Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last week's workouts...

This week wasn't as intense as last week...thank God!  In fact, because of the holidays and some holiday travels, it was a bit light compared to my usual week of workouts.  This was more of a week where I had to just fit the workouts in when I could!

Monday, 11/19
Run/Walk with the dog - 30 minutes
Stretch (hip feeling wonky) - 30 minutes
200 crunches

Tuesday, 11/20
Weights/Strength (focus on bi/tri/shoulder) - 30 minutes
200 crunches
100 push-ups

Wednesday, 11/21
Run - 40 minutes
Walk with the kiddos at the park - 1 1/2 hours
Walk downtown - 40 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving Day)
HIIT-type workout @ hotel gym - 1 hour
Walk downtown - 30 minutes
alternated cardio with strength using the elliptical, treadmill, weights, plyo, etc.

Friday, 11/23
Does walking around the outlet malls for 3 hours count? :-)
200 crunches

Saturday, 11/24
Run - 1 1/2 hours of hills!!! 8 miles, plus cool down walk
200 crunches

Sunday, 11/25
Stretch - 30 minutes
200 crunches

I'm hoping this week will be a bit more productive, but it's not quite shaping up that way.  I think all the activities of Thansgiving week really wore us out, because the Kiddo ended up with strep throat, ack!  As of today, I think she is all better (thank God!)  So, now I am just keeping my fingers crossed that no one else in the house catches it!  Emergen-C, lots of handwashing, Lysol and a good night's sleep have all become my best friends.

How do you keep away the cooties during the flu season?  Do you have any homeopathic remedies or preventative measures you take to stay healthy?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The week in pictures...(picture overload!)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We've had a super busy past few days, but it's been a blast.

The Hubs and I took Wednesday off from work and finally used a Groupon I have had since the summer - it was a coupon for 4 train tickets at Hermann Park, a 30-minute paddle boat ride and four ice creams. The whole reason I've held onto this Groupon for so long is because it's been so darn hot!  We were lucky to have awesome weather - high 70s and sunny!  The kids had never been on the paddle boats before, so that was an adventure.  We scared the ducks and went dangerously close to the fountain (yeah, we live on the edge around here).   And the train is always a family favorite - especially when we go through the "tunnel" and get to wave at the pedestrians.  We had a picnic lunch and then finished off the outing with ice cream. Yes, even I treated myself to one...luckily, they had Skinny Cow treats, too!

The family enjoying a day off and the gorgeous weather!
This was my favorite pic of the favorite two guys!

 Next, we headed downtown to a hotel where we've spent the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving for the past 5 years.  The hotel is near the route of the Houston Holiday Parade, so we've spent the past 5 Thanksgivings going to the parade.  But before the parade, we headed out to our favorite downtown pizzeria for dinner, enjoyed the spectacular rooftop views from the hotel and enjoyed the free wine/beer happy hour and warm cookies before bedtime.

While not as spectacular as say, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the kids love going to Houston's parade.  It's also special to me, because I used to go to this parade with my Mom and Grandma when I was a kid.  There are characters from the local musicals and ballets (in this case, Peter Pan and the Nutcracker), local high school bands, floats, balloons and of course the guest of honor, Santa Claus.  And, it wouldn't be a Houston holiday parade without a finale of low riders and a visit from "Pancho Claus".  Yeah, Houston is kinda quirky like that.   The Mayor, Annise Parker, even rides a horse in the parade!

Some pics at the hotel, eating pizza, enjoying drinks and cookies, and the parade!

On Thanksgiving morning, I offered to make the mile trek to the only Starbucks above ground in downtown Houston (yep, I said above ground...Houston has several Starbucks in the underground tunnel system).  Yeah it's a sacrifice I was willing to make for the Hubs (and me).  And, I grabbed some quick pictures of the sights while I walked.  I know Houston has it's ugly parts and it's not as cool as say, Austin, but it definitely has its redeeming qualities.  I love Houston.

Some views of downtown Houston...who said Houston isn't pretty?
After the parade, we met up with my parents for Thanksgiving Linner (lunch/dinner).  My Mom decided to have a low maintenance day, so we went out to eat at a downtown restaurant - no cooking, no clean-up, no eating leftovers for days earns big points in my book!  The views there were spectacular and we had an awesome time.  I was careful not to stuff myself, but I did have a piece of the most amazing chocolate-pecan pie ever!  OMG!  The Texans game was on, so the Hubs and I tried not to be rude...we only checked the score twice. At the end of our meal.  We relaxed the rest of the day and just enjoyed not having to go to work or school, and not having to rush anywhere.  This also happened to be our 15th wedding anniversary, so we had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for!

Pictures from our Thanksgiving day meal

The next morning, we headed to San Marcos to visit the Hub's parents.  The kids love spending time with their Grandparents - they got to play checkers and old maid, pick lemons from the lemon tree in the backyard and Grandma took us to see the deer in a nearby neighborhood.

Adventures with Grandma and Grandpa!

And, we celebrated the Kiddo's eighth birthday while we were there!  The kiddo was excited to get a 3DS and an American Girl Doll...funny how I remember when she was just happy to get a Barbie and some books....and yes, she had a Justin Bieber cake. What did she want to do all day?  Hang out in her PJs and veg...umm, okay.  We did take her to dinner at her favorite place that night, though.

The Kiddo celebrating her birthday in her PJs!  I did make her at least brush her hair!

