Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in Review

It's time for an update, and now that it's the end of the year, I figured I would do a year in review. 2008 was definitely a busy year, for training and racing as well as our personal life.

January started off with the Disney marathon for a 3rd year in a row. This year, I ran every step with my friend and we stopped to take pictures with EVERY character along the way. Finish time: 5:57:16 (I think this was my slowest marathon ever, but it was worth it).

At the end of January came the 3M half marathon where I set a PR of 2:00:48, but still didn't reach the goal of a half marathon under 2 hours.

February kicked-off the training season for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (AMBBR) with Team in Training, but I had to skip a weekend to rest for the Austin Marathon. Finish time: 5:02:22.

I was still training for AMBBR, but at the end of March ran the Capital 10,000 coming in at 1:00:41. Then in May I ran the Deutschen Pfest 5k. I was on track to PR, but the lead runners took a wrong turn and we ended up running farther than a 5k. My final time: 32:15.

At the end of May, I left for Lake Tahoe to ride the AMBBR, which was great fun. We had perfect weather and my legs felt better after 100+ miles on the bike than they ever do after a marathon.

When I got home from Tahoe, I sent my 12 year old off to Italy and Greece for 20 days. At the end of June I participated in the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon, setting another PR of 1:29:10. Then my husband, son and I went to Ohio for some fun time for my son.

July was extremely busy. Madison came home and then both kids immediately left for church camp. I was in charge of a Chrysalis for youth one weekend and then we went to a wedding the next. After that, it was time for my high school reunion, which I was also in charge of. And somewhere in there, I continued to train for the Longhorn 70.3 at the beginning of October, once again setting a PR for that distance of 6:56:47.

The weekend after Longhorn, I decided I needed to try running in a skirt, so I did the Skirt Chaser 5K for fun, but surprised myself by finishing in 27:33. And not long after that came back problems that sidelined me. I ended up walking the Race for the Cure after hoping to PR that race as well.

Then we celebrated an anniversary, got a new dog, celebrated my husband's birthday, and then celebrated Christmas with lots of family.

The last week and a half has been good. I was off work most of the week of Christmas. I got in a 12 mile run the weekend before Christmas, two 4 mile runs while at my mother-in-law's, a 14 mile run this past weekend, and two 6+ mile runs so far this week. I need to get in a 2 mile run Wednesday, and I will have run just over 100 miles in the month of December.

Here are my totals for the year as of today (12/30/08)
Bike: 1486.53 miles (I'm hoping to get in 14 more on Wednesday)
Run: 718.35
Swim: 14,254.52 yards
Strength training: 21 hours 43 minutes
Trainer: 7 hours
Spin class: 2 hours 15 minutes
Walking: 3 hours 8 minutes
Wii Fit: 2 hours 40 minutes (I only put this because it's considered a "sport" on the log I use)
Yoga: 35 hours

My running was less than last year, but my cycling was more. I need to find the balance for next year. And I need to swim more. It's just not as easy as running or cycling from the house.

So, what does 2009 look like? Well, I haven't really sat down and devoted time to thinking about it overall, but I do know some things.

January - 3M half marathon
February - Austin half or full marathon (I need to decide SOON)
March - Capital 10,000
April - Zooma half marathon (?)
May - Deutschen Pfest 5k
June - America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (I will fundraise again)
June - Lake Pflugerville Triathlon
October - Marine Corps Marathon (if we can get in)
November - Race for the Cure

There may be other races thrown in when they work with my schedule. We'll see. And if I get into Marine Corps, then I plan on spectating and cheering on the racers at the Longhorn 70.3. It's a great race and I'd love to do it again, but it's too close to the Marine Corps marathon and my friend and I have been wanting to do the marathon for a couple of years.

I'm hoping the rest of my life slows down some as well. We won't be sending a child out of the country next year, and I won't be planning a Chrysalis or high school reunion. I've already given up teaching Sunday school and have found a class that I enjoy being a participant in. Plus, I've served on two different boards for the last 3-6 years, and next year I roll off of both of those - one in May and the other in August.

I'd like to keep up the training, but spend some time catching up on scrapbooking as well. I did some over the holidays, but still have lots to do. I have a scrapbook of all my major races and am almost through with that. The big task will be getting caught up on the kid's school scrapbooks and then our last vacation. And, if I can find the time, I wouldn't mind learning how to sew. I want to learn how to make t-shirt quilts (because I have tons of race shirts I never wear and I also think it would be nice to do for the kids).

The other big thing of 2009 will be deciding if I will be doing an Ironman in 2010. If I decide to move forward with that (and get the family's blessing), I need to decide which one I'm going to do and go out to volunteer for the 2009 race so that I can sign up the next morning. Yes, for an Ironman that's what has to be done. And it's a huge committment, financially as well as with time and training.

Well, that pretty much sums up 2008 and looks ahead to 2009. I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year!!!! May it be filled with friends, family and lots of blessings.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Well, they say around here that if you don't like the weather, hang around a few minutes and it will change. And boy has it changed here lately. Last week we had a high of 80 and then that evening the temps dropped and we had sleet. The temps warmed back up and Sunday afternoon we, once again, had a high of 79. Today, it didn't get out of the 30s and the forecast says we may get some light rain (which may turn to ice) tonight. It shouldn't be enough to freeze over the roads, but it sure does make it tough to figure out what to wear from day to day. Dalton had on shorts and a short sleeved shirt this morning until I told him it wouldn't get warmer than 40.

Because of the weather, all of my workouts (except the last two long runs) have been inside. I'll run long outside in the cold because I warm up, but it's too much effort to put on the appropriate clothes for a short run. So last weekend I did 8.5 miles in 40 degree weather and this weekend I did 10 miles in maybe 50 degree weather. It's been hard to get some of the weeknight workouts in. I'm still trying to figure out the new routine with Roscoe. Between my chiro appointments, walking Roscoe, and getting my daughter to and from her 3-night-a-week babysitting job at the local gym, (not to mention eating dinner and doing everything else that needs to be done around the house) it's hard to squeeze them in. A couple have had to be split up. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

And tonight because of the weather, instead of "walking" Roscoe, we went for a quick jog. And he seemed to really like it. He did pretty well, but stopped me dead in my tracks a couple of times when he needed to "mark his territory" or "sniff the ground". You should see him when I'm getting ready for the walk. He knows it's about time and boy does he get excited. I've already decided, though, that temps in the 30's plus rain or sleet equals no walk for Roscoe. We'll have to play ball in the house if that happens. I'm such a wimp when it comes to cold.

Well, stay warm everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More About Roscoe

Several of you have asked some questions about Roscoe, so I thought I'd try to answer.

We found Roscoe through the local Boxer Rescue. According to their website, Roscoe is 3 years old. He and his sister (who had already been adopted by another family) were taken from his previous owner due to neglet. Roscoe had been hit by a car and his owner did not get him treatment for a broken hip. He was also 20 lbs underweight. Animal Control took the dogs and they ended up with the Boxer Rescue.

He has had two surgeries on his hip to reconstruct it and he had a couple of tumors (benign) removed, but all seems to be well with him now. He does occasionally favor his hip (especially after waking up), but he can get frisky and "box" with you if you want.
He is very well behaved - he doesn't counter surf, he's potty trained, and he's crate trained. He walks well on a leash, but still needs some work to "heel". And let me tell you, he likes the couch! I wasn't planning on letting him get up there, but the kids love it and he is so peaceful looking when he's asleep. He doesn't play on the couch, so I've decided it will be ok. I just may need to get some blankets to put over the couch.

