Monday, December 31, 2007

Good Bye 2007, Hello 2008

In just a few hours, 2008 will officially be here. Today had been designated as my "pajama day" and I was able to pull if off for the most part. I had planned to sleep in, do whatever I wanted around the house today, and not get out of my pajamas (actually flannel lounge pants and a sweatshirt) all day.

I woke up this morning around 7:30, but decided I was not getting out of bed until 8:00. When the clock hit 8:00, I got up. I made some banana nut muffins and switched out my calendar in my planner while they were cooking. After breakfast, I didn't do much of anything until I decided I needed to get in one last workout of 2007. I hopped on the treadmill and ran 5 miles while watching the Cal vs AFA football game. Then I headed outside to take down the Christmas lights that were still up. After that, I showered and got right back in my comfy lounge clothes. I've been on the couch napping/reading ever since. I just ate something for dinner and we've got some friends coming over shortly for a "Wii game night" to celebrate the new year. I've already warned them that I'll be in my comfy clothes and I'm not changing.

Looking back at 2007, overall it was a good year. Here is what I accomplished in the workout arena:
January - Disney's Goofy Challenge (half marathon and full marathon)
February - AT&T Austin Marathon
March - Capitol 10,000 (10K race)
May - Deutschen Fest Bike Ride and Deutschen Fest 5K
June - Danskin Sprint Triathlon and Lake Pflugerville Sprint Triathlon
October - Longhorn Half Ironman Triathlon and Nike Women's Marathon
November - Race for the Cure
December - Trail of Lights 5K

Miles Ran: 904.97
Miles Biked: 606.01
Hours on the stationary bike: 2.5
Hours on the trainer: 15.25
Miles Swam: 44.14 plus open water swims

I was disappointed that I didn't run 1,000 miles and surprised that I swam 44. Looking at 2008, I know that the bike mileage needs to increase a lot. And it will. Each year I fundraise for one event with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training group. In 2008, I will be fundraising for a century ride around Lake Tahoe. So, I know that bike mileage will increase. What I hope is that as the bike miles increase the run miles don't decrease. While I like to do it all, running is still my first priority. I guess I like it so much because I can do it from anywhere as long as I have my running shoes. And while I like to enjoy some of my marathons and not worry about my time (like Disney), one of these days I'd like to try to shave time off my marathon PR (personal record).

For 2008, I already have some races scheduled and am comtemplating others. Work was good this year and I ended up with a new tri bike, so I hope to do more triathlons this year so that I can get some good use out of the bike. I just need to look at the schedule and plan everything. We are also planning a big extended family vacation for the summer of 2008, so I'll have to work around that. And I'm in charge of a youth retreat this summer and my high school reunion will be in 2008. It will be a busy year, but hopefully I can also make time for rest and relaxation along the way. We'll see how well I do with that.

As you and your family ring in 2008, I wish you all health and happiness in the New Year. May you appreciate each day you have here on earth and spend it the way you want. God bless you all and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Surviving the Holidays

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I'll try to get better at that. Here's what has been going on........

The Friday before Christmas, I attempted to get in my long 18 mile run. I say "attempted", because I didn't make it to 18. I started running outside and was doing great. I got in 7.5 miles in a great time, but then it got dark and I decided to head in and finish on the treadmill. Boy was that a mistake. After being outside, the treadmill was 10 times worse than normal. After 5.5 miles on it, I called it quits. I've done 6 marathons now, so I know I can cover the 26.2 miles, and Disney is not a race where I care about my time. 13 miles was good enough for me.

Saturday morning we woke up early to pick my daughter up from church where she had been at an all night lock-in. Then we drove to my Aunt's house for Christmas with my mom's side of the family. After all day there, we headed to my mother-in-law's house for Christmas with my husband's family. I managed to get in a 4 mile run on Monday morning before we opened gifts. We were there from Saturday evening until Monday afternoon when we headed home. We unloaded the car and headed to church for Christmas Eve services and then came home and went to bed so Santa could come.

Despite telling the kids to sleep late Christmas morning (yeah, right!), they didn't even make it until day light. At 6:30 am they were knocking on our door and telling us what Santa left. My son got his wii and my daughter got her zune. We unwrapped the few other gifts we had and then got ready to head to my parents for Christmas with them and my brother and his family. My parents called to say their electricity had gone off and to wait for a bit. Finally around 10:00 it was back on. We headed over at 11:00. We opened gifts with them, ate lunch and then hooked up Granna's wii. Yes, that's right. My mom also got a wii from Santa. He was very generous this year.

Wednesday morning I woke up in my usual "pack up the Christmas stuff and get this house cleaned" mode. And that's exactly what I did. I took down the trees, organized gifts, got them to their spots and had the house back to some normal order by early afternoon. Then I got my 5 mile run in and took my shower. Wednesday evening we had some friends over for game night on the wii. I bowled, golfed, boxed, played tennis, and played MANY carnival games. Does wii count as cross training?????

Yesterday had been designated as "run errand" day. There were some things I wanted to buy with my Christmas money and the kids had holes in their pockets as well. They got gift cards that needed to be spent. We went to Target first, which was actually the least crowded and the easiest place for shopping and returns. Then to Family Christian Bookstores, lunch, Academy, Justice, Bath and Body Works (which was a nightmare!!!), Barnes & Noble and then to my parents to get my daughter added to the cell phone network (and I made sure to block the text messaging capability on her new phone). Busy, busy day.

This morning I started washing clothes and did some things on the computer that needed to be done. The kids wanted to see a movie so we waited until my husband got home from work and went to see National Treasure. The theater had some problems and the movie started almost an hour late. Lucky for us they had ushers outside the door when it was over to hand us free certificates to come back and see another movie. Since we see about 2 movies a year in the theater, free passes is great for us. We'll have to decide what else we want to see.

Not sure what I'll do the rest of the evening. I'm planning to run with my TNT group in the morning, but have no idea how far we are suppose to go. Guess I'll just show up and run.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Staples has an Easy Button, I need a Slow Down Button

The madness that surrounds Christmas hit full force and hasn't stopped. On the 11th, my daughter had her choir concert. It was really nice and there are some talented singers in the choir. No yoga for me.

I was able to get in a 4 mile run on Wednesday and a 4 mile run on Thursday. Fridays are my normal "off" days and it worked out well. My husband and son left town to go to a soccer tournament (why they schedule them so close to Christmas, I have no idea). We hired a sitter to spend the night so I could still do my group run Saturday, so I took advantage of that Friday night and went out to dinner with a friend for her birthday. Then I came home and got things ready for my Saturday run.

Sometime in the middle of the night, it stormed and woke me up. Several times. I was afraid the run would be cancelled, but when I got up at 5:30 am, it wasn't raining. The wind, however, was blowing like a tornado. The temperature was high 50s, but with the wind I knew it would feel colder. I dressed appropriately and headed out. The run actually turned out well. It was the perfect temperature for me and I could tell by the speed I was running. I actually came in third, which is surprising for me. The only time it got bad was when we had to cross a lake. Going over the bridge, the wind was so strong it was hard to stay on your feet. When I finished the 10 miles, I felt great. And it was a good thing, because I had a busy day ahead.

When I got home, I paid the sitter and then showered. Then my daughter and I headed to the post office to mail a package to my chemo angel girl. The line was long, but they kept it moving. Next stop: Taco Bell for lunch. After that we headed to the ceramic store in town so I could make a couple more gifts. I never think they are going to take as long as they do, so we were there for a while. I wanted to go to my friend's graduation party, but the man who had done our taxes for the last 15 years recently passed away from lymphoma and his memorial service was Saturday. I decided I should go. After that it was to the grocery store and then to drop my daughter off at her choir "caroling/party". Luckily that was going to last a few hours and I had some "me only" time to shop. I got quite a bit knocked out. At 9:30 I picked her up. She went to bed and I followed not long after.

Sunday we went to church as usual. I teach junior high and my co-teacher was out of town. Usually it's not bad, but I had 21 kids! They were actually pretty good and we survived. When I got home I started making hot sauce. For years, I've made hot sauce for teacher gifts. I give the main teacher that plus something else, but I like to show appreciation to the administrators and other teachers (choir, art, p.e., etc) as well. Since we're not made of money and since they already get so many sweats, I started giving them hot sauce. Many of them had come to expect it. I made four batches and realized I was going to need a lot more now that my daughter is in middle school and has several teachers. So, we headed back to the grocery store. The people must have thought I was insane buying 30 jalapeno peppers. Right back home and as the garage door is opening, it stops. I finally get it to go up, but notice that the spring that pulls the door up is broken on one side. Lovely. Now I'm afraid to put it down, which means we can't go anywhere. At least until my husband and son get home. So I spend the rest of the afternoon, literally, making hot sauce. After the last batch of hot sauce was done, I made the chocolate chip cookies that we will leave out for Santa. And finally, at 7:00 it was time to sit and relax while watching the Survivor season finale!