Another nice thing about visiting the in-laws?  We had babysitters!  This means that the Hubs and I could get away for a run.  San Marcos is pretty hilly, not to mention scenic, so it's a treat to get a change in elevation and scenery.  And, the deer were out in full-force...I swear we must have seen twenty while we were out!  And, we stopped by Starbucks afterwards for a little treat before heading back to the in-laws.

The Hubs with his coconut milk post-run, some of the deer we spotted on our run and me and the Hubs post run..not sure why I look so serious.

We returned home early on Sunday. The plan was for my parents and the Hub's sister and her family to come over later in the day, so they could also celebrate the Kiddo's birthday with us.  Fun times!  We love to celebrate birthdays in our house, especially when it comes to the kids.  I think we succeeded in giving the Kiddo a great time and I know she is going to have a great year!

The Kiddo, Munchkin and their favorite cousins, and the kiddo with one of her gifts - she says EIGHT IS GREAT!
 So that was our Thanksgiving holiday in pictures.  We did take some time to discuss what we were thankful for.  We know we are blessed and try to be thankful every day!

How was your Turkey Day? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mind over Matter

I recently found this quote:

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” -Lynn Jennings

Reading it reminded me how much distance running is about your head, just as much (of not more) as it is about your legs. So why don't we spend as much time training our brains, as we spend training our legs?  In Houston Fit, we had something we did before each race called "The Blessing of the Quads".  In the blessing, we all shouted, "Legs be strong, Head be stronger!".  Again, another reminder of the importance of this.

Since the 1/2 marathon training group I am coaching will soon be conquering double digit mileage, I thought it would be a good idea to let the group know about the importance of creating a mental strategy.  After all,  in distance running, it's your head that keeps you going when your legs are tired.

Here are some things I recommended:

  1. Try Self-Talk – if you are feeling tired, try telling yourself things like "only a .5 mile to the water stop." Focus on how proud or happy you will feel when you are done. Keep the thoughts positive…rather than thinking, "I'm so tired", try thinking, "I am strong!"
  2. Create a Personal Mantra – Along the same lines as the self-talk, think of a mantra that you can repeat to yourself throughout the run. Make it something that makes you feel strong and confident. Some things I've heard people use – "Stay Strong", "I am fierce", "Just keep going", etc.
  3. Break up the run – Ever hear the saying, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" Sometimes it helps to divide your long run into smaller segments. If you are running 9 miles, try to think of it as being less than three 5ks. Once I hit the 10-mile mark of a half-marathon, I often tell myself that there's only a 5k to go.
  4. Try Mental Imagery – I once heard that Olympic athletes use imagery to perfect their sport. For example, an Olympic gymnast might picture herself performing a perfect beam routine in her head. Or, a professional basketball player might imagine himself making a perfect 3-pointer over and over. Why not use this tool, too? Imagine yourself on your long run, running on the course – you are running at your goal pace with a great stride, you look strong, you are charging up that killer hill, and you feel great. I used this trick when trying to PR the Houston ½ Marathon a few years ago. I knew the lonelier stretch would be miles 10 – 12 on Allen Parkway. I envisioned myself running strong on that stretch of road with no fatigue. It must have worked, because I did PR!
  5. Channel that competitive spirit – During a race, focus on individuals in front of you and then try to pass them. You can even keep count of your "road kill" as you move forward…just don't count out loud!
  6. Identify your reward – What are you going to do to celebrate after your long run? Eat a huge burger, have a frosty, adult beverage, buy a new running outfit? Plan it out before the race, then use that as your motivation as you run. (I'll meet you at Gigi's after a race for cupcakes!)

What are some mental strategies that you've used?  I'd love to share them with my group!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Last Week's Workouts...

Okay, so before you read this and think, "What the What???",  let me explain - I was the QB for our FFL team.  All of the points I earn for my team for the week are doubled, so last week I really got into the game and worked my ass off (but not literally...oh how I wish!)  It's funny how you *think* a workout is such an awesome workout...until you see the total calorie burn.  For example, one hour of P90X shoulders and arms only burned around 225 calories.  Yes, I know I am working my me, I can really feel it the next day...but, it's not a big calorie burner. 

For our fitness challenge, you get points for time (every 30 minutes) and points for calorie burn (every 400 calories).  When I run, I tend to burn 400 calories in 40 minutes.  However, even an hour of Insanity only burned about 325 calories.  Now I do have to remember that not all HRMs are created equal - when I run, I use my Garmin 305.  When I workout indoors, I used my Polar FT4.  And I swear to God that my Polar shows much fewer calories burned than my Garmin.  I mean really?  Fewer calories with Insanity?  That has to be wrong.

So anyway, the entire point here is that I was trying to earn points with both time and calories.  And this my friends will make a woman do some crazy things.  For example, based on previous week's workouts, I knew that the Brazil Butt Lift Bum, Bum workout would only burn about 200 calories.  So, in order to burn more, I went outside and ran around my block twice (approx 1 mile and 100 calories), then I came inside the house and did the Brazil Butt Lift workout (approx 47 minutes), then I ran around the block twice more.  And, with my wonky hip, I knew I really shouldn't run everyday, so I mixed up my runs with some walking. When I did P90X, I ran up and down the stairs while Tony Horton was gabbing, so I could burn more calories.  You get the idea....

Needless to say, I was pretty freaking tired by the end of the week...and I want to train for an Ironman? (eventually)  Hmmmm, I may need to rethink that. :-)  But, I think I did a good job in getting points for our team, so it was all worth it!