I do plan on running with him at some point, but I want to get him use to the neighborhood and use to the leash with me leading him. He has cut right in front of me a couple of times and tripped me, so that needs to be fixed before I start running with him. And, we haven't encountered other dogs on our walks yet and I want to see what he will do when approached by another dog. If I'm running and a loose dog runs up to us (which shouldn't happen if owners obey the law and keep their dog on a leash), I'm not sure what would happen. Plus, once I get the vet records from the rescue organization, I want to take them (and him) to our vet and have them look him over just to make sure that running won't do any more damage to his hip. If all works out, it will be fun to run with him.

As far as getting my son a dog - we are still looking. He wants a small dog and right now is leaning toward Jack Russells or Rat Terriers. My brother has a rat terrier that we love. We know these breeds will have lots of energy which I think will work well with Roscoe. We just have to find one. Plus, we keep telling him that he may really like them based on the picture he sees on the Internet, but once he meets the dog it may be a different story. Afterall, I didn't go to the rescue adoption day to get Roscoe, but I feel in love once I got there.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Meet Roscoe

In August of 2007, our 14 year old Rottweiler died. A couple of years earlier, our 11 year old Rott/Dobie mix had died. We decided we needed some time after they both died before we got a new dog.

Well, just recently my son started asking if he could get a dog for Christmas. We told him it would have to be a small dog because "mamma wants a boxer" and we don't want two big dogs in the house.

We've been looking on-line at breeders, humane societies and rescue sites, not sure where we were going to get dogs from. I originally wanted to get a puppy, but then I came across the local boxer rescue site. They had an adoption day Saturday and we went. Later that afternoon, they brought Roscoe to our house for a "home visit" and he hasn't left. All we need to do now is finalize the adoption. It hasn't taken him long to make himself right at home.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deck Them Halls, Ya'll!

The Thanksgiving break so far has been great! But before I get into details about that, I want to remind everyone of something I'm sure your mom said to you at some point in your life - "It's better to give than it is to receive.". And since the holiday's are upon us, I want to share with you some ways you can give if you are so inclined.

1) We have some good friends who have a 19 year-old son who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I can't remember the exact type, but it's a rare one. They have a caringbridge site, so if you are so inclined to go over and leave a nice message, I'm sure they would appreciate it. We've known the family (three generations worth) for a long time and they are wonderful people. www.caringbridge.org/visit/corymonzingo

2) And if you like helping out those with cancer, head on over to this site and enter a chance to win something for yourself while helping two families with kids going through transplants. Marey has a daughter who has fought cancer and is doing well, but not all families have the same outcome. Having a transplant is a huge deal physically as well as financially. Every year Marey helps out families who need it by hosting fundraisers, so if you want to help, head on over.
3) Another way to help kid's that have cancer is to head over to Host An Elf . While there, you can buy one of "Catie's Elves" for yourself or donate it so that a child with cancer will receive it this Christmas. Or, if you want to help out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), then when you buy a regular elf, as you are checking out, you can click on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LLS.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'll just say that the Thanksgiving break so far has been great! I've been able to "sleep in" three days in a row and still get in a morning workout. Today I even got in a 7 mile run outside which felt great!!!
The best thing is that, following holiday tradition, we've gotten the Christmas decorations up both outside and inside, we've spent some time with family and good friends, we've watched some football, and we've even done a little Christmas shopping. It doesn't get any better than that.
I'll leave you with a few pictures of our holiday decorating. And for those of you who are curious, we put up three trees. One in the living room with all the traditional ornaments and the ones that have meaning (like ones we buy from our vacation spots, etc); a Disney themed tree in the office where it can be seen from the road; and a small, puny tree (that was the first tree my husband and I ever had) in the dining room which can also be seen from the road. Enjoy!!!

Being Silly!

putting the ornaments on
the finished tree in the living room
a handmade ornament
they were so cute when they were little :)
the stockings
Santa's plates (these were bought last year from Marey when she did the fundraiser)
the finished Disney tree
our puny little tree (I can't find the tree skirt, so I'll probably have to get a new one)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Ready For A Break

Last week was a busy week, and I'm ready for the Thanksgiving break!!!

I've been going to the chiropractor twice a week for the past month. Luckily he is 10 minutes from my house, but it still takes time to drive there, get adjusted and get home. I've had to push my workouts to later, which then means dinner is later. But, the good news is that I've gotten in some pretty normal workouts over the last week.

I'm an avid reader of the beginnertriathlete.com forum. One of the coaches who posts on there kind of put out a "challenge" to become a stronger cycler over the winter/off season/whatever you want to call it. I decided to follow along and do the workouts to see if it improves my cycling for next spring. I've got my road bike on the trainer upstairs, so I was set. The workouts started last week. Tuesday and Thursday I was able to get them done. There were some fast intervals in there and boy was I drenched with sweat when I was done. I think it's going to be good.

I also got in a couple of runs last week, but skipped Wednesday's workout to go help celebrate a milestone birthday of one of our cyclists with TNT. It was worth missing a workout for. Then Friday night, we headed out of town for a soccer tournament. We had about a 3 hour drive and stopped for dinner along the way, so needless to say I didn't get a workout in on Friday.

Saturday we got up at 6:00 so my son could eat breakfast and we could get to the fields by 8am. It was soooooo cold (in the high 30s at game time). I was layered in clothes and wrapped in a blanket and still cold. After the first game we went with several team members to eat a real breakfast (the hotel only had cereal and the boys were hungry after the game) and then back to the hotel where I managed to get in a 30 minute nap before it was time to head back to the fields. After the afternoon game, we headed back to the hotel for about 30 minutes and then headed for an early dinner before the 8pm game. I was cold all day long. They played much better in the third game, but it was too little too late and it wasn't enough to put them in the finals.

After the game we headed back to the hotel and I caught the last of the OU/Texas Tech football game. I'm an Aggie, so those two teams are in our conference and I was interested in the outcome.

Since our boys were not in the playoffs, it allowed us to "sleep in" Sunday morning. I can't really sleep late and was awake at 6:30. I thought about getting up and going to the hotel gym to run on the treadmill. And then I closed my eyes and thought some more. It was cold and I rarely ever get to stay in bed. And the kids were still asleep. And the bed won. When we finally got up, we ate breakfast and went to watch the other team in their 10am championship game. That was a great game that went into overtime and then into penalty kicks to decide the winner. When all was over we headed home, stopping along the way for a late lunch.

When we got home it was time to wash clothes, grocery shop, get the kids ready for school. And, the Ironman Arizona was Sunday, so I wanted to watch what I could on-line (an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, followed by a 26.2 mile run). I know I've said it before, but if you ever have a chance to watch part of a televised Ironman, you should. Especially the end as the final participants cross the line. Everyone starts at the same time and there is a 17 hour time limit for completing it. Everytime I watch, I want more and more to do one some day. I've done marathons, so I know I can cover the distance. I've done a century ride, so I'm good on the bike. And I feel fairly confident that I could swim the distance with the training. It's just putting them all three together and figuring out nutrition that's the hard part!!! I just need to find the right Ironman and the right time of year so that I can get in the HOURS and HOURS of training. I'm hoping to go volunteer at one next year and experience it in person.

And after reading on the beginnertriathlete.com forum some updates on how people were doing, I felt lazy for not heading to the gym Sunday morning, so I headed upstairs and did the cycling workout I needed to do. Then I watched some more Ironman before heading to bed.

Today was back to work for a short work week. Another chiro adjustment and a 5.5 mile run. We are staying home for Thanksgiving this year and we've decided we are not doing anything. I may not even get out of my pajamas. Unless the guilt gets the better part of me and I end up exercising. We'll see what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and safe travels for anyone traveling.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Letter "W" - an interesting observation from my son

Saturday afternoon we were running errands after my son's indoor soccer game. As we were headed home, we got stopped at a red light. My son looked at the street sign - Wells Branch Parkway. Then he asked "why is a w called double u"? And then he said, "It should be called double v". Hmm. Maybe he's right.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Update on The Back

After resting all day Saturday, I got up Sunday and felt I needed to do something. We had decided to go to the Creekside Service at our church at 11:00, so I had plenty of time. I got on the trainer and rode my bike for about 15 minutes. I didn't want to push things, so that was enough.