Monday night I had dinner with a publisher rep, so no run for me. Tuesday was my husband's birthday and we always go out to eat for birthdays, so no run or yoga for me. When we got home I did some more baking and actually wrapped a few gifts. And finally, tonight I was able to get in a 5 mile run. And it felt good. I could have kept going, but I stopped because I am making two batches of Amish Friendship Bread. One batch is in the oven right now and the other will go in the oven in about 15 minutes. Then I'll hopefully wrap the final gifts and be able to relax for a bit. I am so ready for next week. Friday is my last day of work until after the first of the year. I'll have many days to sleep late, get my runs in and be lazy the rest of the day. I'm hoping to get a bunch of scrapbooking in! But first I have to get through the rest of the week and a long run before Christmas! Where is that slow down button?????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Host an Elf for the Holidays

Time is running out, but it's not too late. Each year, after Santa and the elves are done getting things ready for the holidays, Santa likes to send the elves on a little vacation with children. If you would like to host an elf in your house before Christmas, you can also benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Follow these steps:

1. to to www.hostanelf.com
2. click on the box that says "host an elf"
3. in the drop down box next to "donate to your favorite charity/fundraiser", choose "Leukemia & Lymphoma Society"
4. click "add to cart" next to the drop down box
5. choose your elf and proceed with your request

When the little elf shows up, see what kind of trouble it gets into. Then on Christmas Eve, the elf will return to the North Pole with Santa. As long as you stay on Santa's "nice" list, you can host an elf each year.

Please note: if you are reading this are were planning to host an elf through the "Elf from Catie" drive, please do so. Their drive has been very successful so far and it benefits children with cancer.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trail of Lights 5K

The ornament exchange at church Friday night was fun, but the snack food just didn't cut it for dinner the night before a 16 miler. I was able to run with one of our faster participants for about 7 miles Saturday morning and then I told him to go ahead. I slowed down my pace, ran with some other people for a while and then took it on in. Sixteen miles felt good. And if 16 wasn't enough, I punished myself even more Saturday night.

We live in a small town outside a big city. They are so close, they feel like one big place. Anyway, the big city puts on a "Trail of Lights" each year down near the lake where my run group meets a lot. The Trail of Lights is fun to go through. There are all kinds of lighted displays and TONS of lights. There is also a big tree made of lights that you can get under, twirl around so that you get really dizzy, and then fall down. We try to go every year, but we always get busy with stuff and most years end up not going. I wanted to go this year, but in looking at the calendar, it looked like it would be tough. Well, there was one way to fit it in, and that was to do the Trail of Lights 5K. The Trail of Lights doesn't officially open until the 2nd Sunday of the month. But, if you do the 5k, you get to run through it the Saturday before it is open to the public. So, I did some talking to the family and convinced them it would be ok if we walked. I promised to leave my Garmin at home, and they agreed we could do it.

So Saturday early evening we headed downtown. We weren't sure how many people would be there, but if you wanted to park close you had to be there by 5:30 because they would be closing the roads. We got there around 5:00. The race started at 6:30 pm. And there were way more people that we expected. It was fun, though. Santa was at the start line to see us off. We had about a mile to go before we got to the actual Trail of Lights, about a mile through the lights, and then another mile back to the finish. We got some good pictures along the way.




After we were done, we went under the tree for some spinning around. And then we headed home. Mission accomplished. In fact, I think everyone enjoyed it enough that we may just do it every year.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sad Goodbyes and The Madness Begins

Tuesday was my son's music program at school, so no workout for me. He looked very nice all dressed in khaki's and a red sweater along with a Santa hat. The program was cute.

However, when we got home, my son found our 16 year old cat in the bathroom. He was still alive, but couldn't move and we could tell he was having a hard time breathing. We knew he wouldn't make it through the night, and he didn't. MoMo (named after Morris the cat because he was an orange tabby) was a great cat. We found him as a stray when I was still in college. My husband (who was just a boyfriend at the time) was over for dinner one night. We had the windows of the apartment open because it was nice outside. All of a sudden this orange cat jumped up on the window from the outside and started meowing. I love cats so I put some food out for him. He kept hanging around and was being chased by dogs, so I adopted him. Since I had another cat at the time (who was very territorial) my parents took MoMo home until we graduated. But then he was ours for good. He was wonderful when the kids came along. They could pull on his tail and pick him up in very uncomfortable ways and he wouldn't do a thing. And if you scratched him just right, he would lick you. We miss you MoMo.

Wednesday was our 15th anniversary. However, with MoMo passing away, we needed to bury him. My parents live out on several acres and all the family pets are buried there. After work, we went over there and buried him. I just didn't feel like working out after that.

Thursday I got back to the workouts. I got a 5 mile run in and it felt good. Tonight is my off day and it's a good thing. In just a bit we are headed to our annual ornament exchange at the church. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament. We draw numbers. The first person picks an ornament and opens it. If #2 wants #1's ornament, they can steal it. Otherwise, #2 picks a new gift. This continues until everyone has an ornament. Each ornament can only be stolen three times and then it is frozen. And person #1 gets to look over all the ornaments (except the frozen ones) at the end and take what they want. Being that it's a church function, it can get down right mean at times (in a fun way, but the "thou shalt not steal" commandment gets broken MANY times during the night). And my husband and I have a nifty way of stealing from others (including each other) so that we can freeze an ornament if we really want it. The other fun thing is that several years ago someone brought a pickle ornament. From what we've been told, it's an old German tradition. Whoever finds the pickle ornament on the tree Christmas morning gets a special gift. Well, you can imagine the look on the persons face the first year the "pickle" was in play. Many jokes are made about the "pickle" and whoever gets it always tries to convince someone else to steal it from them, but it never works. Whoever gets the pickle one year brings it back the next year. Last year, we got the pickle. And you guessed it, it's wrapped and ready to go back this year!

Tomorrow I'm finally getting to run long with my TNT group. On schedule: 16 miles. It's going to feel good. My daughter has a babysitting certification class all day, so when I am done running, I'm going to do some Christmas shopping - all by myself! Wahoo. And tomorrow night we've got something fun planned for our family. I'll wait until it's over to share.

Let the madness begin!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

***NOTE: PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM TO FIND OUT ABOUT A SPECIAL FUNDRAISER FOR KIDS WITH CANCER***

But not a lot like Christmas like it does for the Jones family (see www.keepupwithus.blogspot.com). Now THAT looks like Christmas!

Since it's been a while since I've updated, I'll back track. Last Wednesday was a 3 mile run. Thursday was a 4 mile run and Friday was my off day.

On Saturday, the team was scheduled for a 12 mile run, but my husband had a meeting which meant I had the kids and no running with the group for me. Instead, I woke the kids up early and we went to meet the group anyway. We were the first aid station. We were parked somewhere around mile 4. After Thanksgiving, we got a cold front, but Saturday was nothing like winter. It was muggy and humid. By the time teammates got to me, most of them were drenched with sweat. The route they were running was a good one and I wanted to be running so bad. So, when we got done and got home, I hit the treadmill - for a 12 mile run. Yep, I did 12 miles on the treadmill and only walked a total of about a mile. I just put the tv on football and took off. Yes it was boring, but it needed to get done.

After the run I showered and ate and then waited for my husband to get home so we could run errands. Both of the kids have programs coming up that require "church attire" and while we go to church every Sunday, our church is very laid back; therefore the kids needed "church attire". Mission accomplished. Then we took my daughter out to eat Mexican food as she starts the beginning stages of getting braces this week and we are not sure how much longer she'll be able to eat those chips and hot sauce and hard tacos. Then it was back home for more football watching.

And FINALLY on Sunday we started getting Christmas stuff up. It was 85 degrees here on Sunday which meant we were out putting up the lights in shorts and t-shirts. And it was December 1st! Crazy weather. Then we put up the tree in the office and the stockings. We still need to get up the main tree, but we have more furniture in the living room this year and need to figure out where to put it. But it is looking like Christmas even if it doesn't really feel that way.