Monday, 11/12
Run - slow 42 minute run, 3.78 miles
Strength training - 30 minutes - triceps, biceps & back
Stretching - 30 minutes (still focusing on those calves)
200 crunches x 2

Tuesday, 11/13
Morning workout - 1 hr, 9 minutes
 - Run 12 minutes
 - Brazil Butt Lift Sculpt workout 47 minutes
 - Run 10 minutes
Walk - 1 hr 30 minutes with teammate, Kelly
Stretching - 30 minutes (Dr. Chiro would be proud!)
200 Crunches x 2

Wednesday, 11/14
Run/Walk - 1 hour (10 minute walk/40 min run/10 minute walk)
Weights (P90X Shoulders & Arms), Running, Stairs - 1 hr 30 min
200 crunches x 2

Thursday, 11/15 
Run/Walk - 1 hour
Spin Class - 1 hour
Stretching - 30 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Friday, 11/16
Rest day
Walk - 30 minutes
Stretching - 30 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Saturday, 11/17
Run - 12 miles, 2 hr 7 min
Walk around A&M Campus
 - 1 hr 55 min, around campus and to stadium toting a kid on my back
 - 1 hour, around campus and back to car
200 crunches

Sunday,  11/18
Bike - 1 hr, 6 minutes
Walk with the kiddos - 36 minutes
200 Crunches 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Week in Pictures

Okay, so technically, this is two weeks in Pictures.  I figure it would be faster to update you with one big post, rather than trying to fit in another picture post later this week.

So what have I been up to lately?  Well, mostly just the usual stuff - hanging out with the family, running, riding, and work.  Our house was hit with a stomach bug, but luckily only one person caught it (the Kiddo) and everyone else has been unharmed.  Thank goodness!  This caused the Kiddo to miss the RWB Veteran's Day kid's run, which was a bummer.  But, the Munchkin ran it and had a great time.

Here are some pics of the recent things we've been doing...

Clockwise from top right:  Game night with the kids...the Munchkin was the real estate mogul at Monopoly Jr., me getting in a bike ride, the Kiddo at Gymnastics and the kids going for a neighborhood walk.

The 1/2 marathon group I am coaching through Woodlands Fit had a social outing a couple of weeks ago.  We met at Luke's Locker for their weekly evening run and then headed over to a nearby Tex-Mex place for beverages, food and conversation.  Fun times!

Top:  Hanging out before the run, Bottom: Chillaxin' with running peeps over 'Ritas!

On Saturday a rare thing happened...The Texas A&M Aggies (my alma matter) played the Sam Houston State University Bearkats (the Hubs' alma matter).  As far as I know, these teams have never played each other, so we HAD to go to the game.  Now I'll admit, I have never been a huge football a student at Texas A&M, you are supposed to go to every football game.  I didn't.  I went to 2 football games in my entire 3 years there.  Yeah, I'm a bad Aggie.  And, I haven't been back for a game since.  Sorry, but I am just not a football person.  Gimme basketball, gimme hockey!  I have watched games and of course, I cheer for the Ags to win...Yes, I LOVE my school, but no I haven't been the best football fan.  But, in the past couple of years, because the Hubs has been watching more football (thankyoufantasyfootball), I have been getting into this whole football thing more.  (This has been a shocker to most of my friends!) 

On the way to the game, we just had to stop at the new running store in College Station - Brazos Running Company!  I recently noticed one of the Woodlands Fit coaches wearing a "Run Aggieland" tech shirt and found out that she bought it at this store...of course, I wanted one too.  The store was great - the salespeople were friendly and helpful, the store had a great selection of running gear (and some tri gear, too).  And, they had my shirt...I can't wait to wear it!

From top right:  Brazos Running Company, awesome pink and black newtons (too bad my feet are stupid and can't wear these), the coveted "Run Aggieland" shirt and a cute sticker the hubby found!

Finally, we headed over to the campus.  I have been to College Station a lot over the past few years for college recruiting for work, but I've rarely had the opportunity to just casually walk around campus.  It was cool to see all the buildings I had classes in, but it was also cool to see how much the campus has changed!  And the football game?  Crazy!  I don't remember game day being quite so crowded and insane.  I was excited to finally see the newly renovated Memorial Student Center (MSC), but it was sooooo crowded, I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible!

Top:  A view of the campus from the stadium, pregame helicopter fly over
Center:  The Munchkin giving a "Gig'em Ags" thumbs up and a "Eat'em Up Kats" claw, The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band (always awesome to watch!!!)
Bottom:  The "Century Tree", the kids ready to go to Aggieland

The Ags beat the ever lovin' crap outta the Bearkats, as expected.  But even the Hubs was not to upset by this.  We had an awesome day.  The weather was amazing, the Aggie Spirit was alive and well and we are looking forward to doing this a little more often!
Family picture at the Sul Ross statue in front of the Administration Building.

Another family shot under the Century Tree.
And the Fantasy Fitness Challenge continues!  I was the Quarterback last week, which means all of my workout points are doubled for the week...which also means I had step up the workouts in order to help my team score lots of points!  Our group has a secret Facebook page and it's a good thing that it's blocked from view of the general public, because we post a lot of goofy pictures on it.  Here are some examples...
Top:  Yes, I am working out...and in my FFL shirt, which gains more points!
Center:  We post our Garmins and HRMs a lot...this is proof that we worked out.
Bottom:  More proof that I am working out (not in a FFL shirt, though) and the Kiddo has joined me.
And, we get points for outings with other team members, too.  Unfortunately, I don't have a heck of a lot of time for outings, but I have managed to get in a few!
Outing at Starbucks....we also got in a Group Workout, which is also extra points!!!
The Fantasy Fitness Challenges includes a "Game Day Challenge".  This week the game day challenge was to go to a local fire station with a gift of some sort to say "Thank You" for their service.  We actually got a few of the FFL challenge teams together for this and presented our local firemen with a gift basket of goodies perfect for watching the Texans game.
Three (or was it Four?) of the FFL teams represented at this week's GDC! 

