Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Schedule Strategy

My goal for the year is 12 races.  It is late August and I have 2.  (And 3, THREE, DNSs, ugh!)  But I think this is still do-able, I really do.

My strategy is two-fold.  I'm looking for races that help me build up to my target distance of 13.1 miles by mid December.  And I'm looking for races on Sundays that I can run the day after a long run to get my legs used to running tired since I'm targeting 13.1 miles the day after my first 13.1 miles.

Races meeting qualification A include:
*Toughest 10K Kemah
Toughest 10K Galveston
*Houston Half Relay  (Also meets qualification B)
Rocky Raccoon 10K Trail
*10 for Texas
Dallas Turkey Trot 8 miler

Races meeting qualification B include:
Tunnel to Towers 5K
Running of the Bulls 5K
Mistletoe Fun Run 5K

I've even added in one more than I need to meet my 12 goal, just in case I have to DNS another time.  * indicates the ones I've already signed up for, so obviously this isn't written in stone - I'm open to other options as long as they make scheduling sense.  The two longer ones that I'm most uncertain about are Toughest 10K Galveston and Rocky Raccoon 10K, because if I did both I'd be racing 3 weekends in a row (along with the Houston Half Relay).  The shorter one that I'm not as sure of is Tunnel to Towers, but honestly I'm not married to any of the 5Ks.  They'll be plentiful enough as the weather cools down to take my pick, although Sunday ones are a little more rare. 

But just as it is I think this is a good, do-able schedule that meets all of my goals.

(Now if I can just stay HEALTHY!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Daddy decided to teach her about cicadas.
Daddy love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

And it was a big one!

Friday Z's daycare had Teacher In-service, so she stayed home with me.  I wanted to do something fun, so we headed down to the Aquarium with Gaga.  (Full disclosure: our aquarium in Houston sucks.  It is fully a Money Making Venture with poor labeling, not enough fish, extra charges everywhere, rides, etc.  But it is the only one we have, and I really thought the Z would like it.)  It was *brilliant* because she LOVED it!  Annnnnd took a 3 hour nap when we got home!  After eating TWO sandwiches (her own PBJ and then my grilled cheese that she totally bogarted)!  We need to go the aquarium every time Daddy leaves her home alone with me if those are going to be the results!  Firsts for the Z included: trip the aquarium, carousel ride (LOVED), ferris wheel ride, and little train ride.

On the train with Gaga.
Saturday morning I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn for a 6 miler.  I had planned on 5 in the form of 2 by myself plus 3 with the Red Halfers, but the Red Full group was doing 6, so I threw in with them and hoped for the best.  The result was the slowest 10K I've EVER run (just over 70 minutes), but it was hot and h.u.m.i.d as all hell, and again I was running by myself, and I got it done and am therefore pretty freaking pleased with myself.   At least I was after I cooled down!

After that I had a planned AD house cleaning day.  I had hoped to completely get the interior clean of junk, but I overestimated the amount of stuff that was left and everyone's stamina.  But we did get through everything but P's old room and bathroom and the garage.  So I think, now with a clearer head, that 2 more days should do it: one on the interior and one for the garage.  And at least we can start getting contractors on in the interior before we finish the garage if we want.  Z and Gaga came with, and I also paid a friend from work to help out.  Z was really good, can't say enough about it.  She played and didn't throw any fits and ate a TON of shrimp fried rice at lunch.  She did refuse to go down for a nap, though, which was ultimately the beginning of the end of the day, but it was still a very productive day!

Walrus drinking.
Sunday was just about getting our feet back on the ground after that.  I tried a brisket in the crock pot, a new recipe to me, so I'll post if it comes out ok!  We also tried a new Rachael Ray recipe that was really yummy for our Sunday lunch with Gaga and Papi.  I don't know where we got the bravery to try an untried recipe with company, but there you go.  And OMG, my hamstrings were so sore from the day before!

Also on Sunday: the Case of The Worst Dog Owners EVAR.  AKA: our next door neighbors.  So they've got this little chichuahua and she gets out ALL. THE. TIME.  At least once a week when we pull into the driveway, she's out and we take her home.  But never before have they not been there when we rang the doorbell.  So Annabelle came to visit.  And I remembered why I don't have a dog.  She hadn't even been in my house an hour when she pooped on the floor.  THen we put her in their backyard and she escaped AGAIN and came running in with M when she came to visit. Then she peed on my floor, again, hadn't even been in my house for an hour.  So back to their backyard she went.  Hopefully they came home and she didn't escape again, because she really is a sweet dog despite her owners!
NapoleonHoudini.  Annabelle.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Proud Mama

Only this time it isn't about my baby!

