with my fellow-insane-to-get-out-in-the-cold-this-early friend, Julie for another 3-miles. Julie is obviously crazy dedicated, because today is her birthday and she STILL got up early to run! In the cold!

    Tonight, I brave the cold and head to the (indoor, heated) pool. For some reason, I have a major lack of motivation getting to the pool in general. But when it's cold, it's 100 times worse. And, when coach saw that I was finishing my 1,800 workout in around 45 minutes, she told me that was great and that I was ready to move to 2,500. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) But hey, with all the upcoming holiday parties (meaning temptation to eat bad stuff), I gotta get the workouts in and stay focused.

    Is it hard to maintain your focus this time of year? How do you stay motivated?

    Wednesday, December 07, 2011

    Haiku Humpday

    Feeling a little silly today during my slow run. I know a lot of people have "Wordless Wednesday" or "Thankful Thursday", which is cool. I decided to go a different route in an attempt to reach out to my creative side, so I've created "Haiku Humpday". Here's my 1st attempt (also created while running this morning)...

    Filled with Glee today.
    New running shoes make me smile.
    Thank you Saucony.

    Feel free to write and send your Haiku to me and it might just get posted next week! (Otherwise you might have to read more of my drivelpoems)


    It’s mighty cold here in Texas right now…well, cold for us anyway! Some of you folks up North will laugh at me when I tell you that it’s 30 here with a “feels like” temp of 25. But, this is cold for us, especially this early in the season! I’m not complaining, because it will soon be 100 degrees with 100% humidity. The Kiddo is super excited about these temps. She gets excited anytime she sees the temps in the 30s, because she wants it to snow. Unfortunately for her, there’s not precipitation in the forecast. :-(

    I managed to make it to spin class yesterday. The class is only 45 minutes, but I had a 1 hour bike ride on the schedule, so I arrived a little early to get in some extra time. I do enjoy spin class, but sometimes it’s hard to break away from the work stuff to go.

    This morning I put on my Nike capri’s, a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt and some gloves and headed out for a 6-miler. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get in the entire 6-miles at my new super duper slow pace, especially after my Garmin had to take forever to locate satellites (about 6 minutes…standing in the cold for 6 minutes is not fun!). I ran almost 2 miles before meeting up with my running peep, Julie. During my 1st 1.75 miles alone, I maintained a super-fast 11:47 pace and stayed in zone 2 with my HR. However, I really didn’t want to subject Julie to this super-slow pace, so we ran our normal pace for the next 3 miles. My super-genius self forgot to start my Garmin again, so I have no idea of our pace or my HR during that time. I remembered to turn the Garmin back on for my last 1.25 miles …it seemed to take awhile to get my HR back into zone 2, so that last bit was super slow. My overall pace for the 3 miles I did record was a super -fast 11:58 minute/mile. I know you’re envious of my speed.

    After my run, I took a quick shower…I was running late and didn’t want to make the Hubby late, too. Normally, I would linger in the warm water and try to warm up a little more. When I got out of the shower, I realized that I was freezing! I put on my warmest fuzzy robe and just could not seem to warm up. That’s when I decided that I was going to get back under the warm, cozy blankets in an attempt to get warm. I stayed there for about 10 minutes and finally felt warm enough to carry on with my normal morning routine. Oh, and after all this hurrying around, I realized that the Hubby was taking a vacation day…doh! Not sure why it took so long to get warm…probably just because it was colder than normal outside, or maybe I need to add a lightweight jacket or a warmer long sleeve shirt. I dunno. Again, not complaining about the cold temps…just need to prepare a little better.

    On another note, I went to the doctor yesterday to get my flu shot. I am happy to report that despite my 3 weeks of consuming food like a human vacuum after NYCM, I am still at my pre-NYCM, cleaner eating weight. Yay me!!!! The goal is to stay there through the holidays and then work on shedding the last few pounds between the January 1 and the 70.3.

    So, how are you liking this winter weather? What's your normal running attire for these temps?

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    Yada, Yada

    The post-NYCM workouts are going pretty well, I guess. I will admit that my 14-miler on Sunday was tiring and I didn’t feel quite as energetic as some of my previous long runs. But it had been a pretty busy week and the weekend was filled with activities like a work holiday party on Friday and an evening with some friends on Saturday, so I have a feeling that may be partly to blame. I did enjoy getting to go for a ride with the Hubby over the weekend. The kiddos were at my parent's house, and we rarely have a chance to workout together! I had a 1 hour bike ride on my training schedule, so we headed to a local neighborhood for our ride. We even explored a few new roads along the way. And got lost.

    Here's the Hubby checking our location on his iphone (a/k/a trying to get us un-lost).

    Me, in my not so matchy pink and white helmet and lovely orange shirt (high visability is key on the bike!)

