Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goal Review

This is always fun for me.  Here were my goals for 2015, and how I did.

1. Leave my old job as well as I can.  DONE.
2. Enjoy my month off.  Totally done.
3. Get lots done during month off also!  Yup!
4. Rock out the new job.  I'm gonna go with yes on this one too.
5. Complete the BP MS150 in April.  In its shortened state, but yup!
6. Do a triathlon!  Yes, two, actually, and a relay!
7. Train for and complete the 8 mile Turkey Trot. (Eg. Running, not walking.)  Sorta on this one.  I thought I would be in Dallas for Thanksgiving last year in January, but we ended up in Austin, downgrading the 8 mile to a 5 mile.  I did complete it, but I definitely didn't train like I should, nor did I run the entire thing.  So meh.
8. Start a garden.  Yes!  Built two boxes.  Apparently we are very talented at peppers and terrible at tomatoes.  We did eat some broccoli that we harvested just the other day and it was FABULOUS.  Goal for next year is two more boxes and more variety of plants.  Oh and not to suck at tomatoes because I lurve me some tomatoes.  Would also really like some carrots and onions...
9. Start a family game night on Thursdays.  Did I successfully start a thing?  No.  We did play a few times and we did enjoy it.  The problem might actually be Thursday... maybe I could try for a different day....
10. Focus on conscientious spending.  Well, this one travels on a sine wave and we ended the year on a spending spree as always.  You'll see this one pop up again in next year's goals.
11. Lose 20 pounds.  Total fail.  I really struggled with the job transition more than I thought I would.  This one will also make an appearance next year.
12. Cook more, better at home.  We did actually improve at this.  I've gotten better at planning meals and estimating the correct amount of stuff to buy to not have tons of waste.  I would like to continue this moving into next year.
13. Go climbing.  Yup, twice!  Even had Z's birthday party at the climbing place!
14. Take Zoë camping for the first time!  YES!  And success!  Would definitely like to plan more trips, perhaps locally at the various state parks in the area.
15. Make stained glass things.  Nope, fail.  But I brought this up with Preston again the other day and we both got excited, so this might make a reappearance next year as well.

That's 10 success stories, 3 partials, and only 2 fails.  I'm gonna a call a WIN for 2015!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holy canoli!

I fell off the wagon a little bit last weekend, but going strong during the week.

Monday: Pilates X.  This one... I have really mixed feelings about this one.  On the one hand, I can't do everything that they want me to do, so it should be a good workout, right?  But on the other hand, I just don't feel like I get that great of a workout from it.  I was barely sweating at the end and the only thing that hurt the next day was (you guessed it!) my ass.  HOWEVER, as I was doing the next day's workout, I did feel like I was more aware of my breath as it should be connected to my lifting, so maybe there is something to it after all???

Tuesday: The Challenge.  O. M. G.  OUCH!  This was not what I was expecting.  I was expecting an aerobic workout, not a lifting one.  Not sure why, just was.  The principle of this workout is simple.  Pick a number to aim for for push-ups and a number to aim for for pull-ups, and try to hit that number over and over as you shift through various torturous grips.  I can't even do one pull up, and I don't have a pull-up set-up for my bands yet, so I just try to mimic the motion as best as I can with hand weights, even though I am aware that that is officially pushing and not pulling.  So for me it was an all push morning.  OUCH.  I picked the number 12 for both.  12 of everything!  And dudes, I did do 12 of all of the things.  Except the burnout.  By the burnout I could no longer lift my arms, so I did 75 crunches and then planked til the time was up.  Last night I had a dream that my neck was breaking and this morning I woke up and the muscle between my shoulder blades hates me.

Wednesday: Yoga X.  I think I will like this one once I learn it and don't really have to look at the screen as much.  It is challenging enough for there to be stuff for me to work on and for me to break a sweat, but I left feeling nice and stretched.

Oh, also: weight this morning was 150.6, down a pound from my starting weight at the beginning of the month.  Now that doesn't sound impressive, but I have been so far off the wagon that the wagon is a dot to me in terms of my eating leading into the holidays.  So it is actually pretty freaking awesome.  If I can end December in a wash leading into January, when I plan to hit the diet hard, then that would be a win for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Off the Plan

I'm off the plan, but I'm still trying hard.

I ran in a 5K on Saturday morning!  I didn't know it was happening until Friday evening when I got a text that the park was going to be closed, but it was so close to home that I couldn't resist.  Between the walking back and forth to the park and the running, I reckon I got in about 5.5 miles.  It was HOT, about 75 degrees that morning.  This weather has been CRAZY!

Sunday I skipped.  There was baking and family time and it was lovely.

Yesterday I did P90X3: Eccentric Lower.  It was... different.  I didn't hate it, like I was afraid I would.  I may even like it... jury is still out. :-P

This morning I wanted a good aerobic workout, so I did P90X3: MMX.  One of my favorites.  Some day (but not today!) I'll be able to do ALL the sprawls.

I still have 4 videos left that I haven't done!!  I think tomorrow I'll do Eccentric Upper.  Then either Yoga or Pilates.  Then the Challenge.  Then the other of Yoga or Pilates.  So by Saturday (or Sunday if I get distracted) I should be through them all for the FIRST TIME.  Wow!

Friday, December 11, 2015

'Tis the Season

I missed P90X3 yesterday. I was so tired when my alarm went off at 4 that I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. I "reasoned" with myself that I could do it after work, knowing that that rarely works, but hoping that my commitment to this month would somehow override my desire to do nothing after work.

I think it may have worked, but I forgot to factor in Christmas. While at work I received a reminder that the cookie exchange I had agreed to take part in will be this Saturday, and suddenly my plans changed and instead of exercise, I spent hours baking. Hours!  Then there was dinner, cleaning the Kid, and bed. I suppose I could have stayed up late to get that workout in, but then this morning if have been hit with the same can't-open-eyes problem. Better to fix the problem at its root.

I struggled with guilt over missing the day, but only a bit. I'd really prefer to see it as a smart mental move to do what I needed to do, keeping my overall commitments, stress levels, and physical health in mind. Because honestly I am proud of how much I got done yesterday afternoon!

This morning, as I hoped, I woke with less trouble and knocked out Triometrics. My right - I don't know what it is - maybe IT band? - is quite pissy. It seemed displeased by all the one legged squats. Will try to steer the next few days away from angering it again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

P90X3: Incinerated

All the things seem to have stopped hurting, but I'm back to being very very tired.

Did Incinerator this morning.  It wasn't what I was expecting.  From the title I was expecting aerobic, but it was a very arm heavy weight workout.  It was a good one, though P90X: Shoulders & Arms will always have my heart.  (And I can do that one in only 40 minutes, so it is almost like an X3, amIright??)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

P90X3: Days 7 and 8

Day 7: The Warrior.

Woke up with a renewed sense of sore in my ass.  And this one was an ass-kicker.  By the end of the day was also quite tight in my shoulders.

Day 8: Dynamix.

Ah yes, I remember liking this one, probably because I don't look like I've taken a swim afterwards.  Sore this morning we have ass, shoulders, and abs.  Nice.

It seems like I'm settling into a pattern of 2 hard days followed by 1 easy day.  I'm not going to lock that in or anything, I just find it interesting.  I also haven't repeated anything yet, although by the end of this week I think I'll have to.  I must say that Eccentric Upper and Eccentric Lower both make me nervous, though for different reasons.  I always dread the Upper because it is my weak spot, but also because I don't have an easily accessible chin-up bar or a firm anchor for bands.  For Lower I always just need to be careful that I don't break my knee.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

P90X3: The First Weekend

Well, I blew it on Saturday. My excuse is that Friday night was Preston's birthday and I engaged in a rare round of drinking to excess at the fancy restaurant where we had 8 courses with wine pairings. Am I proud of that? No. But I would do it again because I also loved the food and the drinks and the experience. Either way I paid for it on Saturday big time. I think even with that I might have convinced myself to do P90 but it is also a big grading weekend for my side job and I was cross-eyed in front of the computer for most of the day. No excuses are good excuses - I wish I had sucked it up and at least done yoga or something.

(Me with my grading "assistant".)

The challenge now is to not let one day missed derail me from the point of this thing, so I just completed today's, which was CVX. Phew, that one is a heart pounder! Onward!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Mission P90X3 Month: Day the Fourth

I am SO TIRED.  Soooooo very tired.  Like long-blinking useless tired.

But I got my butt, which is becoming marginally less sore, up this morning and did Isometrix.  Which did make me sweat but not as much as the others.  I did lol at the idea that the yoga mat was optional.  It was sooooo not optional.  And I struggled with some of the poses but I suppose that is the point.  Was easier today to put my laptop (on which I watch the P90 vids) on the floor because this one is up then down the whole time.

All in all, a WIN just for waking up today.

Today is the P's birthday and I have reservations at a fancy restaurant which will keep me up later than I like.  (Read: past 8.)  But perhaps I can nap ahead of time and I can definitely sleep late, if Grimmy lets me.  So I just need to get through today.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot: Race Report

I did run the Turkey Trot this year, despite being woefully under-prepared for it.

Actually I ran the Kid K AND the Turkey Trot, so extra pie for me!

We headed up around 7:30, were able to easily pick up the packets, and then tool around for a while.