Monday I had my second adjustment. Pop. Pop. PopPopPop. It's amazing at how many pops the chiro can get out of my neck. After I got home, I got on the treadmill, set the speed at 4mph and walked at a 1.5% incline for 30 minutes.

Tuesday - well, those of you who know me well know that Tuesday's are yoga days. I was able to do much more this week than last, but still had to do the beginner or intermediate poses on some of the poses, whereas I normally do advanced on almost all of them. I can tell the left side is still tight.

Wednesday. Part of the original gift certificate to the chiro included a 30 minute massage. I LOVE massages. And that massage was tonight. Ahhhhh. I could have fallen asleep. And the massage therapist actually massaged hard and she actually found some areas that bother me that other massage therapists never find. I'll be going back to her for sure. She also mentioned a different kind of massage that sounds interesting. She said it's good for really flexible people who can't get stretched out enough by themselves. Ummm, that would be me. I need to look over her brochure and give her a call back.

After the massage I had my third adjustment. The back isn't popping as much as it did the first time, which I take as a good sign, but the neck just keeps popping. Dang desk job and computer work. I've tried to not spend as much time on the computer, but when your job depends on it for the most part, there's not much you can do. I may look at moving my monitor/keyboard or something to see if it will help.

I think I'm going to try the treadmill again tonight and see if I can get in a slow jog. Still don't want to push things, but I'm ready to get back at it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh My! That Felt Good!

So, this morning I went in for my follow up with the chiro. It was pretty interesting. The x-rays show that my hips are out of alignment (one is higher than the other) by about 1/4 to 1/2". He could even see the difference in the wear on my shoes (and I can't). That's the root cause of my problem. The other thing is that most people have some curvature in the spine in the neck area. Not me. Mine is straight (probably from years of a desk job using the computer). He said that every time I sneeze, all that pressure goes straight down my back and affects my lower back. And those of you that know me well know that I sneeze a lot. Interesting.

After going over the x-rays, the outlined treatment plan, the costs, etc. he did my first adjustment. I've always been a "popper". I know I shouldn't, but I've been able to pop my neck, my back, my shoulders - basically if I felt it needed to pop, I'd pop it. But popping isn't the same as adjusting and man, I've never heard my body pop like that. And it felt good! And my back doesn't hurt as much right now.

But, he told me to rest for the rest of the day today. He said if I want to exercise tomorrow, I could either walk on the treadmill at 4mph and a big incline, or I could get on my bike on the trainer. I go back Monday for another adjustment. I know some people don't believe in chiros, but I'm giving it a shot. We'll see what happens. And maybe if he gets my hips aligned it will help my running and maybe I can run faster. A girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sidelined and Frustrated

Sometime in the last week or two, I did something to my back. I don't know what I did. It could be any number of things, but I first noticed it last Sunday. As I was getting ready for church, it felt like I had slept wrong and I couldn't really turn my head. I figured it would go away on its own. And it did somewhat.

Monday morning, the pain in my upper back/neck area was gone, but I felt something in my lower back when I would sit or stand. Didn't hurt when I was walking, and it didn't hurt when I ran, so I did my normal Monday workout. Same thing Tuesday and Wednesday. During my short run Thursday I noticed I could feel it just a little bit. I figured resting Friday and Saturday would be good and I'd be good to race in the Race for the Cure on Sunday.

My body had other plans. I could barely move on Saturday. It was a struggle to get in and out of the chair to watch my son's soccer games. Sunday morning I felt a little better, but still wasn't sure that I could run. I met the other people from my church who were going to walk the course and we headed downtown. We went through the "expo" and got all the free goodies and then got ready to head to the start line. It was decision time.

I had not put my chip on my shoe yet. If I wasn't going to run for time, I wasn't going to run and I wasn't going to have the chip reflect my time. I did a few test "jogs" to see what I thought and I could feel the pain. And the final straw that made my decision was that after I turned my Garmin on, it froze. It wouldn't register a signal and it wouldn't turn off or anything. I took that as a sign that I was not meant to run, stuffed my chip in my pocket, and headed to the start line for the non-timed runners and walkers. And so I walked the course with my parents. And it took a while. But I got to experience the race from a different perspective.

I got to read the backs of people that had "in memory" or "in celebration" on their back. I got to cheer on runners who were struggling up the hill. I got to stop and pat the dogs who are out there every year to cheer everyone on. And I got to spend almost an hour talking to my parents.

I spent the rest of Sunday resting. And Monday morning I called a chiropractor to make an appointment. At our church's Fall Festival a few weeks ago, I bid on and won a gift certificate to a chiro for x-rays, exam, adjustment and massage. I figured this was the perfect time to use it. They couldn't get me in until Tuesday. And all they did at that appointment was ask what was hurting, take x-rays, and do some heat sensor thingy on my back. They told me to make a follow up appointment to go over the x-rays and to start treatment. Only thing is that between their available times and my schedule, they can't get me in until Saturday morning at 8:30.

I'm frustrated. Other than my back, I feel great and want to be out running. I go stir crazy not exercising. I did go to yoga Tuesday night after the chiro. I wasn't able to do all the poses, and I definitely stuck to the beginner poses on the ones I could do, but I think it helped to stretch things out. I felt a little better this morning, but still not 100%.

In the three years I've been really exercising and training for endurance events, I've never been injured to the point where I can't workout. I've had muscle issues and minor pains, but they've gone away with a day of rest. Not this time. And I'm frustrated.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Little Halloween Fun

This is what my two kids looked like tonight before heading out. Miss Goth Girl With An Attitude and good old Freddy.
Goth Girl went to a Halloween party and Freddy went to help scare people in a haunted house his friend's dad made in their garage. That means I'm at home handing out candy, which I haven't done in several years. For the past several years, we've gone to Main Street Halloween so the kids can trick-or-treat and then we've gone to my brother's house to have fun with the cousins.
It's been interesting handy out candy. We live in a cul-de-sac, so we don't get the heavy traffic, but what I've seen this year is mostly older kids - middle school age to early high school age. That doesn't bother me so much if they are dressed up, but I've have several come to the door in no costume at all with their pillow cases outstretched. Come on people - if you want candy, dress up. And at what point are you too old?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Voted - Have You???

I did my civic duty this week and went at lunch on Tuesday to vote. It only took about 10 minutes. Not much of a line, which was good. I'm glad I got it done early. Have you voted yet? If not, please make sure you vote.

As far as training, I didn't get anything in on Saturday other than running kids where they needed to go and sitting on the sideline of soccer games most of the day - literally. Dalton's first game was at 9:00am in the south part of town. We left the house at 7:30 to make sure we got there by 8:15. His first game of the 3v3 tournament on the north side of town was at 2:25. He had four games and the last one was suppose to be at 6:30. They were running late, so it was more like 7:00. We didn't leave the fields until 8:00pm. It made for a long day.

Which might explain why I felt so exhausted on Sunday. I sat on the couch after church and felt like I could just fall asleep. But I hate not doing any kind of workout on the weekend when I have more time, so I made myself go for a run. It was about 4:00 when I went and was about 80 degrees. I made it 5 miles and that was all I had in me. It's funny how 80 degrees feels cool during the middle of the summer, but after a few cold fronts 80 degrees feels really hot. It's all relative.

Monday's workout was much better as a cold front blew through again and the temps were in the high 60s/low 70s. I even wore a long sleeved shirt for my 6 mile run with 6 hill repeats in the middle. It felt good.

