8:58 AM

Kind Words

"You are an elite athlete."

Those are words that I never thought I'd hear - not in a million years. But, they were told to me. And, they were told to me by a man with many years of education, who is entrusted to teach others to save lives and the one that I'm trusting with my heart.
I'll take those words and cherish them. If doc tells me that, then they must be true.
He went on to say that I didn't need to line up at the front or have the endorsements; I am elite because I'm committed, determined and I care enough to continue to do it.
Happy training to all my elite athlete friends.

2:39 PM

Not Running.

So, since I haven't been running (doctor's orders), what exactly have I been doing with my time? Well, besides working more, home renovations... pictures will be posted shortly.

11:24 AM

Houston Marathon Bib For Sale

It is official. No marathon for me.
I tell myself that I don't need both a half ironman and a marathon in the same year to make me happy.
It is frustrating. I have been running (although not blogging).
I wanted to do well and I was on track. Alas, it is not meant to be.

4:23 PM

Houston Half Marathon

I am officially obsessing over 2 minutes and 30 seconds (truthfully, maybe about 4 minutes). My plan was to run the race at marathon pace; however, after a difficult run on Wednesday, I was questioning my ability to run at the necessary 9:45 pace. To quickly explain, for some reason, on Wednesday I was struggled to run a 30:30 three miler. I was breathing hard and almost drenched with sweat - I was seriously working hard and thought that I was at least running 9 minute miles (if not better). When I hit the three mile mark, I was shocked to see 30:30 staring back at me.

Fast forward to Sunday, I didn't think that I could even maintain a 10:00/mile pace in the race. I decided to just give it a go and see what happened. I was hoping that I could at least finish in 2:10 or less and I think that the math was there but something was off. The trusty Garmin said that I ran 13.3 miles - which, if that is correct, explains my 2 minutes. But, I don't think that it was off this much. Throughout the race, I could never get the miles markers to match with the Garmin. Could not running some of the tangents have made me this off?

I also realized that I run much better whenever I'm running with someone - especially, if I think that they are relying on me to pace them. For the first two loops, I had a partner. I ended up leaving her a bit on the last loop and boy was it hard. I then tried to pick people off - but then, that got discouraging as a few people blew past me.

Mentally, I was in this race. I walked the water stops and not really anything else. It was interesting to see just how many people were walking that last loop and I was determined not to walk. I wanted to finish in under 2:10 - just didn't quite make it.

Now, after doing a bit of math and looking at the computer generated pace charts, I need to run the Turkey Trot 10k in 54:00 minutes to be on track for my marathon goal. Anyone up for some 8:30s at the Turkey Trot? I think I'll need a bit of help.

9:16 AM

Take that Pudge!

I've reclaimed my favorite black pants!
Score 1 for me.

10:06 PM

Tuesday Night Fun

At some point, I've gotten slow. I don't really know how it happened; however, I just don't move as fast as I did a few years ago. I'm sure that somehow that the 'real' job, the husband and the house all have something to do with it. That said, I somehow seem to try to run the old paces. Tonight was no exception with track work. Warning: I haven't done track workouts in a while -- thus, the workout wasn't that impressive - but I did it - that's the important thing. But, I was actually surprised at what I ran.
6:21/1200
5:17/1000
4:22/800
2:08/400
Prior to starting, I was told that I should probably be running 9:30s, based on my recent run times in my sprint tris. Apparently, if I can run 9:30s at the end of a sprint tri, I should be able to pull those off for a half (not too sure about that one).
Either way, I'll take those numbers. Now, I think that I'm committed to doing the Houston Half on Sunday. I'd like to see if I can pull off my goal marathon pace.

9:19 AM

Note to Self

Never start a 21 Day Challenge before going to the grocery store and when day 1 is the same day as a friend's housewarming...
I'm restarting the challenge and today is day 1 for me. I finally went to the store on Sunday and have what is necessary to cook dinner at night and bring my lunch to work - gotta stay out of the tunnels with their crap food.

On Saturday, I accidentally ran 8.5 miles. Really, it was an accident. I ran into Kelsey on the loop and ended up running with her. Kelsey is a former non-runner who decided to run the half this year with TNT. It was good to catch up with her a bit. Since it was a recovery week, I was able to run slower; however, I was really feeling the miles towards the end of the run. Maybe thats why I should've stuck with the original plan. Either way, it was fun!