Kids K had better corralling than last year. Zoe did really well!!  She ran the whole thing with only one short walk break.  It was... muggy.  Which meant I was hot.

The good news was that shortly after that finish it started gently raining and cooled me down nicely.  The bad news was that the whole adult race was in and out of the rain and my glasses drove me NUTS.  Really really need to remember to wear contacts on rainy days.

It was as it always is - Austin is hilly.  Really hilly.  I never ever remember how evil those hills are.  I very very quickly decided to walk up and run the rest, and it worked well for me.  By mile 3 though, I was hurting.  And for some reason in there I had decided that it was a 10k so I suffered some mental anguish for a while before I realized it was only 5 miles and then I was all excited because I was "almost" done.

Final time: 1:05:18.9 at a pace of 13:04 per mile.

I got cold quickly after finishing, so stopped by Starbucks on the way back to the hotel for a nice warm chai.  As always the best way to start off Thanksgiving!  (Oh, also need to remember to take Ibuprofen after Turkey Trot.  I always forget and my legs always HATE me later because I follow the race with hours sitting in a car.)

P.S. P90X3 Day 3: Agility X.  My ass still hurts, and now my shoulder blades hurt.  Seriously.  The getting up this morning was very very difficult.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

P90X3: Day 2

Total Synergistics.

I was very sleepy very early last night, I can feel a bunch of "muscles" I didn't know I had, and my ass hurts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

P90X3 Month

I have decided to embark on a month of daily P90X3 torture workouts.

I am doing this because, frankly, I have been sucking at getting out of bed since the weather changed.  And because if I don't work out through December, I'll gain 10 pounds and feel terrible.  And because P90X3 does not require me to walk out into the cold cold air.  And because it is ONLY 30 minutes per day.  So I SHOULD be able to guilt myself into it.  EVEN ON CHRISTMAS.

I am placing no additional requirements on this.  No set schedule.  I can do any one that I want on any day that I want.  I just must do one per day, daily.

Today was day 1.  I sat up immediately at my alarm and forced myself up.  I did Accelerate.  It hurt.

I weighed 151.6.  Sigh.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

RUN ONE Race Report

I was SUPER excited when I heard there was a one mile race coming to Houston!

I mean, I wanted to work on speed, perfect.  It is hot as blazes out side and I can't run far without walking, so one mile = perfect.  It had great swag (tech SINGLET, medal, beer) = PERFECT!  I was totally in from the beginning and I even convinced Preston and Grasshopper to run it with me.

I didn't count on it being the Sunday after we got home Thursday from vacation so I hadn't run in 2 weeks, but you can't win them all.

We left our house at 5:45 to swing by Grasshopper's at 6:15.  Parking was easy and we were resting on a park bench by 6:35 for a 7:15 start.  There was a (lack of) toilet paper issue in the portacans, but otherwise the waiting was pleasant.

We lined up at the start and checked the weather.  72 degrees with 85% humidity.  Hot but tolerable.  And off we went.

Preston and I were running next to each other in the beginning and I told him that my goal for the race was to get to just under vomit-level and then hold it, and that is EXACTLY what I did.  He dropped me around a quarter mile in, but I kept sight of him for the whole race.

I loved the quarter mile markers, by the way.  Very helpful for pacing.

First quarter I think I went hard.  Second quarter I was trying to hold it.  Third quarter I started really struggling and at one point thought, ok, slow down a bit or you're going to have to walk or vomit, so I did.  Fourth quarter I knew I was home and I pushed as hard as I could, but I had basically no kick, which for me is good because I left it ALL out on the course. 

Once I was done I grabbed my medal and started walking it off.  I truly did feel like vomiting for at least 15 more minutes.  I headed back a little ways so that I could yell for Grasshopper when she came in.

Final time: 9:14.4.  I will admit - I was really really hoping for sub-9.  BUT I am pleased that I went hard and left it all out there.  You can't really be disappointed when you give it all you have.  This is a good benchmark for where I am as the weather starts turning and I start focusing on speed.  My splits were, shockingly, 4:35.6 and 4:38.7.  I really thought that the second half would have been much slower than my first, so again I'm super pleased with that.  It is fairly even pacing and it shows that I didn't slow as much as I thought I did when I started to struggle.  Also I was 37th overall (of the non-elite wave) out of 104, so that was cool!

I was pretty miffed at Preston's "natural talent" read: long legs.  He ran an 8:33 on absolutely zero training, the punk.

And Grasshopper was thrilled by a sub-13 time and no walking, so everyone came away pleased!

Nice banana, cup of breakfast mash from My Fit Foods, water, and we were off home by 8.  Another excellent benefit of such a short race!  This one's definitely going to go on my annual list!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tri Aggieland Relay Race Report

My sister-in-law is an Aggie and she pointed out this race to me.  The timing coincided with when my husband got a new bike and the idea for a relay was born.  SIL and I went back and forth for months about who would swim and who would run, she finally decided to take the swim about a month ago.  She also got one of her friends to let us spend the night at their home in College Station, saving us a long morning drive or hotel money, yay!

We paid extra for race day packet pick-up and arrived right at 6 when that was supposed to open.  There was already quite a line and it was moving at a snail's pace to the extent that we were becoming worried that we'd miss the mandatory 6:45 relay team meeting.  We almost did because they changed the announced location at the last minute (to somewhere way louder, no idea why) and no volunteers seemed to know where we should be.  The whole thing only took a few minutes though and essentially was to tell us to stay out of the way and who would wear what body markings.

The swim took place in A&M's natatorium, which is NIIIIIICE.  It was pretty neat because we were able to go into the spectator seats to watch the invitational racers swim.  Then SIL headed down for the swim.  They did a snake course through 8 lanes for 400 m, starting one swimmer every 10 seconds.

I will say this: they asked for your anticipated swim time when you signed up, but honestly, this is a very beginner friendly tri, and I don't think it is reasonable to ask that question of most beginners who probably have no clue.  And that was very apparent with the differing speeds in the water.  The good news is that passing seemed to go well.

My SIL struggled with the swim.  It was her first tri experience and talking to her afterwards, she had a classic tri panic attack.  She is a good swimmer, and has been a lifeguard for YEARS.  I am proud of her because she demonstrated excellent judgment by choosing to switch first to breaststroke to keep her head out of the water and finally to swimming on her back to stay safe.  She was upset at how slow she went and that it happened at all, but she demonstrated and modeled excellent judgment!  I told her never to feel bad about that - I honestly panic a little at every triathlon I do during the swim start - there is something that is just very different about it than regular swimming.  Next time (and I hope there IS a next time) she'll know to expect it and be able to handle it better.

It took her about 15 minutes but she made it through and then she was out to transition to hand off the chip to Preston!

I didn't get to see him start because I stayed to see her finish and then texted the family to look out for her.  Then I headed by the lovely indoor restroom and then outside, where I hung out with everyone while waiting for Preston to bike.  I kept track of him on Find My iPhone, so when I guesstimated he had about 10 minutes left, I headed into transition.

I felt kind of goofy standing around transition while everyone came and went around me, but it was what it was.  I finally saw him and he came slogging towards me and when he was close I knelt down and transferred the chip from his ankle to mine and I was off!

I must say it was nice to start the run on a tri NOT feeling the bike bricks in my legs!  But it was HOT hot.  It was pretty evident even from the beginning that it was going to be a survival style run.  It was a two loop course.  I really liked that because on the second loop I had a really good feel for good landmarks to run to/walk to because that was how I was doing it - run to that tree, walk to that corner, etc.  They had a bridge you had to run under and there were kids down there who would shoot you with water cannons to cool you down - LOVED IT!  With all the heat and the walking, I ended up being quite pleased with the 32:52 run that I turned in.

Finally came into the finish and collected my medal AND my water bottle AND my finisher's shirt.  GREAT SWAG!!  Nice finish party too with beer and snow cones.  We ended up being the 7th relay team out of 8, but hey, we had a great time!

All in all, great race other than the heat and the swim start!  Would totally do it again!  And good first (tri) relay experience.  I'll do that again too!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Life is like a box of chocolates

That I haven't been able to eat for the last week.

Last Monday at lunch, I had some tooth pain.  But it resolved, so I figured I just had something stuck in there.  But it came back on Tuesday and didn't resolve.  So I headed to the dentist, who thought I had a cracked tooth.  Sent me to see the endodontist.

So for the past week, I've been on antibiotics and pain meds and liquid food and generally miserable.  No running.  No biking.  No swimming.  Just trying to get through the day.  "Strange how we can suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing." (LOTR, Tolkein)

Needless to say the Dad's Day 5K didn't happen.

The antibiotics seemed to be helping, especially as the endodontist appointment approached, to the extent that I looked at Preston the night before and said, you know, if I felt this way without feeling the way that I have for the last week, I wouldn't even go to the dentist for this.  But I went anyways because it HAD happened.

The Endo basically said he couldn't tell if it was a root canal thing or a gum infection and recommended watching and waiting.  I respect him SO MUCH for not trying to sell me an expensive procedure that he isn't sure I need.  So we shall watch and wait and eat on the opposite side.

That was on Tuesday of this week.

