Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Mishmash

No time for blogging, I have knitting to do!  Actually, I'm caught up with my "must finish" projects for Christmas, and now I'm just playing around with fun stuff.  But I do find myself rushing through the things I have to do so I can settle down and knit...knitting has become one of my favorite activities.

While I can't show you everything I've finished just yet, because certain recipients read my blog, here's another windmill bag that I made for a secret Santa gift exchange with my knitting guild:
I could practically knit this bag in my sleep at this point...

And look - I also knitted a "gift card-igan" - a sweater for a gift card!  I got to try a new technique with it, too; I had to put some stitches on a cable needle and knit around them, and then go back and knit the stitches on the cable needle.  Very technical explanation, I step above my usual "you take the thingie and put it on the doohickie" description.
This only took me a few hours and it was really cool to see the pattern develop.  I might get brave and try a bigger cabled project next!


My friends at Oh Nuts once again offered to send me a couple of items of my choosing for holiday baking.  As I rarely bake anymore, I incorporated the ingredients, which were shelled pistachios and dried red sour cherries, into my Hippie Granola.  You can find the basic recipe for the granola here; all I did differently was reduce the amount of pecans to 1/4 cup, add in 1/4 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds, and 1/2 cup of pistachios.  I coarsely chopped up 1 cup of the dried cherries and added them to the mix after it had baked and cooled down.  Here's proof that I am not a food blogger some pictures:
Why YES, I do love my granola!


Today is the last day you can place your first order with PV.Body and get a package of awesome workout clothes for the insanely low price of $32 - click here to order.  Starting tomorrow, the price increases to $49/month (if you order with my link you'll still save 20%) - still a good deal, but hey - you can't beat $32!
**Edited to add that I got an email from my contact at PV.Body today and they are having trouble with the 20% discount appearing when you place your order, but she assures me that they will refund the difference within two weeks - sorry for the mess!  I did this because it is such a good deal, but hate that they are having technical difficulties.**
***Edit #2:  all issues are resolved - order away!***


I can't believe tomorrow we are only (ONLY!) running 6 miles.  Amazing how your perspective can change after so many 9, 10 and 12 mile runs...6 miles?  Pfft.  That's nothing.  Not really, but it just sounds like nothing.  I'm sure I'll be more than ready for it to be over, right around mile two four.  This is the last long run of the season with our running club before our goal race.  But I'm not going to think about that race just yet.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

We are on the last legs (ha!) of training for running club this season.  Boy howdy, it's been a long season - while running with a group is fun and helps to keep the enthusiasm going, training for 25 weeks for a goal race has started to wear on me.  Maybe I would have felt like this two years ago, had I been able to continue with the group - all I know is that I'm ready for December 9th and our half marathon to happen!

We didn't have an official group run scheduled for Saturday since it was the holiday weekend, but we did have 10 miles on tap, so a bunch of us ended up meeting anyway...although we took advantage of the cold weather and didn't start until 7:00 am.  Since the course wasn't supported with water, we planned a five-mile loop from the park where we met, so we could refill water bottles at the halfway point.

Jeff and I started off fine - it was about 40 degrees, but the wind was blowing so it felt pretty chilly.  Still, it was a nice change from running in the heat and humidity, plus we warmed up fairly fast.  The first 3 miles were great, but closer to mile 4, my toe started hurting a lot, and it was affecting my gait, and the last thing I need is to overcompensate for one pain and cause myself another!  Jeff suggested taping the two toes together, so when we got to the park, he pulled out a medical kit from the car (yes, he was a Boy Scout...can you tell?) and I taped them up.  I really didn't think the taping would make a difference, but it was a complete 180 turnaround - ZERO PAIN.  Color me shocked, and happy!  We set off running again, but after another 2 miles, the pain came back - crum.  We ended up only running 8.3 miles, as I didn't want to aggravate it too much.  I can tell that I've finally built up my mileage, because my legs were not sore at all after this run - it was nice to not be limping around on Sunday! 

