Friday, February 28, 2014

To Make Up or Not To Make Up

I’m going to start this post with a bit of a lament.  There are times, more frequent recently than in the past, that I wish I had a regular job with regular hours and that I didn’t work 16 hour shifts 1-3 days a week.  Why do I wish this?  For a couple reasons.  For starters, I could have an actual social life and have more regular friends.  Secondly, I could have a more regular workout schedule.  It seems I prefer to workout in the late afternoon or evening.  It’s easier for me to motivate myself to workout if I do it at the end of my day.  Thirdly, I could find running groups that ran during times that I was actually not at work and run with them multiple times during the week if I wanted to.  Right now, if I joined a running group, I could run with them probably on Saturday and/or Sunday…but definitely not during the week…unless of course I want to wake up at 5am after going to bed around midnight (since I get off work at 10pm).  Fourthly, I might be able to find the time to make it to the gym once or twice a week for strength training workouts.  Heck, I might even be able to find a workout buddy to workout with!

Okay, lament/bitch-session over.  Moving on.

Tuesday, I had planned a 3 mile run.  However, that did not happen.  Why?  Allergies.  I felt like poo.  (another reason to workout later in the day…my nasal and chest congestion seems to work its way out of my system by that time of day and then I don’t feel like poo anymore)  So, I slept in.  I regretted it.  Especially when I did crawl out of bed and it was foggy and cool out.  Ugh.  Perfect for a run.  Especially a short, quick one.  I almost talked myself into squeezing one in anyway and just leaving like 15 minutes late for work (which still would have put me arriving early for work as I arrive almost 45 minutes early for work as is my habit).  Part of me really wishes I had done that, but I did still feel like poo as the congestion hadn’t worked its way out of me yet.  Anyway, as the day went on, I actually started having a cough and it was a somewhat productive cough, producing some phlegm.  Gross. 

When I flushed my sinuses Wednesday before work, brown stuff came out.  Ugh.  That means one thing…sinus infection.  As the day wore on, it became more and more apparent that what I had going on was indeed a sinus infection.  I again worked a double Wednesday and I desperately felt the need to flush my sinuses again, but I was working a double shift and my sinus rinse stuff was at home.  There is only 1 grocery store that would possibly sell sinus rinsing bottles and saline packets that I could drive to and from during my break time: Whole Foods.  So, to Whole Foods I went.  The nasal rinse system they had, at Walmart or the local chain grocery store would have been $10…maybe $15…at Whole Foods?  $20.  Ugh.  But, I needed it and now I have one to keep with my work stuff. 

I worked a double shift on Tuesday AND Wednesday night, so I didn’t get any workout in either day before work.  My plan for today had been to wake up early…8am…and go out for a 4.5 mile run.  I had to do a little back and forth with myself over the distance because when I was thinking about my run for today, I remember that not only was today Friday and a run day, but also the end of the month of February…and when I skipped my Tuesday run, that left me with a 3 mile deficit for the month.  Well, as I’ve discussed since I got myself out on the pavement again, I’m no longer in the business of “making up miles.”  It either gets done or it doesn’t and I move on.  I started to tell myself to get out and run 5 or 6 miles, but then I thought better of it, remembered my promise to myself to not try to play the make-up game with my miles and settled on 4.5 miles as somewhat of a happy medium.  Well, as yesterday progressed and I realized that I was going to feel pretty crappy first thing this morning until I got my lungs and such all cleared out through hacking up a lung or two, I settled on doing that 4.5 miles on the treadmill after work last night.  Let me tell you, it was horrible.  I didn’t do it right.  I started off great with a 1.5% incline, but halfway through I dropped it to just a 1% incline.  At about 1.5 miles in, the strong urge to grab the handles was given into and I alternated hands holding the handles.  Ugh.  It just felt so hard.  And I had never run more than 3.3 miles on the treadmill before, so it felt really long too.  In the end, I ran 4.5 miles in 49:06, for an average pace of 10:55 per mile.  Since I didn’t wear my Garmin and manually log the miles, I went to Runner’s World’s website and used their pace calculator

