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 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.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Countdown Is On

Thursday evening was my daughter's open house at school. This is a time to meet the teachers. In elementary school, the kids have one teacher so on open house night you go, meet the teacher, look around and leave. Not so with middle school. We actually went to her first period class first, stayed until the bell rang, then went to second period until the bell rang, and so on (the bell rang every 10 minutes). Quite interesting seeing how her day progresses.

When I got home and the kids were in bed, I hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile run. I needed it. It felt good. Friday is typically my off day. Well, off from workouts. Not off from housework, laundry, etc.

Saturday morning I met with the Nike run team. My half ironman was three weeks away from Sunday. Before a big race, most athletes taper. All season long, workouts have built in time, distance and intensity. As you taper, you decrease all these things so that your body is recovered and refreshed for race day. Typically for a marathon I'll taper for 3 weeks. So three weeks out I'll do a 20 miler, 2 weeks out a 14-16 miler, and one week out a 6-8 miler. With the half ironman, I had planned on doing a 3 week taper so I wanted to get in a longer run this weekend. Running with the Nike team got me a 14.25 mile run. And I ran every bit of it, only stopping briefly at the aid stations. It felt good and gave me confidence for the half ironman.

However, the planned 56 mile bike ride didn't happen. The lady who was suppose to ride with me had to cancel at the last minute, and I just don't feel comfortable going that far on unknown roads by myself. So, when I got home from the run I immediately hopped on the trainer for an hour and 45 minutes. I felt like I could have gone longer, but I needed to shower and get ready for my son's first soccer game of the season.

And I'm not exactly sure why I showered first, because it didn't do much good. The soccer game was at 3:15 and it was HOT. There were no trees to be found and I was sweating all over again. But it was worth it. His team played really well. They only have 8 players, so no substitutions. Every boy had to give his all for the entire game. They did, and they won.

Today I went swimming after work, getting in my 2,000 meters. Then after dinner and after the kids were in bed, I hopped on the trainer for an hour. Doesn't sound like too much of a taper to me. And it may not be. I have another opportunity timewise to get in that long bike ride this weekend if I can find someone to go with me. I'd really like to do that so I am familiar with the course and so I know where I can push myself and where I need to take it easy. If I do that, then I'll end up with a two week taper. I've never done a two week taper before. Then again, I've never done a half ironman before either. I'm just taking each day as they come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wonderful Weather

Well, the "cold front" came through. Calling it a cold front is somewhat of a laugh (right, Shauna?). Tuesday morning, it was pouring down rain. The rain was so hard that it took me almost 2 hours to get to work (I work 25 miles from home, so on most days it takes me an hour). But by the afternoon, the rain was gone, the sky was overcast and the temps were in the mid 80s with a light breeze. Perfect day for a run, even if today was my scheduled easy day. I got home and took off for an easy 3 mile run - just to enjoy it. It was great. And then I went to yoga. What a great day.

I have to say, I think running is much more of a passion for me than swimming or biking. I like swimming and biking, but I never say to myself "today is a perfect day for a swim/bike". I do say that about running. I love running when it's in the 60s and 70s. And perfect marathon race day weather is in the 40s or 50s. Yes, it's cold at the start, but you warm up quick.

Today was still somewhat cooler. Temps were only in the 80s again, which is really nice after the HOT weather we've had. It's not expected to stay around long, but I'm hoping it will stay in the 80s at least through Saturday for our long run.

It's looking like Wednesdays are my best option for swimming right now, so as soon as everyone was home, I headed for the pool. The water wasn't much cooler than last week, but it was ok. I got my 2,000 meters in and then sat in the jacuzzi for about 5 minutes. That felt good!

We finally got my son's soccer schedule and I'm happy. Most of his games are in the early to late afternoon (1:00 or later), so I will be able to make most of his games and still get my long runs in. Yeah! I was kind of worried about that. His first game is this Saturday at 3:15. I have a 14 miler scheduled with TNT and then I'm hoping to go ride the 56 mile bike course of the Longhorn HIM Tri so I will be familiar with it. Not sure if I can get all that done and get to the game by 3:15, but I'm going to give it my best shot. They will just have to deal with my sweaty self.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Honored Hero Run

Saturday morning was the honored hero run for the Fall TNT Team. Meg Brown, the speaker from Thursday night, showed up which was pretty cool. We also had a teammate who brought their personal honored hero and then two others showed up, both kids. The mom of one of the kids is on our team and I think that's pretty cool.