After checking with Dr. Google, the toe pain could be one of several things - among them, either plantar fasciitis (I thought it weird that the toe would hurt before the heel, but apparently that does happen), or else some metatarsal issues...which, considering how good the toe felt when taped, I'm thinking might be it (plus I just DO NOT want to think about having PF, quite honestly).  Many people online mentioned getting relief by using metatarsal pads, so I ordered a couple different types (after checking several stores in one carried any) - they should be here later today, and I'm hoping that they help enough to get me through long runs.

Yesterday Jenny and I met for a quick short run, followed by a nice long "catch up" chat over coffee.  Our running together lately has been really intermittent, but hopefully once the craziness of this season is over (Jenny is a photographer and is insanely busy right now), we can get back to some good weekly runs together. 

Tomorrow, Erica and I will do our usual 2 mile route, and then on Saturday, we have our last long run before the half - and it's only 6 miles!  Of course, Coach Dale is torturing us by making us run that route in a hilly neighborhood, but I'm sure we'll survive.


In case you missed it, I did a review of PV.Body workout clothes on Friday - they have an awesome deal going on for the next few days where you can get a really nice workout top and bottom for $32 for the month of December.  You have to sign up by Friday, because their prices go up on December 1st.  Click here for the review, or you can click here to sign up.  They have free shipping and returns, and it's really simple to cancel your subscription if you don't want to continue.  While I got my first set of clothes for free, I couldn't resist the deal and signed myself up for another month.  Can't wait to see what I get!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Trot 5K Recap

For the third year in a row, we participated in our local Turkey Trot 5K fun run on Thanksgiving morning.  The race has grown in the three years that its been around, from 400 participants the first year, to over 1,200 this year - wow!  It's really cool to see so many people up and out early on a holiday morning, doing something fun for their health...and yes, most of us went on to have a large meal a few hours later, but hey - we started off the day right!

We took our annual shoe picture, and because I'm feeling nostalgic, here's all three years' worth:

What can I say, every family has their traditions...ours just happens to be a shoe picture!

It was nice to see so many people that we know at the race, especially our running club peeps.  Here's Wendy and her family - Wendy is new to running this year and has been so inspired by it that she started a blog!  You can read about her adventures at One Tough Mother Runner.
What cute costumes!

Here's my motley crew:
No costumes for us, although I was wearing a cute turkey trot headband:
"Eat, Sleep, Trot" - good theme for the day!

So this year, Sam, who has been working out and losing weight lately, wanted to run it in under 30 minutes.  Even before I hurt my ankle, that speed was never on my radar (haha, punny), so he and Jeff planned on running together while Max and I did our leisurely thing.  The only question was, would Max, who ran a half marathon nearly a year ago but hasn't run since, be able to make it through a 5K?  We'd soon find out!

The race began with Jeff and Sam close to the front.  They took off like they were on a mission, which they were.  Max and I started toward the back, and as much as I tried to run my own pace, we got caught up in the hectic speed of everyone right off the bat, and it took me a few minutes to calm down and run normally.  We settled into running, but about half a mile in, Max started to feel the effects of not having run in nearly a year, and he had to take a walk break.  I ended up being the bad mom and left him in the dust...actually, he was fine with me running on, so I did.  I didn't break any speed records for the 5K, but then again, I wasn't trying to, either.  Here's a shot of me coming toward the finish line:
I was running, I promise!  

It pictures, my short stride rarely looks like I'm running, unlike Sam:
Now THAT'S a long stride!  Sam was being a nice brother and ran Max in the last tenth of a mile.

Sam smashed his goal, finishing in 28:24 - woohoo, go Sam!  He was a bit spent at the end:
This is what a new PR looks like!

Later on, he recovered enough to give a big thumbs up to his run:
Another runner in the family!

Max was a little more beat up after he finished:
Proof that it's really hard to go from zero to 3.1 miles in one run.

After the race:
Turkey Trot, year three, is in the books!

Then we cleaned up and took our family portrait:
Doesn't everyone wear matching race t-shirts for their family pictures?

And ate our Thanksgiving meal:
Please note Paco waiting under the table, in case anything drops on the floor.

It was a great visit with the kids and I can't wait for them to come back at Christmas!