I have this co-worker.  It is silly for me to feel all Proud Mama about her running, because I can't claim responsibility for getting her started or motivating her or anything.  It is funny because I've had various other co-workers dabble in running.  And I've had 2 that are serious seriously hardcore runners.  But I've never had a co-worker who had this magical combination of the excitement for what she's doing plus actually being friendly with me.  And I *LOVE* it!!

She is bringing out this nostalgia in me for my early running days when a 5K was still far and so exciting.  But she's also a librarian, like me, who is doing her research, so I'm getting this huge thrill about directing her to some of my favorite running/costume blogs (hell, I even told her about *this* blog, and we all know I never share with co-workers unless they are both über cool and leaving the company).  AND she's also inspiring me because she wants to run in costume.  And that is an awesomer, braver thing than I have ever done, and something that I've always wanted to do.  She's also proving to have my particular strain of racing disease, because she keeps finding 5Ks to sign up for.  I love that there is someone else around who can't just have one on the schedule!

I'm proud of her because she's doing everything right:
How much more could you ask from a new runner?  And she's excited about it!  And I'm so excited with and for her.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Salt & Pepper shaker stacking = super fun!
Watermelon = super yummy!
Daddy = super cool!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Done and Done

Saturday morning I got my 4 in!  My Woodlands Fit half group was only scheduled for 2 (they sure start *short* in the half groups, and stay short for a long time!), so I left early and did 2 along the Waterway first.  It was really lovely.  The sun was just coming up and the water was still and reflective - really nice.  Then I got 2 more in with the group.  My mood soured a little while I was standing around waiting for us to start - I know I had this problem when I first started with the Yellow Full group in 2008, but I'm frustrated to be having it again - I don't *know* anyone, and the place is so cliquey that I feel like I can't meet anyone.  Blarg.  For a group is supposed to "welcome" new people every year, well... fail.  I'm getting a little panicky about it because I'm not happy running more than an hour without someone around to occasionally distract me, and so far that just isn't happening for me with these folks.  And I swear, I'm trying to put myself out there, but the way everyone's avoiding eye contact makes me feel like I've got a cotton t-shirt on or something!  The Red Full group is doing a cutback week for 6 next Saturday, so I'm thinking about defecting for a week.  Maybe.  (But wondering if that is a bad idea because I'm taking away yet another chance to be ignored meet people?  Dunno.)

Early morning runner along the Waterway.

I also threw down 3 miles this morning with no walking.  I am so gratified that I'm in a place physically where I can miss a week and get back to 3 with no walking with only a week's work!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I just looked at the calendar and realized that I am wanting to run a 10K in just over 4 weeks!

This is do-able.

But it might be rough.  I need to buckle down and increase my long runs on the weekend.  Adding just a mile each week with get me there in time. 

8/18: 4 miles
8/25: 5 miles
9/1: 6 miles
9/8: 5 miles
9/15: 10K race day

So this weekend I just need to go out and run 2 before the Red Half group runs its 2.  Then run 2 with them.  Bring it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Must Be Insane

I tried Insanity yesterday afternoon.  The Pure Agony Cardio one.  OMG, it was.... INSANE.

So here's the deal: apparently there are 5 titles, and it is put out by, the same people who do P90X.  As I said, I did Pure Agony Cardio.  Trying just one workout obviously doesn't make me an expert, but I'd like to discuss the differences between P90X and my first impression of Insanity.

So the workout went like this: hit the gas pedal, then accelerate, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster for 40 minutes until you're done.  Seriously.  The 10 minute warm-up was 30+ seconds each of running in place, Heismans, Heismans side to side, butt kicks, high knees, football thingys, then repeat 3 times, faster each time.  SERIOUSLY??  The warm-up!  For 10 minutes!  No instruction on form, etc.  By the end of this my calves were already ready to call it a day.

Then there was a quick stretching session during which sweat dripped off of me.

Then more insanity.  Crazy crap like 4 push-ups, jump up, then back down.  Not just once and not slowly enough to actually manage.  Jump lunges.  Again, faster than humanly possible except probably for Olympic-freaking-sprinters.  It just went on and on.  It was like the P90X Plyo workout on speed - nothing matters but speed.