So yesterday I went out for a short run.  First exercise since the Monday of the initial pain.  It felt good to be back out there!  This morning I did a bike ride, again short.  Tomorrow I will run again.   This is life, right?  Stuff knocks you down, you do what you need to do to get through, then you get up and move on.  I was in a good place before this tooth.  I was sad about it for a few days.  But I only lost just over a week.  I will come back strong.  I am stronger for enduring.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I was doodling in a meeting the other day trying to figure out what workouts I'd have in my perfect week.  I came up with 2 each of: swim, bike, run, lift/core, yoga, and fun stuff.  Unfortunately that is 12 workouts per week, and not bloody likely.

But after that, I did manage a pretty heavy week.  It looked like this:
Monday morning: Run
Tuesday morning: Bike
Tuesday afternoon: Swim, then Racquetball
Wednesday afternoon: Yoga, Core
Thursday morning: Run
Friday afternoon: Swim
Saturday afternoon: P90X Arms & Shoulders
That's not half bad!!  That's what... 2 runs, 1 bike, 2 swims, 1 lift, 1 core, 1 yoga, 1 fun.  I'll take hitting all the categories!  And honestly, if I had gotten in another bike, I'd be over-the-moon THRILLED with this.

This week may be a little wonky since there is the potential for another flooding event in my area AND my morning childcare solution is out of town, so my work schedule is also all wonky.  As such, I got my run in on Monday morning.  Hopefully the week will look like this:
Monday morning: Run
Tuesday morning: Bike
Wednesday morning: Lift/Core
Wednesday afternoon: Racquetball
Thursday morning: Bike
Thursday afternoon: Swim
Friday morning: Yoga
Saturday morning: Run Dad's Day 5K
Crossing my fingers!  I'm prepared to sub in workout videos and/or the bike trainer for rainy mornings, if necessary, but would rather not if I don't have to.

Come rain, or sleet, or HEAT, onward!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What New Devilry Is This?

It is possible, just possible, that I might maybe be running in the Ragnar Hill Country Trail Relay in October.  I say possible because I do not yet have a confirmation and I have not yet given anyone any money.

How did this crazy thing occur, you ask?

Weeeeellll.... I saw one of my old HS friends post on Facebook that she was in training for this.  So I clicked on the link and was all insta-jealous.  I've posted on here before about how I'd love to do the TIR, and I still really really want to!  For her to have a team and be DOING a similar relay, wow!  So I posted something to that effect on Facebook and her response was "So join our team."  I waited over night.  I thought on it.  And the next morning, "Can I?" 

She got me in touch with the team captain and I think I'm in, although like I said, not holding my breath yet.

This would be an unexpected addition to my schedule, but soooooo very exciting!  Crossing my fingers!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

15 in 2015 Progress Report

15 goals for 2015:
1. Leave my old job as well as I can.  Check!
2. Enjoy my month off.  Check!
3. Get lots done during month off also!  Check!
4. Rock out the new job.  Working it!
5. Complete the BP MS150 in April.  DONE, y'all.
6. Do a triathlon!  ALSO DONE!! 
7. Train for and complete the 8 mile Turkey Trot. (Eg. Running, not walking.)  I have been pretty good about not dropping my running this month.  I have completed the last tri on my calendar (for now), so I'm going to be even better in June.
8. Start a garden.  Check!
9. Start a family game night on Thursdays.  Have done a few, need to make a habit.
10. Focus on conscientious spending. I'm really doing a pretty good job here.  Still working on family.
11. Lose 20 pounds.  Half a pound is better than no pounds.  Weight is 148.2.  Things are going back in the right direction.  Slowly.  I started calorie counting after my birthday and that certainly helped.  I'm thinking of doing a no eating out June, but I'm not sure I'm ready to commit.  I do love my eating out so much!
12. Cook more, better at home.  Still working this.
13. Go climbing.  Not yet. 
14. Take Zoë camping for the first time!  Check!
15. Make stained glass things.  Have most of the tools, still need to get set up.
This is really coming along!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Target Acquired for "Getting Faster"

This just popped up on my running radar this week on National Run Day.  Someone posted in the HARRA Facebook a discount code for the Run One in Houston.

I'm so in!

My goodness I wish we had had this a few years back when I was fast!  I bet that I could have gone sub-8 in a one mile race back in 2008 when I set my 5K PR.  Arg, that would have been so awesome!!

Well it isn't 2008, but I've been aching to add back in a little speed.  I'm forgoing the long stuff for the foreseeable future.  I could see myself getting back up to 10K for the winter, and the 8 mile Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving, but that is ALL.  I will not succumb to the temptation to go longer.  I will NOT!!!   The last time I was going for speed, getting to about 6 miles was helpful, so that'll be the goal this time too.

So this morning I went out and did a one mile "time trial", just to see where I am.  9:50.  But I negative split it!  I have 3 months to improve.  I definitely want to go sub-9.  I think I can do it if I really focus on this and don't get hurt.  And I think it'll be good for me.

Let the training begin!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PSA: What Not To Say

The other thing that happened this past weekend that I want to talk about was actually the day before the Tejas Triathlon.

We were at a party.  I was leaning against a wall with my shoulder blades, with my hips kind of leaning out, chatting with my husband and his friend.  A guy sort of comes in and gets in on the conversation and SOMEHOW, I found this happening.

Guy:  You look like you're about to pop.  When are you due?
Me:  I'm not.

Me: I just have bad posture.


You know here is the thing.  I do have bad posture.  And I was wearing a tight shirt.  And I was leaning with my hips sort of out, probably making me look all Jar-Jar.  But duuuude.  You just don't say that to a woman.  You really shouldn't ask, ever, unless a woman brings it up first.  Ever. 

Also, ALSO, I've been killing myself mentally about it ever since for not being harder on this guy.  Someone needs to teach him not to do that.  That it isn't ok to wander around callously remarking on someone's appearance.  And that he may think he's asking a fun question, but if he is wrong, he's telling someone they are fat.  You could just as easily say, "Do you guys have any kids?" and if the woman is pregnant she'll likely rub that belly and tell you when she's due IF she is pregnant.  Otherwise, dude, maybe she IS just fat, and WHOA didn't you dodge a bullet there!

I feel like I spend too much of my life taking shit and disguising it as ME being nice.  Like I was talking with an old mentor of mine back in April and she was telling this story about how her boss started using her English skills as ammo against her (she immigrated a number of years ago and occasionally has singular/plural issues and s/he pronoun issues, but she is incredibly smart and well-spoken enough to where you just look past it, at least I always did) and I said, "She can't do that, that is discrimination."  And she looked at me and said, "No, it is racism."  Why didn't I use that word?  Why am I afraid to call a spade a spade?

There was another story recently from a colleague who got approached by a man on a street when we were in Austin and she lectured him on not walking up to women and getting in their personal space.  I totally would have taken it.  I know I would have.  I would have tried to look small and not make eye contact and just tried to book it out of there as quickly as I could.  What am I missing in me that I let these things happen and I don't do anything about them.

I know this one isn't as big of a deal as either of the two I just mentioned.  But in my head it is the same lack of standing up for myself or others, and it bothers me.  This time I think it is because I was at a friend's party, I didn't want to make waves with the friend of a friend, etc.  But that shouldn't be ok either.

Back to my here is the thing.  I know I'm not what I used to be.  I know I need to lose maybe 20 pounds.  I know I'm squidgy around the middle.  I know these things and I don't like them about myself.  But I've gotten to a place in my life where I'm starting to accept them.  Not giving up on improving myself, but just seeing myself as I am and realizing that that is ok too.  And that I had a baby and I may never be able to go back to seeing my abs.  But I have a beautiful kid and this body now also represents that.  I want to be healthy.  I want to do triathlons and seek athleticism and self-improvement.  But I also want to eat cake at birthday parties.  And go out to dinner with my former colleagues, and lunch with my new colleagues.  And go to dinner once a week at my parents' home without having to being something calorie-countable/controlled.  My body is a component of my happiness in that I need to feel good to be happy.  I don't need to be 120 pounds and fully ripped to be happy.  And MOST days, I'm ok with that.  And then shit like this happens and it messes with me big time.  BIG TIME.  Saturday night I needed to eat a full, well-balanced meal.  Instead I felt guilty about the one hot dog and one cupcake I ate after the incident, and then practically bonked following the race the next day, partially due to the terrible lack of edible food at the post-race, but also partially I'm sure due to under-fueling the night before, which then completely jacked my eating for the rest of that day.

Long story short: I am a real woman who faces real struggles around eating and weight management.  Not because I eat super badly, not that I eat wonderfully either, but I think more because my body doesn't metabolize as quickly as I would wish.  A weight MAINTENANCE calorie count for me seems to be about 1400 calories per day.  I challenge anyone to do that on a regular basis.  It is really tough.   So I gain and I lose as I live my life, and I think that just is what it is.  What bothers me the most is that society pressures me to be thin.  Hell, I probably did more before that dude got out of bed on Sunday than he will do all week.  I am strong.  I am capable.  I am powerful.  I have serious endurance and mental fortitude.  I am constantly engaging in personal reflection and continuous improvement.  And it pisses me off that someone I've never met can think it is ok to come up to me and comment on my appearance like it is any of his business, AND that when it does happen, it messes with my self-esteem so very much.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tejas Triathlon Race Report

Yesterday I did my second triathlon in May.

This is a funny one because I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I looked at my splits this morning!

Let's talk it out.