Tuesday I had to miss yoga due to a board meeting, so I hopped on the trainer for 30 minutes and got 9.12 miles in on the bike. That's over 18mph average and I could feel it in my quads.

Tonight was speedwork. Again, the temps were high 70s. Perfect. I did a 15 minute warmup and then 3 minutes hard / 2 minutes easy. I did that 6 times and then did a 15 minute cool down. I got in 6.19 miles in an hour. That's less than a 10 minute mile! Wahoo. And that wasn't in a race, just a regular workout.

I'm curious to see how I do this weekend. I'm running in the Race for the Cure. I've done it every year for the past 8 or 9 years in memory of a family friend and church member who died of breast cancer in 1999. It's also where I set my 5K PR of 26:01 in 2006. Let's see if I can beat that this year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crazy Busy Week

Sorry I haven't updated, but it's been a crazy, busy week. My husband was out of town most of the week, which left me by myself to run the kids around and try to squeeze in my workouts. I did manage to get some hill repeats before he left, and I didn't let him being gone make me miss my yoga on Tuesday night. Since he was out of town, I had to take my son to soccer on Wednesday night. And wouldn't you know it, a cold front blew through right before practice. Temperature-wise, it didn't get real cold (somewhere in the 60s), but with the wind blowing like it was, it felt like it was in the 40s or 50s to me. Even though I was in jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket, I shivered for almost two hours. Does that count as exercise? I guarantee I burned some calories with that shivering. Thursday night I managed to get in some speedwork, and tonight I managed to get in an easy 3 mile run before heading to my daughter's school play.

I'm ready for the weekend, but it doesn't look like it will get much better. I'll have my husband back to help out, but my son has an early soccer game and then will play all afternoon in a 3v3 tournament. My daughter has another performance of her play and then will go straight to birthday party sleepover. Maybe I can get some rest Sunday after church. Or maybe if the weather is nice I can get in a long run. We'll see which one wins.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Ran In A Skirt!!!!

A running skirt, that is.
Most of you who run know that the running skirt has become a popular item at races these days. I've known lots of people who wear them and absolutely love them. There was a huge article in Runner's World several months back about running in skirts and all the different skirts available. I never really thought about running in one, until recently.

Nicole DeBoom, founder of SkirtSports, started a new race series. And they happen to have a race here this past Saturday. It's called the Skirt Chaser 5K. I wanted to do the race last year, but had a conflict. This year's race was just 6 days after my half ironman, so I didn't know if I'd be ready. But when Saturday rolled around and we had nothing on the schedule, I decided last minute to head downtown and register.

There are several different packages you can register for. In most races you get a t-shirt with your registration fee. Well, in this race (at least the basic package) you get a skirt with your entry fee. I went ahead and paid the big bucks to get me a sleeveless tech tee that says "catch me if you can" across the front (probably should be on the back) and a visor.

The theory of the race is that all of the women will run in their new skirts (and I think I only saw maybe one or two women NOT in a skirt). The guys get a shirt. The women get to start first and three minutes later the men get to start. They have to "chase" us. It's a 5k, and the first person back, male or female, wins $500. There are no chip times or anything. It's just who finishes first.

Being that this was so soon after my big race, my intention was just to go and have fun and not worry about my time. After all, I wasn't being chip timed, so no one would know anyway. After I got there and got all dressed in my skirt, I ran into a fellow Team in Training teammate who had also done the Longhorn Half Ironman and was here for fun. We talked for a while and then headed to the start line. This 5K was a straight out-and-back on a VERY flat course. But, it was at 5:00 in the afternoon. I was surprised when I crossed the finish and stopped my watch to see 27:33 staring me in the face. I really expected to run over 10 minute miles. Guess my recovery went well.

So, what do I think about the skirt? It wasn't bad, but I probably won't run in one a lot. I did like the fact that the SportSkirt brand has two snaps on the front of the skirt for you to snap your bib onto. No race belt needed. This particular brand had some mesh-like shorts underneath. Fine for running, but I would not feel comfortable wearing that skirt around town running errands. I've heard some skirts have shorts more like compression shorts or bike shorts underneath. That might be better. The undershorts weren't real tight fitting, but fit me tight enough to not move around. And they did have a pocket on one of the legs. I was able to put my phone in there and it stayed - no problem. If I ever decided to run in a skirt for a longer race, I'd have to find one with more pockets. I usually run in Race Ready shorts that have multiple pockets for gel, room keys, chap stick, etc. Not enough room in this skirt. But, it was kind of fun. I felt weird at first, but that all went out the window when running.

What do you think? This is me right after I got home. I don't normally run in hats or visors either, but thought I'd run in the whole outfit for the race.

I took Sunday off to take in my son's soccer game and enjoy our church's family festival. But Monday I was back at it. I ran a mile warmup, 4 hill repeats on a 1/4 mile stretch, and a mile cool down for a total of 4 miles. Tuesday was yoga and boy did it feel good (I missed last week). Tonight I did fartleks on the treadmill due to the rain outside (yeah, call me a wimp). I warmed up with a 15 minute warmup, did 6 sets of 3 minutes fast with 2 minutes to recover, and then did a 15 minute cool down.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Longhorn Half Ironman Race Report

Sorry it has taken so long to get the race report done, but as usual, I'll have a short version and a long version and I wanted to do the long version justice. That meant I needed to wait until I wasn't falling asleep or until I had time. And tonight, I'm awake and have nothing better to do, so here goes.

Short Version

Swim: 36:54 for 1:55/100m

Swim Rank: 1582

T1: 3:45

Bike: 3:25:50 for 16.3 mph

Bike Rank: 1599

T2: 3:09

Run: 2:47:07 for 12:45/m

Run Rank: 1535

Overall Time: 6:56:47

1555/1821 overall

408 of females

76/92 in my age group

Last year's time was 7:29:02, so I improved by over 30 minutes.


The Longhorn Half Ironman is not just another race in the books. It officially became an "Ironman" 70.3 event this year and is more like a festival with activities throughout the weekend. With that being said, packet pick-up and the expo started on Friday night. I knew that Saturday would be filled with a multitude of the kid's activities, so I got my husband to pick them up on Friday and I headed straight to the expo after work.

I arrived at the expo a little before 4:00, which is when packet pick-up was to begin. There was already a line, but not a big one. I stood in line so I could get that taken care of first. While in line, I saw a man from my Sunday school class at church. That was kind of neat. Didn't really see anyone else I knew, but then again, not many of my friends are willing to go that distance.

At 4:00 they opened the doors and we were able to get in more lines by our bib numbers to pick up our packet. I was #955 and no one was in that line. Sweet. Got my packet and my wristband that would allow me to get in and out of the transition area. Also got my goody bag, which was a hot pink drawstring bag filled with stuff. Then I got in the line to get my long-sleeved tech t-shirt. I love getting tech t-shirts instead of cotton ones, and I like the long-sleeved ones, too (although we don't get to wear them much here). Then I got in line to get my swim cap (hot pink) and wrote my number on it. Next step was to verify my chip and then I was good to go.

I headed into the expo to check out what was there. I grabbed me some extra Cliff Shot gel just in case. I couldn't remember if I had any left over at home or not. Then I had to check out the race merchandise. I ended up with a sleeveless cycling jersey that has Longhorn 70.3 on it. Nice!! Although being the Aggie that I am, I do have a problem wearing stuff that says "longhorn" on it. But, it's red and not burnt orange, so it's good.

After that I talked to the Team in Training staff person for a while before heading to the athlete meeting. The race director talked some about the course and the logistics of how race morning would go. We also found out that as of Friday night, racers could wear wetsuits, but not be eligible for age group awards. He wasn't sure if this would change or not. No one can wear wetsuits if the water temp is over 84 (because they could over heat). From 78-84, you can wear one, but not be eligible for age group awards, and under 78, anyone can wear one. Not that I thought I would be in contention for an award, but I was hoping it would stay this way. I had not trained in my wet suit all season, but this made me question whether I wanted to wear it or not. Last year, the race was not wet suit legal.