And speaking of Christmas, everyone needs to put out a plate of cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, right? Well, I know just where you can get a personalized plate to leave those cookies on and help a good cause all at the same time! Go on over to www.elementl-p.blogspot.com and check out the plate fundraiser. Marey's daughter is a cancer survivor and she believes in giving back. Over the past few year's she has raised tons of money for various cancer organizations. All the money raised from the sale of these plates will go to three families whose children have gone through transplants. PLEASE check it out and do what you can to help!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Thanksgiving "F"s

And no, I'm not giving the Thanksgiving Holiday an "F". It's just that when I thought about what to update about Thanksgiving, many things start with an "F".

1. Free time - I took the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off from work. The kids were out of school and I felt like this was a good year to be off since we were headed out of town. I got in my morning run, got the oil changed in the car, ran a couple of other errands, packed and was ready to go when my husband got home from work.

2. Family - every year we alternate spending Thanksgiving with the different sides of the family. This year was the year to spend with my husband's family.

3. Food - do I need to say anything more?

4. Four Mile Run - ok, this isn't on everyone's list, but it was on mine. I tried to sleep late on Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't stay in bed past 7:30. So I got up, ate breakfast and got dressed for my run. I had expected the cold front and packed accordingly and it was a good thing. Especially since I had to stand in the 40 degree, wind blowing weather for a minute or two until my garmin locked in on a satellite before I could start running. And not 20 steps into the run I wanted to turn around and call it quits (the wind was horrible), but I made myself keep going and I got in my 4 miles.

5. Football - there were some excellent games on this weekend, but being the Aggie that I am, my favorite was the A&M vs. t.u. game (yes, that's how we Aggies recognize the University of Texas). We beat them for a second year in a row! Whoop!!!

Friday night after the game, we drove back home. I got up early Saturday to run with my run group, but it was extremely cold, pouring down rain, and there was some thunder and lightning. The run was cancelled so I headed back home and crawled back in bed until 9:00. Then I got up and ran 8 miles on the treadmill. I should have done more, but I just couldn't. I took a shower and watched some more good football. What a lovely lazy day.

Sunday was equally cold with some rain as well, but what made Sunday special was that it was my daughter's 12th birthday. We had family over for ice cream and then took her to dinner at Cheddars.

Because of all the rain, we didn't get Christmas lights up like we normally do and since we didn't do that, we didn't get the tree out yet either. Hopefully next weekend.

Monday I was back to running with a 5 mile run and tonight I was back at yoga. That may have been my last yoga of the year. Next Tuesday is my son's music program at school, the following Tuesday is my daughter's choir concert, the following Tuesday is my husband's birthday and the next Tuesday is Christmas. Yikes! When I told my husband that, he asked if my yoga instructor made house calls. I told him that for enough money she would :) I guess I'll have to pull out the dvds.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not sure if I'll have time over the holidays to get on here and update or not, so I want to take the time right now to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! And if you are traveling to be with family or friends, safe travels to you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Busy Times

Wednesday I was able to get in a 3 mile run while my daughter was at Bible Study. Thursday I got in a 4 mile run. I really like to get in a 4-5 mile run at least 3 times during the week and then a long run on the weekend, so I'm still not getting in exactly what I want, but it's better than nothing.

Friday night I had the Nike team over for a picture party/reunion. I had gotten pictures from several of the participants and put them all in a slideshow. We watched that, ate food and reminisced about event weekend. It was lots of fun, but made my bedtime much later than normal! I didn't get into bed until almost 1:00 am this morning and then got up again at 5:30 so I could go be there at the start of the run for the winter team. I didn't run with them today because my daughter had a meeting she had to attend at 9:00, so I missed my long run today. There was no time to squeeze it in because we left her meeting at 11:30 and headed straight to my son's first soccer game, which started at 11:30. We got there just after half time. After that game, we grabbed lunch and headed for game #2. Luckily his indoor game got cancelled, so we hit Dairy Queen for an ice cream cake and headed home to get ready for my daughter's birthday party. Her real birthday is on the 25th, but since it usually falls over Thanksgiving weekend, we celebrate early. Right now, my daughter, her two cousins, a friend from church and a friend from school are upstairs watching Transformers. They've already opened gifts, ate pizza and had the ice cream cake! It's hard to believe she will be 12. (And my brother and sister-in-law traded kids with me and took my son to a monster truck show. I can't wait to hear about that. He was very excited about it!)

Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in some kind of run tomorrow. I doubt it will be as long as I need it to be, but I need to run. This week is going to be crazy and the holidays are always stressful for everyone. Running keeps me sane.

I also want to mention that I came across a site last week that I marked in my favorites. The man lost his wife to cancer and is starting a new site for people to share their stories on. The new site will be www.bloggersagainstcancer.blogspot.com. It's just getting started , but check it out. It use to be a rare occurance to actually know someone with cancer. Now it's a rare occurence not to. We need to find a cure - for ALL types of cancer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fast Food Scavenger Hunt

Well folks, if you saw the comment under my last journal entry, you know that my group didn't win the fast food scavenger hunt this time. In fact, we came in dead last. Wahoo!!!

The way it works is that kids are assigned to ride in a car or the church van with an adult (or two in the van). Each "team" is given $10. The teams have to go to as many fast food places as they can, buy an item of food and eat it. Everyone in the car must consume something. The goal is to spend as much of that $10 as you can without going over, visit as many places as you can, and come back as quick as you can (without breaking any laws).

So, when you hear the word "go", you run for the car and head for the first place. In the beginning, most people go for the cheapest thing on the menu so that you can go to more places (the more places you go, the higher your score). For instance, we ordered a roll at Golden Chick. It's so funny to hear the workers ask "is that all?" with a quizical tone in their voice. By the time you get to the last place, the workers know because other groups have been there.

We were doing well and were at our 7th place. They were taking way too long, so I sent two of the girls in to get the rest of the money so we could go to the place next door. What we didn't realize is that the money was in the car and the girl buying the food had to borrow money from another patron. That put us over the $10 and we didn't take that money out before buying food from the next place, so we spent more than $10. You have to take your change and your receipt back with you and this IS a church group, so no cheating. I admitted defeat and we headed back.

There was a team that spent exactly $10 after bribing Subway to sell them a side of cheese for something like 14 cents. But the team that won was Cortney's team (cortneyaggie.blogspot.com). I think they only had 1 penny left, but they visited the most places, so they won! I'm either first or last - there is no in between for me.

Monday night I was able to get in 4 miles on the treadmill. Tonight I am missing yoga due to a board meeting I need to attend. Sigh. I really miss yoga when I can't go.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spoke Too Fast

The play Thursday night was really good. I was impressed that middle school students could do so well with only a couple of months to prepare. There are some talented students at that school!

And the cooler weather that was here Wednesday night was gone by Friday. After work, I went home to change and headed out to the lake to meet my mom and my friend to get our long run in. When I got there, I think the temperature was in the low 80s. But we did it. The lake has a 3 mile loop around it. Since my mom is a walker, she had gotten there early and had already started. We called her to see which way she started out and then we went the other way so that we would run into her. When we got to her, my friend turned around and started walking with my mom. I kept going. I did the first loop in 29:36; the second loop in 30:18; and the third loop in 32:05. That gave me 9 miles. It was starting to get dark and there are no lights out there. Since I didn't want to be by myself in the dark, I kept running until I met up with mom and Brandi. By that point I had run over 10 miles. I decided I could just walk with them for the remaining miles. We did one more loop which gave me 14.75 miles total. A successful night!

My husband had a meeting Saturday morning so I didn't get to go run with my TNT group. Instead, I took the opportunity and slept in (well, slept in for me - I was awake by 7:00). My son had a soccer game in the afternoon and then we spent the evening cleaning and watching college football.

This morning was youth Sunday at church. They did an AWESOME job!!! Right after church we had to leave to go to my son's first indoor soccer game. He will be playing indoor soccer over the winter months until regular soccer starts back up in the spring. Indoor soccer is interesting. Very fast paced, but it forces the boys to work on foot skills and passing, so it should be great practice.