Left the house at 4:50, transition was closing at 6:45 but the race was about an hour away.  Did a brilliant thing and stopped at a gas station about 5 miles from the race so I could take care of some business without a line and with a real toilet and more calm, given my wardrobe issues at the CB&I.  I should always do this.

Got to the parking lot, and the race packet said it was a .5 mile walk but it must have been at least a mile because it took forEVER to get there.

Got to transition, walked in and almost immediately realized I had forgotten my running shoes in the car.  Sent P back for them but it was going to be a near thing for him to get back before transition closed.

While I waited I set up my transition area, which was complicated because the chick next to me had like 10 people gathered around her talking, so I couldn't get through to my spot, then she had her bike racked in the wrong direction, but I wasn't 100% sure whether it was her or the chick on the other side - just knew someone was wrong, so had to find a ref, blah blah.  Anyways, got my spot all set up other than shoes, then headed for the bathroom (again).  Luckily there was a real one, and I was willing to stand in the line.  Did my business and managed to re-suit myself, then went to grab the camp chairs and pick a nice spot for P.  He made it back with LITERALLY 3 minutes to spare, and I got my shoes onto my towel and got out of transition.

I haven't yet mentioned the mud.  It was soooooo wet and muddy.  Houston has had flooding rains over the past week, and this tri was in a hard hit area.  I was actually checking the website on the morning of to confirm it was still happening, the rains were so severe in that area.

So once again my wave was second to last, so after transition closed, I ate a granola bar, applied sunscreen, got my swim cap on, and generally hung out a bit.  Watched several waves start and begin to finish, then headed over to line up. 

The water temperature was nice.  I was excited about the swim course because it was a long out, then a right turn.  Bouys would be on the right, which is to my advantage.  I lined up right beside the bouys, but about 4 ladies back (which was essentially the back row other than the ladies who decided to stand on the shore til the gun went off).  It was a freaking madhouse this time.  Lots of bodies all in the way.  Lots of contact.  I felt like it took forEVER for me to get some clear water.  I felt pretty good though, like I was holding my own.  I began passing ladies in the previous wave, and when I got near the turn it didn't look like I was too far behind the leaders of my wave.  That was weird because that was also when I got passed by the fasties of the following wave.  But I didn't freak out on that because that was the wave that included relay teams, and the people passing me were men.  I realize now that some of this was misleading because my wave included my age group, plus the 35-39 age group, and apparently they were the ones that I was pacing, now that I look at the very disappointing results.  I have GOT to figure out what is going so wrong on the swims that I am so much slower in open water than in the pool.

Swim: 16:45 for 2:48/100y

Transition, omg transition.  I was actually surprised when I saw this number because I was veeeerry disappointed with this transition.  Ran to area, was happy about all the bikes still there, stood on towel.  Put on run belt, arm sweatband gets stuck going on because of all the wetness, lost seconds here.  Put on sunglasses.  Put on helmet, sunglasses fogged.  Take off sunglasses, wipe with towel, put back on.  Try to dry feet/clean some of the insane amount of grass/mud off them.  Put on socks, put on shoes (I switched to Yankz, good move!).  Sunglasses have filled with water dripping off face, take off, say out loud, "Slowest transition EVER!", clean with towel, put back on again, grab bike, head out.  On the way realize that sunglasses are over helmet straps, take off again, put on correctly.

T1: 1:38  (Seriously, shockingly fast given all that!)

Head to bike mount line, 5 women spread all over road in front, have to wait a bit, but get some clear and get mounted.  Had mud all up in shoes so took a while to get feet positioned comfortably on the pedal grips.

Got going and was really pleased, maintaining a nice 17-18mph speed.  It was an out and back course and when we hit the first few hills I was excited about coming back because I'd get to go down them.  When I hit the turnaround, duuuuuude.  So disappointing.  I realized that I had had BOTH a tailwind AND a downhill false flat for most of the way out.  Speed dropped to a struggling 14mph.  Blarg.  Eventually I hit one of the turns and was able to pick it back up again.  And I must say I LOVE the 12 mile bikes.  Somehow that seems soooo much shorter than a 15!  By the time I was back in transition I was feeling very good about the bike despite my low point on course.

Bike: 43:13 for 16.7mph

Transition was no big deal.  Helmet off, grabbed a quick swig of water.  Struggled to place bike on rack because of how the other ladies had racked theirs, but managed it with a little finagling.

T2: 1:06

Ran out, was pleased to find almost immediate Gatorade.  There were a lot of people around, so even though my normal strategy is to walk to calm my heart rate and breathing before running, I kind of felt like I needed to run.  So I ran past Preston and people, and stopped to walk where it was calmer.  I had grabbed my phone, so started RunKeeper, stowed it in race belt, and adjusted hair.  Then began running with a 4:1 goal, that ended up being closer to a 3.5:1.5, which I was really pretty pleased with.  I'm aware that I need to work on some speed.  I also think maybe getting the old garmin out would help because I feel like some of my issues are mental out on the run.  It just feels like it kind of goes on forever!  With a garmin on I can use the numbers to encourage myself.

Run: 35:59 for 12:00min/mi.

Total: 1:38.42

Post race: I was very very very disappointed with the post race food.  They had run out of pizza completely.  They had raisen and plain bagels.  There were cookies which were quite good.  I also got watermelon (nice),  grapes (sour), and literally the most disgusting banana that I have ever eaten in my entire life.  It was like the starch hadn't turned to sugar.  I actually had to spit it out, it was so sick and wrong.

Then there was the looooong walk back to the car, followed by the quest for food (Taco C and Starbucks, yum!).

Ok, so the long view.  I had better T1, Bike, and T2.  My run was about the same, meh.  My swim, blarg, so disappointing.  All in all, I was really happy with my time, which is funny.  Based on the differences in distances from the CB&I, I was hoping for a sub-1:40, which I totally accomplished!  I just didn't get the time back where I expected it, which has me shaking my head.

Take-aways:  Still need speed.  SPEEEEEED!  Garmin for the run, RunKeeper isn't good enough because I can't see it easily.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scheduling Conundrum

New work maintains a "summer schedule" in which the building opens at 7am.  I prefer to start at 6.  If I show up at 6 and sit around and wait, I can usually get in and get started earlier, but exactly WHEN is never clear.

My other option is coming on in and going to the gym at 6 and coming over to work at 7.  I experimented with that last week and the beginning of this week, but that isn't perfect either.

Pros for Gym first:
  • Get to sleep 40 minutes later.
  • Get to run on dirt or bike on track or swim in morning = WAY NICER.

Cons for Gym first:
  • I seem to have a harder time cooling down and end up at work massively hot, and when I finally cool down I end up shivering.
  • I don't have a locker yet at the gym so there is a lot of schlepping.  On Wednesday I forgot to bring PANTS.  Which led to an hour drive home for pants, followed by an hour drive back, followed by a ruining of my entire day because how can you overcome that?  PANTS, y'all.
  • The pool is way more crowded in the morning.  I know I could swim on Wednesday, but the other days are iffy.
  • Weather.  Pretty much everything I do is outside.  Bad weather, which has been a lot lately, is an issue.
  • If I don't get off til 3:30 at the earliest, traffic on the way home has already reached the sucky point.
  • Can't carpool.

Pros for Work first:
  • Get to use my own fabulous shower.
  • Get off at 2:30 when traffic is good.
  • Get to carpool more, saving money.
  • There is always P90X for rainy mornings.

Cons for Work first:
  • Running on concrete, biking on trainer or around neighborhood.
  • Harder to get out of bed.
  • Struggling to figure out carpool/afternoon swim balance.
  • I HATE not knowing exactly when I'm getting into the building.  HATE IT.

This is actually really fascinating because this really makes it look like I should do work first.  I didn't expect that, and still honestly feel conflicted about it.  I am going to see how it goes for the next few weeks because I have some stuff coming up, then will go from there.

Either way if I can't get a locker I suppose I need to plant a full set of clothing both in my car and in my desk for the just-in-case.  Sigh.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Best Running Pic EVAR!

Channeling my inner Crissie Wellington.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I've had, I think, kind of a combo-slump.  The post-triathlon, post-birthday, post-mother's day, post all the traveling... there was just a lot going on, and I think I over-compensated when it was all over by just holing up in my bed.

I recognized what was going on, though, which is at least half the battle.  And then I implemented a staged comeback plan.  So, last Monday, I started counting calories again.  My eating had gotten pretty rough there.  The general aim is to net 1400 per day, and I've hit it MOST days.  I can pick one day a week not to track.  I was actually up to 152.8 after all the festivities, and I'm holding steady at 150 for the past few days, so heading in the right direction there.  The second and sort of corresponding goal is more/regular exercise.  I did a few times last week but I also gave myself a few passes.  This week we are 4 days in and I'm 4 days exercised.  This is the goal.  (That also realllllly helps with the diet because I can eat more if I work out.  Chocolate is so worth working out for.)

The week after the CB&I I was trying to do some speedwork and I did, but I ended up with some tweaking in my right knee.  So coming back in I'm going again for slow and steady.

And have I mentioned that humid summer has arrived?  I'm not going to break any land-speed records anyways.  Summer is something to be survived that makes you stronger.

Oh!  I found some new running shorts at Old Navy the other day.  I bought them kind of on a whim.  They are like my capris only shorter, but quite long - ending just above my knee.  I. LOVE. THEM.  They totally prevent chub rub like the capris.  I should have done this years ago.  I got online after testing them twice and ordered five more pair.  Because love is love and it may be a loooooong time before I find more to love.  They are a little crazy in their print, which makes me feel happy.