So initial impressions of the comparison P90X vs. Insanity?  I prefer P90X.  I like to do things with proper form at a speed that is humanly possible and yet still provides a good cardio workout.  I believe P90X provides this much more effectively.  I always feel in control during P90X, but still that I'm pushing myself.  Insanity is so INSANE that I actually think it mentally works against you.  There were times when I looked around the room and everyone was just laying facedown on the floor.  What incentive do you have to keep trying when there is no possible way you can a) keep up or b) ever finish?  And if you know you can't finish, what pushes you to keep trying though the whole set?  I think it sets people (at least me) up to tap out early and therefore not get as much out of the workout as they possibly can.  P90X has a countdown timer on each of the moves, and most people can talk themselves into doing anything for a minute.

So, will I do Insanity again?  Probably.  It was a good workout.  Afterwards my muscles were twitching with exhaustion and I'm only 12 hours removed and already sore.  And it is convenient to do once or twice a week at work for a little variety in my routine.  But I won't be buying it.

I did drag myself out of bed for a little run this morning on the theory that I'll be so sore tomorrow I won't want to.  My knee tweaked once or twice but never prevented me from running, so that was good.  I did 3 loops of run 9/walk 2, and so should be ready to run steady on Saturday.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Post-Sick Working Out

I took all of last week off from running - I was just trying to get my feet back under me after that terrible sickness!

Thursday I managed to work a full 10 hour day at work, so I figured Friday it was time to get back at it, but gently so as not to undo all my healing progress.  I rode the trainer at an "easy" effort for about 30 minutes, and man, it is tough knowing that only a week before I had been throwing down an hour's hard effort easily and now 30 minutes easy was a stretch!  But I was glad to get it done and be back in the saddle again.

Saturday morning Preston had to work, so I decided to take Z to the park after breakfast.  I wasn't planning on running, just a nice brisk 1 mile each direction walk.  But as I was walking along I was struck by a strong desire to run - I felt great, bouncy, ready to go - and so I did some little run intervals, usually to the next stop sign from wherever I felt the running bug.  And I did the same on the way back.  I was really excited about this!  For me it is really something to be out on a walk and to just *want* to run.  I was really feeling the love.

Sunday we went to the pool, but I wasn't feeling it, and I've officially missed triathlon season, so I just played with the baby and didn't do any laps.  And I'm ok with that.

This morning I went back out for my first "structured" run since the sickness.  I walked a warm-up, then ran 4 minutes, walked, 5 minutes, walked, 6 minutes, walked, and then 7 minutes, walked.  I intended on doing a hard 3 minutes to close out an even 30 minutes of run/walking, but when I went to do that last interval, my left knee was PISSED.  I'm not sure what was going on.  It didn't hurt at the end of the 7 minutes, nor did it hurt during the walking.  It only hurt when I tried to pick up the pace again.  I walked some more and tried 3 more times, each time immediately quitting because it was so obviously tweaking.  I'm not too worried yet.  I'll take some Ibuprofen and go easy on it until I run again on Wednesday.  It is probably just me trying to come back from the sickness to soon or something.  *crosses fingers*

So now that my triathlon season is over (without ever completing a tri, sigh), I'm wanting to focus on running and fun workouts.  I think the spontaneous interval session was a great start, and I think I'm going to throw down some P90X in the morning "for fun".  I'll do an arm focused one so as to lay off the knee.  Bring it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

22 Month Update

Dear Z,

This is 2 days late, but you gave me another lovely bug, so forgive me. :-)

I don't actually have a ton to say (watch me write a novel now), but I just wanted to get a few things down.

We went up to Fredericksburg and then Austin for a conference for me.  You got to see Mawmaw and Papa again.  You really like you some Mawmaw.  You aren't quite as sure about Papa, probably because he's a big man with a big deep voice.  You'll flirt from afar, but won't let us put you in his lap for pictures. We were only in Austin for 24 hours, but you had fun at the hotel, especially with the escalators, which must have been put there just for you.  By the end of our million trips up and down, you were even able to step on and ride and then step off again, big girl!

First trip to Thunderclouds!
Austin hotel escalators.
Looking out at Austin.
So this month was your first throw-up bug.  It was terrible.  I never had any idea that that much food could possibly be in such a tiny person.  I felt so bad for you - you just cried and cried and then you'd turn it up to a wail and finally let it go.  10 times over about a 12 hour period, all night long.  And all over me, almost every time (effective transmission method, as it turns out).  And then the next day you slept, on me, almost all day long.  It almost took me back to the old, squishy, days when you used to nap on me, except that I was so worried about you and you were so hot (running a low fever) and of course you are giant now.  You are still not back up to your champion-eating potential, but you are perky again, so I think we're in the clear.  Please just remember some day when your kid is hurling all over you that it is apparently a rite of passage for moms, and whatever I've done to make you want to pinch my little head off between now and then, please remember that you puked on me and I love you anyways.  And that is saying something.  I didn't even think about the puke.  All I could think about was trying to comfort you.
Sleeping on Mommy.
Feeling a bit better post puke.

