Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Randomness - It Ain't Pretty, Folks

You can blame Debby for what you are about to see - I apologize in advance - but because she gave me the OH MY BLOG! award, I have to post this awful picture of may want to avert your eyes and just quickly scroll past it...
Puffy eyes, greasy skin, flat hair - jealous?!?

The rules of this award are:

1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER!
2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:
(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
(c) Write a “Soundtrack of your childhood” post.
(d) Make your next blog a ‘vlog’/video blog. Basically, you’re talking to the camera about whatever.
(e) Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, make up, etc) and post it.
3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers as yourself. Don’t forget to tell them.

I'm going to torture honor the following bloggers with this award - and please, someone - post a morning picture so I can have some company! The OMB award goes to:
  1. Kyle - Because he's such a supportive blog-friend AND is skinny now but won't admit it.
  2. Kelly - Hang around her long enough and you begin to believe you can do a half-marathon.
  3. POD - Have mercy, this woman is funny!
Alright y'all - let's see those pajama pictures!


I am sad that I don't have a race to run this weekend! Although there are several in my town, they conflict with my stupid Saturday work schedule. What will I do?!? Somebody give me a piece of paper with a number on it and a cool t-shirt, stat!


Is it wrong that the manager of our local Red Mango frozen yogurt remembers me? Hmmm, that might be a sign I've been going there too much...but it's soooo good and full of healthy probiotics! Still. Must cut back. Tomorrow. Wait, Monday - that's it - I'll start Monday. Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar!


So yeah, speaking of cutting back, I'm going to *gulp* work a little harder at watching what I eat for the next few months - I've done an EXCELLENT job of maintaining my weight (which translates to not having lost a pound) in recent months. And while this may be the weight I will eventually stay at, I'd like to give it one more try to see if I can lose a little more - like 15 pounds. So I'm putting this out there and going on record that I will be actively trying to diet. If I turn into Miss Crankypants, please let me know (in the nicest possible way because if I'm already cranky you know I won't take it well, haha).


It is so strange to me that almost always on Thursday evenings, as I'm lying in bed watching my DVR'd shows (Survivor and hopefully The Office before I fall asleep), I feel energized and ready to exercise. This is after one day's rest - after working out for three days in a row! Seems like I would need more rest than that, but maybe my body is getting faster at recovery? Do you think I actually take advantage of this energy and get up early on Fridays and go for a run? Oh heck no! I should...but so far, I haven't. Truth be told, I'm writing this post on Thursday night, so who knows? I just might surprise myself. Knowing my lazy self, though, I doubt it.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Sweat Monster Edition

Every week I post my Wednesday Workout Update, and every week I get comments along the lines of "you're so inspiring" and "I'm tired just reading about what you do" and "I could never do what you do" and I just wanted to take a moment and tell you a couple things.

First, I do not feel like an inspiration. There are many, many mornings when the alarm goes off and I don't want to get out of bed, much less get dressed and go workout. I have to bargain with myself like you wouldn't believe - tops on the list is that I can go back to bed when the workout is over (rarely have I done this, but I like knowing the option is there). I'm tired! These workouts are hard. I'm even more tired when I'm done! Sometimes I have a post-workout burst of energy, but a lot of the time I'm just plain beat, and my muscles are sore! It's all I can do to get in the shower - and sometimes that doesn't even happen for a couple of hours.

I also want to tell you that my form is not perfect, not even close. My squats could be deeper, my push ups lower, my kettlebell swings higher. There is always someone in my group who is faster than me. There are definitely people in my group who are more coordinated than me. There is a lot of room for improvement, believe me. But you know what? I know all of this, and I still go. And workout, and most of the time I give it, if not 100%, then pretty darn close. For this formerly obese couch potato, that's a lot. And I'm proud of that, and that's why I write about these workouts - to remind myself of all that I am doing, and to let you know that if someone who used to look like this can workout, well, anyone can. So don't read this and think "I could never do that" - read it and try. Because really, that's all that I'm doing. OK, on with the update:

Monday: We did a Tabata Forever in cardio, which means that instead of doing 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by ten seconds of rest eight times, we did it for SIXTEEN times. Yowza yowza yowza. Forever, indeed. I was on the rower for that one. Then we did a long set - I was on the stepper, and finally I got to play on the spinner bike - have I mentioned how much I like that thing? Yes? It really is fun.

In the gym, we did Fight Gone Bad - one minute sets were we build on our reps. I have to say, I was enjoying seeing my arm muscles while I was doing the barbell curls - for a change, the mirror was really motivating to me. It was good to focus on something positive, like the muscles that I have built up, as opposed to my - nope...not going to mention anything bad. It's all about the positive today. Oh...we had a visitor in the gym on Monday - the Sweat Monster!
This is what happens when you flop on the floor after Fight Gone Bad! I think this is me......and this is Kathleen - ooh, scary sweat monsters!!!