Oh and speaking of happy, my pics from the CB&I include the BEST. RUNNING.  PIC.  EVAR!!!  I need to buy it and post it because I LURVE it.  I'm 1.  Airborne.  Always essential for a good running pic.  2.  Smiling.  I KNOW!  And 3.  I had put my hair in a ponytail after the swim/bike braid and that both cleaned up my perpetual fly-aways, AND also allowed something which has NEVER happened before and that is ponytail swing in a pic.  Oh yeah.  Lurve.

Ok, that's all for today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birthday Progress Report

15 goals for 2015:
1. Leave my old job as well as I can.  Check!
2. Enjoy my month off.  Check!
3. Get lots done during month off also!  Check!
4. Rock out the new job.  Working it!
5. Complete the BP MS150 in April.  DONE, y'all.
6. Do a triathlon!  ALSO DONE!!  (Although this wasn't in April, so perhaps I should wait til next month's report?)
7. Train for and complete the 8 mile Turkey Trot. (Eg. Running, not walking.)  Time to start running with a vengeance again.
8. Start a garden.  Check!
9. Start a family game night on Thursdays.  Have done a few, need to make a habit.
10. Focus on consciencous spending. I'm really doing a pretty good job here.  Need to work on family now.
11. Lose 20 pounds.  Half a pound is better than no pounds.  Weight is 149.2.  Ahem.  Last month didn't go well.
12. Cook more, better at home.  Trying.  Really going to make a concerted effort with the food in May.
13. Go climbing.  Not yet. 
14. Take Zoë camping for the first time!  Check!
15. Make stained glass things.  Have most of the tools, still need to get set up.
This is really coming along!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

CB&I Triathlon Race Report

I trained for a triathlon after I had the kid, but I got super sick the night before and never ran it.  Then I got distracted by other things - the crazy half marathon (series of) incident(s), the MS150, etc.  This triathlon, ironically, kind of happened on a whim, and because of the MS150.  You see, there is this lady at ex-work who is a great biker.  One day I was chatting with her and I was expressing my worry over completing the MS150 and she was telling me she figured I'd be fine because I'm a triathlete.  (This is a misconception, as we all know.  One kind of athletic fitness does not necessarily translate into another.  PLUS I hadn't done a tri in something like 5 years!)  And then she told me she had signed up for an Ironman.  I used to want to do an Ironman.  I started this blog all those years ago because of all those triathlon, and specifically Ironman training blogs.  I've never done one, obviously, and I'm at the point where I no longer think I will.  But I am so grateful to the community for getting me started on triathlons because I love them!  So I got super excited and asked her a few questions: have you run a marathon?  No.  Can you swim?  No.  WOW.  Ok, well then, might I suggest a little sprint triathlon that I love called the CB&I so you can get your feet wet?  She said she'd do it if I did it.  So I did.

Fast forward to a week ago.  One of the reasons I've always loved the CB&I is they do an open water swim the week before which in hugely valuable to not freaking out on race day.  This year it got cancelled due to weather, so that was a total bummer.

Fast forward to Friday night.  ANOTHER reason I love the CB&I is they let you do a bike drop off the night before, which I love because it makes race morning that much easier.  So Friday night I picked up my packet, got body marked (the nice marker offered to put my number on Z's arm, and what a great idea!  She felt included, she was supporting me, but it also would have been a great tool if she had gotten lost), and played with the ducks a bit.  I had a STELLAR spot in transition, by the way.  Really great!  Then I went to the Astros game (9 game winning streak, y'all, and the tickets were free!!  I couldn't turn it down even though it was the night before my first tri in 5 years and I should have been sleeping.).

Saturday morning we woke up at 5, were in the car by 5:35 and out of Shipleys by 5:45.  This was PERFECT timing, so I want to put it here for posterity.  Freaking perfect.  By the time we got there and got parked and made it to transition, I only had about 15 minutes to set up my gear.  Which I did.  Then I stood in line for the real bathroom, totally worth it.  And omg my new tri suit!  I totally love it but it is a freaking NIGHTMARE in the restroom.  It is sooooo hard to put on without getting the sports bra all twisted.  I messed up bigtime in the bathroom and ended up hiding in the woods with my boobs out trying to fix it, no lie.

Then I sat on the side of the lake for 45 minutes and watched the MILLION waves that were before mine go off.  (Seriously - that is my one complaint this year.  Don't announce the course cut offs a mere week before the race, and if you do, let your slower athletes go first.  Literally, the man who won the race was FINISHING while I was in the water.)

Got in line with my wave, saw the ex-work chick who was freaking out.  It was actually kinda nice - I get way more freaky for triathlons than I do for runs or rides, but I was totally zen in the face of her freak-out.  Got in the 75 degree water (lots of peeps in wetsuits, but I just don't get it for a sprint), lost my breath, lined up to the far outside but in the first row, and off we went!

I always forget how freaky open water feels.  It is weird to say that because I always intellectually remember.  I remember that I will be freaked and that it will be impossible to see and hard to breathe, but even though I remember it, the feeling always shocks me.

I put my face down in the water and started swimming and lost my breath and fought to keep it under control.  Breathing twice as often, self-soothe, try to find a smooth stroke, look up and sight, omg it is cold, arg I'm scared I'm off my line, sight, ack people everywhere, screw it just try to swim straight, keep breathing it will get easier, etc.  Basically all the way to the first turn bouy, where the number of people thinned out and I was freaking out less.  Sighting really jacks with me.  I am swimming the whole time afraid that I'm off course, and the mental questioning takes me away from focusing on the swimming.  It is so weird.  It is so different than normal swimming, which is massively peaceful for me!

Swim time: 13:09 for 2:37/100  (This was disappointing - I was expecting 11ish from my pool swimming.)

Ran in, grabbed water, slowed to a walk, 5 rows to bike, stand on towel, put on shades, helmet, run belt, dry feet, put on shoes, and done.  Loooooong run out of transition to the bike mount. 

T1: 2:50

Saw two people go down trying to mount and was infinitely pleased at how much better I am at biking.  I got on and it felt like an old friend at this point.  Just 15 miles?  Easy, not even a training ride.

BUT, need to make that cutoff.  Checked the time, knew I would make it, but set a goal to hammer anyways.  This is the best trained I've ever been on a bike, let's see how fast I can do a timed trial.

It turns out not that fast.  (I'll come back to this.)  58:53 for 15.3mph

For memory's sake, the course was mostly flat with some very mild uphill in the beginning, mild downhill at the end.  There was a headwind on the way out.  There are several several turns.  If you divided the course into 4 parts, for me it was slow, fast, slow, fast.

T2: 1:15

I'm actually not even sure why this is so long, except the awkward running with bike bit.  Literally all I had to do was rack the thing and take off the helmet and I was done.  I actually stood there stupidly for maybe 5 seconds thinking surely I forgot something because that was too easy.  And then out I ran.

Oooooh, the running.  No bricks yet this year.  No bricks in maybe 4 years?  Almost forgot the crazy noodley feeling in my quads off the bike.  Ran to the water stop, just to try to shake it out.  Then walked up a hill.  Then starting running again with a goal of running 4 minutes, then walking til I felt like I wasn't going to die, and repeating ad infinitum.

That was actually working pretty well for me.  When I was running I wasn't displeased with my speed.  When I was walking I was focusing on slowing my breathing and heart rate and just making it to the finish.

I started going back and forth with this woman.  She was running slow, so I'd pass her running, then she would pass me walking.  After a few times, she asked if we were going to keep playing tag and I said it looked like it.  So the next time, I asked her her name, told her mine, etc.  The next time I looked at her left calf and OMG y'all, she was 13 years old.  THIRTEEN.  What an AMAZING kid!  I struck up a convo with her and actually chatting with her got me running a bit more than I was planning on.  She does lots of triathlons and is a part of a team and knows kids as young as 10 doing it.  When we rounded the corner on the way back, she saw her people and I told her to go be awesome.  She finished about 100 yards ahead of me and waited for me to cross the line.  It was a total honor to get to run with such a determined young athlete.

35:20 for 11:19mph

I collected my well-earned medal and went in search of food and family.  Frankly, I was wandering around rather aimlessly in transition trying to figure out how to get to the food.  Finally made it and went through the line, getting one of everything, and still had no idea where family was.  I was guessing the playground, and while I didn't see them, I did see the camp chairs (BRILLIANT idea, btw), and collapsed and let them find me.  Sat around for quite a while listening to music and the awards and eating and watching Z play, then headed home.

Takeaways: Bring camp chairs for family, get better at using tri-suit, being well-trained for long distances doesn't make me speedy - time to get shorter and speedier, need hand-held hydration for the run, always get Z body-marked with my number, try a faster tempo with swim stroke, bring the Garmin for the run, I LOVE TRIATHLON!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Reality of the Thing

I suffer from post-major-event slumps.  Pretty much always.

I have various ways to combat this, usually involving signing up for something else shortly after the major event in hopes that I won't slump out of sheer panic.

Well.  There is panic.  I'll tell you that.