So now you are caught up with what's been going on in my world. I know our family is looking forward to a little down time over the holiday weekend...well, as much down time you can have when you have Thanksgiving, a wedding anniversary and the Kiddo's birthday all in one week! 

How was your weekend?  Any great plans for the upcoming holiday weekend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weighing In - an update

I realized that I really slacked off from the eating/weight loss/nutrition updates a couple of months ago.  For that, I am sorry.  It's kinda hard to follow someone's weight loss journey when they are not posting about it.

I've definitely had my struggles.  In August, we had our vacation to San Antonio and while I stayed on my eating plan about 75% of the time, it seems like I never quite got back on the wagon as well as I had before.  At my weigh in in August, I saw some pretty awesome results...

And then, I weighed in again in October...I had reached my weight loss goal, but had only lost a little over 1% of body fat.  This could be due to me increasing my cardio workouts and decreasing my strength training workouts.  Since then, I have managed to lose 1.7 more pounds for a grand total of..............


15 lbs

I've lost a total of 6.3% body fat (I still have work to do here), and total of 12.8 lbs of fat are gone.  I need to find my measurements, but I have lost several inches in my weight, hips, legs, shoulders and arms.  I have had to buy new clothes...and my old clothes that no longer fit?  I've given some away to friends and donated the rest!

You get cool (which can also be scary) charts like this when you weigh in....

While I am super happy about that, I have to admit - October has been a tough month for me. It seems like the minute October hit the calendar, the candy appeared at work.  And not just any candy.


Chocolate, my friends, is my worst enemy.  It's my weakness. My Achilles heel.  My kryponite.  Okay, that and candy corn. I managed to stay away from the candy at first, but gradually my willpower began to fade. I found myself grabbing a mini-Mounds at work.  Then, I had to make a quick trip to CVS for something and found myself also buying a bag of Brach's candy corn ('cause when it comes to candy corn, I only buy the good stuff!).  And, I totally pigged out on the candy corn on the drive home.  It was only 8 minutes, but still.  One can do a lot of damage with candy corn in 8 minutes.  By the time I pulled my car into the garage, I felt like crap - both my stomach and my thoughts.  I threw was was left in the garbage.  Damage done, but I wasn't going to let that happen again!

Evil, evil candy corn!

And, while the Hubs took our Halloween candy to his office, everyone else at my office brought their candy in.  A mini-Kit Kat here, a fun sized Twix there...yeah, it all adds up.  And I am up almost 3 pounds.  Sigh.  Even though I was eating the right foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all those extras got me.  And, it didn't help that a family member came to visit and brought a large supply of M&Ms and cookies.

So yes, I've been eating stuff like this..

And this...

I've also been eating too much of this...
What's so "fun" about something this small?

However, on Tuesday I decided enough was enough.  I declared that day, November 13, my official "Sugar-detox-back-on-the-wagon" day!  This time of year is difficult for the weight-challenged.  But, I have lost weight during the holidays before and I will do it again!


Remember, Thanksgiving day and Christmas day are just that - a day. I will splurge (within reason) on those days and those days only.  All the Christmas parties and office festivities are not my license to splurge!  Fortunately, this is also the time of year when those of us training for the Houston Marathon and 1/2 Marathon are hitting our peak mileage.  And while you can't exercise away a bad diet, it certainly can't hurt!

Oh how I wish I could!

Do tend to gain during the holidays?  How do you deal with all the temptation this time of year?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last week's workouts...

Monday, 11/5
Run - 30 minutes
Kenpo X - 30 minutes (I didn't do the entire workout)
Stretching - 30 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Tuesday, 11/6
Brazil Butt Lift, Bum Bum and Bum Bum Rapido workouts - 37 minutes
TRX - 1 hour
200 Crunches x 2

Wednesday, 11/7
3 mile run - 29:45 (first sub-10 pace since before the great hip fiasco on 2012!), plus a little walking cool down
Squats, lunges, stairs - 15 minutes (immediately after the run)
Stretching - 30 minutes
200 Crunches

Thursday, 11/8
Brazil Butt Lift - Sculpt workout - 40 minutes
3-mile Run - 30 minutes
200 crunches x 3

Friday, 11/9 (rest day)
Yoga/Stretching - ~45 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Saturday, 11/10
Run - 10 miles,
Stretching - 30 minutes
200 crunches x 2

Sunday, 11/11 - Happy Veterans Day!!!
Bike - 1 hour, 10 minutes
Walk with the kids/dog - 40 minutes
Stretching - 30 minutes (my calves were killing me from the day before)
200 crunches x 2

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 2012 NYC Marathon

A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about a NYC marathon post.  I was planning to reminisce a little about my experience at NYCM last year and talk about the amazing-ness that is the NYC Marathon.

NYCM 2011 - Taking off again after seeing the Hubs in Manhattan around mile 17

Then came Sandy.

The focus of the post I was planning shifted to the NYC Marathon and hurricane Sandy.  I was going to post about whether or not I would have deferred (most likely), or gone ahead and flown to NYC as planned.  The Hubby and I talked about whether it would still be the same NYCM experience.  Would the spectators who made the marathon a huge annual cheering party still be cheering? Or, would they be angry that the race had been held after all they had just been through? Would they boo the runners?    How difficult would it be to get around the city and to the start line?  Would the volunteers still be there?  After all, they had just gone through a horrible experience.  Would the course change?  And if so, how much?  Was it right to run when so many were in need of the water?  So much to think about.