Friday, November 23, 2012

PV.Body Review and Discount!

There are quite a few "box subscription" companies out there and I've received a couple different ones in the last six months or so.  While it's been fun to see what sample products were in the box, I really wasn't tempted to subscribe beyond the freebies that I was sent.  However, I received a package from PV. Body recently, and oooh, I'm tempted to keep this one going.

PV. Body is a fitness apparel company who sends their members top-quality workout clothes every month - you complete a simple online profile specifying your color preferences, type of activity you participate in, favorite brands, and your size for tops and bottoms, and they take that info and choose a new top (tank, short or long-sleeved) and bottom (capris, pants or shorts) and send it to you for a low monthly rate.  Right now, their rate is $39.95/month with free shipping, but in December that rate will increase to $49.95 because they are going to have higher end clothing.  PV. Body says that the value of the monthly shipment is around $140 - not bad for $40 (or $50).

I was offered a box for review, and you all know how much I love my running gear, so naturally I jumped at the chance to check out PV.Body!  I filled out the online profile, and I'll admit, I was a little nervous about their size offerings, as currently they are only in the XS to Large range.  As a lot of workout gear tends to be fitted, and I prefer a looser cut, I usually choose XL for my tops.  (Side note:  I did speak to my contact at PV. Body, Hope, about their sizes and she explained that they are working on expanding their size range and should have that in place by January.)  My package arrived in a hot pink bubble envelope, which was even more exciting than a box:
Inside was a really cute top by 15Love, and a pair of fitness pants by American Apparel:
The pants are great - they have a nice wide waistband, and are really comfortable.  I only have one pair of fitness pants and these will be a good addition to my cold-weather running wardrobe.  From what I could tell by a quick internet search, the retail cost of these is $48, and they are made in the U.S., which is nice.

The shirt is extremely soft, which isn't always the case with technical fabrics.  I'd never heard of the company, 15Love, but I'm impressed with the top.  It's a little tighter than I would normally choose, but again, I tend toward looser-fitting tops.  I'd still wear it to run in - plus it would be great for yoga because it wouldn't fly up and expose my stomach during any downward dog poses.  Retail cost of this shirt is $59, and it is made in the U.S. as well.

I think this is a decent bang for the buck - some of the brands that PV. Body offers are Nike, Lululemon, Adidas, Lorna Jane, American Apparel, and other smaller companies (like 15Love).  It's a surprise as to what you will receive each month, but they do offer a money-back guarantee if you don't like what you get, or if it doesn't fit.  Plus shipping is free on the returns, as well, which makes me more comfortable about trying a subscription.  And you can cancel anytime, or put your subscription on hold for a few months if you end up with enough clothing for a particular season and want to wait for different weather.

If you're interested in trying PV.Body, click here to get 20% off your first order...and if you do subscribe before December 1st, you'll still get the lower rate, which means that your order will only be $32 - now that's what I call a deal!  I'm going to place my order - you can't beat getting a workout top and bottom for only $32!  This is for U.S. addresses only - sorry, international peeps.

FCC Disclaimer:  I received a shirt and pants from PV.Body free.  I will also receive a small commission on the link, should anyone choose to subscribe.  Opinions on the products and service were not influenced by that, I promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - What a Blimp!!!

I know, you'd think I wouldn't be writing about a blimp until after Thanksgiving...but look what was above my house on Monday afternoon:
From my doorstep...
Zoomed in - it's Snoopy!  Flying the blimp!!!

The blimp came into town for the BIG GAME this weekend - Texas A&M vs. Missouri.  Pretty crazy to see it right above my house - kind of feels like I got a mini version of the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade!