3:16 PM

21 Day Challenge


We all know it takes 21 days to form a habit. I've been slacking a bit and need to get back on track. My goal: use the next 21 days to find my schedule and improve my eating habits. Starting tomorrow there will be no alcohol, sugar, caffiene or flour for the next 21 days. I will also be sure to get some form of exercise in each day - even if it is only taking the dogs for a walk.
I will keep you posted. If I'm not blogging, there is a problem...

2:27 PM

Longhorn 70.3 (Or How I Learned How to Train for a HIM)

I finished! That is all that matters. Looking back, I realize exactly how far I've come in only a few short months. In mid-April, I accidentally did my first 20 mile bike ride. Then on April 27, despite my fears of not being capable, I did my first 30 mile ride. Then, on June 22, I did my first triathlon. During that race, I flipped out on the 300m pool swim. Around that same time, I went out to Twin Lakes for the first time. I was terrified of the open water. Heather and Kim stayed near me the entire swim so that I would be comfortable. Looking back, I've done a lot in a very short time. Seriously, in less than four months I move from my first sprint tri to completing a HIM. I'm pretty darn pleased with myself.

The Swim
46:57
2:26/m

So, there's talk about the swim course being short. I'm not going to entertain this talk. This was an official/branded event. The big names couldn't have possibly allowed for a short course.
I didn't look at my watch at all during the swim. I just made a point of sighting well and staying near the bouys. My goal was to stay calm and swim as strong as possible. As I got passed by the waves behind me, I remained calm. I will note that I could quickly tell the sex of the wave by how they grabbed at my feet/legs. When women touched you, they quickly backed off; the men just kept coming - they did move over a bit. After rounding the final bouy, I took a pretty hard hit to the head from a man in a green swim cap. Surprisingly, he apologized.
Coming out of the water, I glanced at my watch for the first time. I know that I was grinning from ear to ear. It was great seeing Ingrid, Jeff, Larry, and James (my husband) right after the swim. Whenever I saw Ingrid, I just yelled for joy "46 minutes!" Later, James told me that all his race day fears for me ended whenever he saw me after the swim. He knew that I was most worried about that but, when he saw the smile (which was pretty freakin' huge), he knew that everything would be fine.

The Bike
4:01:53
13.9 mph

I was pretty much on target for the bike; however, this did not feel like the same course that we rode last weekend. On some of the small hills (and even the flats), I was in my spinning gears and thinking that it was pretty ridiculous. There was just this terrible headwind for most of the course. It was just a bit frustrating to deal with the wind and the hills. I followed my nutritional plan; however, at around mile 30, I realized that I would be a bit short on calories. I have problems taking in much of anything on the run and thought that I'd do better if I took in more on the bike. At that time, I decided to risk it and take the a gu from an aid station. Surprisingly, it did the trick. I was able to take in almost 2 gus without getting sick. This was what I needed to get me through the bike.
At around mile 40, Black Betty came into existence. I'd not yet named the bike and for some reason, I started calling her that. For the rest of the course, the song "Black Betty" kept going through my mind.

The Run
3:08:09
14:22/M

By far, this was my worst run ever. My goal was to just make it through. The first mile or so was fine, then everything just got worse. This section of the course was open - no shade - and I was hot and getting sunburned. (should've used more sunblock). By the time I made it back into the park, I was already in a walking mode and had rationalized the walk. So, I mostly walked it in. During the last loop, James walked with me for a few minutes. He just encouraged me to keep going (not that quitting was ever an option) and reminded me of how close I was to the finish. Along the way, it was great seeing everyone that was their cheering and those that had already finished.
The last tenth of a mile made the entire day worth it. Seeing my friends, seeing my husband and hearing my name (which was pronounced correctly). This was the most amazing feeling. As James saw me finish, he ran to the other side of the finish line and just hugged me (careful to miss the sunburned areas). I've never cried at the end of a race before. I did on Sunday. It was wonderful to see how happy, proud and excited James was. He was just as happy as I was.