I finished the MS150 on Sunday massively dehydrated.  I weighed 2.5 pounds less than Sunday morning on Monday morning, and that was after I had done quite a bit of re-hydrating.  And I felt ROUGH.  So Monday was, and was always planned to be, a recovery day.  But I didn't anticipate how bad off I'd be.  I went to the grocery store on Monday and then needed a nap because it exhausted me.  It was that severe.

Couple that with my other body issue which began on Tuesday, and Tuesday's planned recovery swim didn't happen.  Which led to a Wednesday lie-in.  And then Thursday... it really wasn't until Thursday night that I finally felt back to almost normal.

So this morning I finally, FINALLY, dragged myself out of bed for Yoga.  Yoga is NOT a triathlon.  And now I'm freaking out because I have to travel again for work this coming week and as always when I travel I can expect to struggle with exercising.

Ok, so the mop-up panic (but also trying to be realistic) plan is this:
Saturday: open water swim
Sunday: run or bike or bike/run
Monday: P90X in hotel room
Tuesday: skip
Wednesday: skip, but if I could do something when I get back home if I get back early enough, a run would be great
Thursday: bike morning, swim afternoon
Friday: off
Saturday: tri (TRY!)

I think this is doable and will ease my panic.  I will not have lost all my fitness in the past 2 weeks.  I need to remember that.  I just need to reassure myself that I can get through this thing.  I can definitely do the swim.  No problem.  The bike is so much way shorter than the MS.  I can definitely do the bike.  The run is the scary bit, and come on, I can totally walk if I need to.  I can do this.  It may be rough, but I can do it.

After the tri, the goal is back into a steady training plan (no more work trips til July!), and, AND back to calorie counting because the super long weekend hunger-making workouts should be over.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Garden update!

We have radishes! (And carrots and onions but those are super tiny.)

And we have a (tiny little) jalapeño!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MS150 Ride Report

Make that the MS70.  Yeah, you read that right.

The weather leading up to the MS150 was panic-making.  I read Eric Berger's weather blog and he kept making comments about how it might be a nice weekend if you weren't doing something nutty like trying to ride a bike from Houston to Austin.

Then there were buckets and buckets of rain in the days leading up to the race.  By Thursday I was guessing they might cancel Saturday.  Just as I was leaving my conference on Friday, they cancelled Saturday.

In all honesty - I was kind of relieved.  There, I said it.  After the horrible Katy Ram Challenge and Eric predicting a headwind... I was scared.

Annnnnd after a week of conference, honestly it was nice to have a day off on Saturday before I turned my legs to noodles.

BUT because I was planning on a two day ride from Houston, not a one day from La Grange, I got pretty stressy over the logistical issues on Saturday.  I had reserved P a room near Austin for SATURDAY night, so I didn't have anyone to drop me off at the start.  I went ahead and sent him on Saturday afternoon, then managed to catch a bus ride with a bunch of riders staying in the Omni from Austin.  (Serious kudos to the Omni for letting me have a ride.  They were totally awesome about it.  Go stay there!!)

With that said, I got up at 3:30 on Sunday to catch a 4:45 bus from Houston to La Grange.  It was a school bus, with like 20 riders and 20 bikes.  It was just a tad crowded.  But I am GRATEFUL.  So not complaining.  Just sayin'. :-)  We got there at 7.   I grabbed a porta potty line, then my chain was off so headed to the mechanic.  Then waited around for a while, munching a bagel, for the start.  It was an 8am start, and I started at 9 and I wasn't even close to last.   It was kind of cool and misting as I waited, but boy that did NOT last long.

I felt GREAT!  Just great.  It wasn't exactly a headwind.  Like side-head.  I'll take it!  I was riding along at a good clip and I just felt really good.

First rest stop: 9.5 mi in 45 min.  Muddy, oh so muddy!  Applied sunscreen and used facilities.  Removed arm warmers.  Ate some animal crackers.  Drank half a bottle of water. 

Headed out at about the same time as another team member, and he was around the same speed as me, and we went back and forth on the next leg.

Second rest stop: 23 mi at 1:45.  Ate jelly beans.  Drank half a bottle of Gatorade.  Still feeling good. 

I came upon a wreck about 2 miles before lunch where we were all just stopped in the road.  Then once it was cleared, we rode like 100 yards to a light where a policeman was letting small groups through, so stopped again.  At that light we turned left and immediately we were on a GIGANTIC downhill.  Like mega.  Like wow, drop off the world downhill.   And I got so scared.  We were too packed, it was dangerous.  And I was thinking I wasn't the only one because everyone was braking braking braking.  But then I got all freaky because I wasn't going to be able to go all the way down the hill at like 2mph without losing control.  After a few minutes I gave in and hopped off and started walking it down the hill.  Now THERE'S something I never thought I'd do!!  Walk my bike DOWN a hill in the MS150!!  Anyways, it turned out that there was another wreck and everyone ended up walking.  I heard several veterans comment that they have never ever ridden down that hill because someone always wrecks there.  Crazy!

Lunch stop (finally!): 33.5 miles in 3 hours (which was about 25 minutes slower than it would have been if not for the wrecks).  Ate a ham sandwich.  Finished the bottle of Gatorade and refilled with Cytomax.  Lunch was in a big tent and thank goodness for the team because I must admit I felt like I was in high school walking into the cafeteria.  I reapplied sunscreen here and used the restroom for what would be the last time for the day.  By the end of lunch I was starting to feel a little rough - just very hot, like I was sunburning, and queasy.  But I was worried about my team leaving, so I headed out.

Then it got bad.  I really really struggled with the next section.  I was at a mental low point.  It was just so HOT (probably about 85 at this point, and I hadn't trained in the heat because this was really the first hot day) and my legs were feeling the shooting pain that normally waits til the end of rides for me.  The wind had shifted into a headwind and worst of all it was a HOT gusty headwind.  I was seriously considering sagging and/or puking.  It was BAD.  Then about 7 miles into the 14 mile leg, I saw a bunch of riders pulled over as we were crossing the Colorado River for like the 3rd time to take pics.  I pulled over and took an Ibuprofen for the leg pain and drank most of the rest of my water trying to push the queasies down.  I vaguely suspect that the Cytomax didn't agree with my stomach.  Then I thought I could at least get to the next rest stop and I'd decide from there.

Fourth stop: 49 miles in probably about 4:15.  I don't actually know the exact time, and this is the only one I don't know, because I felt too bad to check, honestly.  I got to this stop and reported directly to the med tent to tell them I wasn't right.  My pulse was ok, so they advised me to sit in the shade, drink cold water, and just wait and see what I thought.  I was at this stop for at least half an hour and I did just that.  Drank an entire bottle of ice water.  Sat.  Stretched.  Called P and cried.  Then when I was getting ready to walk back over to my bike, I saw a friend from the R2R training rides.  I told her I had had a rough leg and she was all, "It is only 8 miles to the next stop!!  You can do 8 miles!! Try latching onto us!!"  And I believed her just enough that I got back on.

I was actually surprised at this point that my ass and legs felt much better.  THANK YOU Ibuprofen.  Seriously.  I was still hot and I think dehydrated, but the lessening of the pain plus the short leg made me feel like I could get through it.  I managed to latch onto Katie until about 5 miles in, and then I only had 3 to go, so I made it.

Fifth rest stop: 59 mi in 5:21.  Again I spent quite a while at this stop.  Sat in the shade, drank lots of water.  I was still scared to eat, though.  Reapplied sunscreen.

Surprisingly the first few miles out of this rest stop weren't bad AT ALL.  They were mostly downhill and they kind of flew by.  It was at some point in there that I realized that my tummy hurt now not because I was going to puke but because I was seriously mega hungry.  So I pulled over at the top of a hill and pounded a package of peanut butter crackers with lots more water.

But then after that we started coming into Austin and oh, the HILLS!!  If the day had gone differently for me, perhaps I'd have tried to ride the hills.  As it was, I'd get as much momentum as I could, shift as much as I could, but when I was going about 4 miles an hour and really working hard for it, I just went ahead and hopped off and walked the hills.  There was no reason to punish my body further.  So that last look took quite a while.  Also, coming into town there were more lights where we got held up and we had to narrow down to one bike lane, so it was definitely a little sketchier.  But in the end -  I finished.

Finish: 70 mi in 6:45.  That 6:45 is time ON THE BIKE.  I started at 9am and finished at 6pm, for the record.

I have to say that I am very proud of myself for making it to the finish under my own power.  It was a near thing several times.  But I got it done.

And I saw my family right after I crossed the line.  And I got my pin and my certificate.  And I took my bike over head pic in front of the Capitol.  And then I went to EZ's and chowed hardcore on chicken and cheese fries and a milkshake and it was GOOD.  Then we drove home, arriving at 11pm. Eep!  Definitely the right decision to take a day off work the next day.

So here's my thing - I heard all over the place that this was a really rough ride - really bad year in terms of heat and headwind.  But seriously, seriously, I don't think I could have done both days if that is what they both were like.  At least not done them and finished entirely under my own power.

I'm going to have to try the MS150 again.  It is just in my nature.  But not next year, I don't think.  It was just such a HUGE commitment in terms of prep time - essentially blowing at least half of every Saturday from January-April.  So maybe sometime in the future, but not soon.