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have to mention once again how happy and grateful I am to have a running store here in town.  It is so wonderful to be able to go in and get feedback from Mike and Dan, the owners of Brazos Running Company, on my plethora of foot/shoe issues.  Plus I feel a bit like Norm from Cheers when I walk in - they know my name, and the welcoming hugs are always appreciated.  After years of either having to drive about 100 miles to shop at an actual store, or just guessing at things and purchasing them online, it is wonderful to be able to shop locally.  And in that vein, I have another pair of running shoes - the Brooks Glycerin.  If you're not a runner, it probably sounds crazy to focus so much on shoes, but I'm telling you, a shoe can make or break your run.  During that 12 miler on Saturday, the underside of the toe next to my big toe on one foot was hurting, and afterward, the toenail felt bruised and was discolored.  I vaguely remember this happening a couple of years ago - obviously it wasn't an issue with the Newtons, but since they are off the table because of my ankle (Roseanne Roseannadanna: It's always SOMETHING), I need to find a shoe that works.  Mike recommended the Glycerins - here's hoping they do the trick.  
I wore them on a two mile run yesterday and they felt fine; the real test will come with Saturday's long run.
They have the funny square scanner thing printed on the insole.  I always wondered what the deal was with them - Sam (who is home for the week) put the scanner app on my iPhone and I scanned the shoe.  It connected me to the Brooks Facebook page - not sure what I was expecting, but that wasn't very exciting. 

Tomorrow morning, we'll be doing the Turkey Trot 5K for the third year in a row - I love this family tradition.  Then, of course, comes the eating part of the day...hopefully we won't overdo it and feel like blimps.  To all of my American readers, I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving day tomorrow!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Santa's Wonderland 1 Mile Fun Run Recap - With a 12 Mile Warm-Up

On Saturday night, Jeff and I ran the 1 mile race at Santa's Wonderland - they also had a 5K as well, but since we were running in the morning (more on that in a bit), we opted for the shorter distance...which we ended up being really grateful for, as the idea of running at all wasn't very appealing after our morning long run.

This was the inaugural race at Santa's Wonderland, and it sounded fun to me because I am a sucker for Jingle Bell runs.  With this race, we got to run through the lights at Santa's Wonderland, which was a cool bonus about the race entry fee.  The race benefited the local food bank and we were asked to bring canned goods on race day as an additional donation. 

The race t-shirts were very cute, and we actually wore them for the race - traditionally, in runner's lore, you don't wear the race shirt until after you've done the race, but hey - rules are made for breaking, right?  Along with the shirts, we got jingle bells in our race packets (plus a really pretty race bib), so we were all set for a festive race:
Occasionally I can get Jeff to dress matchy-matchy...although I don't think he would have gone for the socks! 

The look on my face pretty much says it all:
"What was I THINKING, signing up to do a race after our long run in the morning?!!"

The 5K race started across the highway - they had to run down the access road, cross an overpass, and then run toward us, still on the access road, until they hit Santa's Wonderland, where the last mile (and our only mile) was all in the lights.  We didn't start our run until most of them had hit the was pretty exciting to see that the first runner was none other than our teenage prodigy Gus Roman Jr., who pretty much wins every race he enters.  We cheered everyone on, and then finally, it was our turn.  We got to run with pace group elves - we choose Buddy, of course!

Now honestly, we were both really sore and tired from running 12 miles that morning.  Plus I had "runner's gut" - my stomach just hurt after the long run, and except for a breakfast taco during the post-race party, I hadn't had anything to eat all day.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do much beyond a nice stroll through the lights - and that would have been perfectly fine.  But the race started, and we ran.  Not only was I surprised at that, but also, that we were running on rocky dirt and gravel...I'd never been to Santa's Wonderland, and had no idea that it wasn't paved.  So we were running through a dust cloud that was kicked up by other runners, and trying to stay balanced on the rocky terrain - but we were running.  The lighted displays were awesome - we ran through tunnels of lights, past the Alamo (lol, this IS Texas), some longhorns, oversized cowboy boots, and the Texas flag, along with more traditional Christmas displays.  It was bright and cheery, and really fun.  We ran and I didn't feel that bad, which surprised me.  Before I knew it, we were at the finish line - a mile goes pretty quick when it's only one of one, instead of one of a dozen!

We collected our candy canes and hung around the park for a few minutes where snow was falling:
Snow in south Texas in November?  Magic!

Jeff thought we'd run pretty fast, and the next morning when the race results were posted, I got the shock of my life - I ran that mile in 11:58!  After running 12 miles earlier in the day, I'm surprised I could even walk, much less run fast.  And on a rocky dirt road, no less!  

