Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Anyone watch?

The Hubs and I don't watch much TV, but there are a few shows that we love - Mad Men, Homeland and Walking Dead.  I saw this floating around on FB and thought it was too freaking funny not to share...

Do you watch much TV?  What shows are you hooked on???

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2012 - The Year in Review

This has been an interesting year to say the least!  I started the year with two big races on my calendar – The Houston Marathon and Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston.  I was excited about the marathon.  I had just PRed in NYC on a tough course.  I actually had a little hope for a PR in Houston.  And, the 70.3 in Galveston scared the heck out of me, but at the same time I was excited about the challenge.  It was something that I had really wanted to do the year before, but conflicts with my work schedule prevented me from training for it.

Unfortunately, thanks to the hip issues that started in December '11, I not only had to miss out on both of those races, but I was not able to spin, bike, run, swim, etc. for the next few months! 

It sucked. 
Let's just say that the numerous dr's appointments (not to mention $$$) with no real diagnosis made for an extremely frustrating 5 months of being injured.  Working out is my outlet.  My therapy.  To have everyone around you training for something, while you are stuck at home or in the gym working only on upper body…well, it just plain sucks.  I also put on a few pounds – the stress from work without the therapy of running had me turning to food for comfort.  Dumb!  I did a lot of spectating...it was fun, but it's not the same as racing!

Spectating at the Houston Marathon...bittersweet
Spectating the Woodlands 1/2 Marathon..very proud of the hubby on his PR!
In May, I also had the opportunity to volunteer and spectate at Ironman Texas.  Just like last year, this was a total blast!  My friend, Kelly, was racing along with some others from our tri group and that made the experience even more fun. And, we not only met Chrissie Wellington, but got to hand out medals with her!  She was the coolest person ever...so sweet and so much fun!

Hanging out with Chrissie!!!
Kelly after the race

Also in May, I decided to get my weight under control.  I saw a doctor for a metabolic rate test and some nutritional guidance.  This was one of my best decisions of the year!  Since having kids, I could always lose weight, but I could never seem to get below 142 lbs.  (Before kids, I was at a comfortable 130 pounds….give or take 1 or 2)  I had started to just accept that 142 was going to be my new 130.  Thanks to my comfort foods binge while injured, my weight was higher than it had been in over a year.  (Yes, higher than 142!)  Thanks to my new nutrition plan – all clean eating – I found myself back at my pre-kid weight and feeling lean and mean!  And the funny thing?  I was barely even running…I was focusing on core and strength.  More on that later.  Anyway, the end result was a loss of 15 pounds.  I will admit, I did gain 3 of those back over the holidays…I am working on that.
Just some of the yummy goodness I've been eating!
Finally in late May, I was given the okay to attempt some walking with a bit of jogging mixed in.  I started out slowly.  First, I just walked around the neighborhood with no running.  Next, I walked 5 minutes, jogged a minute. Then, I walked 4 minutes and jogged 2 minutes.  I kept gradually decreasing my walk time and increasing my jog time until I could finally jog straight through the miles.

In June, I volunteered to be a Woodlands Fit coach.  Another great decision - it was an awesome experience!  I was a little worried that I would face a set back with the hip and not be able to run all the miles with my group.  But, my worries were not necessary, because even though the hip ached here and there it seemed to be taking the running rather well!  I had a great time with my group – they were awesome and I am so proud of the hard work they put in over the months!