Tonight at youth group we are doing a fast food scavenger hunt. These are fun to do. The kids always make fun of me and want to be in my car because I'm so competitive. We'll see what happens tonight!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Love Cooler Weather

The weather has finally started to cool off here and it's wonderful for working out (although it gets dark so early it's hard to fit everything in). Tuesday night for yoga I actually worn long pants and a long sleeve top over my normal top. I ended up taking the long sleeve top off during class, but it's definitely feeling like fall around here. And boy was I glad to get back to yoga. My hamstrings have been tight, and I can only inflict so much pain on myself when I roll on my foam roller. Yoga really helps stretch the muscles out.

Wednesday I was resigned to run on the treadmill while my daughter was at Bible study, but I heard my husband say to my son that they would go up to the "fields" later and do hills. Hmmm. Where are you going? They were going to go to the elementary school close by our house, so I convinced them to go - NOW - so that I could go with them. I knew we would be cutting it close. And maybe it was that or the weather, or maybe my Garmin was off, but I ran my "warmup" mile in 8:04. That's not very "warmup" for me. That's fast for me. The I raced my son in a short sprint and then we started hills. The hills were VERY short and not really that steep, but I figured if I got a lot in that would be ok. My son did six and I did twelve. Then I headed back to the very short track and ran until I hit 3 miles on my garmin. It showed 27 minutes and change. That's about the time I did the 5K in on Sunday. Must be the weather. Then I walked fast for another mile and off we went to get my daughter.

Tonight my daughter, my mom and I are going to go see the play that my daughter tried out for earlier in the year but didn't make. Then tomorrow night, I'll be doing my long run while my mom does her long walk. My mom and dad are signed up and training for the Disney Full Marathon in January, so I'm helping them along the way since I'll be there, too. We have 14 miles on the schedule. Guess I better go to Academy at lunch and get a light to wear.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure 5K

Well, on Halloween night I never got that run in. We got a few more trick-or-treaters, but not too many. Thursday night I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then Friday night I did 8 miles on the treadmill. Saturday morning I was the aid station for our TNT group so I didn't run. That worked out well, because Sunday I did the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.

The Race for the Cure is a race I do every year. I heard on the TV this year that it was the 10th anniversary of the race in our city. I was curious because I've done it for a long time so I went and looked at all my past shirts. It appears that I only missed two years and this year was my 8th year running.

Back in 1999, the first year I did the Race for the Cure, I wasn't really much of a runner. My husband and I were walking through the mall and saw some tables with registration forms. We had recently lost a friend and fellow church member to breast cancer and I decided to do the race in her memory. So I signed up. I went to that first race all by myself. I'd never done any other races and really didn't know what I was doing. But the next thing I knew I was running. I thought I was doing so well and then I was gasping for air and had to stop and walk. I don't think I even made it a mile running that first year. Each year, however, I have strived to increase the time running and decrease my time. I don't even remember now which year was the first year I finally ran the whole thing. And now I run for time. They changed the route just slightly this year and I'm using that as the excuse for a slower time. Last year I ran it in 26:01. This year was 27:25. Still a decent time for me, but one of these days I'm going to get below 25:00 for a 5k. It was a great day for a race.

After the race I headed out to my son's soccer tournament. He had played 2 games on Saturday and had 2 more on Sunday. They won one, lost one, and tied two. Not the best showing they've had, but they were in the toughest bracket and had no subs. I think they did well.

Tonight I did and easy 3 mile run on the treadmill. Then I cooked dinner, paid the bills, etc. etc. Now it's time to take it easy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Back To It - Sort of

If you missed the Nike Women's Marathon Race Report, see the post below.

After the Nike Women's Marathon, I took the week off. I always do after a marathon. I'm not sure my body liked that, though. I get too lazy when I'm not running and I seemed extra tired last week. So Monday it was time to get back to training. I hopped on the treadmill for a nice easy 3 mile run to ease back into things. And it felt good. I slept better Monday night than I did last week, too.

So now it's time to get back in groove. The only problem was that yoga was cancelled Tuesday night due to a Family Festival at my son's elementary school (my yoga teacher's kids go there, too). I didn't want to run and get sweaty before going to that and when I got home I reverted to my lazy ways. I layed on the couch and watched a special I had recorded on PBS about inactive people training for the Boston marathon. It was an hour long special that was actually pretty interesting and reminded me of the way I felt when training for my first marathon. I was probably a little more fit than most of them when I started, but had some of the same doubts and concerns. I didn't feel so bad about taking today off as it is usually a "yoga only" day when I'm not training for a triathlon.

Today should be another run day. However, as most of you know, today is HALLOWEEN. And that means it's a day to do what the kids want. Our town has "Halloween on Main Street" and we usually go to that every year. Local businesses hand out candy and I know it is safe to eat. The bad thing about this year is that daylight savings doesn't kick in until this coming weekend. Halloween on Main Street is from 6-7. We've already been. And it sure didn't feel like Halloween when it's daylight outside. And especially since it is still 80 degrees outside. The past few years have been dark and cold. That's the way Halloween should be. We're back home now and have had two trick-or-treaters. Hopefully things will pick up when it gets dark or I may have to run a lot more than planned to run off the candy I'll be consuming! My parents are coming by to see the kids' costumes and then my husband will take them around to a few houses in the neighborhood - once it gets dark. Maybe after that I'll decide I really should run on the treadmill - or maybe not. After all, it is Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nike Women's Marathon - Race Weekend and Race Report

For those of you that want the short version, go to Monday's update. The rest of you, grab a coffee or a coke (whatever will keep you awake) and prepare to be here a while. The following is my very long report of the weekend and the race, along with pictures.
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Race weekend was finally here. Our flight left at 7:55 am Friday morning, so the alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, got ready, put the last minute items in my luggage, grabbed my muffins and headed out to meet a teammate I was taking to the airport. We took the new toll road to the airport, which was great. Got parked, checked in, went through security and met our other teammates at the gate. There were over 40 of us on the flight and the captain made an announcement welcoming us once we were in the air. That was kind of cool. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the in-flight movie, so I put on my headphones and enjoyed the show (even though I had already seen it).

When we landed, we were all starving. It was almost noon our time, even though it was only 10:00 California time. We caught the Team in Training shuttle to the hotel (the Hilton in Union Square) and tried to check in. I was staying with my friend Brandi who was also one of the coaches for the season, so we were in the executive tower. Our room wasn’t ready yet. We checked our bags at the desk, gathered a group of about 15-20 people and started walking toward the expo while looking for a place to eat. When we found Lori’s Dinner we all agreed that was as good as any place.
After a great lunch, we continued to the expo. This expo was different than most of the big race expos. At most of them, there are all kinds of vendors selling their stuff. You can get almost anything you want. Not here. This expo is put on by Nike and is catered to women. There aren’t any vendors selling things, but there were free massages (full body, chair and foot) and free manicures. After getting our bibs, timing chips and goodie bags we quickly hopped in line for the full body or chair massage. You didn’t get to pick. You got whichever one opened up first. I got lucky and got a full body. It was only about 15 minutes, but felt good anyway. When we were done there, we immediately got in line for the foot massage. Aaahhhh. I could get use to this.

From here, we headed across the street to NikeTown. NikeTown is a huge store and that is where all the race day merchandise was. Let’s just say they have a good bit of my money now. On the outside of NikeTown is a wall that has all of the runners name’s on it. I found my name and got a picture.
After NikeTown several of us decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to sightsee a little and grab some dinner. We decided to eat at Bubba Gump. We had a great dinner and then strolled over to Pier 39 to listen to the sea lions. Then it was back to the hotel and to bed.

Saturday we woke up relatively early. Brandi had a coaches meeting at 8:00 and I met with the rest of the team to do a 20 minute run through the streets of San Francisco, being very careful to avoid those notorious hills. I heard one person while we were running say, “the race is tomorrow”. Duh! After running I took a shower and got dressed while waiting for Brandi. When she was done, we headed to Knuckles Sports bar with Brandy and Selene to watch some football and grab some lunch. We sat at a bar with 4 chairs and 4 TVs. Brandi (with an “i”) is an Oklahoma fan while Brandy with a “y” and Selene are University of Texas fans, so we had the folks at the bar put those two games on. Sadly for me, my Aggies were not on TV Saturday.

After the games we ventured back to Pier 39 for some quick souvenir shopping. My daughter collects snow globes so I found her one of those and got my son a shirt with sharks on front. It changes colors when it gets in the heat. We checked out the sea lions again now that we could see them. They are funny to watch.


video

Then Brandy and Selene bought a crape and it was time to head back. This time, we caught a cab. He took us though some of the hills of San Francisco. I tried to get pictures from the cab, but they don’t do the hills any justice.
After helping our staff person make some race day signs, it was time to get ready and head to the pasta party. Our team had ordered matching shirts so that we could wear them to the pasta party. They turned out nice and most of us had them on.