Final time: 8:04:34

Learning

Many lessons were learned during the run and I then understood everything that Lisa had told me during training. Any (and all) deficiencies in training will show up in the run. This was exactly what happened to me. I trained for three separate events - not one long race. I didn't do enough bricks and my legs just weren't used to running after that much biking. To a certain extent, I let my tiredness take hold of me. I wasn't as focused as I could have been during the run; but, it was always about having fun. At many points during the day, I just smiled because that was where I wanted to be.
I'm now looking forward to Lonestar in April. I now know how to train and know what I need to do. And, I'm setting a goal. As we get closer, I may share it; however, for now, it will be my motivation.

1:16 PM

Its Working.

RICE is working; life will be good.

2:55 PM

Sprained Ankles Suck

So, why is it that only DAYS before Longhorn I roll my ankle while diligently doing my 30x30s this morning? Sure, I probably should have went to the park where the lighting was better - but, I wanted to take advantage of the rolling hills in the neighborhood. Seriously, where else in Houston can you get hills right outside your front door? ARGH!

All this after a great final training weekend. I rode a portion of the course with Heather and Penny. I felt great and the hills weren't that bad; it was a huge confidence booster. Now, I'm hobbling around the office in flip flops and grabbing a ice pack.

6:22 PM

Fear

Fear is an odd thing. When life begins, you are a small child without knowledge of danger. You are able to run headlong into life without fear because of this blissful ignorance. As we grow older, we become more hesitant to take risks because we have learned of the danger. Is fear really natural as we are not born with it?

Over the years, I have faced my biggest fear. Oddly enough, I did not discover my fear on my own. It was mother who most accurately detailed it many years ago. Looking back, I realize that she was right (as mothers most often are). It amazes me that, even at such a young age, I behaved in a similar fashion.

Life changes when you experience your biggest fear. It is in these moments that you have the option of giving into despair or forcing yourself to grow stronger. I do not know if I was benefited by not experiencing my fear more often when I was younger. Sure, I faced it; however, I did not expect to experience it.

My biggest fear - failure. It is a dirty word; one that can shake me to my core. As I've advanced in life and competition has become more fierce, I've experienced failure. It is never pleasant. Never rewarding. Never comforting. And certainly never satisfying. Yet, it is always motivating.

As Longhorn approaches, I become fearful. I question my schedule, training, and (sometimes) the lack thereof. I cannot make excuses for the mistakes that I've made in training. I can only learn from them for the next race.

My goal is merely to finish the race. I now question this goal. Is finishing a worthy ambition? If I set my standards higher, would I have found a way to meet them? Is there any benefit in present when a real decision must be made?

Has my fear of failure overtaken me? Am I too afraid to raise the bar and see what may come? I now yearn for the blissful ignorance of childhood.

8:53 AM

Race Report: Iron Babe

I decided to race on Saturday afternoon and was one of the last people to register. Seriously, registration ended at 5:00; I registered at about 4:50. The whole point of registering was to get in a smaller open water swim before doing Clear Lake next weekend.

As usual, I was nervous before the swim. The water had a bit of a chop to it (or at least I thought that it did). By far, open water swims are much better than the pool. Apparently, the participants in this race were pretty rough and there were a lot of elbows and people swimming over each other. As I heard people complaining about it afterwards, I remarked to myself that it wasn't actually that bad. I was glad that I didn't have to worry about the person behind me and felt like I could swim my own (slow) race. Towards the end, I finally just put my head down and did ten stroke intervals. The ten strokes turned into thirty and I was quickly out of the lake.

I do not mind the bike portion of the race at all. I had the bike adjusted on Friday before the race. At the beginning of the bike portion, I felt the seat move on the bike. Fortunately, it just moved along the bracket and there were no real problems. I now just need to figure out why my seat will not stay in the most forward position. During the race, I just tried to keep pace with those in my age group. I thought that the strategy worked pretty well.

The run was fabulous for me. Lately, I've been struggling on the runs; however, for some reason, I can't pull off a 10:00 mile for the marathon pace portion of a run but can easily run faster than that for the last leg of the tri. I haven't yet completely figured out how the garmin works in the multisport function. As such, I have no clue what my actual pace is during the run. It only gives me total time (including bike and transition) and total distance (including the bike). But, maybe that is why it is easier to do well - I'm not worrying about hitting a specific pace and just run.