Just a few of the awesome peeps from my group!
I hated that I was missing out on tri-season because of the hip, so I decided to sign up for the TriGirl sprint in August.  It's a nice, low pressure race with distances I knew I was capable of.  I had been biking and doing a little swimming, but I was still taking the running very slow.  I surprised myself by not only running the entire 5k portion of the race, but actually running it faster than anticipated.  It also felt good to be wearing tri-gear with a thinner, leaner physique…of course, I still feel like a stuffed sausage in spandex!
TriGirl - feel stronger and leaner (is leaner a word?)
While I didn't want to push my hip more than I needed to, I did decide to sign up for the Bridge Series – two 10Ks and a ½ marathon, all over some challenging bridges!  I was able to complete each of these runs with one of my BFFs, M, who was also just getting back into running after a long hiatus.  We didn't PR, but we did have an awesome time!
Finished with the Bridge Series!  We are lovin' the bling!
In October, I ran one of my favorite races - the Ten for Texas.  I ran this one the best I could and was surprised to find out that I hadn't lost as much endurance with my injury as I thought.  It was a real confidence booster!  I also ran the RunGirl ½ Marathon Relay in December and again, ran better than expected. 
Some Woodlands Fit peeps before the Ten for Texas!
This was definitely a year for trying new things – I tried TRX and CrossFit.  I also tried the Brazil Butt Lift workout from Beachbody.  I loved each of these for completely different reasons.  TRX is awesome for building strength and really works your core.  I definitely built strength with it. I wish I could have attended more sessions of CrossFit, because I love the community feel and the challenging exercises both with strength and cardio.  It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone!  The Brazil Butt Lift, while seems easy, really makes you feel the burn!  I also had an opportunity to try some new classes at the gym at work – working out with crazy co-workers with a bad ass instructor was awesome!  I also started some trail running on the neighborhood trails…I see a pair of trail running shoes in my future!

Some of the fun things I tried at TRX!!!

Brazil Butt Lift...sounds cheesy, but it's awesome!
Enjoying the trails with my new running partner!

What can I say?  The year was not at all what I expected, but it was awesome nonetheless.  Fun races, weight loss, getting leaner and trying all kinds of new workouts…what's not to be proud of? And, I think that 2013 will be my year to make some changes...but, more to come on that later!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I've Been Up To...

I know my 2.5 regular readers are wondering if I have managed to fall off the face of the earth.  I have not.  (breathe a sigh of relief)  It's not that I don't have a ton of stuff to blog about, because I do!  But, I am going back and forth about changing up the blog a bit.  But, change is hard...I man, I have been txrunnermom for 6 years!  But, my interests are shifting a bit...I am getting outside of my running comfort zone.  Yes, I transitioned from running to triathlons a few years ago.  But now, I find myself focusing more on all aspects of fitness - cardio (and not just running), strength training, and most importantly, nutrition.  As I evolve, I think my blog needs to evolve as well.  The biggest thing hold me back?  Technology!  As in, converting from Blogger to Wordpress.  I am scared to do it myself - I don't want to lose 6 years of posts.  But at the same time, I don't want to spend a fortune paying someone to do it for me.  I will get there eventually though, so be on the lookout for some changes in the coming months!

Of course, my blog would not be complete with lots of pictures of the kids.  Here's what we've been up to since Christmas...

As you know, before the holidays I discovered the trails near my house.  I love, love, love the trails!  It's so fun exploring them and I love being out in the middle of nature with a soft path beneath my feet.  And, I've taken the kids out for a few walks.  At first, they were a bit hesitant - I mean, there are bugs, scratchy bushes, weird noises, etc. 

One happy trail walker, one hesitant one...
But, once they discovered where we were going...they decided that they loved the trails!

Yes, it's winter and we are wading in the creek...warm air, freezing water!

Gotta admit, it's a gorgeous view!

The kids also ran a kid's 1-mile race and had a blast.  It was one of those mornings where the kids were a bit cranky and whiny (okay, a lot cranky and whiny!).  But, when we arrived at the race, they were happy and excited.  Of course having a playground at the race site certainly helped, lol!  I was super proud of how well both kids did - Riley ran the entire mile (when she typically runs about 1/2 and whines while she walks the 2nd 1/2) and Joseph ran about 3/4 of the way (also with very little whining!).  They both proudly wore their medals and enjoyed the post race festivities. 

My sweet kiddos post-race with their medals

Our local Luke's Locker recently hosted a craft night, so several of the folks from my running club met up for the festivities.  Hey, if there's wine there, we will be there!!!  We made coasters from our bibs and they turned out great.  Such a fun time with some awesome women!

Yes we are straining the wine with a coffee filter...long story.

Working on our coasters...