The pasta party was huge. When we walked in there were tons of staff people cheering for us all. We went through a balloon arch, down the stairs and turned the corner and there were still people cheering for us. I had experienced this during my first TNT event in San Diego so I knew it was coming, but some people were just plain overwhelmed by it all. I think there were around 8,000 people at the pasta party. 5,300 of them were TNT participants who had raised money. In all, over 18.5 million was raised for the LLS through this event. That’s a lot of money.

After carbo loading on our pasta, we headed back to the hotel for our “night before the race” meeting and to decorate our jerseys. The only problem is that the hotel kept kicking us out of the room or space where we stopped to meet. Finally we found a meeting room on the 6th floor and all crammed in there. We got last minute reminders for race day. When the meeting was over several of us went to a different spot to decorate our jerseys. We always put our name on the front and names of honored heroes on the back. Then it was bed time.

In this marathon, full marathoners who think they will not make the 6.5 hour cutoff can do an early start. We had a few people that wanted to do this and since Brandi (my roommate) was the coach, she needed to be up early to get them to the start by 5:30. So when she left the room at 4:45, I decided to get up and start getting ready myself. I got dressed, ate my race morning breakfast of oatmeal, made sure I had everything I needed and headed downstairs to meet the rest of the team at 6:00. We then made our way to the start line which was just a few blocks from the hotel. We checked our bags for after the race and waited for the start of the race.

We heard the national anthem and then the 10 second countdown to the race start. And then we stood there. For 10 minutes. We were so far back, we didn’t even budge for 10 minutes. And when we finally did cross the start line, almost 17 minutes had gone by. Thank goodness for chips.

When I crossed the start line I started jogging. I knew the first mile would be slow with so many people and that was fine by me. Better to start out slow and speed up later than to start out too fast. Since I just did a Half Ironman Triathlon two weeks ago, I didn’t really have a time goal for this race. I just wanted to finish. I figured if I finished in the 5 hour range I’d be ok. At each mile I hit my split button on my watch just to see where I was. I figured if I kept each mile around 11 minutes I’d be good. And I did that the first few miles.

The first few miles of the race are flat. We ran down through Fisherman’s Wharf and headed toward the Golden Gate Park. I stopped at one point and had another TNT coach take my picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It was really pretty.

We had been warned that about mile 6 we would face a steep hill that continued for about a mile. Brandi had said she would be at the bottom of that hill to encourage us as we went up. I started looking for her and found her right before I started on the hill. She joined me for the first bit of the hill. My goal was to run all the way up that hill. I do hill training back home and no hill in San Francisco was going to get me. And I conquered that hill. It was steep, but not near as bad as I had imagined.

We got a little reprieve after the hill with some downhills but then headed right back up again. What I didn’t enjoy was that around mile 9 was an aid station right in the middle of the hill! Come on folks – put it at the bottom of the hill or the top of the hill, but not in the middle. It did help to see two of our staff folks right there cheering for us though. And as soon as we got to the top of that hill, we were rewarded. We started a long decent down the hill toward the ocean with an incredible view. From here we had an out-and-back that was also there area where the ½ and full marathoners split off. Mentally, I don’t like out-and-backs. When I’m going out, I’m always wishing I was on the “back” side. And then to see the split and know that some folks were almost done. That was tough mentally. But I kept going. I was still doing fine and enjoying the day. The weather was perfect. When we started it was probably in the high 40s or low 50s, but as the sun came up it warmed up and was probably in the 60s as we were running. It was just right for me.

I finally got to the Great Highway. This was another out-and-back of sorts. We would head out the Great Highway. At about mile 18.5 we would start around Lake Merced. This would take us for the next 4.5 miles. We had been warned that, while flat, this part of the race was boring and there was very little support on this part. Again, a mentally tough part of the race. Our warning was accurate and this is where I started walking. I’m a competitive person by nature, so part of me wanted to keep running, but I was also here to enjoy the race and not worry about my time. Since there wasn’t going to be much support in the way of water stations, I decided not to worry about it. I walked, then jogged, then walked some more. And it was very BORING. After an hour of going around that lake, I just wanted to be done with that part. And I knew once I was off the lake I would be almost done with the race.

Finally I could see the turn that would put me back on the Great Highway to the finish. And as I came around the corner I saw one of my teammates. I thought it was cool that she had finished her ½ marathon and come out to cheer on the rest of us. And then I remembered that she was doing the full. She was an early starter because she is a walker so I was confused about how she was already done. Well, she wasn’t. That’s just how she is. She had gotten to that point and just decided to stop and cheer for people for a while. That’s what it truly means to be part of the team. Jeffi is my hero!

Somewhere between mile 24 and 25 Brandi called to see where I was (yes, I run with my phone). She was at 25.5 running people in and said she would head back to find me. We passed our staff people at their cheer station again and walked a little more before Brandi said she was off to find other people. I could see the finish line, but I wasn’t ready to start running for the line yet. Then one of my mentees passed me. He had run Chicago, but his wife was doing this race and he was running her in to the finish line. I looked at my watch and my competitive side kicked in. I was close to 5 ½ hours and decided I wanted to come in under that. I started sprinting to the finish and crossed with an official time of 5:29:38. I just made it.

And the next thing I know, I’m standing next to lots of guys dressed in tuxedos with a tray of blue boxes. Not just any boxes. Tiffany boxes with my Tiffany finisher’s necklace in them. Two of the guys at once go to hand me the box. Which one do I take it from? I took the box from the guy closest to me. I had my necklace. Then I got the blue Tiffany bag to put it in. Then I got my mylar blanket and walked through the tent to get my finisher’s shirt. The next stop was the TNT tent to check in. Every TNT runner and walker has to check in so that TNT knows all participants are safe. They also had food, so I went down that line grabbing chips and a cookie.

And then I saw it. The line for stretching and massage. And I got right in line. The drinks were right next to the line, so I grabbed a coke and drank that while waiting. Then my phone rang. It was the other Brandy. I told her where I was and she came to meet me. We got stretched and massaged and then headed to baggage claim so I could get my change of shoes and sweats. I changed my shoes, but didn’t need the sweats yet. We sat on the sea wall and relaxed for a while. Our game plan was to wait for Brandi (who had to stay on the course until our last participant crossed the line) and then get in the ocean for a little bit.

When Brandi was done we walked down to the ocean. I HATE cold water, so I knew I wouldn’t be going in far, but I figured maybe up to my knees. When I stepped on the sand where the water had just been, I knew I was in trouble. The sand was cold! And then the current came up and covered my feet. They immediately went numb and started to hurt. I ran back to drier ground. I’m such a wimp. Brandi and Brandy (are you confused yet) however, went on in. They were joined by Rachel. They went out until the water was at their thighs and they stayed in for about 10 minutes. Brrrrr! I get cold just thinking about it.

The last shuttle bus was leaving the race site at 4:00 so at 3:30 we started heading to the shuttle. We caught it back to the hotel, showered and got ready for the victory party. The victory party is always fun and it’s always fun to see how everyone is walking (or not walking). Most people seemed to be doing very well. I remember after my first marathon I felt like I could barely walk. I recover faster after each one, but even our first timers were doing well.

After the victory party there was a small group of us who got a drink to toast our accomplishments. We shared some laughs and talked about future events we might do together. Friendships have been made. Great times have been had. But all good things must come to an end and it was time for bed.

We woke up early Monday to finish packing and catch the bus back to the airport for our flight home. Again, the captain announced that we were on the plane, but this time he congratulated us for having helped raise over 18.5 million for the LLS. The in-flight movie this time was License to Wed. Funny movie if you haven’t seen it. It was kind of sad to land and know that the season is over. We said our good byes with promises to get together for a reunion in a couple of weeks and to look at pictures. I dropped off my teammate and headed home where I was greeted by my kids asking “what are we doing for dinner?” That’s code in our house for “can we go eat at Casa Garcia?” So that’s just what we did. Mexican food always works well after a long weekend away.

I’m taking the week off from working out and will start back up with training next week – slowly. Brandi and I are doing the Disney marathon again in January and I may do AT&T again in February. We’ll see.