Tuesday: I went for a run. Why should this be significant? Um...the fact that I actually DID IT, considering everything (including me - ok, mostly me) that conspired to make it so I couldn't run. Those items would include:
  • Jenny telling me on Monday that she had a commitment on Tuesday and couldn't run with me (strike one)
  • Putting the cats out for the night so I could sleep in (strike two)
  • Moving my clock radio (is this an old-school term - am I allowed to still call it that?) to where I couldn't see it (just a lower place on my nightstand), thereby eliminating both "light pollution" and stopping me from seeing what time it was when I woke up at night (happens often - gotta love 40-something hormones), which also got rid of the "I should get up" feeling (strike three)
  • Weather - we were in the midst of a thunderstorm when I went to sleep (strike four)
I woke up at 8:51 am - and yes, it felt great to get that much sleep - opened the back door to let two starving kitties inside and hello, it was cool and dry. Hmmm. I could go running. Better read the newspaper first - sent Paco out the front door to retrieve it (he's such a helpful dog!). Cup of coffee sounds good. OK, paper read...I could go running, but I better check in on my bloggy peeps. Ooh, MizFit has a follow up to her No Excuses! post. Oh. She's listed and debunked exercise excuses. Well, fine - I get the hint, universe! I suited up, grabbed my iTouch and ear buds and started running down my street - ear buds kept falling out of my ears (I must have the smallest ear canals known to man, or at least headphone makers). It finally occurred to me that my iTouch has a speaker, so I ditched the ear buds and turned up the volume - hey, that worked! It was quite a good distraction, plus I could still hear the cars around me, which seemed like a win, safety-wise.

I ran a 3.5K - that sounds better than 2.17 miles, doesn't it? LOL. Hey - I'm just glad I ran. Next time, though, I might eat a little something beforehand - I was doing great and then all of a sudden died, energy-wise. Probably due to the twelve-plus hour fast from the night before, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday: Linda had us doing a team workout outside - we had to do a certain number of reps per exercise as a team, so say for jump rope, we needed to do 500. I did 100 and moved on to box jumps, where I did 50 (I didn't think I was tense, but my hands cramped up while doing these so I guess I was), then Jeri and I flipped a ginormous tire 20 times, then I did 35 tricep dips, a bunch of kettlebell swings, 25 push ups, and interspersed sprints throughout. By the way, I am not a sprinter. I can sprint toward the finish line, but to do it again, and again? They were jogs, not sprints, by the end!

We did a bunch of isolation exercises in the gym - let me just say that I know exactly where my hip flexors are now! Ouch, ouch, burn...but now I'm done - yay!

Edited to add this picture...doing this exercise is when I found my hip flexors!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Joe Conway Memorial 5K Run

If it's Monday, it must be time for another race recap, right? The Joe Conway Memorial 5K Run was held in Traditions, which is a chichi fanunu country club neighborhood...and home, apparently, to the only hills of our part of Texas (more on those hills later). Although severe thunderstorms had been predicted for Saturday morning, they didn't materialize, and we had absolutely gorgeous weather - blue skies, cool temperatures, low humidity...perfect for running 3.1 miles!

This was a fun run right from the beginning - I had my favorite running buddy, Jenny, with me, along with Brad, Linda, her son Reagan and several others from my fitness group. We got our t-shirts and bibs, and goodie bags that contained a bunch of coupons for free food from local restaurants (and a free cookie from McAlister's Deli - yum). The organizers were very friendly and I felt like a welcome part of our local running community.

I decided to give my One More Mile shirt another chance for this race - you know, the shirt that I wore for the Dansby's Duo? The one that I didn't think would be taken so literally? The one that said "If it weren't for me you'd have no one to pass" - and EVERYONE passed me on the first 5K? Yeah, that shirt. Actually, I had called it my bad luck shirt and was ready to give it to someone (anyone!) who wanted it, but Kelly convinced me that both the shirt and I were fine (she is so encouraging!) so I wore it. And funny thing...while we were at the starting line, people remembered me from the Duo and were commenting on the shirt! Guess who I ended up next to? The older man with the knee brace - the one who I *thought* I would be kind to and run with? Yes, by George, it was him - and his name really is George! I told him that story - he got a good laugh. Said he really didn't run that fast...but once the race began, that was the last I saw of him until it was over, when I saw him leaving in his car...with an oval "26.2" sticker on his back window. Uh huh, I've got your number, Mr. Marathon Man!

Since it was old home week at this race, it was only fitting that I would also be standing next to - are you ready for this - Swirly-Patterned Tank Top woman! Yes - the woman who slowed down just enough during the last quarter mile of the first 5K so I could pass her and come in second-to-last! Her name is Susan and she is just as sweet as can be...I told her how I was plotting to let my husband complete the bike ride and then slink off to the car without doing the second 5K and she said she had contemplated doing the same thing! She did the entire duathlon by herself, and did complete all three events - great job, Susan!