The finished product...
Before the event, I pulled out my stack of bibs.  I had a fun time reminiscing about all these races and the friends I ran with.  I also briefly wondered how much money I had spent in entry fees over the years.  Yeah, best not to think about that one too long!
So many races, so many great memories!
 The weekend after the Houston Marathon and 1/2 Marathon, our group met up for a short run and some breakfast.  Since this was our "Victory Run", we all wore our finishers shirts and medals...hey, what other time can you walk around wearing your medals and not get strange looks???  I've missed seeing these smiling faces every weekend and look forward to starting up training/coaching again this summer!

Part of my awesome crew!

I've also been trying out lots of new products, thanks to my subscription to both Bulu Box and Kona Kase.  I love getting those cute little boxes in the mail and seeing what kind of goodies are inside!  I am going to be posting some unsolicited reviews each week as I try the products...yummy!

Here's the type of stuff you get from Kona Kase each month...awesome!

The Bulu Box...just seeing this in the mailbox makes me smile!

In general, I have been trying to savor the time with the Hubby and kids and not take life so seriously.  Kinda hard when you're a type A like myself...but, I am trying to take the cues from my kids, who still know how to live life to it's fullest, one day at a time.  Funny, because we just went through a series at church called "The Art of Whimsy" that addressed this exact thing.  Perfect timing!  Here are a few pictures of some of the silly fun we've been having...
Only in Texas would you have a mechanical bull at Church...the kids loved it!
Ride'em Cowgirl!
Bingo night at the Kiddo's school...we were close several times, but never bingo-ed!  Next time!

Enjoying the awesome weather at the playground

Rainy day?  No worries...we can have fun indoors, too!

Being silly!

I hope your 2013 is going well so far!  I still need to post my 2012 recap and my 2013 goals...yes, this type A has been procrastinating on this.  I think this year is going to be my year to make some big changes...I'm working on it, anyway.  In the meantime, let's enjoy each day to it's fullest and appreciate all the little things that make life so wonderful...

Appreciate the beauty that is all around us!

What have you been up to so far in 2013?  Training?  Races?  Travel?  Lemme know!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon - Race Report

Well, race day had finally arrived.  We had all been watching the weather forecast all week and it wasn't improving - the prediction was for temps in the high 40s with about a 70% chance of rain (possibly thunderstorms).  Not exactly what you want to hear when you know you will be running for over 2 hours.  I felt bad for the folks running the full!

But, it is what it is - totally out of our control!

I woke up and had my usual egg whites and steel cut oats for breakfast.  Since I had a better than expected performance at the RunGirl relay the month before after taking an Emergen-C before the race, I decided to take another packet.  Couldn't hurt! 

I had set out my clothes the night before, but really...what does one wear in this type of weather?  You know it will be chilly, you know it will be raining and you can't exactly wrap yourself in plastic from head to toe. 

Well, I guess you could...

I decided to wear a running skirt (instead of my capris), a short sleeve shirt, and arm warmers (so I could remove if needed).  At the last minute, I threw the "nothing new on race day" rule out the window and decided to wear my cute pink compression calf sleeves.  Yes, I've had them for almost a year, but no I've never run in them.  Do as I say ya'll, not as I do!!!  And, I packet my bag for check-in with an entire dry set of clothes...even the shoes!

I arrived Downtown around 5:30 am and found a parking spot in a nearby parking garage.  The garage I had used in the past was closed for some reason.  The minute I began to walk toward the GRB, it started raining.  I opened rain poncho #1 and put it on - no sense in getting soaked before the race even started!  When I made it to the GRB, the rain had slowed down.  I went to our group's meeting spot and found that I was one of the first ones to arrive.  As people began to get there, the main topic of conversation was the weather and what to wear...leave on a warmer layer or take it off?  Wear a trash bag or a rain poncho?  Some of headed over to drop off our bags and made one last trip to the porta potties, then took a quick picture of anyone who was still standing around...it seemed like some of us were in no hurry to head outside!  I had an extra rain poncho, but managed to drop it going to the bag check-in.