Overall, it was a very successful season and a great race. While my time was slower than normal, I’m ok with that. A half ironman and a marathon all in one month is a lot. The Nike Women’s Marathon caters to women and it is a great event. Part of me wants to do this event again next year, but there are also a lot of great events to do that I haven’t done yet. I’m assistant coach for the winter season and then will sign up in the spring to do the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (100 miles around Lake Tahoe) with TNT. After that, who knows!
Here is a link to the course and elevation profile
Race Day Splits were:
Mile 1: 11:11
Mile 2: 10:55
Mile 3: 11:18
Mile 4: 11:45
Mile 5: 11:20
Mile 6: 11:04
Mile 7: 12:10 (this was going up the hill)
Mile 8: 11:04
Miles 9 & 10: 23:51
Mile 11: 11:32
Mile 12: 11:06
Mile 13: 11:54
Mile 14: 12:01
Mile 15: 11:30
Mile 16: 12:00
Mile 17: 11:35
Mile 18: 13:17 (this is where I started walking)
Mile 19: 13:50
Mile 20: 13:40
Mile 21: 13:53
Mile 22: 14:48
Mile 23: 15:27
Mile 24: 15:10
Mile 25, 26 and .2: 38:04 (but I forgot to stop my watch as I crossed, so this isn't really accurate)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Race Report Coming Soon

Well, I'm home from San Francisco. I had a great time while I was there. I finished the Nike Women's Marathon in 5:29:38. It's late and I still need to unpack and get ready to go back to work in the morning. A full report of the weekend and race, including pictures, will be up in the next day or so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lazy Days and Random Thoughts

After my half ironman Sunday, I took the week easy. Monday was definitely an off day for me. I ended up working for two ours in the pumpkin patch with my daughter at my church. No workout at all. Tuesday was much needed yoga. It felt gooooooddddd. At this point, I can't even remember what Wednesday was, but I know I didn't work out. I work for an ad agency and Thursday was a "Battle of the Media Stars". I did the 3 legged race in that with another co-worker. That was my workout for the day! Friday was a wash-the-clothes-and-get-stuff-done day.

Saturday morning I met with the TNT run team and took the easy way out by only doing 5 miles. The marathon is the 21st, so it's coming up soon. After the run, we went to a cafe for breakfast and last minute reminders about the race. We head out on Friday. After that I went to Sam's to help one of the participants raise some more money by having a bake sale. And then it was home to watch some college football and finish doing things around the house.

This morning we went to church, my daughter has a youth council meeting, my son has a soccer game, we have another meeting at church and then youth tonight. Busy day. And next week isn't going to be any better. But we'll get through.

I'm very excited about heading out to San Francisco for the marathon. Although I'm afraid I'm going to freeze. We are still in the high 80s and low 90s here. I checked weather.com and it looks like San Francisco is in the high 50s and low 60s. That's a 30 degree difference and while it will be perfect for marathon day, I'm going to have to take a jacket for the rest of the time.

I also wanted to say that one of the blogs I have been following is hillarious and you should check it out. It's www.heartshapedhedges.blogspot.com. All of us have gotten those emails from "the poor orphan whose rich uncle died, but they need someone to put the money in their bank account". Well, Kim actually responded back. They've had a few emails back and forth and it's quite funny. I would never have the guts to do that. Check it out if you want a good laugh.

I also want to say that yesterday was the Hawaii Ironman in Kona. An Ironman in itself is a huge accomplishment, but Kona is the big one. There are a few lottery entrances, but most of the people there have gotten there by qualifying. This means they placed in the top of their age group at another Ironman race. I watched some of the race last night on a live webcast. To see these people cross the finish line is amazing. Some of them look just fine, but others cross the line and then collapse. They can't even stand up by themselves. And some have very inspiring stories. If you haven't ever watch an Ironman, you should do so. They are sometimes replayed on tv on various channels and they are all usually webcast live on ironmanlive.com. Check it out.

That's it for now. I'll try to update again before I leave, but if not, I'll update with a race report when I get back. That's if I don't freeze to death while I'm there.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Longhorn Half Ironman Pictures

Race Weekend Pictures
The race report is in my update on 10/7.
The buoys for the swim. That little dot in the middle of the picture
right at the horizon is a buoy.
This is the other side of the swim.


The swim exit from the water. I know the picture is dark, but it kind of gives you an idea of the distance from the swim exit to transition. And it's all uphill.

Continuing the swim exit and the entrance into transition.




My bike racked on Saturday. I got lucky and the spot to my left remained empty. Nice!!!




Race day exiting the swim.





Coming out of transition for the bike start.






Clipping in.




Taking off for the 56 mile bike ride.



Out on the run course. Those blue things in my hands are the cold, wet sponges.
They became my friends for the second lap.



Posing for my son. Only he cut my head off, so this is the picture my husband took.




Running it in for the finish.



I'm a Half Ironman Finisher!!




Me with my medal at home after the race. My daughter took this picture.



























Sunday, October 7, 2007

Longhorn Half Ironman Race Report

The short story: I finished in 7:29:02
I was 561 out of 728 overall
45 out of 54 in my age group
185 out of 255 women

Swim: 48:13
T1: 3:28
Bike: 3:35:59 for 15.6 mph average
T2: 3:41
Run: 2:57:39 for 13:34 per mile pace

The LONG version:

Saturday afternoon about 12:45, I loaded up my bike and headed out to the race site. I got my bib, my chip, and my goodie bag with race shirt and then joined the others in the bleachers for a mandatory pre-race meeting. They had a USAT official talk about the rule violations they would be looking for (such as drafting on the bike) (USAT is the official governing body of triathlons and there are many rules). Then the race director spoke. He informed us that water temperature was 85 degrees – no wetsuits. He also said they would mark the road in areas where there were large potholes. That’s a good idea.

When that was done, I drove my bike over to the transition area. In very small races, you can rack your bike where ever you want. First come, first serve. In other races, you are assigned a row, but can rack anywhere on that row. Not in this race. You had to rack on your number. This was good in that it didn’t matter what time you got there, but bad because you had no choice. Turned out I was actually in the middle of the whole thing, so I was ok with that. I put my bike on the rack, let some air out of my tires, and covered up my handle bars with a trash bag. (In my Olympic tri I did last spring, I didn’t cover anything up and the dew from overnight caused my brakes to squeak during the whole race. I didn’t want that to happen again. Plus, all the “experienced” triathletes do it, so I figured I might as well. Ha.) Then I left.

Saturday evening at 6:00 we met about 36 other people for dinner at Bucca De Beppo. (not sure on the spelling). These people were all people who post on beginnertriathlete.com. We did name tags so we’d know who each other was, and it was fun to see who the person behind the screen name was. After dinner it was home to finish packing my transition bag, watch a little bit of the Aggie football game while I rolled on my foam roller and then it was bed time.

This morning I woke up at 4:10 a.m. I got dressed, ate my oatmeal and hit the road. I got to transition a little after 5:30 and started laying everything out. I pumped up my tires, loaded my bento box with food for the bike course, loaded my water bottles on my bike and made sure everything was how I wanted it to be.

I got a little nervous. Since this was a Half Ironman, they had USAT officials really watching to make sure everybody was doing everything right. You can only take up so much room in the transition area and the lady was having people move stuff and fold up towels so the space wasn’t too big.

At 7:15 it was time to head to the swim start. I wasn’t really that nervous which I thought was good. I was the fourth wave to go off. We got out in the water and started from the water. I positioned myself about the 2nd or 3rd row back and to the inside on the right. The swim was clockwise, so all buoys we passed were to be on our right. I like to be by the buoys so hopefully I don’t swim any more than I have to. When the horn blew, I started swimming. I had to remind myself that I had a long way to go and I just needed to swim my race. This wasn’t a race against other racers like the shorter tris are for me. I just wanted to get through it. My main goal was to finish in under an hour and a good goal for me was to finish in about 45 minutes.

When I rounded the first buoy and was looking for the next one, I noticed that I had caught up to at least one male swimmer from the wave in front of ours. Sweet! I love when I can catch up to the wave in front of me because it means I’m not the slowest swimmer. By the next buoy, I noticed another color. Did I catch up to the wave two in front of me? Uh, than would be a no. I was being passed by the guys behind me. And the fast ones were barreling through. Yikes. By the time we got to the buoy to head back to shore, I noticed there weren’t a lot of red caps (my wave color) around.