The race started and right away I noticed something...we were running uphill! What the what?!? I live in the flatlands of Texas - where did this hill come from? Somehow, and I don't know what feat of engineering or nature or optical illusion managed this, but it felt like we ran uphill the entire race. Oh, I know we had little spurts of going downhill, but for the most part it was like we were the little engine that could, chugging up those hills going "I think I can, I think I can..." - every time I looked up, we were still climbing! We actually had a really good pace time - Jenny and I varied between 10:30 and 11:30 for the first couple of miles, which was pretty fast for us. Then the last mile, and our version of Heartbreak Hill hit. You are supposed to shorten your stride while running uphill, and I was - at one point it felt like I was one tic above walking. That mile-long hill was a killer! But we ran (I am loosely calling it that, since we didn't officially stop to walk) the entire way, turned the corner to the street toward the finish, and was downhill, finally!

Now here is where it gets funny and ironic. Guess who we caught up to around the three-mile mark? Susan! Hadn't seen her since the start...and then Jenny and I kicked it into high gear (we had to, it was finally downhill) and once again, I passed her right at the end - sorry, Susan! Linda's son Reagan was waiting to run us in to the finish - have I mentioned how much I love my fitness group? Well I do. Anyway, it was a fun race to the finish - my time was 37:06, which was pretty good considering all of the hills.

And now, the pictures!

Jenny and I - so glad she was running this race with me!Brad, Linda, Reagan, Jenny and I chillin' before the race.And we're off! Right from the start we were running uphill!Brad at the finish line - I wonder, what must it be like to run so fast that there is no one around you?Here comes Linda, with a wave for the paparazzi!Speedy Reagan coming in for the finish - he ran the race in under 30 minutes!Here's where Jenny and I caught up to Susan...And here's Reagan on the sidelines, yelling for us to RUN!Not the greatest angle because the man in white is blocking us, but I like this picture because we are really running fast!Finish line! (You can see Susan behind us).Done - whew! We were spent!I got Susan to pose for a picture after - and please note the fresh fruit that the organizers provided for us (no greasy tacos from Jack in the Box, Dow Live Earth!).
Linda, Jenny, Reagan and I - the GLOW run team reunited!

Lastly, here's a shout out to my pit crew, who not only took the pictures, but held Brad's and Jenny's car keys while they ran (and also inadvertently my Shot Bloks - I forgot to eat my pre-race candy!). One of these days I really have to make Jeff an official pit crew t-shirt. Thanks for getting me to the race on time!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Mish, Mash, Mush...

I would like to go on record and receive kudos, applause and possibly an award of some sort for NOT EATING the gorgeous-looking little chocolate desserts at our reception last night. Nor did I eat the lemon desserts (although I had my hand on the serving tongs *briefly* before I walked away). Normally I can resist the sweets at our receptions because since we usually provide the food, I know where they came from (usually Sam's Club mini frozen cheesecakes...good but not worth the calories). The reception last night was catered, and EVERYONE was raving about the desserts. Now, I could have easily fit them into my calorie allotment for the day (although dinner would have been pretty sparse), but I know me, and that sugar would have started me wanting more and more. So I didn't even start. Had my plate with fresh veggies (broccoli, cherry tomatoes, celery) and about half a tablespoon of dip, some cantaloupe, pineapple and berries (straw, rasp and black), and one tiny sliver of cheese. Oh it was hard to not go get some dessert!!! ::commence applause now::


I keep measuring cups stashed all over my kitchen - in the pantry with the cereal, nuts and dried fruit, in the messy drawer that no matter how hard I try to organize it, everything becomes a jumble, in the cupboard with my food scale...I've gotten into the habit of measuring out most of my food (exceptions would be veggies and fruit). Anyway, I reached into my pantry to get my Fiber One cereal and the 1/2 cup measuring cup (hmmm, is that redundant?) - I only found the full cup and was getting frustrated in my search (I wanted my cereal, darn it!), when I realized that I was looking at the 1/2 cup - it just looked big to me. Yeehaw - my eyes have finally adjusted to normal portion sizes! For the longest time, a measured cup of cereal looked small to me. Now, half a cup looks big! Just thought I'd share that with y'all.


My Nike+ site changed my color from yellow to orange recently - don't know what that means (well, that I've logged a certain number of miles on their site - how many, I can't remember and I'm too lazy busy to type in my password and check) - but this guy popped up and gave a really sarcastic little speech which I laughed at - so thanks for the encouragement, Nike!
Mama says they was magic shoes.

Speaking of running, I may need to replace my Forrest Gump shoes, as Linda calls them - the outer edges of my heels have been hurting while I've been running the last couple of weeks. It seems early to need a new pair - I've only had them since October - but I wonder if my weight is breaking them down sooner than, say, someone who weighs 120 pounds? Anyone have any experience with this? The shoes are Brooks Addictions, if that makes a difference.