Then, the decision was made to cancel the race.

Officials insisted - the race will go on!  Imagine being in NYC already and seeing this one minute....

And this the next!

While I do agree with the decision to cancel, I believe the decision should have been made once officials were certain that NYC was going to be hit by Sandy.  Monday, Tuesday maybe?  Wednesday at the latest.  To cancel it before the storm hit might have been a bad idea.  I've lived near the Gulf coast my entire life and I can't tell you how many times we've prepped for storms, only to have the storm change directions at the last minute.  It happens.  But, I think NYC officials and NYCM made a crappy call to cancel the race on FRIDAY.


I mean seriously?

A lot of athletes travel into NYC on Friday, if not before.  I know a few people who wait until Saturday (like me), but I imagine those are the exception.  So there you are, an international athlete, who has traveled thousands of miles to race and boom, no marathon.   I totally understand the why behind this decision, just not the timing.  I had two friends who had already arrived and picked up their packets at the expo before the decision was made.  Another friend arrived in NYC late Friday.  She turned on her phone when the plane landed, only to find she had numerous emails and text messages about the race cancellation.

Luckily, many athletes made the best of a bad situation and volunteered their time in NYC to help the victims of Sandy.  I was happy to see the numerous Facebook posts and tweets about how runners were making their way to Staten Island with water and other provisions.  Other runners ran laps around Central Park to get in an unofficial 26.2 miles.  My friend with the cell phone flew home the next day and ran the San Antonio marathon a week later.  Compared to the loss the people of New York and New Jersey are experiencing - loss of lives, loss of homes - not having your marathon and trip go as planned is pretty minor.

While I was sad and disappointed for my friends who traveled to NYC, I do understand the why behind the decision.  As of today, there are still 120,000 people in New York and New Jersey without power and 43 people in NY have died.  To add insult to injury, the area was hit earlier this week with brutally cold temps and snow.  Though New York and New Jersey were hit with the worst of the storm,  Sandy reached 1,000 miles across.  Overall, Sandy has killed more than 100 people in 10 states. Per the Huffington Post, damage has been estimated at $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Katrina.

Holy cow y'all!

As you can imagine, help is still needed.  If you would like to help, you can make a donation to the American Red Cross here.  Other than that, I'm sure the people in the affected areas could use your prayers.

So what were your thoughts on the whole NYCM fiasco?  What do you think should be done for the athletes who were planning to race?  Refunds?  Guaranteed entries for 2013?  I'm curious know your thoughts!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The week in pictures...

So this is later than's been a busy week!  Here are the pics from the week of Halloween...

The week started with some awesome temps for running (50s)...I donned my favorite pair of running capri's and headed out the door with the dog.  Usually, the dog and I run pretty well together, but every now and then he sort of edges directly in front of me.  That is what happened last week and I took quite a tumble.  If it weren't for the tights, it might have been worse.  Funny how my tights were just fine, as I was pretty sure I had a big hole in the knee!

Ouch! I had a nice purple hue on both knees the next day.

On Tuesday, it was officially JUSTIN BIEBER DAY in our house (who is also known as JB).  I came straight home from work, met my Sister-in-Law (who is awesome), got the Kiddo ready and we were off.  We arrived over an hour early and were amazed at the number of people already at the venue.  I thought the Madonna concert was crazy, but it had nothing on the JB kinda crazy!  We waited in line about an hour just to buy souvenirs.  Also, unlike the Madonna concert, the concert started on time.  Carly Rae Jebsen opened the show (you know, the "Call me maybe" girl?), and she gave a fun performance.  After about 45 minutes, she left the stage and the crew started to prepare the stage for JB.  Every time the lights flickered, the girls in the audience went crazy.  And by crazy, I mean they shrieked and screamed.  Oh Lord, I knew we were gonna be in for a crazy time.

Some pics of the night...

Finally, the countdown clock started going on the on-stage video screen - 10 minutes left!  At the turn of each minute, there was more shrieking.  And I forgot to mention - there was tons of sequins everywhere.  And purple. Lots and lots of purple...apparently, that is JB's favorite color.  So we had sequins and shrieking...lots of it.

This smile made every minute (and dollar) totally worth it!
Finally, the Biebster took the stage!  I have to admit, he's talented.   He danced and played the piano, guitar and drums at various parts of the show.  My only complaint is that he grabs his crotch when he dances.  A lot.  (Thank you Michael Jackson for starting this!)  Other than that, we all had a great time and most importantly, the Kiddo had a great time.

The next day was Halloween.  We did the whole trick or treating thing and the kids enjoyed getting lots of loot.  (The hubs and I enjoyed some of it, too!)  Can someone tell me why it's so difficult to get a 4 year old and 7 year old to look at the camera and smile at the same time and without making silly faces????

Silly face #1

The kiddo trying to pose for a good pic.  The munchkin?  Well, here's silly face #2.

The Kiddo looks bored, the Munchkin looks terrified!

Later in the week, the Hubs and I had a chance to attend the Kiddo's A-honor roll celebration.  Fun times!
Me and my little smarty pants!