When I exited the swim I glanced at my watch – 48 minutes. Wahoo! And then I saw my family. Yeah! I high-fived my kids and headed for transition. When I did Danskin here, I ended up with some twig or rock or something in my shoe and it cut my toe during the race. Since this was a longer race, I sat down and tried to wipe my feet off. They were gross. I got them the best I could, put my socks and bike shoes on, put my gloves, sunglasses and helmet on, threw some gels in my back pocket and took off.

Right as I was mounting my bike, I saw my family again. I told them I’d see them again in about 4 hours and was gone. I had no idea how long the bike would take me. The longest training ride I did was 42 miles. And when I tried to ride the course a couple of weeks ago it was mid afternoon and scorching hot and I only made it 40 miles. During the race today it was slightly overcast. I hoped it would remain that way throughout the bike and for the most part it did.

I kept reminding myself on the bike to not push too hard, especially in the beginning. I can do that in a sprint because I only have 12 miles to go, but today I had 56.7 (remember, they had to change the route and it added a little extra mileage). I felt good with the areobars and I kept taking drinks about every 15 minutes. Every hour I took a Cliff Shot energy gel. And in between, I dug into my bento box and pulled out either a piece of a Lara Bar or some gummy bears. That seemed to do the trick. But I think at that point I had had too much to drink and hadn’t sweated any liquid out yet. At mile 10 I had to pee. Now hard core triathletes learn to pee while they are riding the bike so they don’t have to stop. Not me. I knew there would be an aid station about 12.5 and I knew I would be stopping. When I turned off the highway and saw the aid station I was happy. And there was an open porta potty. I bet I was there less than a minute total and I was on my way again.

During the bike I kept checking myself. I’d try to push a little on the flats and downhills (I reached 37 mph today on one of the downhills and hit high 20s many times) and I’d spin in the easy gear on the uphills (sometimes only doing 6 mph). When I hit 40 miles I was happy. Only 16 more to go and I was doing ok. When I hit mile 47 it was even better. The countdown was on. I was glad to get off the bike. The aerobars really helped. I was just ready to get off that seat.

I headed back to transition to get my run gear. I decided to change socks because the ones on my feet were still wet from my wet feet after the swim and I really didn’t want to run 13.1 miles with wet socks. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have changed. You’ll read why in a little bit. I stuffed some pretzels and gummy bears in my back pocket, put on my race belt with bib number, grabbed my Gatorade and headed off. My legs felt fine off the bike so I started out with a slow run.

And that’s when I realized how hot it had gotten. On the bike you are going fast and have a breeze. Not so on the run. And I don’t do well with the heat. So at the first aid station I grabbed some cold sponges and sqeezed them on my head. And where did the water go? Right down my legs and into my shoes. So much for dry feet. I decided to run when I could and walk the hills. And that’s exactly what I did for the first few miles. And then I got really hot. I knew at this point I would finish. And I knew even if I walked the rest of the way I would finish under 8 hours. All I wanted to do coming into today was finish so I decided not to push myself and just started walking fast. I still ran on some downhills when I felt like it, but by the time I got to the second lap I was pretty much resigned to walking the rest of the way.

About mile 7 I saw my family again. I needed that. They had just gotten back and were walking to the transition and finish line area so they weren’t expecting to see me again right then. They stopped and whipped out the cameras. My son had his digital and was wanting to get a picture so I stopped. I guess he was in too big of a hurry though because my daughter said he cut my head off. Oh well. My husband got some. I told them I was on the second lap and would see them at the finish.

About mile 8½ I started walking with a lady from Colorado. We walked and talked for a couple of miles but then she was ready to run again. With the heat, I wasn’t going to. I told her to go on and have a great finish. I just kept walking (and mind you I wasn’t leisurely walking) and grabbing new sponges, Gatorade and water with ice at all the aid stations. I’d dump a cup of water on my head, drink the Gatorade and save some water with ice to drink until the next aid station. I was glad when I entered the park again because that meant only about 3 more miles to go. And I just kept walking and drinking. I’d talk to anybody that came along, but I was pretty far back at this point. After I climbed the last big hill I knew I was close.

I wasn’t going to start running until mile 13. When I hit that, I dropped my sponge and cup and took off for the finish line. I didn’t see my family going down the chute but they were there because they got pictures. And I don’t remember hearing my name being called out but I think they did. It didn’t matter. I knew I was done. I knew I had just completed 70.3 miles with my own body. I knew I could call myself a Half Ironman finisher.

I was so excited I didn’t even look at my watch or stop it. I got my ice cold towel, my medal and my finisher water bottle. Then I found my family before heading for food. We sat down for a little bit while I ate what I could and then I gathered my stuff and had them help me carry it all back to the car – two miles away. Ugggh!

I'll add pictures later. Hopefully tomorrow. It's just taking too long and I need to go chill on the couch and watch tv.

I enjoyed the race. I’m glad I did it. I don’t know if I’ll do it again next year or not. It takes a lot of time to train. And if I do it, I won’t be training for another event at the same time. I have a marathon in two weeks, so that’s why I didn’t really push it on the run. If I didn’t have that coming up, I might have pushed a little harder and finished under 7 hours. Who knows. Maybe I wouldn’t have.

I do have thoughts of one day doing a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run), but after doing the Half Ironman today I have a better feel for what it will take to be able to do that. It will take tons of time and right now I don’t have that. Maybe in 2009 or 2010. But not right now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Getting Ready For Race Day

This week was a hectic week, so it's a good thing it was a taper week. Tuesday night was open house at my son's school. I didn't want to workout before open house because I didn't want to go sweaty and I didn't want to have to take a shower and get ready all over again. By the time we got home and got everything done, I wasn't in a mood to do anything.

Wednesday evening I had a coaches/mentor meeting for Team in Training. I live way north and work way south. The meeting was south. I thought I was going to have to go home to pick my daughter up from school and then come all the way back to the meeting. It turned out that my husband was able to get her so that I could stay south. But, I hadn't planned on that and didn't have any workout clothes with me. By the time the meeting was over and I got home, it was almost 10:00. No workout again.

Thursday when I got home, I got on the treadmill for a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill. I needed to do something. Then my daughter and I went to watch my nieces cheer at their school's volleyball game while my husband and son were at soccer.

Today when I got home, I took my bike off the trainer and took it for a quick 15 minute ride outside. I wanted to make sure everything felt good. My knee has still been giving me issues every now and then and I think it's from the bike. I'm hoping I don't have problems with it Sunday. The weird thing is that it doesn't hurt at all when I run. After those brief 15 minutes, I was soaked with sweat. Of course it was 5:00, but I certainly hope it's at least a little bit cooler Sunday. The front that was suppose to get here and cool things off into the 80s won't be making it until Tuesday or Wednesday. It will probably be in the 70s to start and in the 90s by the time I'm done. The race director took the water temperature today. It was 85 degrees. That's hot! And that also means no wetsuits. For me, that means a slower swim time. Oh well.

Tonight I'll start getting things ready and lay them out so I don't forget anything. My son has soccer skill training and my daughter and I enjoy the girl time by watching Ghost Whisperer. So, we'll watch that and I'll relax.

In the morning I'm scheduled to be aid station for the TNT Nike team. We are then having a pot luck and will go over race preparations with the team. After that I'll head home to get my bike and head out to the race site to pick up my packet, check out the expo, and rack my bike. There is a mandatory meeting that participants have to go to, so I'll do that at 4:00. At 6:00 several people who post on beginnertriathlete.com are meeting at an Italian food restaurant for dinner, so we'll meet them there. That should be fun and it will allow me to meet people so I'll see familiar faces during the race. After dinner, it's home and to bed.

The transition area opens Sunday morning at 5:30 and I plan on being there when it opens. I like to get there and make sure everything is just how I want it. The race starts at 7:30 with the elite wave and goes from there. I'll be in the water before 8:00. I have no idea what time I'll be anywhere else Sunday. I'll get done when I get done. I'll let you know how it goes. Until then......

Monday, October 1, 2007

Allergies, Weather and Race Day

My husband was out of town Thursday - Saturday of last week, so I missed my long run with Team in Training. Instead, after running the kids around all day, I did 6 miles on the treadmill. It felt good. I could have kept going.