I wasn't expecting to do another race until July, but there is a 5K tomorrow that starts at 8:00 am, so Jenny and I signed up to do it. Except that after we signed up, we found out registration is at 8:00 am; the race doesn't start until 9:00 am. Which makes getting to work at 10:00 am a tiny bit difficult, even in this small, no-traffic town. Oops. I was able to get a co-worker to agree to open up the building for me - luckily, he was planning on being in the area for Duck Jam. I'm really looking forward to running with Jenny - not expecting to break any PR's, as the course is supposed to be hilly, but it will be fun!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

How can it be Wednesday already? What a busy week - I always feel like Wednesday is my Sunday, since I work Th/F/S - and as I will be slammed at work (it's always busy toward the end of the month, plus we finally have a new boss, plus a huge reception for the Duck Jam people on Thursday...yikes!), I have a lot to get done today, before all of the madness ensues!

On to the update...

Monday: We did a "Flip-Flopped Dirty Thirty" in the gym - each station had two exercises, and we could switch between them until we reached thirty reps on each (or each limb, on some). It was pretty fun, although we did these step ups that killed my calves - Brad stacked the box jump boxes on top of each other - bottom layer was the 24" box, then the 18" box and finally the 12" box - there was just enough space on the bottom box for your toes and ball of your foot to fit - we were to step up onto the 24" box without using the other boxes for leverage. That was hard - 24" is high, to a short person like me! At first I though that thirty reps per leg would be easy, but then my calves started screaming - yowza, that one was a doozy!

In the cardio room, Linda had Jenny and I side-by-side on the spinners doing a variety of things from standing up and riding through the "mud" (very high tension), to up up down downs, to pedaling (what felt like) ninety miles an hour - it was really fun! She also had me do a one-mile recovery run (from my 6K the day before) on the treadmill - since when did one mile become a "recovery run" - it wasn't too long ago when that was a huge achievement! To be honest, it still is...and sometimes I feel like Paco the Wonder Dog - when he's running outside, he gets all proud and looks around to make sure everyone is watching him - I know that he's thinking "Look at me, everyone - I'm running!" - so yes, Paco and I are both a little crazy.

Tuesday: Jenny and I met at our local park for a run - yay, I have my running buddy back!!! We ran for two miles, then took a walking break, then ran for another mile, where I remembered to say the Pledge of Allegiance as per Kyle's test...and then took another walking break all the way to Red Mango frozen yogurt! Now that was a nice way to end a run - with some yummy low-fat/low-calorie frozen yogurt (I had Mandarin orange and coconut), sitting outside, enjoying a beautiful Spring day.

Wednesday: As it was a gorgeous morning, Brad took advantage of that by putting me, Jenny, Kathleen and Ashley through a lovely walking lunge/push up workout outside. We lunged our way down his very long driveway and back to our starting point, where we did 40 push ups. Then more lunges and 35 push ups...we did this all the way to 5 push ups. With Brad correcting our form the entire time - "make your thigh level enough to balance a marble on it!" "don't let that marble fall off!" "pretty push ups!" "go deeper on your push ups!" - wow. This was a tough one. And when we were done, he had us do some sprint work! Have mercy - we still had Linda to work with in cardio!

Linda had watched the Biggest Loser last night and was inspired to list exercises on index cards, which we drew from a pile. It was an individual workout, so none of us did the same thing - but going into it, we knew (from the previous group) that there was a card with 50 burpees on it, so every time none of us drew that card, there was both relief and trepidation, because it was still out there. My first card was "work off an Oreo (60 calories) on any machine" - I chose the newest spinner which has a little computer on it. It took me a while to hit 60 calories - and I was surprised to see that I had gone 4.8 miles on it when I was done! Other cards that I drew were "100 punches on the bag" (love this), "two-minute plank hold" "supermans" "butterfly sit ups" (which due to mis-hearing the title have now been re-christened "thunderthigh sit ups" LOL) and "100 jump ropes" - I have to say that my legs are shaky and I am spent! The burpee card was never drawn - apparently when it wasn't chosen in the first half of the workout, Linda removed it because we wouldn't have had time to complete it...oh darn!

Couple of other things...I finally found my official time for the 6K - it was 43:39 with a pace of 11:52 - I'm perfectly content with that. I've updated my Running! page with links to my race recaps and finishing times, if you've missed any of my super-duper recaps (lol).

And finally, Robin of Running Circles Around the Turtles has featured me (ME?!) in her Wednesday Winners post - I am still so shocked to be included with the real runners - I feel like I've hit the big league! Thank you, Robin, for welcoming me into the running world!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dow Live Earth Run For Water 6K - Recap!

On Sunday morning, I ran the Dow Live Earth Run For Water 6K in Houston - this was a global event that had races all over the U.S. and many other countries. Famous celebrities participated in these races, and although I tried to convince Kelly that Justin Timberlake was at our event, I don't think any "real" celebrities actually came to Houston. Pity.