As you already know, our week ended with the Oilman 70.3.  You've seen the Hubby's recap, well here are some pics from behind the scenes. The kids stayed with their Grandparents, while I met the hubs at the race.  I was excited to see the Hubs head out of the water a little earlier than expected, looking strong.  Once he was out on the bike, I picked up the kids and headed back out to the race.  My Sister-in-Law and nephews met us at the race, so we had a great little cheering crew.  We managed to get our cheering section set up just in time to see the Hubs come in on the bike and head out on the run.  It was a loop course, so we were able to see the Hubs and some other friends several times.  Of course, the best part was seeing the Hubs finish the race!  We were all super proud!

The cheering crew, a sign made by the Munchkin (not bad for a 4 year old!) and the Munchkin worn out from all the cheering!
So that's this week in pictures...I hope you are having a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Oilman 70.3 Race Report (Post from the Hubby)

I am not a blogger nor am I much of a writer.  My wife asked me to write a race report of my recent Half Iron Distance Triathlon and said I could be a guest blogger.  My first thought was “Hmmm, do I really want my pain and misery to be shared by her readers?”  After giving it more thought, I decided it was the least I could do for her, considering she has put up with so much over the last few months of training and will have to put up with much more in the upcoming months of me training for Ironman Texas 2013. So here it goes, my feeble attempt to become a blogger for a day:

First a little background information about me.  I am 42 years old and married to the most wonderful woman in the world.  I am a father of two, who works a full time job and is training for Ironman Texas.  I am not much of a swimmer, not a strong biker, and not a very fast runner.  I guess you could say I am a run of the mill MOP to BOP (Middle of the Pack – Back of the Pack) type triathlete.  I started doing triathlons in 2011 and had been running off and on since 1996.  My cycling experience was strictly MTB up until I started TRI training. My wife started dabbling into triathlons after running what seemed like over a 100 marathons (exaggerating a little) and her enjoyment of the sport piqued my interest and so I decided to give it a shot.

On November 4, 2012, I participated in the Oilman Texas Triathlon, a half iron distance race consisting of a 1.2 Mile Swim, followed by a 56 Mile Bike and ending with a 13.1 Mile Run, for a grand total of 70.3 miles.  Prior to this race, I had only participated in Sprint Distance Triathlons with my longest swim being 550 Meters, longest bike 15 miles and longest run being a 5K.  I have participated in other road races with my longest run to date being 13.1 miles.

I had been training for months and had done several 60 mile bike rides, two 12 mile runs and several swims in excess of 3000 yards.  I felt strong physically leading into race day but in the week leading to the race, my mental focus had shifted from, “Yeah Bring It On” to “Oh S**t, this is really happening.”  I began having my doubts and upon talking to my coach and other athletes, I found out this was perfectly normal.  The main voice of comfort was that of my wife, as you know as a true badass, who told me to trust my training.  She reassured that all my hard work and dedication would get me through the event.   As usual, she was right…

The pre-race prep

The night before the race, I got all my gear in order, set my clock back and thought a good night sleep was in order.  Was I ever wrong.  I think I slept a total of 2 hours.

I woke up race morning, I kid myself when I say I woke up since I had been awake since 2:00 a.m., and had my prerace meal.  I ate a banana and a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  I continued drinking water and electrolytes.  I gathered my gear, took a quick shower and headed out the door.  When I left, I got a call from my wife who said I had left my second banana and pop tart, which I planned on eating an hour prior to swim start, on the counter.  She said she would bring them to the race.  I got to the race site, which was La Toretta Resort in Conroe, TX, got body marked, picked up my chip and headed into transition.  By now it is about 5:50 a.m.  I get my transition area set up and start mentally preparing for what is going to be a long day.  The forecast was for possible showers and a high temperature of 84 degrees.  Temperature at race start was forecasted to be 64 degrees with 100% humidity, yuck.

The race start was scheduled for 7:00.  This race was a wave start beginning at 7:00 a.m. with 4 minutes in between each wave.  My swim wave was scheduled for 7:20.  This event was a beach start which was a unique.  Before the swim start began, I jumped in the lake and did a warm up swim of about 200 meters.

Before the race

The Swim
The swim was wetsuit legal with the water temperature being reported at 69 – 70 Degrees Fahrenheit.  Entering the water felt pretty good.  I avoided the mad rush and decided to hang back and let the overzealous, that’s what I like to call fast people, go on ahead.  I waded out about 15 meters and started swimming.  The water felt great but visibility was limited.  I stuck to my game plan and kept a good comfortable pace that I knew I would be able to maintain for the duration of the race.  The water felt a little crowded, I laugh at this comment because I can only imagine what an Ironman Swim Start will be like, and ended up bumping into the same guy until the second turn.  Rounding the second turn buoy, I looked around and began seeing different colored swim caps, not the ones from the wave behind me as I normally do.  I realized I had caught up to people in the waves before mine.  This was a first for me.  I pressed on, made the third turn and headed for the beach.   Before I knew it, my hands were touching bottom so I stood up and exited the water.  The wetsuit strippers were great and had me out of the wetsuit in one measly pull.

I had a really good swim, by my standards, and had originally projected to be finished in 50:00.  I was out of the water in 47:31.  The road to T1 was long so I walked most of it and picked up the pace to a slow jog as I got closer.

There is nothing really special I can say about transition.  I took my time, out on my shoes, helmet, glasses, made sure I had all my nutrition with me and headed out.  Oh yeah, I did down a bottle of water to wash the lake water taste out of my mouth.
Total time for T1 6:01.