Tuesday, my knee started hurting.  I was just leisurely walking around my work station and my knee popped.  Nothing dramatic or loud or anything like that, just a soft pop.  Then, it started hurting.  It popped again a little later and then started to get stiff.  I’m not sure what was going on with my knee, but I’m glad that there was 2 days after the popping and pain and stiffness that occurred where I had no time to run or do other exercise.  As the past couple of days went by, my knee felt better, but was still a smidgen stiff and would still occasionally pop, but the actual pain I felt the first day never came back.  Whew. 

Speaking of exercise…it’s been a couple weeks since I posted my projected workout plan for the following week, so allow me to do that for next week since it’s my first week without a trainer workout in like 3 months. 

• Sunday – lunch with friends & dinner with another friend…I’m hoping to squeeze in at least a 5 (preferably 7) mile run in between the two meetups
• Monday – dentist appt at 9, then work in the afternoon (my usual day off, but working overtime)…so, hoping to have enough time to hit the gym between dentist and work...upper body + abs
• Tuesday – run, work a double shift
• Wednesday – rest
• Thursday – run
• Friday – gym (lower body + abs), work a double shift
• Saturday – rest

Another thing I need to get a handle on is my eating.  The only way to describe my eating is out of control.  On my days off, I’m eating fast food once or twice day.  During the work week, I’m eating fast food once or twice.  Plus, I’m eating TOO MUCH on work days whether I’m eating fast food or not.  If I just absolutely MUST eat out, I really should be choosing healthier options.  For instance, Dairy Queen has a grilled chicken salad that is great and not super high in calories.  It comes with two 4 tbsp cups of light ranch dressing, but I only use one of them and then stash the second one in my fridge for use with a homemade salad.  Now, I know that an actual serving of a cream style salad dressing is only 2 tbsp, but with the size of the salad, it’s hardly enough to only use 2 tbsp.  And I’m also fully aware that it doubles the amount of calories I’m consuming from the dressing…and I’m alright with that.  BUT, I need to control my eating.  I want to do the Shred Diet for a couple to maybe 3 weeks soon again.  I know I need to keep it to no more than 3 weeks as that is when I start to get a little “stopped up” which leads to “weight gain” because I’m not going to the bathroom, which leads to me getting frustrated at my emotionally perceived failure which then leads to me feeling vulnerable and then overeating.  A vicious cycle.

Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t, but I started up a Facebook page for my blog!  This is exciting!  I had gone back and forth about it for the last few weeks and finally, the other day I decided to do it.  So, at the top of the left column on my blog, just under the “subscribe by email” is the “like me on Facebook” badge.  YAY!  If you have a Facebook account and either don’t want to subscribe by email or want to get notification of me posting a blog sooner than you do through email subscription, click the “like” button and follow the page on Facebook.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Friend Makin' Monday

First thing's first...I did not make it up to get to the gym Saturday morning.  I slept until about 11am.  Why?  Yes, there's an actual somewhat good reason for this.  I had ordered some tan knee-high boots for my gold/red pixie outfit I had planned to wear to the Sherwood Forest Faire yesterday.  The days kept ticking by and still no boots in the mailbox.  So, I decided I had to make other plans for my costume for the Faire.  I had cut the fabric for a blue pixie skirt back in December while I was on my vacation, so I decided that Friday night, after work, I would pin and sew it.  I was up until almost 2am doing this.  So, no workout Saturday morning.