Jeff and I drove down to Houston on Saturday afternoon - spent a couple hours at Market Street in The Woodlands - man, do I need to leave my small town more often...this place was nice!!! We went there because it had a running store called Luke's Locker, and I was bound and determined to buy The Stick - my foam roller is great, but you have to have a floor to use it, and knowing that after the race, I was going to be spending a couple of hours in the car riding back to our town, I wanted to get to work on my sore muscles right away. It was fun to shop at such a nice running store - I spent quite some time drooling over all the clothes and accessories (arm sleeves! recovery socks! hydration systems!), and although I wanted to buy a pair of hot pink Thorlo Experia socks to go with my running outfit for Sunday, they didn't carry that color. Too bad - but I know my contact at Thorlo, Tracy Harris, is working on getting more fun colors (side note to Tracy: purple and hot pink would be appreciated!). I looked at other brands that were in hot pink, but was hesitant to try them since the Thorlos work so well for me. Is anybody else that sock loyal (or is it paranoid?) - I hate to spend anywhere between 10 and 15 bucks on a pair of socks that I don't know will feel as good as my Thorlos. Long story short (I know, I know), I left Luke's Locker with just The Stick - which I love!

(I'm sure you are wondering if I am ever going to start my recap. Soon...more shopping ensued that I just know you are all dying to hear about! And yes, please read appropriate amount of sarcasm into that sentence, lol).

Another neat store that I found at Market Square was Lululemon! I've seen their products online, but it was great to be able to walk inside their store and see everything up close! They have some gorgeous, well-made clothes, and I was loving their Define jacket, but at the price of $99, it just wasn't in my budget. They call their clothing an "investment" and I can see why - they do look like they would hold up to a lot of wear, but I will have to start saving my pennies in order to afford it. Someday, Define jacket, you will be mine.

After Jeff and I split a Cuban sandwich paired with yucca fries (yum) and each had a side salad (which ended up being too much food), we headed to our hotel, where I woke up pretty much every hour, waiting for the alarm to go off. I do this before every race - you'd think I'd be a little cooler about it, but apparently there's a five-year-old inside of me who is superexcited about the race! Not knowing how long it would take us to get to downtown Houston, and what traffic we might be dealing with, we left about 6:25 am. And got there about 6:35 am. Apparently there is no traffic going into downtown on a Sunday - who would'a thunk it? (Note: the rubes from the sticks, that's who!) The good thing about getting there that early is that we got an excellent parking spot - about three spaces down from the start/finish line! I picked up my bib, timing chip and quite possibly the ugliest race t-shirt ever, and sat down to wait for Kelly and her family to show up.
Just chillaxin' before the race...I'm actually outside of the restrooms (yay, no porta-potties!) - but I had to include this picture to show you that if you turn *just* the right way and have a great camera angle, you can look way thinner than you are!
Woot - Kelly is finally here!Right before the shotgun start (btw they did not use an actual shotgun - but this IS Texas and you never know). Jeff said I kept posing every time he tried to take a candid picture of me - of course I posed; I always look dorky(ier) in candids! And we're off! Please take note of the man in jeans running to get out of the way - too funny!Can you see me? I'm the one in the hot pink cap and shirt, making a dorky face. Kelly's very tall daughter Rachel is next to me; Kelly is kind of hidden behind us.I look like a doofus when I'm running! Kelly's husband Chuck took this picture as we passed each other on the course (they walked the 6K while I ran). I was on my way back - must have been past the 2 mile marker at this point.Coming in for the finish! Getting closer - I put it into high gear and the announcer called out "Way to kick it, 1672!" - cool to be noticed for that, because I WAS running fast!Right after - my pit crew takes care of me with not one, but TWO cups of water!Kelly, Chuck, Rachel and Charlie - the walkers (although they ran in for the finish) - such a cute family!

Now, a few of thoughts about this race. Both Kelly and I were surprised and a little disappointed that there was no swag - you got your (ugly) t-shirt and that was it. Nothing running-related OR water-related...considering this race had a huge corporate sponsor, we both thought there should have been something - a water bottle, perhaps? And after the race, what little fruit they had was gone by the time I got there. They were, however, handing out chicken sandwiches and greasy tacos from Jack in the Box. Weird fare for after a run - where were the bagels and bananas?

As for the race route, it was on a road - we actually went under a couple of freeway overpasses. That was a little freaky, hearing the cars on the road above us! And the ramps climbed up, which was a surprise - I didn't expect any hills. Luckily, I had just read on Saturday in one of Jeff Galloway's books about running on hills - he said to shorten your stride, so I did, and managed to keep running the entire climb.

Have you heard about runners hitting "the wall" - they get to a place where finishing the race seems impossible, and they have to work really hard to push through that? Well, I hit the wall immediately. Seriously - I kept thinking "I hate this I hate this I hate this, why am I doing this, this is stupid, I'm never going to do this again" - over and over. It was bad. And it lasted for about the entire first mile. Then, I realized that I was ok - my legs felt good, my breathing was better, and I knew that I would be able to keep running and finish the race. I think I have a real problem with running these races alone. I need the distraction of a running buddy to get through the first mile - I have had such different races, emotionally, when I've ran with a buddy. I know I should be strong and suck it up and just run, but for me, it's hard -I always start out too fast, I'm practically gasping for air, the course looms ahead of me, my legskneesfeet hurt, and dang it, I just want someone to say "we can do this" to me! And yes, I feel like a big baby to admit this, but running just isn't as much fun alone. I know it's a solitary sport. Yet for me, I need a "teammate/buddy/partner" and without one, I face huge mental obstacles. Sigh. Don't know what I'm going to do about this.