We always start our honored hero runs by doing the first lap or first mile (depending on location) in silence. Saturday we would be going around the track at the school where we meet. Signs had been placed along the way showing pictures of our honored heroes and telling us a little about them. I'm a pretty emotional person so I got a little choked up during that lap. When it was over, it was time to get to business. We ran 6 miles Saturday. And boy was it humid.

Running only 6 miles worked out well for me because we had a choir picnic to attend for my daughter and then we headed out of town to go to my husband's high school class reunion. I don't really know too many people he graduated with, but it was fun to people watch and imagine what my reunion will be like next year.

Sunday was a day of getting back into town and getting things ready for the school/work week. I also finally finished my son's scrapbook of our last year's summer vacation. Whew!

Tonight I hit the treadmill for a 6 mile run. It is just too hot and humid outside for me right now. We are suppose to get a cold front sometime tomorrow and the high is only suppose to be in the upper 80s. Some of you may laugh, but that is going to feel really nice compared to the high 90s we've been having. Bring it on!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Motivational Evening

Wednesday night I was finally able to get back to the pool. I was looking for a reason not to go, but I made myself and I'm glad I did. It felt good to be back in the pool. Only they need to figure out how to keep a pool temperature constant. Back in February and March, the water was so cold that I never did get warm, even swimming 2,000 meters. Wednesday night, the minute I hopped in I knew it was too warm. By the time I was done swimming, I was hot. That usually doesn't happen.

When I got home my parents were at my house. My parents are planning on walking the Disney marathon in January and I've given them a schedule to follow, including track workouts. Even though they are walking, I'm hoping that if they do some speed work on the track they will be able to incorporate a little bit of jogging here and there or at least be able to walk faster. Disney has a 7 hour cutoff and we need to make sure they make it. So, we headed to the high school track for their first lesson: straights and curves. After warming up and showing them what to do I set off for my workout and they began theirs. And the next thing I know, they are jogging the straights. Wahoo!

Thursday night I skipped my workout and for a good reason. I had been invited to an awards ceremony and reception by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The ceremony was meant to honor their volunteers. It was a very nice evening. There were several awards given out - to the individual, school and company who had raised/donated the most money, etc. One award was given out that I thought was very special. It was named after one of the honored heroes who lost her battle in 2005. She was actually one of the honored heroes for the team my very first season with TNT. The person who received the award has been a participant, mentor, or somehow involved with every season for the past 10 years! I'd say she deserved that award.

And then the keynote speaker got up. The speaker was Meg Brown. Meg played basketball for the University of Texas and was diagnosed with lymphoma her senior year of college (she had already finished her eligibility). Hearing her story of how she was diagnosed was amazing. Her doctor just kept telling her it was allergies. Then her face puffed up and eventually she had a difficult time swallowing and breathing. It took 3-4 months from the time the symptoms started until they figured out she had lymphoma. She is a great speaker and very inspiring. I ended up buying her book and have already started reading it.

Tomorrow morning I'll be running with the fall TNT team. We are doing the honored hero run in the morning and then having a breakfast with the honored heroes after. So while the Nike team is out there pounding out 18 miles, I'll be taking it easy with a short 6. I'll probably pay for that later, but if will feel good in the morning.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back on the Bike - Outside

Saturday morning's long run with Team in Training was supposed to be 16 miles for my Nike training. I started off with the Nike group, ran with them for a while, turned around and ran to the start for the fall team, ran 5 miles with them and then ran backwards on the route for the Nike team - just like I did last week. Somewhere along the 5 mile route with the fall team, my garmin stopped working. It was at 4.17 when I started and at 7.17 when I finished. I'm positive the route was 5 miles because it's a well known and marked route, so that meant the garmin was 2 miles short of where it should be. So according to my garmin, I would have been done at around 14 on the garmin when I got my mileage in. Well, when all was said and done, I was almost at 16. So I probably ended up doing almost 18. And that's ok with me. I've got to start my taper earlier than the rest of the bunch due to my half ironman October 7th.