One last picture as we left the park:
The colors, they're so pretty!!!


So I've mentioned that we ran 12 miles earlier in the day...we originally planned on only running 8 miles, but this ended up being the benchmark run for our running club - the longest run for both groups.  The halfs were doing 12 miles and the fulls were doing 21 miles (I pitied them).  When the course map was emailed out earlier in the week, I looked at it and thought "that doesn't seem so bad" - what can I say, I had runner's amnesia after the never-ending 13.1 miles the week before.  Plus Coach Dale made this like a real race - we had to get there early to register and put on our bibs, and there were supported aid stations along the way (it's always so nice to see a friendly face when you are going through torture).  At the end, he even had medals and breakfast tacos for us.  So how could we NOT do the full 12 miles?

Well, we did the 12, but not without some massive rethinking on this whole running long distances thing.  Right around mile 5, I thought "I feel pretty good - why not stop now, before all the aches and pains start?" - and it took me a couple of miles to get back into the run.  Then, around mile 9, I was running so slow that I'm sure it looked like I was in slo-mo.  I needed to take a walking break, which is something Jeff has been opposed to doing, unless it's scheduled.  Well, after a come-to-Jesus meeting with him, I finally got the point across that taking a short walk break actually revives me and I run much better afterward.  And when I need a walk break, it might come at unscheduled times.  Crazy, I know...not predicting and therefore scheduling when I might get tired.  The last few miles of the run ended up being really good - yes, it was tough to finish, but we did it in much better moods than the previous week, and I'm actually willing to run the BCS Half, and even looking forward to it, with Jeff.  Miracles happen. 

(But after that race, I'm still going to reevaluate running long distances.  Five miles STILL sounds pretty appealing to me right about now!)

Post 12-mile run picture:
 12 and done - with smiles!
Close up of my newest medal!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Mishmash

What a long week.  Not the best for me, but in the grand scheme of things, nowhere near the worst, either.  I was able to return my beautiful pink Newtons for store credit even though it was a few days beyond the 60-day time-frame for returns (the Newton rep was there and authorized it since my doctor doesn't want me wearing them), and dare I say I'm kind of excited about running tomorrow?  Here's hoping I can let last Sunday go and just enjoy the act of running.


Last Saturday, we finished the race expo just in time to watch the Veteran's Day parade in downtown San Antonio.  It felt very small town-ish - no small feat considering the population of San Antonio is well over one million - people were hooting and hollering to each other from the floats to the crowds, along with, of course, a lot of "thank-yous" being said to the veterans.  Here's a few shots from the parade:
 Betsy Ross - kind of random for a Veteran's Day parade...
Loved the older firetruck with the huge stuffed dalmatian on top.  A girl scout troop dressed up in the theme of Rosie the Riverter from WWII (We Can Do It!) rode on it.
 No idea who this woman was, but what a sweet old car!
The Shriners were very entertaining - I don't know how you rate to get to drive the little cars in the parade, but I'm sure that's a highly-coveted job!

One last thing about San Antonio stunned us so much that I had to take a picture:
Under $3.00 a gallon???  We about fell over.  And now I'm going to sound like an old person when I tell you that back the mid-nineties, when we'd only been living in San Antonio for a few years, we regularly paid $.79 a gallon for gas.  We knew enough to appreciate that price, even back then!


Sit and Knit update:  I'm working on a couple more windmill bags - this is what I call "mindless knitting" because I don't have to think much as I go.  I really want to start on another sweater, but have these, plus a couple of other projects to finish up before I get going with that.
Kip has taken over my knitting spot...and doesn't look very pleased that I bothered him with my picture-taking!

I had my camera in hand after taking the knitting pictures, and Paco begged for a cookie, so I got a shot of him waiting for his treat:
Gimme cookie.  Gimme cookie.  GIMME COOKIE!!!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

I normally schedule my posts for 5:00 am, but held off on this one until I actually had something to update.  I had my first post-race run with Erica this morning.  I know, I normally don't run with her on Wednesdays, but she couldn't run on our normal day (tomorrow), and quite frankly, I like to run with her, so we switched things up.  While I was a little stiffer than usual, it was a good run.  Which, as you might imagine, was a relief.  Plus it was finally cold enough that we got to break out our matching Elmer Fudd hats:
Why yes, we are fashionistas!