After the athlete meeting I headed home to find my kids begging me to go out to eat pasta. I told them that I would be eating pasta Saturday night. They pleaded their cases saying that they needed to carbo load for their Saturday activities (son's soccer game and daughter's volleyball tournament). I guess they've listened to me too long. I love pasta and figured two nights in a row wouldn't kill me, so off we went. After dinner, it was home and to bed.

We woke up early Saturday morning. My daughter had to be at the school by 7:45am to go to her tournament and my son had to be at the soccer field by 8:15. Madison's games were scheduled for 8:45, 10:15 and 11:00. We figured we could watch Dalton's 9:00 game and then make it to Madison's second game late and catch the 3rd game. How they did in those three games would determine if they went on in the bracket or not.

Dalton's game was a nail bitter, especially for me as there was one point where he did a slide tackle and ended up being kicked in the face. He had to be taken out of the game and from the sideline I thought his nose was bleeding. Turns out it wasn't, but he got some cuts across his face and a bruise on his eyelid.

We left his game and headed to Madison's. When I got there, they were in the process of playing a game. I thought this was the second match. When they finished she said that was there third match and they needed to see what happened with the match following theirs to see what time they played next.

In the meantime, it's closing in on noon and I realize I've only had one bottle of water since breakfast and I had no food with me. I don't eat meat and the only food at the concession stand was meat oriented and very unhealthy - hot dog, sausage wrap, frito pie, etc. Nope. Not going to eat it. I had my bike in the car with me because it had to be racked between 2:00 and 6:30, so I was hoping her games would fall where I would have time to run get some food, rack my bike and get back in time to see her play.

By the time they found out they would be playing at 2:00, it was already too late to go get food. But I knew I needed something. I went to the concession stand to see what had the most substance that I could eat and ended up with a snicker's bar and a water. How's that for day-before-a-big-race-nutrition? Uggghhh.

They played at 2:00 and won. This meant they would play again at 4:00. If they also won at 4:00 they would play in the championship game at 6:00. Hmmm... What to do and when to rack my bike? I figured I needed to go then and try to be back by 4:00 because I definitely did not want to miss the championship game if they were to play in it. So I left and drove to the race site. Only to find a LONG line of cars waiting to get in. This was not good. I had made good time getting there (thanks to the toll road), but I knew it would take a while to get in. Plus, by this point I had to pee.

I finally got parked, carried my bike to transition, found my spot, put my bike on the rack, looked around to get my barrings for swim entrance, bike in/out, and run in/out. Then I headed to the port-a-potty. And they were roped off. I couldn't use one. I understand the race director didn't want them to get all gross before race morning, but I had to go. It wasn't going to happen and I needed to get back to the tournament, so I got in the car and headed north. And I got back just as the game was ending. They lost and they would not be going on to the championship game. Part of me wishes I would have waited, but if I had, they probably would have won. Oh well. At least I finally got to pee.

We headed home and I needed to decide what to do about dinner. I had told the kids Friday night that if we went out to eat Friday night, they would not be going out Saturday night. I would be going by myself to either the Beginner Triathlete dinner or to the Team in Training Pasta Party (I had one friend who fundraised with them this year). At that point it was almost 6:00 and the TNT dinner was closer to my house, so that's the option I went with.

After dinner I headed home, made sure all my stuff was packed and ready to go and went to bed.

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 3:15. My friend had wanted to meet me at 4:30 to head out to the race and I hate feeling rushed. I'd rather wake up a little early than be stressed. I got dressed and then headed to the kitchen for my standard pre-race breakfast of oatmeal. The only thing is that I've eaten oatmeal for every race and for most Saturday's before practice for the last 3 years that I'm starting to get tired of it. I had to force it down and still didn't even finish. I think it's time to find a new breakfast. I then loaded my water bottles with ice, grabbed my gear and headed out to meet my friend. While waiting for her, I decided to eat a Lara Bar for some extra calories.

When she arrived we headed to the race site and got a nice parking spot. The buses were just arriving so we got our things and got in line for the buses. We were on the second bus that would take us to the transition area. As soon as we got there we got in line to get body marked. That's always fun to have your age written in permanent marker on your calf so that everyone behind you knows how old your are :)

Into transition we go and I start setting my stuff up. It was actually a little chilly and I was starting to worry about freezing in the water because I hate cold water. I also found out the race was officially wet suit legal. And I didn't have mine. But I was somewhat ok with that since I had not practiced in it. I was just concerned about the temperature.

I made a few trips to the port-a-potties, chatted with some folks I knew from Team in Training and then actually saw someone on the row behind me who I thought might be a forumite from Beginner Triathlete. I asked, and it was. We chatted for a bit and wished each other luck, although I knew she'd be way ahead of me.

As it got closed to start time, we hit the port-a-potties one last time and headed to the swim start. I was shivering without my long sleeved-shirt on and just wanted to get going so I could warm up. When it was time for our wave to enter the water I was dreading the shock of cold water. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as I anticipated and I figured once I got moving I would be ok. I got close to the front, but not in the front row, and a little to the right. I'm not a fast swimmer, but I also don't like starting with a bunch of feet in my face. I think my position was perfect for me.

The swim was basically a large triangle. I had not put in near the swim time in training that I should have, so I figured my swim time would be the same or slower than last year (48:13). I felt pretty good on that first leg though. When I sighted, I saw plenty of other hot pink caps so I knew I was staying with the pack. Then either right before or right after the first turn, I got passed by someone in the wave behind me. I had to remind myself this was "my" race and not to worry about it. I always get passed at some point. Kept swimming to the second turn and tried to stay as close to the buoys as I could. Also tried to draft when I could, but I need to practice that more. Rounded the third buoy and was glad to be headed to the finish. I wanted out of the water. At one point on the stretch I did battle with another swimmer who couldn't hold her line. I didn't want to give up mine, but we were swimming about the same speed at that point. I didn't have the energy to get ahead and I certainly didn't want to slow down. I finally got away from her and the last little bit tried to pick up speed. I swam until my arms hit the ground and then I stood up to exit the water.

From the swim exit to the transition is a little bit of a run and it's uphill. I was feeling good and was running (ok, maybe jogging). I heard several people yelling my name and that made me feel good. I glanced at my watch and saw 37 minutes. Wow! I was VERY pleased. I found out later the swim course was about 200 meters short, but even with that, I probably still would have beaten my time from last year, so I am happy. To get better, though, I think I need to find a swim coach or take one of those swim clinics where they video you swim and work on your technique.

Any way, I took off my goggles and my cap and ran into transition. When I got to my spot, my feet were covered in mud. Good thing I had saved my water bottle from this morning and refilled it. I sat down and used it to rinse my feet off. For short tris I don't worry about it, but I still had 69.1 miles to go. When my feet were clean, I put on my socks and cycling shoes, then put on my gloves, glasses and helmet. We also had to wear our race numbers on us during the bike for this race, so I put on my race belt. I grabbed my bike and ran to the bike exit. I crossed the mount line, clipped in and took off.

The first part of the bike was very congested. Drafting is illegal, but it was hard not to be in someone's draft zone as we headed out of the park. I am very familiar with the first part of the course as I've done several sprints that utilized that part, so I felt very comfortable in picking up the pace through the first 12 miles, but not so much that I was hammering. When I got to the first aid station at mile 20 I was very pleased with my time. It had been just over an hour, so I was probably averaging 18-19 mph at that point. I was also pleased that I didn't have to pee like I did last year.