Time: 1:17.32
Swim: 8:57.9 (no doubt where my weakness is)
T1: 1:36.6
Bike: 36:28.0 - 18.1 mph
T2: 2:05.6
Run: 28.24.1 - 9:28/mile

Age Group: 17/60
Overall: 128/362

3:34 PM

Tired

So, is anyone else out there just inexplicably tired? I don't know what is going on with my right now. I cannot get out of bed in the mornings and don't feel like doing much. This morning, I barely made it 3 miles (unfortunately 5 was on the schedule for today). My legs feel like lead and my ankles are killing me... Maybe I need new shoes? But how can that explain my inability to get my butt out of bed in the mornings?

8:41 AM

Vacation

This weekend the hubby and I were in Dallas to celebrate his birthday. What a much needed break. Every year he celebrates his bday with an old friend, Steve, and this year the party was in Dallas.

Steve and Eve (his wife) recently purchased a gorgeous new house complete with a pool. The entire weekend was spent hanging out by the pool. I worked on perfecting (well learning) a back dive and even attempted the front flip - I've almost got the flip. Of course, everyone thought that I was crazy because of my exuberance in getting things right. I think that I was diving for at least an hour straight.

Perhaps the best part of the weekend was spending time with Steve, Eve, and their four year-old Kyra. I love this little one so much and always enjoy spending time with her. It is amazing to see how much she has grown in the past three years and how much she changes each time I see her. Yet, no matter how much she grows, she is always so excited to see me - apparently, I'm her best friend (but I'm sure she tells all the ladies that...)

I will update with pictures - couldn't get the card reader to work last night.

9:47 PM

New Record Distance

FIFTY miles today! Yes, this was my longest ride ever! And yes, I'm pleased... I'm very glad that Kim was with the group today or else I'd have been left alone in the back of the pack. But, that's okay - I'm new to this.

Total Distance: 50.19 miles
Avg Speed. 14.8 mph
(we did stop twice though) It is slow, but thats okay. We still have several weeks to improve before Longhorn.

11:37 AM

Fun in the Pool.

I finally gained the courage to try the YMCA Masters class again - I'm hooked. The coach is great and was willing to work with me. Gave me numerous pointers throughout the night and really broke my stroke down. I was told that I have a lot of room for improvement and that each week he will make a necessary adjustment. Also, at the end of the practice, we did an exercise that breaks down each element of the freestyle stroke - very helpful!

10:08 AM

Randomness...

Okay, its been a while... a long while. I never did the race report. I'll make it short - everything but the swim went well. Somehow I averaged 19.1 mph on the bike and 9:33 miles on the run. I'm happy with the bike and I'll accept the run. I haven't been pushing myself enough on the runs and I'm working on it - honest. With regard to the swim, it just sucked. Yes, that is the technical word. For some reason, I flipped out at about 20m into it. I think that it was a combination of nerves, breathing, and only swimming a handful of times in a 50m pool.

Since the tri, work has been crazy. In this day of settlement, we actually went to trial... Needless to say, I had several busy weeks. Now, I'm really back with it and have learned a few lessons -

1) My swim sucks... I gotta spend a lot of time in the pool. I'm giving the Downtown Y Masters class another try this week and will try UH Masters next week.

2) My core is weak... Haven't done core in ages and did it yesterday - boy was it embarrassing.

3) Hills are tough... Yes, I know that this is not really a revelation; however, this past weekend was my first round of hills on the bike. I was hurting Saturday afternoon.

4) ATP is practice... Houston Fit ATP is not a running group. We have practices that require mandatory attendance unless a prior excuse has been cleared with the coach. Well, at least this is what I'm telling myself.

5) The scale can be a dirty liar... So, I've been a bit frustrated that I haven't actually dropped that much weight. Then, yesterday at the office, someone commented that I was looking good and that she could tell that I'd lost some weight. Yes, I have a new favorite assistant.

11:43 AM

Race Report... Coming Soon...

Reading everyone's race reports from CDA is inspiring me to write mine from my FIRST tri! I'll update soon...

3:22 PM

I'm Alive.