Am I glad I did it?  YES, absolutely!  I am SO much more comfortable on my bike than I have ever EVER been before.  All those miles.  There was a point on that first leg when I thought, you know, I actually feel COMFORTABLE.  ON A BIKE.  That has literally never happened before.  I was riding along with people and I wasn't white knuckled or scared or anything.  I was just riding.  For me that is such a huge thing.  There was one point where I took both hands off the bike.  Now that was for like a second, but again, for me, HUGE!  Just a massive statement about my confidence and comfort level.  And also, importantly, I know of some really good local rides with shorter route options that would be great triathlon prep rides for next year!  I'd love to hang out at about 40 miles, so the 20-whatever mileage in a tri feels like no big thing.  And I now feel really comfortable signing up for that kind of thing.  So this was a really really great experience for me overall.  Nothing but positive came out of it.  I am so very very glad I went on this crazy ride!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Terry Hershey Park

So I've heard about this park - my team did most of their group riding at Terry Hershey Park, but I had never gone before.  So Easter weekend P and I took his new bike out there to give it a try.  And it was really a pretty neat park.

We started at the Dairy Ashford lot and headed East, and I wasn't so sure in the beginning.  There are tons of little tiny hills, like 50 feet long, but they are freaking crazy steep.  So I'd go at them thinking no way I need to shift, just power through, they are soooo short.  Then I'd be walking.  It completely changed the way I shift, let me to shift preemptively and faster.  It was really good practice.  But it also felt dangerous - there were lots of blind curves and tight turns and those little evil hills.  So while it was great practice, it wasn't a good representation of riding on the road for hours at a time.

When we headed back west, though, the terrain was much better in terms of a more road like experience.

It is completely closed to traffic, and thus an excellent option, especially if I need to ride alone or just me and P.

I did have a flat and end up having to walk my bike back to a lot while P rode to our car to come fetch me.  Glad I wasn't alone.

Oh, and also, we rode there on Easter Sunday in the morning and it was icky weather, gentle rain.  I was STUNNED at how many people were out and about.  I worry that it is potentially uber crowded during a normal weekend, based on that.

All in all, great resource, will definitely be back!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ride Report: Katy Ram Challenge

Philosophical question of the day: How is it that you can ride a loop and yet 2/3 of it has a headwind?

I decided to do this ride at the last minute since Ready 2 Roll's ride was a loooooooong drive for me, and it was also more mileage than I wanted to commit to on the weekend before the MS 150.

There was the potential for rain, so I did an on-site sign-up.  I actually have to say that it was super painless, and it was really cool because it was in Sun n Ski and they actually had the store open for business at 6am.  So I was early and once I was signed up, I went shopping for (and purchased) a new trisuit!  2 birds, 1 stone, yay!

I chose the 36 mile route, again, because it is the weekend before the big weekend, and frankly, if my body isn't ready, killing it this weekend wasn't really going to help.

Well I killed it even on the 36.  But I'll get to that.

Ride to the first rest stop was a little clustery for the first 5 miles or so, but then it opened up nicely.  Mild headwind, no problem.  First rest stop could have used more porta potties, but otherwise was fine.

Second leg was AWESOME!!!  I had a tailwind and I was FLYING!  It went by crazy fast and suddenly I was at the next rest stop and high on the sheer awesome.

But even at that rest stop I had a sneaking suspicion that we were looking at a headwind on the way back.  Oh noooooo, I haaaaaaateses headwinds.

And I was right.  That last leg was terrible.  Awful.  No good.  Very bad.  Soul sucking.

I have to say I got really ticked at this one lady, too.  I'm not sure at what point she latched onto my draft (lol, hilarious, since I was going 10-12 mph, but it happened), but at some point I became aware by sounds that there was someone back there.  And the road wasn't great so I was taking routes around holes and junk and she was following right on me.  I'd barely glimpse her out of the corner of my eye when I was checking over my shoulder for traffic.  She rode there for at least several MILES, never saying a word, just drafting off of me.  I was in such a bad mental place I was wanting to scream into the wind.  I was just soooooo frustrated with how HARD it was to go that SLOW.  Finally at some point I just sat all the way up and was going about 9 when she popped out and flew by me, never saying a word.  GRRRRRR.  As I was explaining later to P, I just felt so used.  There is a right way to use someone and a wrong way.  The right way is to let them know you're there and chat them up a bit and help them through if they are having a rough time.  The wrong way is to hide and quietly use them and then discard them when they are used up.  Not cool.  Not cool at all.

Anyways, I made it back but it was seriously sucky and I must say that my confidence took a hit, which isn't good leading into next weekend.  But there it is.  I need to just remember that second awesome leg and try to forget the rest.  And cross my fingers that there isn't a headwind heading to Austin next weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Houston, we have a Garden!

We finally got the garden built!

We used boards left over from when my parents built their house years ago, so only spent maybe $40 in supplies.  Plus then another $100 on dirt, but really with all the roots in our area, it is the only way to get clear planting.  I filled the boxes as much as possible with leaves before we added the dirt, to save on costs.

We actually built 4 boxes but the other two don't have dirt yet.  I think we will see how these go and then go from there.

We planted several tomatoes and peppers, 2 broccoli plants, one squash, a watermelon and a cantaloupe.  And yes, I'm aware that the watermelon and cantaloupe will run out.  We're just going to see how that goes.  Also I planted a short row of carrots, onions, and radishes.

I am so excited!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monthly Progress Report

15 goals for 2015:
1. Leave my old job as well as I can.  Check!
2. Enjoy my month off.  Check!
3. Get lots done during month off also!  Check!
4. Rock out the new job.  Working it!
5. Complete the BP MS150 in April.  In training.
6. Do a triathlon!  In training.
7. Train for and complete the 8 mile Turkey Trot. (Eg. Running, not walking.)  After MS 150 and Tri.
8. Start a garden.  Check!
9. Start a family game night on Thursdays.  Have done a few, need to make a habit.
10. Focus on consciencous spending. I'm really doing a pretty good job here.  Need to work on family now.
11. Lose 20 pounds.  Half a pound is better than no pounds.  Weight is 147.6.  Stopped tracking calories when started the new job.   Probably need to start again.  Also need to do fewer coffee/lunches out with people now that I'm not so new any more.  Think I could actually be dropping weight if I was just a bit less indulgent.  But it is tough with the ridiculously long rides every weekend.  The proof is in the dropping, it is just happening a bit slower than I'd like, and I'm really going to have to watch the eating once I'm done with the MS150.
12. Cook more, better at home.  Working it.
13. Go climbing.  Not yet. 
14. Take Zoë camping for the first time!  Check!
15. Make stained glass things.  Have most of the tools, still need to get set up.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kite Festival

So this also happened this weekend.  Super fun!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Last week rundown

As I was waxing poetic and nostalgic last week I was wandering away from the meat of the plan.  The day after tomorrow is April, y'all.  We've got 3 weeks (THREE WEEKS!!!!!! EEEEPP!!) til the MS150 and one month til my first post-baby tri.

So last week I did:
Monday: 3.2 mile run with a little walking.  But the distance was covered.
Tuesday: 1400 yard swim, no prob.
Wednesday: 2.25 mile run, focusing on running longer intervals and faster.
Thursday: 1400 yard swim, did I mention I love swimming?  Oh, and also I woke up early so I did yoga that morning.
Friday: P90X3 MMX.  I know, I was supposed to run.  But I just didn't want to, and I thought it might be nice to mix it up a little.  This definitely taxes my aerobic system and my legs and ass, so I figured it'd work.
Saturday: 26.6 mile HILLY freaking ride.  Yes, I planned to do the 40-something route.  No, I didn't do it.  I just didn't want to.  And I had a busy weekend and it would have killed most of the day.  And did I mention, HILLS?  (Btw Head for the Hills is an absolutely lovely MS150 prep ride.  Highly recommend!  The bluebonnets were out, it was a gorgeous day, the hills are great training, and the local fireman make a good burger for lunch after.  Really nicely run.)  The good news is I never walked, and I love my new brakes.  The bad news is I'm still fighting my big ring shifter and I need that sucker for big hills.  There were 3 hills where I ended up in the easiest possible gearing combo, going about 4mph.  But I didn't walk.  I win.

This week the plan is very similar, except I think I'm going to drop the Thursday swim in favor of MMX and then add back in the Friday run (but I'll switch that to Yoga if I'm feeling especially run down).  I would prefer to swim twice BUT it looks like rain on Thursday, plus I'm going to have a kid-free night and swimming makes me get home later, which I don't want to do because I want to go see a movie or something.  So you know I'm still sane - not sacrificing fun in favor of exercise.  At least on Thursday. ;-)

Friday, March 27, 2015

You, sir, are my brick wall

So yesterday I was swimming along happily in my beautiful new pool.  A cold front had come through earlier in the day and my arms were cold but the water was perfect.

Swimming is so therapeutic for me.  I just one-two-three-breathe myself into a sort of hypnosis.

And then, a fastie came into the lane next to me.

Do you want to know what the equivalent of a headwind in the pool is?

The fastie next to me, doing the 'fly, when he was coming towards me.

Brick. Wall.

It wasn't really that bad, though.  I mean I'm not upset about it.  It is good tri practice, swimming with people around, making waves, making brick walls... everything is good practice.

But I was sort of waxing poetic about biking and swimming and brick walls and losing count of my laps and I ended up trying to make a haiku about brick wall dude and do you know what?  Haiku is to swimming and breathing as Sudoku is to my job.  Apparently I can't do them at the same time. 