Throughout the next part of the course, I would pass people and then people would pass me. A couple of times I would play cat and mouse with a person until one of us would either surge ahead or fall behind. I was still doing pretty good with pace, but backed off a little because I didn't want to blow up for the run. Just before the second aid station I had to pee. Got to that aid station, got off the bike, did my thing and came out to get back on the bike, only to see two bikers collide and go down. Some people don't seem to slow down when coming in and trying to get a bottle hand up. They got off the road and seemed ok, so I took off.

Just like in swimming, I hadn't really done the training I needed to on the bike. This summer was crazy and I never really had time for a 3-4 hour ride. I had done a century ride in June around Lake Tahoe, so I knew I could cover the distance. However, the century ride was on my roadie and today I was on my tri bike. By mile 40, by shoulders and neck area were hurting from being in aero. Several times I had to ride in the hoods. I felt silly. Here I was on this nice tri bike, and I wasn't even in aero. Oh well. The winds also seemed to pick up at times and in a couple of places I struggled to maintain my balance from the side winds. I think the last 10 miles really killed my average, but it is what it is. Climbed the last big hill and headed toward the end of the bike. Dismounted my bike and knew I wasn't running into transition.

I usually don't have a problem with my legs coming off the bike. They weren't sore, but they were stiff for some reason. I walked my bike halfway back to my rack and then they felt better so I jogged from there. Got the cycle gear off and my running gear on and took off. Last year was REALLY hot and I ended up walking most of the course because I don't do well with heat. This year was hot, but it was windier and had a little cloud cover. I really wanted to run as much as I could even if it was slow. I took off running out of the park and felt good. I told myself I'd run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills and that's just what I did. I grabbed water and gatorade at the aid stations and grabbed me an ice-cold towel they were handing out. That felt good. Headed back in the park and past the Team in Training and Beginner Triathlete tents where I got some "Go Briana" and that perked me up. Then I rounded the corner to Quadzilla. If you want to know what Quadzilla is, go to this blog and read her report. She has a picture of it. It's not fun. And it's not short. You bet I walked that thing.

Then I came around to the cruel part of the course. The part that says "if your finished, go this way; if not, go that way". You are right there by the finish, but have to do the loop again. And so I headed out. By this point it was getting hotter and I was walking a little more. I still tried to run as much as I could because I was doing the math in my head and knew that if I could run some, I could still possibly break 7 hours. That became my new goal. Run 100 steps, walk 100; run 200 steps, walk 100; run to the next mile marker sign. Whatever worked at the time. Came back into the park, got some more cheers and had to face quadzilla again. But once that was over I knew I was close. As I came into the finishers chute, I started jogging so that I could at least jog across the finish line. Hopefully my picture turns out good and doesn't reflect the fact that I was about to die from the heat.

Crossed the finish line, got my towel and water bottle and let the lovely volunteers take my chip. And that's when I didn't feel so good. I've said before, I don't do well with heat. I've been know to have to lay down on a bench in Six Flags because I get light headed and I had that feeling now. I saw and empty chair and went straight to it. I knew if I could get a coke in me I'd feel better, but when I saw the line for the racer's food and drinks, there was no way I was going to stand in it. So I just sat. I have no idea how long I sat, but it felt good.

When I was feeling a little better I got up and walked over to the TNT tent and hung out there for a few minutes. Then I headed over to the BT tent. I don't really know many people, but found someone I did know and talked to him for a little bit. Then I decided I really needed that Coke so I finally headed to the finisher's tent and got it. I sat down right outside that tent and drank half of it. Then I felt well enough to head back to transition. I knew my friend was behind me, but I didn't know by how much. I packed some of my things up and then spread out my towel and just laid there waiting for my friend. It was nice. I finally heard her name called as she crossed the finish but was in no hurry to go any where. I figured she had to come back to transition at some point, so I stayed where I was.

When she got back, we pack our things and headed out. The only bad thing about this race is due to the nature of the park, you have to park your car about a mile away from the tranistion area. You can catch the shuttle in the morning, but your bike can't go on the shuttle when you leave, so you either have to walk it back or ride it. And if you ride it, you have to do so with all your race gear. We started out walking, but soon decided to go ahead and ride. I put my helmet back on, got my backpack on my back and off we went. Got back to the car, loaded the bikes on the rack and headed back to her car. After dropping her off I headed to Taco Bell for some take home food and then home to eat and have another coke. I don't drink many cokes, but there's nothing better to me after a long, hot workout than and ice cold coke and it tasted great. Then I took a shower and settled in the recliner for my Sunday evening shows - Amazing Race, Desparate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters. Then I went to bed and slept like a rock.

When I got home from work Monday I was so tired I could barely stay awake. My quads were a little sore, but nothing like they are after a marathon. Tuesdays I normally do yoga, but due to school activities, no yoga for me this Tuesday. I did catch part of the Biggest Loser and Jillians' arms motivated me to do some light dumbell work and some situps. Wednesday turned into a "no workout" day as well as I helped my daughter work the pumpkin patch at church. Thursday I sqeezed in 20 minutes on the trainer between work and her volleyball game and tonight I got on the treadmill for an easy 2 mile run. I'll transition back into working out this weekend and hopefully be back to normal next week. A couple friends and I are thinking of doing the San Antonio Half Marathon November 16th, so I need to keep the running up. I've also got the Race for the Cure 5k the first Sunday in November. There's always something. If not, I don't think I'd workout.

Overall, for the amount of training I was able to do, I am very pleased with the results. I love this race and will do it again. Not sure about next year as my running buddy and I are thinking it's time for the Marine Corps Marathon next year if we can get in. We'll see.

My daugher has a choir performance in the morning and my son has a soccer game, but after that I think we'll be home. Hopefully I'll get in some kind of workout, catch some football, and catch some of the KONA Ironman on the internet. Should be a good day. Have a great weekend.

By the way, here is a picture of me from the race. A fellow BTer was taking pictures on the course and got this one of me. Not sure where this was on the course, but probably at the beginning or end.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Longhorn Half Ironman #2 - DONE!

Today was the Longhorn Half Ironman. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. It's done. I'm tired. Official results are not posted yet, but according to my watch (which I forgot to stop right away), I came in just a few minutes under 7 hours. That's 20+ minutes faster than last year. My tri bike rocks. But I hate headwinds, chip seal and hills, and I especially hate when all three are combined! I just got out of the shower after eating Taco Bell (yum!) and drinking a coke (I'll be up all night) and I'm getting ready to go sit in my recliner and watch tv for the rest of the night. I'll post a full race report this week once official results are posted.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Libero

What's a libero? Yeah, I had to ask the same question when my daughter came home from school and told me she was going to be one. On the volleyball team. The first game of the season, she was the setter. But that has changed and for now she is the libero. Which I actually think is a good thing as she gets more playing time.

The libero is a special position on the volleyball team. The libero wears a special uniform that is different from the rest of the team. They can substitute for any other team member as often as needed, but only when that teammate is on the back row. So basically, the libero is a defensive specialist. The libero cannot play on the front row, which is just fine as I've told my daughter that due to genetics she's not likely to ever be a great hitter. She seems fairly tall by herself, but stand her next to her teammates and she's the second shortest girl on the team.
Watching her play as a libero was quite interesting. She had a regular game Thursday night and then had a tournament Friday night and Saturday. I got quite confused watching her run in and out to substitute for players. Volleyball sure isn't like it was when I played in high school. But it is fun to watch her play. Kind of makes me want to start playing again (like I have the time)!