Sunday was just as hectic with church meetings and such, so while my husband went to the grocery store, I hopped on the trainer for 2 hours. I think my body just doesn't like the trainer. I can ride over 3 hours outside and be fine, but I get off the trainer and I'm hurting. The latest pain is under the ball of my left foot. It feels like a bruise. Sometimes when I'm on the trainer, I actually sit up (you know, "look mom, no hands") while I'm pedaling. When I do this, I think my feet slide forward a little bit in my shoes. And I think that's what caused my pain Sunday. I'm hoping to get the bike outside one last time on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Speaking of weather.....there are tons of allergens in the air right now. Lots of ragweed, fall elm and mold. I'm allergic to ragweed and mold, but the ragweed really gets me. And the news said this may be the worse ragweed season we've seen in the past 15 years. Just what I need right before race day. My nose runs all day and then stops up at night so I can't breathe, which wakes me up. Then I can't get back to sleep. And I'm constantly sneezing. Got the itchy eyes, too. And YES, I am taking Allegra and sometimes Benadryl at night.

I also watched the news tonight to see what the forecast may be for race day. We're still hovering in the low 90s here and that is a little above normal for this time of year. However, the news tonight said they expect a cold front to come through sometime Saturday night or Sunday. That would mean temps in the mid to high 80s. That would be wonderful. But, there is also a 30% chance of rain. That's not much, but I'd prefer if the rain held off until say 4:00 in the afternoon or so.

Since race day is Sunday, I'm taking it easy this week. I went on a field trip with my son's 4th grade class today. Boy was that interesting. I had to laugh though as we were walking and some of the kids were complaining. I'm thinking "we haven't even walked a mile yet". When I got home I got my bathing suit on and went to the gym. I swam 2,000 meters tonight and that's all I'm doing. I'm going to pop some popcorn and veg in front of the tv.

Friday, September 28, 2007

What's An Extra .7 Mile?

That's right. Last weekend when I road the bike course for Longhorn (I don't even like typing that word being that I'm and AGGIE, but I digress!) one of the roads was completely torn up. And I mean completely. I debated about whether or not to cross it, but I didn't have a map and I didn't know any other way to get back to the course, so I went across it. There were several postings this week on beginnertriathlete.com about it being the "cyclocross" part of the course. Anyway, the race director thought it would be fixed by race day but recently found out it won't. Because of that, he had to reroute the course. Because of that, the bike course is now 56.7 miles. Not 56. I know .7 mile doesn't seem like that far in the grand scheme of things, but after 56, who wants to go another .7? Kind of makes you realize how hard it is to get the exact distances measured out on the roads. I guess it's a little easier with the run because you can always do an out and back to get the exact distance. It would be kind of hard to have 1,000 people do a sharp u-turn in the middle of the road on their bike so that everyone went the exact distance. I guess we'll take the extra .7.

I also found out today that my swim wave will go off at 7:46 am. That's as long as nothing changes between now and then. They still aren't sure if the race will be wetsuit legal or not. Probably won't know that until the day before or day of the race.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Taper Time - I Guess

So it's officially taper time. But it seems strange to me because the schedule I've been following still calls for some decent amount of time on the bike this weekend. Who knows what kind of schedule I'll follow the next couple of weeks.

Monday I took my bike into the shop. I've thought all along my fit was a little off and I've been wanting aerobars, so I thought what the heck. In running, I normally wouldn't do something so drastic so close to race day, but I decided to go for it. And I'm glad I did. When I got home, I took my bike for a spin to see how the aerobars felt during a ride. I only went out for 45 minutes and that includes time stopped at stop signs, so I only went 11.67 miles. But it felt great. I was definitely too stretched out before.

I cut my ride short so I could come home and spend time with the family and when I got home no one was home. They had gone up to the soccer fields to kick the ball around. So I hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile run. I got done just as they got home.

Today would normally be a yoga day, but I had a board meeting I needed to go to instead. Since I would be missing yoga, I hopped on my bike and managed to squeeze in another short ride of 12.85 miles. Just trying to make sure the fit is ok and I'm comfortable in the aero position.

The rest of the week is packed with activities, so it will be a challenge to squeeze it all in. I'd like to do a decent ride this weekend and another open water swim possibly. We'll see.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Long Hard Weekend

Thursday when I got home I just waited for my daughter to call and tell me she was through with auditions. Then I picked her up and headed to the grocery store. Then I came home and hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile run while switching between Survivor and the A&M vs. Miami football game. Let's just say I wasn't too happy with that outcome.

Friday night some teammates and I hosted a wine tasting fundraiser. So, I rushed to pick up my daughter from school and grab the goodies from home before heading to the wine tasting. As soon as I saw my daughter, I knew she didn't make the play. She said that only 3 sixth graders got parts. She was pretty upset but I told her how proud I was of her for at least trying and for getting as far as she did. By the time I left for the wine tasting, she seemed to be ok.

The wine tasting went well I think. There were 4 of us who organized it. There were about 25 people there and they got to sample 4 different wines. My friend and running buddy who is also one of the coaches this season did the wine tasting for us. Her and her husband own a wine store, so she gave the lesson on how to swirl, sniff, slurp and swallow. I think everyone enjoyed the evening and we made some more money toward our fundraising.

The tough thing about the fundraiser was that I didn't really eat dinner Friday night and I didn't get in bed until 11:00. The alarm went off Saturday morning at 5:00 am. Uggghhh. The Nike team was scheduled to do 16 miles. I didn't want to do that many because my plan was to ride my bike after, plus I was doing double duty again. I ran with the Nike team for a while, turned around and went to meet up with the other team. I ran 7 miles with them and then ran backwards a little, ending up with 13.5 miles. That was good enough for me.

After everyone was finished, my friend and I headed out to the race site for the half ironman I'm doing in two weeks. She said she didn't mind following me in her truck so that I would be safe. I got everything ready and took off on the actual course. The course has been described as hilly and I expected some really big hills. That's one of the reasons I wanted to ride it. What I didn't expect were so many long rolling hills and false flats. I knew there were some, but it seems like that's the whole course. There were really only one or two hills that I could cruise down the backside at over 30 mph. And I like to cruise. It let's my legs rest. Big hills and long rolling hills don't.

The other bad thing was that I didn't start until noon. It was in the low 90s and climbing. The sun was hot. I stayed hydrated and had some energy gels and gummy bears (I love gummy bears). But at mile 40, the sun got to me. I was slowing down a lot and knew I needed to get done so I could make my son's soccer game. I decided it was time to call it quits. We loaded my bike in the back of the truck and drove the rest of the course. I was disappointed, but my friend reminded me that on race day I will have had a good dinner the night before, I will have gotten more sleep the night before, I won't have run 13.5 miles before I get on the bike, and I won't be out there in the hottest part of the day. She's right, but I was still disappointed. I'm sure I can finish, but at this point, I'm thinking the time my get close. We'll see.

The other thing that's getting me right now are my allergies. Mold and ragweed are high and those two things really get to me. I'm taking all my medication, but I'm sneezing like crazy and waking up in the night with a stopped up nose. So today after church I ate lunch and took a nap.

For our youth group tonight, we went to worship with a church on the east side of town. It's an African American Methodist church. My husband and I have worked with their paster at some youth retreats and have a great respect for him. We also know a few of their youth from those same retreats. The kids from both churches all had a really great time. I hope we do it again.

I mentioned at the first of the month that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Well on Monday, September 24th, Chili's will donate 100 percent of its profits from restaurant sales to St. Jude. So, be sure to stop by a Chili's on Monday for lunch or dinner. It'll help a great cause.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Excellent Timing

Tuesday after school my daughter had auditions for the school play. That mean I didn't have to pick her up right away. So, I went home and hopped on the treadmill for a 3 mile run. I had just gotten off the treadmill, dried my self off, and put on my yoga clothes when she called to say she was done early. I got my workout done just in time. I picked her up, stopped to get her some food for dinner and then headed to yoga.

Today she had the second part of the auditions. Since she finished early yesterday, I didn't want to be outside somewhere running or riding my bike if she called early today. So, I got on the trainer and rode for an hour. When my hour was up I got off the bike to stretch and as I was stretching she called to say she was done. I couldn't have timed it better if I wanted to.

I went to get her, came home and ate a bit and then hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile run. I've had my shower and I'm headed back to the kitchen for more food.

My daughter made the "call back" list and will stay again after school tomorrow for the last cut. They sang the first day, acted today and will dance tomorrow. She said only about 6 people will get cut tomorrow so I hope she's not one of those six. I'd love to see her get a part in the play. We'll see if I time my workout just right tomorrow or not.