Heading out of T1
I know some of y'all will laugh when I say this but by Texas standards, this was a hilly bike course. I knew what to expect with the bike because I had trained on the course the weeks leading to the race.  I headed out and set my timers to remind me when to drink and eat.  The plan was to drink from my water bottles containing 2 scoops of Cytomax mixed with water every 15 minutes and eat something every 45 minutes.  This is the plan that I trained with and this is the plan I stuck to during the race.  My caloric intake for the duration of the bike was to be approximately 290-310 calories per hour.  The first hour, I finished one bottle of Cytomax, containing 190 calories, and ate a Honey Stinger Strawberry Flavored Waffle (these things are the bomb), 120 calories.  Also, I took one Energy Labs Endurosalt tablet every hour.  The second hour was pretty much of the same except 1 took one Accel Gel Vanilla Bean, 100 calories with the Cytomax and lots of water.  Water was kept in my Aerodrink aero bottle.  My last hour, I ate a Kind Bar instead of the waffle or gel.  My coach told me to stay hydrated and I guess I did, I had to stop and relieve myself at two of the three water stops.  Things to learn : Learn to pee on the bike.

As for the ride itself, it felt a little crowded.  There was limited shoulder along the route and it was not a closed course.  Passing people proved sometimes difficult.  There were times I was glad no race officials were around because several of us would have gotten penalized for drafting.  The rolling terrain took us through the Sam Houston National Forest to the town of Richards.  The roads were in good condition despite some wet areas from the previous day’s rain.  Once through Richards, the route took us through the small town of Dobbin, up a “false climb” road, Johnson Rd., back into the town of Montgomery.  You may ask why I used the term “false climb”.  Simple; Johnson Rd. is one of those roads that looks flat but in reality, the majority of the road is a constant climb.  Once in Montgomery, we took the road home.  

My heart Rate began to settle around mile 6 but it was difficult trying to maintain in the correct zone because of all the climbing.  I finally decided to stop trying to maintain Zone 2 (127-146 BPM) and was just trying to maintain a low Zone 3 (147-168).  I was also trying not to stay in Lactate Threshold too long during the climbs.

I finished the ride in 3:21:13 which equated to an average speed of 16.7 mph.  I was happy with the ride, the speed and I felt good coming off the bike.

Again, transition was uneventful.  I took my time, knowing I had at least 2 hours (on a good day) to go.  I put on my shoes, grabbed my race number, nutrition for the run and headed out.  Oh yeah, had to stop at the porta can, AGAIN, on my way out.

The run was a 4 mile, plus a little more, 3 loop course.  My strategy was to walk the aid stations and keep hydrated.  Well, my plan worked for about 2 miles of the first loop, I began walking a little more than anticipated.  My legs began to feel tight, but not cramping tight, at the hip flexors.  Every now and then I felt a “twinge” in my quad and my left Achilles.  Prior to this race, I had been dealing with Achilles Tendonosis but had recently been running pain free.  When I felt the Achilles twinge, I grew concerned.  It didn’t hurt enough to make me stop and stretch it but it was letting me know that the issue was not 100% healed.  I abandoned the Cytomax for the run and was taking water, Gatorade, gels and Endurosalts during the run.  After a while, I grew very hungry but felt nauseous at the same time.  I commented to another runner that “I feel like vomiting, but I’m hungry.”  This comment drew some laughs and comments from some spectators.  I guess they found it odd to be hungry and nauseous at the same time.  I decided to abandon the gels and the nausea subsided.  There were pretzels available at the aid stations and I took full advantage.  They really hit the spot.  The run became more difficult as time went on.  Along the course, there were large pockets of spectators followed by areas of solitude.  The solitary moments were good and bad.  Good because it allowed me to reflect on the day and bad because the crowd seems to make you forget about the pain and press on.  I pressed on and upon passing Mile 10, I kept repeating to myself, “Just a 5K.”  When I hit Mile 12, I told myself, “I’m gonna do this.”  That last mile, everything came into perspective.  I had been told that the biggest part of the road to Ironman is the journey. My coach told me I would become a changed man as I journeyed down that road.  At that moment, I realized this was one of those moments along the journey.  I can’t express to you the feelings I had but it was like nothing else mattered to me but my wife, who was there to support me not only during the race but my training, my children, and my faith, which gave me the strength to participate and finish this race.  When I rounded the corner to the finish line, I felt a sense of joy, a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment.  Sharing this moment with my wife, my kids, my sister and nephews was a feeling that I will not soon forget.

On the run course

I finished the run in 2:46:12.  This was a little over my goal but I am happy with the result.  Total race time was 7:05:30.

Rounding the corner to the finish!

Finishing strong

 Looking back at the experience, I realized there are some things that need to be addressed.  First and foremost is hill strength on the bike.  The course proved somewhat challenging because of the terrain and I will be riding the same area in May.  I can always improve on my run.  I’m pretty happy with my swim, for now, but I know my balance and form could use some work.  My nutrition plan worked for this race but I know it will have to be tweaked for longer distances.

All in all this was a great experience.  I will take what I learned from this race and use it to my advantage in my next big race…May 18, 2013..Ironman Texas.

After the race...tired, but feeling pretty good

Part of my cheering section


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Last Week's Workouts...

Another busy week with the workouts.  Being a part of the Fantasy Fitness Challenge has really made me focus on being consistent with the workouts, when I might otherwise want to be a slacker here and there!

Monday, 10/29
-  3.5 mile run
-  10 minutes of arm work with weights
-  200 crunches

Tuesday, 10/30
-  Brazil Butt Lift - Sculpt workout - 50 minutes
-  200 crunches x2

Wednesday, 11/1
-  2.75 mile run (not much, still tired from going to bed late after the JB concert)
-  200 crunches x2
-  1:41 walking with the kids while trick or treating...this burned a whole 200 calories, lol!