Her uniform is white while the rest are blue. And I need to read the manual to my camera. I'm still trying to figure out the best setting for getting good pictures in the horrible gym lighting.
And speaking of time, due to her volleyball and my son's soccer, not much training got done this weekend. That's really ok since I have a triathlon next weekend. I did manage to get in a 20 mile ride and a 2 mile run today after church. It felt good.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mental Vs. Physical

When I signed up to do my first marathon in 2005, I was told that a lot of getting through a marathon is mental. I mean, you do have to train for it, but if your body can get through the first part, your mind will get you through the rest. That year, we only did 18 miles as our longest training run. For those of you counting, that still left 8.2 miles that I had no idea if I could conquer or not. But I did. And I learned that a lot of running IS mental.

So I found it interesting when I got my latest copy of Runner's World magazine in the mail. There is an article in the October issue titled "Think Fast". The tag line is: "Yes, you need to train your legs, but it's really your brain that dictates your pace." Hmmm. So not only is running mental, but your brain controls your pace? My brain must be slow then.

The article is actually very intersting and one of the researchers theorized that when you perform a task, "your brain focuses on the endpoint (a finish line; when the treadmill clock hits 30 minutes), and it works backward from there, calculating how hard you can push yourself and still complete your workout." When I read that sentence, I thought "that makes so much sense". That's why I can push my pace for a 5K (knowing it will be over in less than 30 minutes), but I can't maintain that same pace for a marathon.

I also have problems sometimes when I run on the treadmill. Sometimes I'll get on and say to myself that I will run 4-5 miles. Almost always when I give myself a range, I stop at the lower end. It's mental. So last Thursday, I did a mini experiment. I probably should have run 5 miles. So instead of telling myself I would run 4-5 miles, I told myself I would run 6. Then, if I only ran 5, I would still get in my workout. And you know what? I hit 5 miles without any problems at all, so I went ahead and ran that last mile to get 6 in.

Then Friday night I went out to do a long run. I started out outside and told myself I'd run as far as I could before it got too dark and then I'd finish on the treadmill. I ended up running 7 "easy" miles outside before having to come back inside. I felt like I could have kept going and kept up the pace I was at. But once I hit the treadmill, I felt like I was done. It was a struggle to get in the remaining miles.

So a lot of it IS mental. You still have to do the training, but if you tell yourself you can do it, you can. Which makes me feel good, because I haven't really done as much of the physical training as I should have for the upcoming half ironman I have in two weeks. But, I've done it before so I know I can do the distance, so I have no doubt I can finish. Can't say I'll have a great finishing time, but I should finish within the time limit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finally An Update

I always think about things to update with, and then I get too busy.

After my last post, Madison had her first volleyball game. They won in two games. Turns out she is one of the setters. She still needs to work on her serves, but the team as a whole played really well for only practicing a few days as a team. Her next game is the 25th.

And I finally got back to the pool to get in some swim time. I'm feeling a little slow, but that's what happens when you don't really swim all summer. I swam again this week as well. Maybe I'm finally getting in a routine.

I also took my tri-bike in for a tune up. After you ride for a while, your cables stretch and then the bike doesn't shift smoothly. Mine was having major problems with shifting on the rear cassette, so I took it in. I got it back last Thursday, but thanks to Ike, it was too windy to ride outside this weekend. I rode tonight, and now I can't shift the front cassette from the small ring to the big ring at all. Uggghhh!! I may have to take it back in. I also got a new pair of running shoes and my feet are much happier. I had way too many miles on my old ones.

And speaking of Ike, we were far enough away that all we got was a lot of strong wind. But we didn't even get any rain from it. I have relatives in Houston, however, and they all lost power and some trees, but no major damage or flooding. Thank goodness.

Other than that, life is just busy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Thought I Had It All Figured Out

Last week I decided it was time to get serious again about my training. The kids are back in school and we are getting into our school routine, so I sat down to look at all the activities and figure out realistically what kind of workouts I could get in on what days.

Dalton has soccer practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I figured those would be good swim days. Since I have to drive to the gym to swim and it takes up quite a bit of time, I figured swimming while he was at practice would help me not miss too much "family time". I thought I could run on Monday when I was done with swimming and then maybe take the spin class at the gym Wednesday after swimming. Tuesdays are always yoga. That's not changing. Thursdays looked pretty open, so I figured I could maybe get in a short bike along with a run. Fridays are usually off days. The plan is to do a long bike and long run on Saturday and Sunday, depending on how the weekends fall. There are still several unknowns - like Dalton's soccer schedule for the season that starts SATURDAY. HELLO!!! He has his first regular season game Saturday and we don't know when or where it is going to be. Uggghhhhh! But I digress.

So, I decided to get on track and test my run fitness by getting in a long run over the Labor Day weekend. First kink in the plan - Dalton had a soccer tournament all weekend. His scheduled games were 9am and 3pm Saturday and 9am Sunday. If he made it to the semi-finals he would play at 3pm Sunday. Then if he made it to the finals, he would play at 8am Sunday. His team was expected to make it to the finals, so I decided to do a long run Friday night. I ended up running 7 miles. The first 3 were great, coming in under 30 minutes. At 5 miles I was still on a good pace, but the last two slowed me down. I need to get in some more long runs.

It was a good thing I got that run in, too, because his team did make it to the finals Sunday morning. They won all their games up until that point and only allowed one goal to be scored on them in four games. However, they lost in the final game 3-1. Ending up in 2nd place isn't too shaby in my opinion. They looked really good during their games, but still have a few things to work on. Here are some photos of Dalton in action. He's #6 in the white and then black uniform.

As soon as his game was over Monday, I came home and decided to run. I had not done anything Saturday or Sunday, and I knew if I didn't run right away, I would end up on the couch and wouldn't do anything. So, I headed out to do hill repeats. I did a total of 3 miles with 3 hill repeats in there. And I was drenched when I was done. I took a shower, ate, and then took a well deserved nap.

Tuesday I went to yoga. It felt good to be back. Yoga on the cruise was not really a workout and the yoga I do is.

Then today. I woke up all excited that I was finally going to get back in the pool today. I haven't swam in a while and really need to get some pool time in this month. So I picked Madison up from school and dropped her off at home, grabbed my stuff and headed to the gym. I put my stuff in the locker and head to the pool - only to find that the water aerobics class had JUST started. I asked how long it was going to last and the lady said an hour. There was no way I was sitting there for an hour until they were done so I could grab a lane, so I headed home. When I got home I decided to hop and my bike and go for a ride. I went 12 miles. And then I decided to run, too. I ran 3 miles. Then I practiced volleyball in the backyard with Madison. Because, did I tell you? She made the school's volleyball team!!!!!! And her games will be on Thursday nights.

So, just when I thought I had my workout plan figured out, I've got to look at everything all over again and figure it out again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family Vacation

Our original plan for a family vacation (with extended family) this year did not work out, so in April we decided we would do a Caribbean Cruise. When I looked at the dates on the calendar, our only option was to go the week right before school started. We've never done a vacation that close to school, but I thought after our busy summer it might be a good thing. So, I did some research and booked us on the Carnival Glory out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Normally we like to fly on American to get our frequent flyer miles, but I broke the rules this time and booked us on a direct flight on Southwest. With all the additional fees airlines are charging, Southwest is looking better and better.


On Friday, August 15th, my dad picked us up at noon and dropped us off at the airport for our flight. We each had one suitcase and one small carryon and then we had a garment bag with our "formal attire". The flight was on time. Wahoo! It had been a long time since I had flown on Southwest, but we were in boarding group A so we all got to sit together and I enjoyed the snacks they still give out. When we landed we went to the Budget Rent-A-Car counter to pick up our car and we were off to the port.

We had a room reserved at the Radisson at the Port and it was a straight shot, literally, from the airport to the hotel. By the time we got there it was time to eat, so after checking in we walked next door to Kelsey's to eat Italian food. Then we went to the store to get a case of water, 2 bottles of wine, and some cheap sunglasses for the cruise. Back at the hotel we discovered that there was a leak in the bathroom somewhere, but were promptly moved to the room next door. We watched tv for a bit and then went to bed.