OK, enough complaining. After the race, since I didn't get any food, we found a Panera (one of my favorite places to eat; sadly we don't have one in our town) where I "fueled up" on a jalapeno cheddar bagel and egg sandwich - so tasty!
This picture is for Lori, who has a Panera in her town and eats a bagel there every Wednesday!

After our breakfast, we went back to the hotel where I got cleaned up. We met Kelly and family for a late lunch at Pappasitos, where I had this ginormous Tequila-Lime salad - yum!
I don't think I even ate half of the salad - but the leftovers came home with us and Jeff ate them for dinner.
Kelly and I - all cleaned up!

It was so fun to see Kelly and Chuck again, and to meet their kids, who are so sweet and polite and fun to be around. All-in-all, it was a fun weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Mishmash

First, let's start with these super-cute fabric baskets that I recently won in a giveaway from Monica On The Go and Rellaroo, who has the sweetest etsy shop. I got to choose a basket from Rellaroo's shop, and was told to pick an alternate in case the one I picked was purchased before I sent my choices in. Well, color me surprised when I opened my mail to find both of my choices - thanks, Mindi - you are too generous! I love them and have had a lot of fun trying them out in different spots in my house. Currently they are in my closet holding my unmentionables (I know, I just mentioned them ::blush::) - what fun to see these gorgeous baskets every day!
Picture taken outside because the light was better...and look - there's a doggy in the window!


And now, some down and dirty talk about food (and to clarify - no one sent me any samples; these are just my opinions of stuff I've bought recently at my local grocery store):
  • Kashi GoLean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble - This stuff is like crack to me. I don't know how to describe it except to say that it pops in my mouth. The other night I measured out a quarter cup for a snack. And then another quarter cup. And another quarter cup...I believe I finally stopped at about a full cup - I have not been this out-of-control over a snack food in a long time. I was seriously going to throw it down the garbage disposal if I went back one more time. I didn't, but my advice: do not buy this very tasty, addictive cereal!
  • Peanut butter from that machine in the grocery store - Back story is that I dropped my nearly full jar of Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter onto my kitchen's tile floor - sadly breaking the glass jar and splattering peanut butter all over. My grocery store doesn't carry that particular kind of peanut butter any more - most of their "natural" peanut butters are the no-stir kind that contains added palm oil and sugar, which I don't want. So I decided to try the "grind your own" peanut butter using the machine that held nothing but dry roasted peanuts (Would you believe one machine contained chocolate chips and peanuts?!? Yum) Anyway, I decanted about a dollar's worth into a little plastic tub, which came in handy when I took it home and promptly dropped it on my kitchen floor - what is up with me and peanut butter? Luckily the tub only cracked a little. Man, this is a long back story! Anyway, I made my pb&j sandwich and darned if that stuff isn't dry! Like, I needed to microwave it in order to get it smooth enough to spread on my sandwich thin. So while it was fun to grind my own peanut butter (really, all I did was flip a switch, but I felt very pioneer-like), this is not for me. I'll have to search for my Maranatha at a different grocery store.
  • Newman's Own Lighten Up Sundried Tomato salad dressing - I never thought I would cheat on my favorite Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Viniagrette, but I am loving the Sundried Tomato dressing! It has a little higher calorie count than the Balsamic (60 per 2 T serving vs. 45), but I always measure it out and really, the extra 15 calories isn't going to make or break my diet. Here is a picture of my super delicious salad that I had for dinner three days in a row this week:
Romaine and Boston lettuces, broccoli, radishes, green onion, sliced fresh mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, bleu cheese, avocado, chicken breast and that yummy salad dressing!
  • And just so you don't think I'm stuck in a food rut of salads (which I mostly am, lol), here's something new that I tried recently...chicken andouille sausage, with grilled asparagus (another food that is like crack to me) and some whole wheat fettuccine topped with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper (no oil or butter).
Chicken Andouille sausage, 150 calories; 2 oz. whole wheat fettuccine, 210 calories, with half an ounce Parmesan cheese, 53 calories; 15 spears crack grilled asparagus, 48 calories - total for this decadent, delicious meal: 461 calories.

In case you are like me and didn't know what "andouille" stands for - it means spicy! Like hot pepper flake spicy! My mouth was en fuego, but in a good way (Biz, you would love this!).


Jeff was out of town this week and I've had to be more aware and diligent when it came to my eating...I could very easily go off the deep end with no one watching me - not that he watches what I eat, but I had some pretty bad habits of majorly overeating when he would travel. Knowing my history, I've made a conscious effort to prepare healthy dinners and have lots of fruit around for snacks. Except for cereal-gate one evening (while I was watching The Biggest Loser, ironically), I've done really well. He'll be back home tonight and things will be normal, although we are going to Houston for that 6K run on Sunday, and have a lunch planned with Kelly and her family at a Mexican restaurant - hopefully I will control myself around the chips and salsa!