Then on Sunday I decided I needed to get the bike back outside if at all possible. Believe it or not, we're in another period of off and on rain, but I managed to get it done. As soon as we got home from church Sunday, I traded dress clothes for bike shorts and a jersey and hit the road. I wasn't sure how far I was wanting to go Sunday, but just took it easy and ended up doing 20 miles before heading back to the house. My husband had a fantasy football draft to go to, so that left me and the kids at home. The kids both had friends over and were occupying themselves, so I headed to my retreat - my craft room - and worked on scrapbooks for about 5 hours! It was a great way to relax after the bike ride.

Everyone had the day off Monday for Labor Day. We slept in until about 8:00 (which is late for us) and had breakfast. The skies looked very overcast and like rain was coming. What to do? I really wanted to get in a long bike ride today since I had the whole day. It brought back memories of July 4th all over again. But I decided to give it a go. If I got rained on, well, I'd just get wet. So I took off about 9:30. Since it was overcast, it wasn't so hot. I felt good after going around the neighborhood route I bike on and decided to risk it. I wanted to ride out to the toll road access roads so I could ride without stop signs and stop lights. But to do this, I'd have to go through town. And the part of town I had to go through consists of two lane roads with no shoulders. I'd done it once before with someone else. And this time, I did it by myself. I made it to the toll road, hit the access roads and just rode. It felt good. It was only about 85 degrees and every now and then a great breeze would hit. It felt so good that I ended up going 40 miles. I still need to get in a couple more long rides of at least 50-60 miles, but I felt better getting that ride in.

Today, however, I started getting a little nervous. The half ironman is only a little over a month away on October 7th. I frequent a lot and today someone who road the bike route of the half ironman this weekend posted their mile by mile review of the course. According to him there are a few tricky corners (meaning sharp and possibly at the end of a steep downhill and leading directly to a steep uphill) and there are three big hills. From reading other posts, I know that the guy who posted the review is a pretty good cyclist. For him to say they are big hills means they are really big to me. And I've seen the profile of the course, so I'm pretty sure the hills are going to be tough. And two of them come late in the course; one of them at the very end. My game plan is to try to find someone to ride the course with me in a couple of weeks. If I can't do that, then I'll at least drive the course in the car. I need to know what to expect.

Tonight was yoga night and I definitely needed it. After a 3 day weekend, it's never any fun to go back to work. Plus, we've been getting adjusted to middle school life and that's been a little stressful. I'm good now. The stress is gone. At least until tomorrow!

I just checked one of the blogs I frequent ( Kristie's daughter is a cancer survivor. I followed their original caringbridge site and then continued to follow her at her blog. She posted this link on her site: . Check it out. Childhood cancer is a horrible thing. It needs more funding. I recognize some of those kids in the video from following their journey through their web sites. Please do what you can to help.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

In 2003, when my brother-in-law was diagnosed with lymphoma, I had no idea how many children get cancer. When he set up a website through and people signed his guestbook and left their sites I would visit them. I was amazed at how many children out there have cancer.

Most people think that cancer is an adult disease. I was that way even though I had a classmate in high school who was diagnosed with leukemia. At the time, I just thought it was one of those rare things that happened and figured he would be ok. Boy was I naive. In fact, donating blood at a blood drive for him was the first time I ever gave blood. He did ok for a while, but the leukemia came back during his freshman year in college and he had to have a bone marrow transplant. Even today, those are very hard on the body and very risky, but 18 years ago, they were much more so. He never made it home. And I didn't give another thought to kids getting cancer until 4 years ago.

Since my high school classmate battled cancer, things have improved, but they are still not where they should be. Every year, over 12,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer. 20% of those will not survive. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children. It shouldn't be this way.

Over the past four years, I have met many kids on-line and in person who have cancer. And let me tell you, those kids are my heroes. So to all of you kids with cancer, all of the moms, dads, brothers, sisters and the rest of the family - you are my hero. This month you will be on my mind every time I take a step during a run, every time I pedal on the bike, and every time I take a stroke during a swim.