Saturday morning we woke up about 7:30 to get ready. We headed down the road to IHOP for breakfast and had some yummy chocolate chip pancakes. Yummm! Then we headed back to the hotel to load up our luggage and check out. We took the car to the Budget location and caught their free shuttle to the port. We arrived about 10:15 and they were already letting people go through security and begin the check in process. Everything was quick and easy. After getting our room keys/sail & sign cards, we sat in the chairs to wait until we could board the ship. There was a Carnival employee asking trivia questions, so the time went by fairly quickly. About 11:30 they let us get on the ship!

As soon as we got on, we did a little exploring and then headed to the gym so I could sign up for yoga and spin classes. Then we headed to the Red Sail restaurant for some lunch. After a little more exploring we were able to get into our cabin. We had a balcony cabin on the Lido deck. Our luggage arrived by 2:00 so we were able to unpack before the muster drill. For those that haven't been on a cruise, EVERYONE is required to attend the muster drill so everyone will know what to do if the ship has to be evacuated. Now that's a nice thought to have when you start a cruise.

The ship started sail away during the muster drill, which I did not like. I like being on an upper deck watching as we leave. As it was, we hurried back to our cabin and just watched us sail away from our balcony. Then we went to the kid's club orientation to get both kids signed up for their programs and then got ready for dinner. After dinner, Madison went to the kid's club meet and greet and we took Dalton to the "family" meet and greet for his age group. We tried to get him to dance, but he wouldn't, so we did to embarrass him. Then we went to the Welcome Aboard Show and then to bed.


We woke up at 6:30 Sunday morning to get ready and eat breakfast before docking in Nassau at 8:00am. As soon as we were allowed we got off the ship and started walking toward the British Colonial Hilton. I had read on http://www.cruisecritic.com/ that they offered day passes and I liked the fact that we could walk there. We found it fairly fast, paid $20 per adult and $10 per kid and were on the beach by 8:30. There were only about 8 of us on the beach for about an hour or so before other people started arriving. We snorkled and swam until about 11:30 and then headed back toward the ship, doing a little shopping along the way. We got back on the ship and ate lunch before we sailed away at 2:00. The afternoon was a little overcast, but I found a chair out by the pool and read until about 4:15. Then it was time to start getting ready for dinner. We took some pictures after dinner and then went to the show.


Today was our first sea day. Due to my normal schedule, I was awake at 6:45am so I put on my workout clothes and headed to the jogging track. It's always harder to run on a ship thanks to the wind, but I managed to get in 3 miles (27 laps around the track - boring!) Then I grabbed a banana and some orange juice and headed back to the cabin to eat on the balcony. Yoga was at 8:45. The instructor wanted to be different and had us head up to the deck on the front of the ship - VERY windy.

After yoga I met up with the rest of the family and we headed for the pool. Dalton went down the slide 11 times. Around noon we ate lunch and then I spent some time on the balcony reading my book. At 3:00 I headed to spin class. That was a workout. Then I headed back to the cabin and had a glass of wine on the balcony before getting ready for dinner. We went to the show again after dinner.


Today was St Thomas. We were up around 7:00 to get ready and eat breakfast. Since we had left from the US, visited a foreign country, and were now enterring a US territory, we had to go through customs. I had heard horror stories of how long this took, but I guess we got lucky because it seemed to go fairly fast. Once we were done with that, we headed back to the room to get our things and got off the ship. At 10:45 we were on our way to Magen's Bay. We rented 2 chairs and found our spot on the beach. It wasn't crowded at first, but as the day went on it got crowded. We ate lunch at the beach around 1:30. They even had veggie burgers!

After we were done at the beach we caught a taxi back to Havensight Mall and did some shopping. Years ago I had a silver ankle bracelet that I always wore. I had it for years. But I think swimming in chlorinated water did a number on it and a couple of years ago it broke. My goal this cruise was to find me a silver ankle bracelet. Mission accomplished in St Thomas. And it only cost $18. (plus the cost of the cruise to get there).

The kids were worn out by this point so we headed back to the ship to get ready for dinner. After dinner the kids both went to the kid's club and then we went to see the nightly show.


Today was St Martin/St Maarten. We were up early for breakfast and were off the ship by 8:00. By 8:30 we were at Orient Beach. And it was basically empty. And it was beautiful! We found some chairs right by the beach and the kids jumped in. The waves here were coming in pretty big and the kids loved it. Orient Beach is on the French side of the island and there is a chance you may see topless and/or nudity at the beach. We saw both. Around 11, Madison and I headed down to the parasail stand and paid to parasail. We hopped on the jet ski and headed out. There were a few people before us, but when it was our turn, it was worth the wait. The view from above was gorgeous! And as he was bringing us back in, he slowed to boat down so that we would dip in the ocean. Then we headed back and sent the boys out for their turn. Definitely worth it.

When we were done at the beach we caught a cab back into Philipsburg on the Dutch side and found a McDonald's to get Dalton some food. He was so tired and worn out that he feel asleep at the table waiting for our food. After a little lunch he perked up and we were back to shopping. There was some wonderful African art but it was expensive and we didn't want to carry it back on the plane. So we settled for some smaller souveniers. Then we headed back to the ship.

We relaxed on the balcony until time to get ready for dinner. After dinner, we saw the show. (are you seeing a pattern here, yet?)


Another sea day. I love sea days. Woke up early so I went and ran 2 miles and then went to yoga. Found a spot by the pool and relaxed until 2:00. Then went to spin class at 3:00. Madison went to the spa for "teen day" from 4-6 so she just met us at dinner.

After dinner Dalton went to kid's club where he would stay until 3:30am (we paid extra). Tonight was also the Grand Gala Buffet. We went to view it at 11:00 and then went back to the room to meet Madison. She was tired and ready for bed, so I went to bed as well. Joel tried to stay up until Dalton got home (the counselors brought the kids home), but didn't make it. At 4am we woke up as Dalton was coming in the door. I promptly went back to sleep!


Our last day of the cruise and our last sea day. I actually slept until 8:00 today so I didn't run. I just went to yoga at 8:45, then ate breakfast. Went to the pool for a while and FINALLY had my drink of the day. Then I went back to the room to start packing. Luggage had to be outside the rooms between 9-11 and the show started at 10:15. I wanted it all done before dinner. We had all luggage out by 9:30 and were able to enjoy the show. I sat out on the balcony fairly late just relaxing and enjoying the ocean breeze before heading to bed.


Woke up early so we could shower and eat before they started calling everyone to get off the ship. We had number 14. We were off the ship, back to the rental car agency and on the road to Orland by 9:45. In order to get the best rates on flights, we had to book the direct flight which left Orlando at 11:25. Since I wasn't sure what time we would get off the ship, I made the return flight for Sunday and booked us a hotel in Orlando. We were at the hotel at 10:30 and decided to spend the day at Universal's Island's of Adventure. They have a few good rides, but I must confess that next time I'm in Orlando with some spare time, I'm heading to Disney.

Around 4:00 a band of shower's from Fay came through and dumped rain on us. We saw it coming and had already gotten to the car to head to the hotel thank goodness. Ate dinner and then went to bed.


Woke up, ate breakfast and headed to the airport. The line to check luggage was long, so I'm glad we got there early. My parents picked us up at the airport when we got home and then it was back to reality - washing dirty clothes, grocery shopping, and getting the kids ready for school.
We had a great time. I really love the Eastern route. But I don't think we will vacation so close to school in the future. Dalton actually missed a soccer tournament because of the cruise, but we didn't know about it when we book the cruise. August is full of soccer activities, so no more August vacations for us.
This post took FOREVER to post because of the pictures. We have almost 600 from the week. If I know you and have your email address and you want to see more, let me know.