P.S. I just realized that I referenced crack twice in this post. It's not like I have a true reference point - I've never tried it. (I would be skinny probably dead if I did.) It's not a joking matter to someone who has struggled with addiction, and I hope I haven't offended anyone by using that word lightly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Suddenlink Sucks Edition

Argh, what a frustrating morning! My internet has been out since late last night, and after several phone calls to Suddenlink (ptooey) where they were telling me it was my equipment failure AND that I needed to pay for a service call, it's finally back on...oh, and guess what? It was their problem. Jerks! (as my cousin Jill would say).

Onto the WWU!

Monday: I was still pretty sore from all the running I did on Saturday. Managed to get through everything, including a one mile run on the treadmill for time...we do this every so often to see how we are improving. I think I improved my previous time - this one was 11:13 - but not by much. What can I legs were tired! After the workout, I went to our local sporting goods store and bought my new best friend - a GoFit foam roller. Best $20 I've spent in a long time! For some reason, my left hamstring is really bothering'd think I ran in a circle or something on Saturday, but that wasn't the case. Anyway, the foam roller is helping - just wish I'd started using it right after the race!

Tuesday: I went for a run in the morning. I guess I am a social exerciser, because I much prefer running (or working out) with someone. As it was, Jenny was swamped, so I went alone. My knees were hurting, so I ran a mile, then walked for two minutes, then ran a half mile, walked for another two minutes, then ran the rest of the way to 3.2 miles...with a sprint up a slight hill at the end! I am trying to work on finishing strong so I can kick it toward the finish line - I felt pretty good about that sprint!

Wednesday: Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and think "I hope we work on our arms today"? No? Just me??? Well, I was in the mood for some arm work, and Brad did not disappoint - we had a great gym workout and I felt really strong when we were done! Then onto Linda and cardio, where we did her patented "Kill and Drill" - 90 seconds of all out killing it on a machine, followed by 90 seconds of easy; repeat each for a total of four times. I was on the stepper first, and surprised myself by making it through each very intense 90 second set - and we all know that the stepper is not my favorite! Linda had us concentrate on what we wanted to change with that exercise, so I kept looking at my thighs as I was working the stepper and it did seem to make the time go by pretty quick.

After that, Jenny and I did the Kill and Drill on the spinner bikes - and that was fun! Side-by-side we raced for 90 seconds, then pedaled easily, then stood up and plowed through "mud" (where the tension on the bike is really tight); more racing and mud and then we were through. I really enjoyed that workout and afterward, while my legs felt like limp noodles, I felt like I did something good for my body!

Hmmm, I just realized that this is the second Wednesday in a row where I've had a great workout and felt energized afterward...which makes me believe that having a day in between these workouts is a good thing. Yay for change, and finally recognizing when to make one!

Thank you for all of the sweet and supportive comments on my Dansby's Duo recap post - the more time that goes by, the better I feel about my performance in that race. That said, I am looking forward to a less intense run on Sunday, when I will participate in the Dow Live Earth 6K in Houston - let's hear it for the fun runners!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dansby's Duo Recap!

The Dansby's Duo is a duathlon, where you run a 5K, then bike 12 miles, then run another 5K. You could do this on your own or as part of a two-person relay team; my husband Jeff and I partnered up to do the relay, with me running both 5K's and him doing the biking.

Thoughts going through my mind during the first 5K:
  • I wonder if a police car will be coming around to offer me a ride to the finish line, ala Kelly's first experience doing a 5K?
  • Why in the world did I let Jenny talk me into doing this and where is she when I need her? (answer: at the opening ceremonies for Little League with her son...but still!)
  • If I can catch up to that woman in the pink shirt, can I get her to tell me that I rock and that I can do this, ala MizFit, when she ran her first half marathon?
  • There is no way I can do the second 5K. Jeff can do the bike ride and then we'll slink off.
  • What the hell?!? I cross the finish line and I have to keep running to the transition area?!? Don't they know I'm done???
Yes folks, I was DEAD LAST while running the first 5K. I wore my apparently prophetic shirt emblazoned with the words "If it weren't for me you'd have nobody to pass" on both the front and back, but I didn't think I would actually BE last! This was a different group that I was running with - these people were the real deal. No fun runners here. I guess when you add in a biking component to a race, you weed out the *ahem* more casual would have been nice to know this ahead of time, as I got quite a shock when the race started and everyone began running...and I do mean RUNNING! Ho-ly crap. I was being passed up on all sides - and while I heard lots of "great shirt" comments, I could not believe what was happening. I was running next to an older man and thought "well, ok...I'll keep this man company" - and the next thing I knew, he took off and left me in the dust.