I just realized that its been a while since I've posted. And, I'll confess, its been about 2 weeks since I've been for a swim (still biking and running). I've just been busy with work and this week was out with vertigo. Seriously, had a prescription for vertigo (not fun) and have been too nervous to get into the pool. That terrible streak will end tonight at Twin Lakes.

Hmm... here's to two weeks of schedule success...

8:31 AM

Choices

I just read June's blog this morning and her comments on the topic of weight loss. Like everything, its about choices and deciding what is important. I've been making an effort to make better choices and actually eating more often. Hopefully I will have good news to report at the end of the week.

8:55 PM

Confessional...

The Slim Down Challenge is here and I now have 12 or so ladies holding me accountable. Sending out your weight to the group is a bit frightening. That said, you'd think that I'd be able to get through a day without screwing up the plan. However, I get home tonight and the hubby is eating cheetos. What do I do, grab a few, then grab a few more - before I know it, I've grabbed something else and am eating it. For dinner, we'd ordered chinese - not too bad considering that I get the steamed chicken and broccoli - no sauce. But, all good intentions to not eat rice went out the window the moment the doorbell rang. Aargh! I need to be more disciplined. I cannot send out an email Friday morning saying that I've lost no weight this week. I feel like I have the self-discipline to do whatever it is that I want in life; however, when it comes to food, I become powerless. I know that I'm an emotional eater. I eat when I'm lonely, bored, sad and now, I eat to spend time with the hubby.

While talking with my sisters-in-law yesterday afternoon, we discussed body image and weight gain. I then realized exactly how far I've come since middle school and that I'm beginning to slip into some of those old habits again. I actually weigh LESS now than I did in the seventh grade. My twelve year old sister-in-law is afraid of gaining weight in middle school (as her older sisters did) and doesn't want to be the fat kid. I explained that I began seventh grade weighing 180 pounds. Needless to say, they were shocked.

After realizing that I've gained over 20 pounds since beginning law school, I realize that I really need to do something about it. During the 25k last year, I finally acknowledged how much harder it was to run with the extra weight; however, I failed to do anything about it. I need to figure out why it is that I turn to food. I must accept that the M&Ms will not make me feel better.

8:35 PM

7:07 Pace

It'll be our little secret that it was only during one of the 30x30s...

3:53 PM

Argh!

After reading Kathleen's blog about the Summer Shape-Up Challenge, I asked to join. Yet, about 15 minutes later, I went to the tunnel and came back with M&Ms. Why I do the things that I do...

Regardless, I will take the Shape Up Challenge. Besides, eating right will help with my new routine. If I'm working this hard, I should do myself the favor and allow myself to get race ready.

10:41 AM

Go Mal!

Last night I learned the secret to a successful 25 minute progressive run: Start slowly. I finished four loops of the course and each was about 20 seconds faster than the previous. Go me!

Oh, in case you are wondering, "mal" is slow in Gaelic. I'm not sure if the spelling is correct.

1:13 PM

Swimming Lessons


This will be me tonight. I just signed up for lessons with Hector at the Y. We briefly discussed my goals and what I want to achieve during lessons. I mentioned that he saw me swim last night and noted that we have a lot of work for the half iron man. Wonderful - but, better to do this now than a month or more from now.

10:48 AM

Schedule Success

Yesterday I finally felt like I'm training for a triathlon. Kenyan Way began with a bang in the morning. It has been so long since I've ran hills; I was dying at work during the day. The heels were off after being in the office for less than an hour.
That night, I finally started swimming. I have unsuccessfully tried to sign up for swimming lessons at the Downtown Y and finally realized that I just need to get in the pool. Success! I also found out exactly who I need to speak to regarding lessons. The plan is to take a couple lessons during the next two weeks then start masters swimming. I am a bit intimidated about joining; however, I had the chance to meet a few people in the group and think that I can handle it. At the very least, I know that I'll be able to find a slow lane and it will get me accustomed to sharing a lane with folks.

9:38 PM

Garmin Rocks

My mom gave me the Garmin 305 for my birthday. I whipped it out today for the first time on my run. I ended up having a lot of fun with it. I have it connected to the computer and downloaded my run information. I'm impressed with the charts and the maps. I cannot wait to run tomorrow morning to see what a run around my neighborhood will look like...