Another thing I want for posterity is this: you love raisins.  Definitely your favorite food.  Even when you were puking everything you ate, when you were refusing water, food, and everything life-sustaining and BRAT diet appropriate, you were still asking for raisins.  Emphatically.

Eating RAISINS in the hotel in Austin.
You also spent 10 days with Gaga while your Dad and I were on vacation.  You got sick the morning we were leaving, but we knew Gaga would take good care of you.  And she did.  You learned to say vacation.  And you learned that people fly on airplanes to vacation.  And when I came back you were SO. MUCH. SMARTER.  I cannot even begin to tell you how totally floored I was: I walked into daycare and you yelled out, "My Mommy is here!"  Just like that, clear, understandable, complete.

Sick the morning we left for Paris.
You also turned into a little repeater while we were gone, repeating the last word of everything we say to you.  Pretty cute, so far.

Oh, the other totally whack thing that you started while we were away is turning -er into -ay.  So now you want some watAY, you make your sandwich crust into an alligatAY, even ask for mor-AY (more), etc.  It is actually hilarious, but weird because we know you know how to properly pronounce these words.

You've developed a new bedtime routine.  We read you 3 books, then each hug and kiss you.  We put you in your crib, then we have to swaddle the dolly, kiss and hug her, then kiss and hug the bunny, then lay them both down next you you and cover all 3 of you with your blanket.  After that you never say anything to us, which is kinda creepy since we're all "night night" and "love you" and "sweet dreams" at you, but I suppose silence is better than screaming!  You usually play a bit after we leave and then go to sleep on your own.  It is really very awesome of you.

One last thing, little squish: I'm thinking about not throwing a party for your 2nd birthday.  Would that be terrible of me?  It is just... you won't remember it, and it would be so much easier if I didn't have to!  I was thinking maybe we could go to the zoo or the aquarium or somewhere that you'd love instead?  You know, a special day, just not a party?  We'll see.

You climbed up and started "writing your name" on your own!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Aftermath

I DNS'd on Sunday after the vomit finally stopped around 2:30am and I was able to hold liquid down at 4:30 in tiny little sips, separated by 30 minute breaks just to make sure my stomach didn't flip. 

I was so exhausted I could hardly move.  I slept almost all day Sunday, and yesterday scarcely got up from the couch.  I'm giving it the old college try today, upright and pretending to feel human, but truly I feel weak as a newborn and I've probably had about... 500 calories of solid food in the last 72 hours?  Plus maybe another few hundred of Gatorade.  Yeah.  Awesome.  I have my favorite Kashi oats sitting on my desk right now, 1 packet, 150 calories, and I've been trying to choke it down for freaking 30 minutes and just can't.

I was so disappointed about the tri that I was in tears.  I've identified another that I could do this Saturday, but at this point wonder if I can be ready by Saturday when I'm not even sure I can sit up for 10 hours today?  If not Saturday, a tri might not happen for me this year.  And that is not cool, y'all.  Not cool at all.

Dear Zoë, thank you for being such a sweet sharing girl.  Please quit sharing these evil stomach viruses.  Sincerely, lovingly, Mommy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


So Z was up all Thursday night puking her brains out.

I just "deposited" ALL of my cookies in the Silverado Ladies' room. Not exactly ideal pre-race fueling.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympics Viewing

I am an Olympics nut.

It all goes back to when I was a little girl.  The first Olympics I can actually remember was 1988 Calgary - specifically watching the figure skating.  I just thought Katerina Witt was so beautiful.  And I really loved watching the men, too.  That was the age of the "two Brians", and of course, the ever-present Russian, who at the time was Victor Petrenko.

I was a big fan of the splitting of Summer/Winter games, making the Olympics a biennial event - more Olympics for me, thank you very much!

I think my first real summer memory may have been the 1996 Women's Gymnastics team, you know, Kerri Strug's vault and the gold medal.  I've also always loved to swim, and therefore loved to watch swimming.  And of course, track and field.

Every 4, and later 2, years when the Olympics would approach, my Dad would check the VCR to make sure the recording feature was working, and we'd record all day long.  You had to record poorer quality back in the day to get a whole day on a tape, so that's what we did, and I didn't care because I'd keep watching those videos over and over until the next Olympics, when we'd record over them.  When we were cleaning out my parents' Farm for them to move, there was still a set from the last Olympics before I left home - must have been the 1998 Winter.