Some of the group before the race

Finally, we began to head to the start.  It was drizzly, but not too bad. I went ahead and put on my sexy, $1 store rain poncho and discovered that it already had a tear down the front.  Yeah, it would have been nice to have that extra one.  Doh!  For some reason, I had to pee again...fortunately, there was a long row of porta potties on the way to our corral.  I was in corral 2, so I would be starting 10 minutes after the official start...I had plenty of time.  Much to my surprise, I managed to find my peeps afterwards.  Amazing thing, considering the masses!  About that time, the rain really started coming down.  And with the wind, my rain poncho ripped even more.  As we started walking closer to the start, I spotted a volunteer picking up trash...and she was holding big, clear trash bags!!!  I walked over to the fence and asked her if I could have a trash bag and she was nice enough to give me one.  Poor lady, because after that, she was bombarded with other runners asking for them.  I ditched the ripped poncho and tried to tear a hole for my head and arms, while trying to move forward to the start at the same time. I managed to get the bag on and we crossed the start!  I discovered that the bag was so large, that it actually went all the way down to my shins!  I didn't care, I was just happy to have some protection from the rain and wind.

The rain was at its worst when we crossed the Elysian Viaduct...this is an uphill/downhill/uphill/downhill section and it was pouring rain!  This was one of the few times in my lifetime where I've wished I was wearing a baseball cap.  I seriously thought I was going to lose a contact!  I was running with one eye open, lol.  Fortunately, the rain slowed down to a tolerable drizzle pretty quickly and it stayed that way for the next few miles.  By mile 3, I had ditched the trash bag.  At mile 5, I was wishing I had kept the darn thing, because the hard rain started up again.  Luckily, it stopped after than and didn't ever really start up again.

So you've read my previous post, so you know the thoughts going through my head throughout the race.  Here are a few things I noticed that I didn't mention before:
  • There were a heck of a lot of spectators, especially considering the less than ideal weather conditions! And, I have to give a HUGE shout out to Bible Days Revival Church for being out there cheering...I have to say it was an amazing feeling to run past the crowds there. 
  • The volunteers were awesomely friendly...I heard so many words of encouragement along the way!
  • Lady holding the oranges on Studemont, I thank you!  I know we're not supposed to take food from strangers, but that orange was exactly what I needed!
  • I swear I had a tail wind through downtown...am I the only one who felt this?  I felt like I was soaring (although my splits may say otherwise...I haven't looked).
  • Thank you to the men and women of the military who volunteered to hand out medals!  You guys were actually congratulating me and telling me I was awesome...ummm, no...YOU are the one who is awesome!
I went into this race without too many expectations.  I wasn't even going to look at my watch.  But then I noticed something crazy...every time I looked down, my pace was getting a little bit faster.  I thought I had a chance of a PR by mile 8.  By mile, 10 I was pretty sure it was going to happen.  At mile 11, I noticed that my pace was at my 2011 pace and I was almost positive I'd PR.  Then, somewhere in there I saw my average pace go below my 2011 pace and I knew.  I don't think I've ever had the ability to speed up when I've reached downtown or even in the chute, but this time I did.  As I was approaching the last turn near the finish, I caught up with one of the women in my group.  I said hi and kept going, lol!  I even chicked a couple of guys.  Crazy. 

After the race, I waited for the woman I had passed and we congratulated each other and headed into the GRB.  We grabbed breakfast and swapped race stories.  Can I just say that the warm coffee was the BEST EVER????  After breakfast, I saw a couple of folks I knew and I finally decided to get out of my wet clothes...obviously my desire for food was greater than my desire to be dry!!  Having a nice, warm, dry set of clothes was probably the smartest decision of the weekend...they felt great!

I waited around for a little while to see if I could find my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  This was their first 1/2 marathon, so I wanted to congratulate them and give them both hugs.  I finally decided that I must have missed them, so I headed to the car.  As I started to leave downtown, I received a text from my sister-in-law.  "Did I get my extra medal?", she asked.  We were supposed to pick up our extra medal for completing the 5K on Saturday and the 1/2 on Saturday.

Oh shit!

I parked my car and walked back toward the GRB.  Luckily, the tent where you pick them up was outside the GRB, so I didn't have far to go.  I picked up my medal and was off! 

My bling!  I love the new "Houston Double"!