    Luckily, on Monday I only had a swim on the schedule, so that meant I could sleep in! (If you call sleeping until 5:15 AM sleeping in.) I headed to the gym right after work. The Kiddo and Munchkin have swim lessons on Mondays and getting to their classes in time to see them swim for more than about 10 minutes is next to impossible, so I take advantage of this time to get my swim done. Last week, the heater in the pool at the gym was not working. It was pretty warm outside and the water in the pool wasn’t too cold, so I managed to get most of my workout done before the gym decided to close the pool for the day. This week, it was 40-something degrees outside, so I decided that if the heater was still broken, I was not swimming! The heater was working, so that meant I had to swim. I am enjoying following new workouts from Coach. Having various sets to do always manages to break things up and make swimming not seem so boring. (Yes, I find swimming boring.)

    This morning I ran my scheduled 3-miler (EASY!). Coach would be proud - my heart rate was right where it was supposed to be in Zone 2, which gave me a 11:57 pace…be jealous of my lightning-fast pace! :-) This running slower stuff is awkward, but it is getting easier. Sort of, in the awesome cooler temps we're experiencing right now, running this slow can be more difficult than running faster. I am thrilled that I have a tempo run on the schedule for Thursday…finally!

    Huge kudos to everyone who ran the LaPorte Half Marathon, Rock and Roll Vegas and Dallas White Rock over the weekend! And a HUGE shout out to my fellow wine-drinking-runner-mom, Shae, on her BQ in Vegas! I was hoping she’d see Kate Gosselin and accidentally-on-purpose trip her, but Shae was much speedier than Kate and left her in the dust!

    How was your weekend? Any races or holiday parties???

    Sunday, December 04, 2011

    Quickie Re-Cap

    I am going to start re-capping the previous week's workout each Monday. So here ya go...

    Monday, 11/28 - Easy Run (Zone 2, 3 miles)and Swim (1,400 yds)
    Tuesday, 11/29 - Endurance Ride (45-minutes)
    Wednesday, 11/30 - Endurance Run (Zone 2, 6 miles)
    Thursday, 12/1 - Swim (1,900 yds)
    Friday, 12/2 - Run (marathon pace, 5 miles)
    Saturday, 12/3 - Endurance Bike (1 hour)
    Sunday, 12/4 - Long Run (14 miles)

    Friday, December 02, 2011


    I mentioned a few days ago that I met with Coach for the 1st time last weekend. After looking at my athlete questionnaire, she said, “You’ve been running for 10 years?” to which I responded with a “Yes”. She told me that technically, I really should be faster by now and that there’s no reason why I couldn’t get under a 4 hour marathon (rather than a sub-5).

    I’ll admit that at first, I was taken aback by this. I was a little offended. Hey, I worked hard for my 23-minute PR in NYC! But then I had to remember, Coach was a competitive athlete growing up. She didn’t compete in running, but since starting running and triathlons she has quickly improved and gone from sprint distance races to Ironman distance races in the course of a few short years. She started this sport and was competitive from day 1. And she is kicking butt!

    I, on the other hand, was not like that. At all. I felt that I needed to justify exactly why I was so friggin slow…this may take awhile.

    My Humble Beginnings…
    I began running in the summer of 2001. I had recently lost 32+ lbs using Weight Watchers, power walking, cardio kickboxing and Tae-Bo. However, I had this goal of actually running an ENTIRE 5K before my 30th birthday the following year. I had a treadmill at home and I worked toward that 5k goal and achieved it. Before I knew it, I was running 4, then 5 miles. By October of that year, I was running about 6 miles pretty easily and my BFF who was training for the Houston Marathon suggested that I train for the inaugural Houston Half Marathon. I found the Hal Higdon training plan on-line and trained mostly on my treadmill. My longest run before the race was 9 miles. I was completely and utterly clueless – I wore Nikes purchased at the outlet mall for about $39, I had on cotton socks, cotton shirt and cotton sports bra, I had no idea what Gu was and had no clue about hydration. But, I ran the 2002 Houston ½ Marathon and had a great time doing it. Before I knew it, it was summer of 2002 and I decided to join my BFF’s running group (Houston Fit) and train for the 2003 Houston Marathon with her. Never mind that had I run very little since finishing the ½ in January!

    My 1st Marathon…
    I thoroughly enjoyed Houston Fit, its coaches and all the friends I made there. But, I will admit, I never attended track workouts or hill workouts and probably skipped a weekday more often than I should have. We practiced the Galloway method of running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute. For me, it was about continuing to keep the weight off and fitness. And, I was a social runner. My friends and I chit-chatted during our long runs, never pushing the pace and taking extra walk breaks toward the end of most of our long runs. And, my BFF had an injury and ended up dropping out of the training. My first marathon time was 5:21:17 and some change. Not bad considering I had started out too fast, had some ITB issues and was borderline hypronatremic. I cursed through those last 5 miles, swearing I’d never do this again. But, the minute I had the medal around my neck I was already saying, “Next time, I am going to do…” and “Next time, I will be careful to…”.