So after a couple days of reflection, I still feel pretty low about the race.  I think I'm still in a bit of shock that it went so bad and that I gave up like I did.  As it stands now, I'm going to get back on the proverbial horse, so to speak, and run 8 miles this Saturday. And we have a 1 mile fun run Saturday night, through the lights at Santa's Wonderland, which should be, you  I may even break out my crazy knee socks for that one.

I have to say that the comments and emails I received after Monday's post were wonderful, and I still can't read them without tearing up.  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  It's been rough, but I'm sure I'll get over this soon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon Recap

Long story short, I sucked.  And no, it's not because of my ankle - that didn't bother me until mile 9.  But my head just wasn't in this race after a few miles, and I ended up walking most of it.  Ugh...not what I set out to do, but I just could not get into the run.  It was a pretty tense and miserable experience, as you might imagine.  I really don't know what to say - I seem to be having a rough time, mentally, when it comes to races...combination of anxiety and I don't know what else, but it was all me, and it's not something I'm happy about.  Honestly, if I don't get it together soon, I'm not going to bother with racing anymore - walking a half marathon (not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's what you set out to do in the first place) is not what I want to be doing.  I've trained, I've been running, I had a great 11 mile run a couple of weeks ago.  But I couldn't even get myself to do half of that today, running-wise, and it made for a really long, disappointing race.

This is obviously not what I hoped to come and write about, and I'm too tired to try and wrap my brain around whatever issues are causing me to fail myself like I did, so I'll leave it at that and move on to a quick recap of the race.


This was the fifth Rock and Roll race for San Antonio, and I have to say, it was done really well.  The expo was great - packet pickup was easy and not crowded at all when we got there (around 10:45 Saturday morning), they had lots of great vendors, the Brooks Cavalcade of Curiosities was fun (and we both won T-shirts), we got to see fourth place Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi, and enjoyed shopping around, all the while walking on a carpeted floor - nice touch, not making the runners kill their feet on concrete right before the race.

The race was huge - take a look at the map of the starting area (click to expand it):
See the start line?  We were in corral 26...all the way down the street, around the corner, and halfway down THAT street!  

They started each corral individually, with about 30 seconds in between each - we were slowly moved closer to the start line, and when they finally counted us down to start, it was great because we weren't all mashed together and I didn't feel like anyone was particularly in my way (nor I in theirs) - smoothest start I've had, or seen, in such a big race.

The course had tons of support, from water and Gatorade stations throughout, to people spraying water to cool the runners, salt packets, Vaseline for any chafing, GU was liberally handed out (yes, we took advantage since both flavors were Jeff's favorite), cold sponges close to the end, and of course, the bands along the route.  Oh, and the course was flat for most of the way, which irritated me even more that I wasn't enjoying running it! 

It was hot and sunny - 75 degrees when we crossed the start line at 8:05 am.  Plus the sun was beating down on us...although I'm used to running in heat and humidity, we normally get most of it done before the sun rises so we don't have to deal with a fireball in the sky making you even hotter.  Occasionally we'd get a nice cool breeze, which was wonderful.  I was dumping water down my back so the breeze felt even better.  I wore sunscreen on my face and neck, but still ended up slightly pink.  Being outdoors in South Texas in November - par for the course, really.

And now, some pictures - not a lot, as once things went south neither Jeff nor I were much in the mood to take any. 
Tower of the Americas silhouetted in the sunrise as we walked toward the starting area.
Thousands of our closest friends?  LOL - this is just a small amount of the runners there.
Julia, Coach Will and I, ready to Rock and Roll! 
Gotta love a shoe picture!
Jeff and I, in happier times...
Much later, Will, Jeff and I went to Red Robin, where a burger, fries and iced tea made us feel human again.
Here's my medal.  It's really nice - love the Texas flag guitar and all, but I don't feel like I deserve nor earned it.