Thursday, 11/2
-  4 mile run
-  200 crunches x2
-  TRX - 1 hour, plus some stationary bike/treadmill

Friday, 11/3
-  Brazil Butt Lift - 55 minutes
-  200 crunches x 2

Saturday, 11/4
-  8-mile run with Woodlands Fit
-  1-mile run with the Munchkin at TWRC Juniors running club
-  37-minute walk with the kids around the neighborhood
-  200 crunches x 2

Sunday, 11/5
-  Spectating - 5 hours :-)  (The Hubby completed his first ever 70.3!  More on that tomorrow!)
200 Crunches
-  Game Day Challenge - each member of our group had to do the following 3x:
   * 10 pushups
   * 20 burpees
   * 30 jump squats
   * 40 mountain climbers
   * 50 sit ups

Stay tuned!  I will have a special race report from the Hubs' 1st 70.3, an update on my nutrition/weight loss and some thoughts on the NYCM.

Hope you're having a great week!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Week in Pictures

It was another fun-filled, busy weekend for the RunnerMom family, but that's the way we like it!  We started the weekend with a family movie night on Friday...Madagascar 3 was the movie.  That, along with popcorn and a warm, fuzzy blanket on the couch, cuddled up with the Hubs and kids is one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night.
Saturday, I had coaching duties with Woodlands Fit.  The temps were in the 50s, which made for AMAZING running!  Next, I headed homeso the hubs and I could take the kids to a fun run - the Monster Mash Run.  This race has a 5K, 10k, 15k and a Candy Corn Kids K.  While the Hubs and I both wanted to run the grown up races, we had just run the 10K last weekend and I had my coaching duties, so we decided against it.  The medal was super cool, though...a glow in the dark zombie!  This event is an OnUrMark race, which are always well coordinated, very organized, fun events...we try to sign up for their events whenever we can.  Participants are encouraged to wear costumes and many do.
The kids race was great!  The Kiddo had friends her age running, so she ran with them.  The Munchkin was feeling a bit shy, so I ended up running with him.  They had a great time and received super cute, candy corn shaped medals.

The Hubs and kids before the race...a bit windy and chilly!
Me and the Munchkin...yep, still a Momma's boy.  I don't mind!

After the race, sporting their awesome medals!
Racing is more fun with friends! 
After the race, we had just enough time to get some grocery shopping and laundry done before heading to our neighborhood Halloween Party.  There were plenty of fun and games to enjoy, and the Kiddo took 3rd place in the costume contest!

The kids (aka Merida and Hawkeye) ready for the neighborhood party!

Merida sporting her 3rd place ribbon
We finished out the day with evening church service and dinner.  The Hubs and I watched Prometheus, which we both thought was just, "Eh".  The next morning, we had temps in the high 30s!  The Hubs postponed his 2-hour bike ride until the temps warmed up a bit, which gave us a chance to have a family breakfast...this used to be our tradition on Sunday mornings, but sometime training gets in the way.

Later in the day, I met up with fellow fitness challenge team member, Kelly.  Our challenge this week was to encourage people to "Exercise their Vote"!  This required us to go to our local polling place and write encouraging statements on the sidewalk with our sidewalk chalk...or should I say, the kid's sidewalk chalk?
Kelly and I...we highjacked the kid's scooters!

Holding the Munchkin once again!  I should try to enjoy this, right?

Some of our art work...okay, maybe art isn't the right word.

Taking time for a team "outing"...picking out pumpkins for the kids to carve.
After chalking up the sidewalks, I headed home.  We met up with the Hubs after his bike ride and headed out to the Wings Over Houston airshow.  I know I've mentioned before that I am a space geek...well the same goes for jets.  In fact, the Hubs and I went to the airshow religiously every year for many years.  Then we had kids.  Enough said.  We figure that the kids are still a bit young to spend the entire day on the tarmac with loud planes flying overhead.  They'd maybe last for a few hours and then the meltdowns would begin.  Instead of subjecting ourselves to that, we decided to drive out to the airshow and arrive just in time to see the fabulous Blue Angels.

The kids DID NOT want to leave home.  They whined about being tired and wanting to play in the backyard.  But, once we arrived, they had an awesome time.  Within 5 minutes of parking, the Blue Angels' C-130 took off and the kids were instantly mesmerized by the whole thing.  When the Blue Angels began their performance, they were thrilled and there was no more complaining after that.  At one point, the jets flew overhead so low that all the car alarms nearby went off...the kids loved it.  I did, too!

Not the best was taken with my iphone, but you get the idea!


No airshow is complete without really messy cotton candy!
We ended our weekend with some Halloween cookie baking.  We were hoping to have time to carve pumpkins on Sunday night, but it had been a full day already.  The kids were getting tired and it was getting late.  We ended up postponing pumpkin carving until Monday night.  The kids picked out their patterns - the Kiddo wanted Ariel (only because there wasn't a good Justin Bieber pattern) and the Munchkin wanted Spiderman.
The Kiddo tracing her pattern

The Munchkin...I think this is the 1st time he has traced the pattern all by himself!

The finished product...the Hubs took over when the actual carving began

Ariel...this one was my handiwork.

So that was our week in pictures.  This week has turned out to be a crazy one...there was the Justin Bieber concert on Tuesday, Halloween on Wednesday, a family get together on Saturday and the Hub's 70.3 on Sunday!  Stay tuned for picture overload!!!