Also of note today - I signed up for the Longhorn half ironman. I still cannot believe that i did it!

9:37 PM

Weekend Recap

So, it was the birthday weekend and I slacked a bit... no running. But - the Zephyr ride on Sunday was incredibly fun. I'm still jazzed that I biked 30 miles without a problem.

7:53 AM

Recap and Reevaluation

This week I've learned that I cannot simply jump back to the activity level that I was once at. Further, if I haven't been on a bike for more than an hour, a two hour bike ride is gonna hurt. On Monday, I was simply too tired to do anything and a bit unmotivated because the swimming lessons at the Y were cancelled (and some random teenagers were shooting bb guns at my car during the night - another story)...

Tuesday, I made it to the park but barely made one loop around. Last night, I ran a half mile then walked back to the car (while hanging my head in shame.

I don't know if this is simply a combination of increased exercise, work and life in general, but I'm exhausted. I wake up each morning at the last possible minute and have to run to get out of the house. At least the weekend is almost here (although, I'll be at the office on Saturday) and its my birthday.

Now, I've realized that I need to set a more realistic schedule for myself - take it down a notch until I'm back at that level again.

5:57 PM

Accountability

This is about accountability and motivation. I'm posting my goals and progression to them for the world to see (or whomever stumbles across this page). If you see this and I haven't posted an update, please inquire about my progress. Remind me that I'm signed up for my first tri and am working to regain my fitness level and strengthen my mental fortitude in the process. Thank you.

5:51 PM

Bike Tan Rocks

Here's my first weekend recap:

Saturday - I ran about 5 miles or so. I'm still getting back into shape and am doing 9/1s for my 'long' runs. I did 5 sets before starting to officially walk and I'm pretty sure that I did hit the 5 mile mark as I stopped.

Sunday - Today was the longest that I've been on a bike EVER. A long ride was partially planned but then, I got lost. I braved the I-10 road work and headed to Terry Hershey Park. I did not know that Terry Hershey connects to George Bush - somehow, I found myself at Fry Rd. At that point, I noticed that I'd been riding for over an hour and turned around. Coming back, the headwind was brutal for this newbie biker. I'm quite pleased with my 2:20 bike ride. And, I have the strip on the back to prove it ;-).

9:32 PM

A (Small) Milestone

I'm still adjusting to my non-running self; however, I will still celebrate my accomplishments even if they seem a bit crazy (for being accomplishments). I made it around the park tonight without walking. Its odd, my usual definition of fitness is being capable of running 10 miles on a whim.
Total time: 28:48
Mile 1: 9:08 (i think it was a little short)
Mile 2: 9:54
Mile 3: 9:44

7:37 AM

I ran

One loop around the park last night for me. I'll admit - I did walk almost the last mile but that was because I started out too fast. Funny how your body knows what your 'normal' pace is. My first mile was 8:30 - I have no business running that fast right now.
Tonight is off to the gym and I will turn in my registration for swimming lessons.

5:27 PM

Put Down the Cookie.


The above was on the table in our breakroom. Why our vendors do this is more than I know. We work too many hours and sit on our butts all day. The last thing I need is a cookie.

But - I've done it:
1) Registered for the Memorial Hermann Women's Tri on June 22.
2) Filled out the form for swimming lessons at the downtown Y. Starting Monday, I'll be on the right track.

For the record, I failed at number 3 - I ate a cookie.

7:54 AM

Slug.



This is me. I am a slug.

I cannot get out of bed in the morning. At night, I want to go home. Please motivate me. Or, is it really motivation that I need - maybe a swift kick in the ass.

10:18 PM

Decide

A friend once told me that decisions are really about cutting things out of our lives. Meaning, if you decide to do something, then that means that you remove anything from your life that gets in the way of that goal. This got me thinking - and put to use my college Latin class - decide comes from decedo which can mean 'to cut' or 'to move away from.'

I've decided that I need to focus on my athletic goals and, for once, actually take the steps necessary to achieve them. I need to not be lazy and to focus on the prize - both the physical and emotional one that comes from being disciplined and successful. Here's to accomplishment!