It felt great to be doing this race again!  I still need to get my redemption for having to DNS the marathon in 2012...and I WILL get my redemption.  But this year was the year of getting back to where I was before the hip injury.  I think that I have proven that I am there.  Next time, I will be ready to tackle the 26.2 in Houston again!

What was stupid about the whole thing is that even though I kept seeing my average pace get lower and lower, I kept reminding myself that I hadn't trained for a PR...I need to work on this with a little more positive thinking. I mean, so what if I hadn't trained for PR? I was going to PR...I was capable of doing more than I thought. The body achieves what the mind believes...it's time to start believing that I can run a 2-hour half marathon and a 4:30 marathon! ;-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Expo & Pre-Race Race

Race weekend is always exciting for me!  I love, love, love the Expo - it's what I'd call "my happy place"!  I had to leave work early on Friday for a doctor's appointment, so I was able to head to the Expo afterwards and meet up with my friend Mary Jo, who would be running the 5K on Saturday.  Before I left work, my co-workers were super sweet and made me this cute sign...

Did I mention that I love the Expo?  And, the Houston Marathon Expo is always well organized and fun!  I love that they have the previous year's shirts all hanging along the back wall...so much history in the past 41 years!

The shirts...call me crazy, but I love looking at these!
Shopping with Mary Jo was fun and we found some great bargains!  I ended up with some cheapie sunglasses (I lose them, so no use buying expensive ones!), a long sleeve tech shirt ($9.99), a super cute Nike running skirt ($22 +20% off!) and top ($12 +20% off), some new socks (20% off), gloves ($9) and more Hammer Gel (20% off).  One thing I did not buy is the cute Nike waterproof jacket that I saw at one of the booths...or at least the disposable Tyvek jacket for $10...I would be regretting that decision on Sunday! 

While at the Expo, I ran into my peeps from Woodlands Fit!  I love running into my peeps!
My Peeps!!!  Love the guys!!!
Finally, Mary Jo and I decided that we had done enough damage.  I headed home and started to get all my stuff ready for the 5K the following day.
I arrived downtown in plenty of time to park, hit the porta potties and line up at the start. I managed to find a good parking spot, but the parking meter was broken and I had to move my car, doh!  I was meeting some of my Woodlands Fit peeps, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary Jo and another friend.  I only managed to find about 1/2 of these folks, but it was all good!  The invocation before the race was awesome...I am not sure who said it, I only know it was a local Rabi.  And, Meb was there to say a few words.  I love, love, love Meb!  Once the race started, we ran right past him...I may or may not have yelled and waved to him like a crazy woman...there may now be a restraining order.  I dunno.

My sister-in-law and I decided that we would run/walk the race together...no sense tiring out the legs when the longer race was more important to both of us.  We had fun running and chatting along the way.  The only downside?  The weather!  It was 70+ degrees and about 197% humidity - YUCK! 
Me with my Sister-in-Law and Brother-in-Law before the 5K!

After the race, I finally caught up with Mary Jo and Ginger.  They were enjoying the free adult beverages after running a great race.  :-)

Before we left, I noticed this really long line.  I thought that for this long of a line, someone must be giving away something AWESOME!  Isn't that what you normally think when you see a long line?  I mean, even Forrest Gump thought this!
See the crazy, long line????

Taking a closer look, I realized that Jack in the Box was giving away FREE burgers!!!  I know this sounds very food-snob of me, but WTF?  Okay people, so you ran a 5K...I agree that a reward is in order, but it's gonna take more than a 5K to burn off that shiznit!
Free thunder thighs and budonka donk butt, oops, I mean burgers!
Instead of partaking in the free burgers, I got my usual post-race free banana and a bottle of water.  Oh, and they were giving away mini-Rice Krispie Treats.  The banana was too green, so I didn't eat it...that was my justification for eating the rice krispie treat instead.  Yeah, and I was just talking about eating crap after a race.
I love these water bottles...so cute!
As we were leaving the race and post-race party, I snapped a pic of the finish line.  This was going to be a welcome sight the following day!!!

So that's my expo and pre-race race coverage...stay tuned for the very long overdue race report!