Finally, I didn't hear any more footsteps behind me, and I became filled with dread. You see, this was early - like less than half a mile into the race. We were running on a dirt berm that edged the lake, which was a little tricky - not the smooth pavement that I'm used to - and when we got to the end of it, there were race officials directing us to turn into the park. I caught one of the official's eye and he called out "Great job!" In return I said "Please tell me there is someone behind me" and he just clapped his hands and said "You're doing great!" I was LAST. All alone. It was the worst feeling - I kept checking my pace on my Nike+ Sportsband, and it was decent (for me) - but I was so far behind everyone! There was one woman in a pink shirt ahead of me, and I kept thinking I would catch up to her but that never happened. When I got to the water station, which was at Mile 2, they had already started cleaning up the cups that were littering the road! I took some water, but felt bad at the prospect of throwing the cup onto the road (which is one of my favorite parts of a race - sanctioned littering) so I ended up tossing it into the trash can a little way up the road.

I just kept running, planning how I could talk Jeff into leaving after he rode the bike part, because there was no way I was going to be able to finish the second 5K before the race course was closed.

Finally, back on the dirt berm heading toward the finish line, I caught up to a woman - not the one in the pink shirt, but a woman in a swirly-patterned tank top. It wasn't that I had sped up; rather, she had slowed down. I was able to pass her with about a quarter mile I ended up coming in second-to-last for the first 5K portion of the race. I knew Jeff was wondering if I was ever going to finish - he had to stay in the "transition" area where the bikes were, and I had to run there to transfer the timing chip to him, since we were a relay team. He strapped it onto his ankle and took off.

I think I was a little shell-shocked after Jeff rode off. In all of my previous races, I was nowhere NEAR last...and there were always plenty of people around me, not to mention that I had somebody to run with which makes a HUGE difference! Just having someone to say "we're doing great" and "we can do this" to is so nice and I really missed that with this race. Being last wasn't so much a blow to my ego as it was I really been running these past few months? I thought I was doing ok, and actually improving - but this let me know that I am waaaay behind the true runners.

Brad and Kelly (another of his clients) came over to talk with me and try to help me regroup. I got some water and my package of Shot Bloks - if there was ever a time for physical and mental energy, this was it! Brad ended up going back into the transition area to wait for his partner to come in on the bike. Kelly stayed with me and I have to give her a lot of credit - she talked me down from the ledge and I began to think that I could do the second 5K. Pretty soon her partner, Rina (another client) came in on her bike and off Kelly ran. Rina and I chatted and watched the first relay team finish while we were waiting for Jeff to come in. Anyway, I mentioned how much harder I found this to be without a running partner, and without batting an eye, Rina said "I'll run with you" - can you believe that?!? What a relief - just knowing that even though I was going to be last again, at least I would have someone to run with made a huge difference - my feet felt lighter and my spirits were definitely soaring!

Jeff came flying in on his bike - I ran over to get the chip timer and he told me that he passed several bikers, which was great news! Rina and I took off running down that dirt berm again, but it was a whole different experience this time. She cracked jokes and we talked and it was wonderful - she kept up a running (haha) commentary on the other runners and where we were in the course. It was funny when Kelly, who was running toward us (coming in for her finish), saw Rina - she was all "what are you doing out here?!" but I'm sure she figured it out pretty quick. Rina and I ran and ran - it's weird to run the same course again, btw. As we rounded the last big loop, I looked behind us and saw no one and said "son of a bitch, I'm last again!" (but really, I didn't feel as bad as I did the first 5K) - and what do you know...all of a sudden, we saw another runner who was way behind us...and then another one, and another one...Rina kept count - there were twelve people behind me! I WASN'T LAST!!! What a relief! Back on the dirt berm again (say that in a Forrest Gump voice for maximum effect), we were running toward the finish. Kelly had come out part way and ran in with us. Jeff has also come out with the camera to take some pictures...and I ran toward the finish line with my posse! Now that is the way to end a race!!!

Oh...and guess what? I ran the entire second 5K - which means that I ran both 5K's without walking - woohoo!!! Stats: first 5K - 37:00; bike - 46:52; second 5K - 37:34. Crazy how even the two 5K's were, right?

I know this is a long post, but of course I have to put in some pictures. Thanks for reading this far - now you get to the easy part!
Obligatory pre-race porta-potty stop (please note the black strap around my ankle is not a house arrest monitoring bracelet but rather my timing chip!)
Right before the first 5K - how did I not notice that these people were actual runners?!?
Here is the older man who I was going to be kind to and keep company - NOT. Lol, I just noticed he had a knee brace and I still couldn't keep up with him!
Me trailing pink shirt to the finish...Running into the transition area - NOW pink shirt walks? She couldn't have done that for just a tiny bit during the 5K?!?
Sad, sad sight...Jeff's bike, another bike, and two riders getting ready to leave.
Pedal fast, Jeff!Jeff coming back in - um, yeah, lots more bikes compared with the other picture!Rina and I coming down the dirt berm toward the was a loooong dirt berm!
Look - there are runners behind me!Finished at last - Rina and Kelly behind me - thanks, ladies, for the encouragement!!!Rina and I - I cannot thank her enough for running that second 5K with me!Kelly and I - she made me believe I could actually do the second run...Did I mention that Rina and Kelly WON the female relay category?!? Way to go, ladies!!!
Done - what a relief!!!