I cheer with the awesome.  I cry with the awesome and the sad.  I willingly get sucked in.  I remember where I was when Phelps out-touched Cavic (at an Astros game - we went into the store where they had it on TV during the game and stood around yelling with about 50 other people.  It was SO exciting!).  I love the movie Miracle.  And Cutting Edge.  And I love the real Olympics even more.

This Olympics, I wasn't sure exactly how it was going to work with Z around - I mean, I can't just vegetate in front of the TV for 3 weeks, getting up only to sleep and go to work.  But I've still been able to watch the prime time bits (recorded and watched without commercials the next night to speed things up, and also fast forwarding through things like entire volleyball/basketball/soccer games, because I simply don't have time), and I have it on in the background all day during the weekend.  Zoë knows what diving looks like, and cheers when they dive.  She also knows swimming, jumping (gymnastics), cycling, and running.  She liked the ball in volleyball.  She mostly plays while we watch, and I feel like kind of a crappy parent, but other than the Olympics, we never have the TV on while she is awake.  So I console myself that this is temporary.  And she's learning what the various sports look like and seems interested.  So it is educational.  Right?

I love the Olympics!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July Book Recap

Triggers by Robert Sawyer: fast-paced near-future fiction with a tiny sci-fi twist, but it reads more like a thriller.  Something has happened to a small group of people, each is reading someone else's thoughts.  One of the group happens to be the President of the United States.  Fun read.  Perhaps a little preachy at the end and light of the explanation of the "science", but a nice message all the same.

Trapeze by Simon Mawer: I just started/finished this book in Paris, and honestly, with each passing day I get more pissed about it.  I was appropriately absorbed in it, occasionally annoyed with the internal dialogue of the main character, annoyed with the sex scene which was so OBVIOUSLY written by a man, and SUPER PISSED about the ending.

The Rook by Stephen James: Full confession: I was supposed to read The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.  Still don't know what circuit didn't connect in my brain.  This is the book I read while I waited for the Tour to come by.  I actually started and finished the thing in 1 day, and really enjoyed it!  Enough to go get the other books in the series once I'm done with all this required reading.

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers: A vampire book.  But not your typical vampires.  What bugged me was that I felt like everyone in the book knew something I should know, but never did find out.  I was interested, it was a good read, but it was a slow start for me before I actually cared.  Reallllllly slow.  Meh.

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani: Loved this book.  Right up until the end of part 4, when I sat it down and didn't open it for 2 weeks because I would have been so happy if the book had just ended there, and the fact that it didn't meant that something bad was going to have to happen to keep it going.  Indeed it did, and I resented the author for making me cry in the breakroom at work.  But really, it was a good book.  Definitely would recommend it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Monthly Goal Review

Goals for the Year:
Lose 12 pounds in 2012.  Weight on 1/1 was 138.8.  Weight on 7/1 was 132.6.  Weight on 8/1 was 134.2.  Only 1.5 lbs gained in Paris - I'll take it!
Read at least 12 books (other than to my child) in 2012.  5 books read in July bringing the total to 29.
Race 12 times in 2012. 4th of July race, making it 2, finally some movement!
And I have one other secret 12 goal. 4 more to add, making it 14.

Goals for July:
Relax, enjoy my trip(s), and eat the yummy food when I want to.  But not lose tri fitness.  Well, all in all, I think I did pretty well with this.  I walked a ton in Paris and climbed bunches of stairs and when I got home I immediately returned to running, then got in a nice long brick last weekend.  This tri may be rough, but I can finish it.

Also in my perfect world:
Financial goals: liquidate SMH acct and reallocate to J.  Fail. Contribute to Z's college plan.  Fail. Contribute to P's IRA.  Fail. Keep pushing P to push lawyer to finish out remaining AD business (there is one undone thing that is a BIG DEAL for us).  Lawyer's brother was actually one of the victims of the Aurora shootings, so cutting slack there.
House goals: get AD's house clean(er), order new floors for my house OR get an estimate from a contractor or 3.  Wouldn't it be awesome if the work could get done while we were on vacation??  Fail.

Goals for August:
Continued progress towards 2012 goals.  Especially losing that Paris weight!
Shift to more of a run focus following the tri, pick up some "fun" cross training.  (There is a group doing Insanity at work.  Or maybe some P90X at home.  Some swimming until the pool closes.  Maybe riding on the trainer so I can read at the same time. ;-))
Financial goals: liquidate SMH account and reallocate to J. Contribute to Z's college plan.
House goals: clean AD house.  Progress towards floors in my house.