    My 1st NYC (and 2nd Marathon)…
    On a whim, my BFF and I signed up for the NYC Marathon lotto. And we both got in. Again, we started training after not running much during the off season. Our 1st group training run was 8 miles, the BFF and I were not ready for that at all, so we came up with an excuse why we could only run 4 miles that day. Again, we were both pretty clueless – we now knew about hydration, Gu, etc., but a few weeks before the NYCM, one of the coaches asked us if we were ready for the hills in NYC. We looked at each other and then asked, “WHAT HILLS?”. We successfully finished NYC, hills and all, but we were extremely slow. The BFF was still nursing an injury, so we were stopping every few miles for her to stretch. Finally, at mile 22 after using the restroom at Marcus Garvey Park, I told the BFF that I couldn’t stop anymore. I needed to be done with this freaking race and I went ahead. My finish time was a depressing 6:02…but, until this year’s NYC marathon, I will say that this was the most fun I’ve ever had in a marathon!

    My Dumb Decision…
    My next marathon was a result of a very poor decision. I had decided after NYC that I would take a break and run the ½ marathon in Houston in January…and that’s what I trained for. But, my BFF was running the full and talked me into running the full with her. I changed from the ½ to the full the day before the race (you could do that in those days). Yeah, dumb. We had fun until about mile 16. After that, I think we both walked more than we ran. My finish time was 5:51:51. Seriously, we could see the police cars with flashing lights in the distance behind us. I vowed to never do another marathon without proper training again! (I also vowed to always continue running in the off season!)

    My Trifecta Year (2006)…
    A few months later, I was still running and I found out I was pregnant with the Kiddo. She was born in November and 4 weeks later I began the power walking/jogging again. I went and cheered for my friends who were running the 2005 Houston Marathon and Half Marathon in January and was envious. I knew I wanted to get back out there! That summer, I joined Houston Fit once more (without the BFF this time) and found a group of fun girls to run with who also attended track and hill workouts. For the 1st time, I started track and hill work and I loved it! But, about a week before our 25k, I had a bad case of achilles tendonitis and didn’t resume the hill/speedwork for the final 2 months of training.

    I’ll be honest, running after having a baby was the hardest thing I’ve done. Those long runs in the summer were harder than I remembered and I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. I focused on regaining my fitness level and trying to build up my base mileage again. I did quite a few local 5k and 10k distance races during this time as well to work on my pace. I finished the 2006 Houston Marathon in 5:40:43. I was disappointed in my time. I knew I could do better, but I started out much too slow and could just never make up the time later.

    I decided to run the Austin Marathon one month later and did a little better at 5:31:44, despite the delay at the start due to sleet and ice on the roads. But still, I knew I was capable of doing better. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Ugh, I had forgotten how brutal training for a Fall marathon could be when you train in Houston. The summer heat kicked my arse! To top things off, I had to work around the Hubby’s work schedule and ended up running at least a portion of my long runs alone. And, as if there wasn’t enough on my plate, I started grad school in August (2 months before Chicago). My training was less than stellar from that point forward. But, I did get a PR in Chicago. Barely. 5:20:56. And, I decided to sideline any marathon training until after grad school.

    Baby #2…
    During grad school, I kept running, although it was more for fitness and stress relief (juggling school, work and a family was tough!). I ran the Houston ½ Marathon in 2007 (2:27:21) and started doing some speed work again to see if I could improve my times. Then, I found out during the summer that I was pregnant with the Munchkin. So, no more races for me. In early 2008, I was finishing my final 2 semesters of grad school, updating our current house to sell, buying a new home, moving, and working full time. Ugh, it was a lot to juggle.

    Once the Munchkin was born, I was ready to work off the baby weight again! In the summer of 2008, I joined Woodlands Fit (we had moved to the ‘burbs). I didn’t get to run with them until I finished grad school in August, but once I did, I immediately became friends with an awesome group of women. We decided to run the inaugural Rock & Roll San Antonio ½ Marathon and have a fun girl’s weekend…I knew I was far from being ready, so I decided to treat this as a training run (one with a medal at the end!). My time was my slowest yet – 2:43. Again, I had to build that base mileage and endurance up again and it was hard. Again. My next race was the 2009 Houston ½ in January, which just happened to fall on my birthday – I ran it in 2:31:38 and I felt I had given it my best. In April of 2009, I ran a very hilly Zooma Austin, but was still slower than I’d like – 2:38.

    The fire ignites…
    The next year, 2009, was when something in me really changed – I wanted to do better. The hubby was working on the weekends, so I couldn’t join a training group. I trained on my own for my next races and I was determined to improve. Finally.

    I stayed focus and followed a training plan. I ran more miles and actually did speed work. My 2009 Houston ½ Marathon time improved – 2:19:54! I was stoked! Then, something else changed. I learned to swim (sort of) and did my 1st triathlon. Something about triathlons added more fuel to the fire…I wanted to do even better. And that’s where I started actually caring about my times. I worked harder and ran more mileage. My next races improved more – 2010 Zooma (2:24:50), 2011 Houston ½ Marathon (2:16:20) and of course, NYCM (4:57:52).

    Don’t get me wrong, the underlying reason for my running and triathlon-ing remains the same - for fitness, weight control, stress relief and fun. But, now I want to constantly see how much I can improve. And I don't think I'll ever go back to that complacent attitude again. I know I am not a natural-born athlete and I may never qualify for Boston (nor do I really want to) or end up on a podium, but I want to know – what is my potential? As a runner? As a swimmer? As a cyclist?

    I think Coach can help me find out.