At. All.

So now we know that too.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Sudoku Lobe

I made an odd realization yesterday.

I work in a very detail oriented job.  Most people don't seem to understand what I do, and this isn't what I do, but I think a computer programmer (coder) would be the closest approximation.  Very detailed.  Miss a tiny thing and must go back and fix it.  That sort of thing.

I have a Sudoku app on my phone, and about halfway into my job break, I started playing again.  For no apparent reason.  But I really started playing.  Playing for speed.  Playing to learn to play better.  Devoting real time to it each day.  I think there was a part of me that also felt like I was keeping myself mentally fresh.

What I realized yesterday is that I stopped, almost as soon as I started working again.  I tried a few times, but didn't seem to be able to hold my focus.

A few months back I went to hear one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, speak when he came to town.  And one of the things he said was that he wasn't able to write when he was working a certain kind of day job - I think he actually said computer programming.  And the only thing he could figure was that it used the same part of the brain as the writing.

I think that is what this is.  I think when I am doing this sort of job, it is using the same part of my brain as Sudoku uses.  The logical part that loves putting everything into nice orderly rows.  That part is used up (completely) every day.  Therefore, no more Sudoku for me.

Weird, right?

(I guess I need to find some sort of game app that doesn't use my work brain.  No idea what that would be though!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Sometimes I feel... I don't know if nostalgic is the right word.

I think it may be born in loneliness?

Did you know starting a new job is lonely?  Both lonely and for the introverted, frighteningly not-lonely.  Lonely because you don't know your place, and you don't know these people, so even if they are actively trying to include you, there is no familiarity or trust.  So energy-draining.

I think when I'm in this mental space, I have a tendency to look back on those who have been important in my life and miss them.  Or maybe not miss them, but miss that sense of what we had.  Or maybe sometimes not even miss what we had.  Maybe just sort of wonder at it.  Like wow, that happened.  That happened so long ago - was it really real?

I have a tendency to lose people.  I think it is because I am not a reacher-outer.  There are some who have passed out of my life who were vitally important in making me who I am today.

Sometimes when I'm in this place, I think of them and I wonder: do they think of me?  Did I impact them as they did me?

Monday, March 23, 2015

On with the plan!

Ran 3.2 miles this morning at closer to a 12 minute pace.  Ran 5/walked 90 seconds.  Took 40 minutes total.

Before I fell asleep last night I was envisioning myself stepping out of the house and sort of loping into a smooth strong run.  I could feel power in my core.  I had excellent posture.  I was strong.

I don't know if that is what helped, or if it was the most perfect 55 degree temperature, or the accidentally waking up 15 minutes before my alarm which ensured I had plenty of time, but I felt good this morning.  Really good.  I probably didn't need half of those walk breaks, but I took them anyways because the goal was the distance this morning, not the speed.

Really excited to have the "longer" run done on a Monday so I can not worry about it for the rest of the week!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wet and Windy Ride

The forecast for Saturday called for rain, rain, and more rain.  The ride forecast called for our longest ride of the season - R2R was offering 50 or 70 mile routes.

They altered the course again the day before, having us ride the 12 miles to rest stop 1, then turn around for a 24 mile route that we could then repeat if we chose to.

I was hoping I'd go for 48, but standing at the start line, cold, knowing it was going to rain, watching riders opt out of riding in favor of being SAG support.... I just knew 24 was all that was in the cards.  And that is frankly ok, because I rode freakin' 62 last weekend.

Then I remembered my post about worrying about not being fast enough for tris, and I thought, ok, let's go for it,  Lets kind of blow our wad today.  Try to get in 60 miles of pain in only 24.

And so it was.  I actually think I could have happily gone for the 48 if it wasn't so absurdly windy and if somehow we weren't riding into the wind for like the ENTIRE route (except for maybe the 2 most glorious miles I've ever experienced).  It was just soul sucking.  And it didn't matter how hard I freaking pushed, 12mph into the wind was all I had.  All. I. Had.

The whole MS150 isn't going to be into a headwind, is it?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tri Training

In the fear of the MS150, it has kind of been lost in my mind that in a fit of insanity, I signed up for a triathlon at the beginning of May.

Up until I went for that first swim, I was most worried about the swim leg, just due to general rustiness.  But I swam again yesterday, and really, the swim is going to be no problem at all.  I swam 500 straight, twice, the first time in 11 minutes and the second time in 10 minutes.  That is basically race pace for me when I'm fully trained.  I must reiterate how absolutely stunning it is to find myself in good swim shape after such a long lay off, but there it is, I'm going to try not to look the gift horse in the mouth.

So that leaves me with 2 concerns.  The first is the bike.  I am not at all worried about the distance.  Not. At. All.  However, I need to be a bit faster.  Now I think I can be.  What I remember of the course is quite flat, and I am hoping that if I use my philosophy that won me my 5K PR all those years ago - if I use up 75 miles of biking energy in 15 miles, surely I'll be faster than when I'm riding to go far.  But I will not be clipping in this year, for the first time in a tri, so that is also a factor, since I know clipping makes me faster.  What I would really love is to find a short course somewhere where I could actually try to ride a short fast ride and gauge where I am.  Perhaps if the R2R ride gets cancelled tomorrow, I can make that happen on Sunday.

The second concern is the run.   Once again I'm not worried about the distance.  After all these years, it is amazing to say, 5K doesn't phase me.  It is hard to be scared any longer of a distance when I know the worst that happens is I walk it.  But I don't want to walk it, and I'm not well trained on the run right now.  This morning I think I averaged 14 min/mi?  Running and walking.  Sooo... I have what, 6 weeks?  And we know that a lot of that, in terms of weekends, will remain tied up in MS150 training.  However I will have a tune up 5K on April 16, BUT I need to not blow my legs for MS150 since it is only 2 days before, so I'll be running that conservatively.  What if I did two runs per week for the next few weeks, one in which I don't go 5K but I try to go faster, and the other in which I do go 5K and I try to minimize walking?  Part of the problem is I'm not getting my ass out of bed fast enough in the mornings.  I need probably 40 minutes to be comfortable with 5K... I'll work on that.  I'm not trying to go crazy here - but if I could get a 30ish minute 5K time for the tri, that would make me really happy.

So, ok, the tentative plan for the next 3 weeks (before conference and MS get thrown into the mix):
M: Run 5K
T: Swim
W: Run for speed
R: Swim
F: Run easy
S: Bike FAR
S: Off or Yoga

I can always do a morning bike on the trainer on swim days, too, since I'm swimming in the afternoon, but I don't want to lock that in - I still am wanting to be mentally flexible and am trying to be careful not to ask too much of myself.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

First Swim in ForEVER

So I have a new job.  And the new job provides me low cost access to a gym with a VERY nice outdoor pool that is open year-round and is about 2 blocks from said job.   This is no small thing, since I think it is well documented how much I looooooove to swim, how well it helps me control my weight, and did I mention how much I love it!!??

What I do not love, however, is going to a new gym.

So last week I girded my loins and made it in the door, took one look at the line at the overtaxed front desk, and turned around and walked out again.

Hey, I never said I was proud of my social awkwardness.  I just... couldn't.

So this week I packed all of my lonely swim stuff, tried to think of all the variables, and committed.  Thank goodness when I walked in, there was no line.  So I walked up, said I was new, and asked to be shown around, and THANK YOU to the super friendly girl who did just that.  Then I changed and armed with my success, walked out to the pool and up to the lifeguard to asked about the unwritten rules of pool use.

Because - have I mentioned? - that was my experience at the Y.  It was all unwritten, but it was a 4 lane pool, inner two lanes were for the fasties.  Outer two were for the pokies.  There was often lane sharing, and if there was, you were to keep to one side if there were two peeps, but if you went over two, you began circling.  And on and on we go.

Now I'm not convinced that I know everything about new pool.  BUT it wasn't super mega crowded at 3pm on a Tuesday, I didn't have to share a lane, I had a lovely swim, and I know enough things hopefully now not to make an idiot of myself.  That'll do for the first outing.

Oh, and did I mention that my swim was simply lovely?  It was a beautiful sunny day.  The water was cool but not cold.  I was having some goggle issues, so my first 500 took 12 minutes, but really that isn't bad for not actually really training in... years!  And then I lost count.  I swam for 30 minutes and I didn't care about counting and I just went back and forth until my mind was nothing but 1-2-3-breathe and it was juuuuuuust glorious.

I am so very happy to be swimming again!

(Oh, also, I don't know if I've mentioned, but my body has been surprising me.  I've been shocked, literally shocked, at how well my body is adapting to the cycling training.  I am always same-day sore, but by the next morning, I'm simply tired but not sore.  That is seriously cool, given that running for me is a 48 hour soreness.  Additionally, this first swim, based on all the other first swims I've had in my life, should have been pretty rough in terms of breathing.  Normally when I've been off for a long time, I can just barely eke out 500 and I spend half my time clinging to the wall gasping.  Now I wasn't trying to break any speed records the other day, and I was in deficit, but it was never to the level of gasping, and I reckon I got in AT LEAST 1200 before throwing in the towel and frankly I think I could have kept going.  So my guess is all the cycling, even though I don't think of it in that way (because it doesn't kill my aerobic system like running) has been doing good things to my fitness level, and that is just very cool.  I love it when I can see real progress!)