Sunday morning happened, I woke up and got ready and headed over to Amanda's house so we could head over to the Faire.  We had both prepurchased our tickets (easy way to save a few bucks, plus you don't have to stand in line to buy one at the gate).  We entered the Faire and made a beeline for the food booth that sells "ogre toes."  This is crumbled candied bacon encapsulated by sausage and then wrapped in more candied bacon.  Oh yea, in case you didn't know, Faire days are NOT healthy eating days.  So, I had this little goody and then we set about perusing the Faire.  We checked the schedule and found a few shows we wanted to watch.  First, we watched the fairies dance around the maypole.  After that was the Washing Wenches.  We sat down close to the front, but I had to get up and move to the rear when I realize they like to fling water into the audience.  I had *just* paid $20 to have my face painted and I was wearing a $200 corset.  I didn't want either one of those ruined.  So I moved.  After that show, we went over to Whimsey's Muse's booth so I could get another portrait taken.  I really like the portrait I got this time.  I have to say...I think it might be my favorite one of the 5 I've gotten.  Here's pictures from the Faire

We left the Faire early enough that I *could* have actually done my long run yesterday.  But, I had only eaten an ogre toe and a funnel cake...not exactly great fuel for a 6-ish mile run.  So I opted to wait until today, after my trainer workout. 

Speaking of my trainer workout...due to working overtime on the evening shift on my days off for the next 4 weeks, today's workout was my last trainer workout until at least April 1st.  Sad.  I will definitely miss Samy pushing me beyond what I thought my limits were.  But!  All is not lost.  I just need to get my a$$ to the gym and do the workouts on my own.  I know what exercises to do, I just have to do them!  I really want to make it a point to get to the gym twice a week, on top of getting in my 3 runs per week.  I'm only going to be actually trying to pick up only one more shift of overtime during the week, so that shouldn't be a problem.  That would mean only working 1 double (aka-16 hour) shift per week. 

For this evening's run, I decided that, since the route I was going to run was fairly well lighted, to forgo the headlamp and instead wear a reflective belt.  I have had this belt since I was 19 and I have never once used it.  I have no idea how I never lost or otherwise misplaced or threw away this belt.  I always kept it with the intent of starting running someday and having need of it.  So, I guess whenever I moved, I just always made sure I knew where it was and that it could always be easily found.  Well, now I've used it.  Anyway, on to tonight's route.  I knew I wanted to do a 5-6 mile run this week and was leaning more towards a 6-ish distance.  This afternoon, I still hadn't sat down with MapMyRun and come up with a route (either a new one or one I had previously run and saved on there).  As I was driving to my trainer workout, I decided I wanted to run a route that I was pretty sure was at least 6 miles, maybe 6.3.  So, I set out just after 6pm, right before sunset.  About 3/4 of a mile into the run, I realized I should have used the restroom one more time before heading out and had to duck into a bush.  First time I've ever had to do this.  But, I was far too far away from a gas station to hold it any longer.  About 2 and 2/3 of a mile into the run, when I stopped at a stop light, I purposely didn't push the walk signal right away.  My right leg was tight and I needed to stretch and shake it out.  When the light changed and I had my walk light, I ran on and didn't have anymore issues with my right leg being tight.  Moving on...I did the loop and was finishing up.  When I reached the corner of my apartment complex's property, I hit the light on my Garmin to see where I was at.  5.92 miles.  Okay, that means this route was going to be exactly 6 miles.  I thought about it for a moment and realized that the 6.3 mile route was the same, except it includes a little jaunt off to the side just before the end to add that extra three tenths of a mile.

Well, anyway, it's Monday, so that means it's Friend Making Monday question time!  And for the next month, it's being hosted by a different blogger, hence the "getting to know you" style questions this week.

1. Introduce yourself in under 10 words.
I'm a runner, a blogger and a nerd.

2. How did you find Friend Makin Mondays?
I found Kenlie's blog through a search for weight loss blogs

3. Have you ever met any of your blog readers?
sadly, no...I hope to someday

4. How many states have you visited?
probably about 20

5. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
funnel cake...hahahaha (renaissance festival)

6. How many different places have you lived in?
oh wow...ummm...probably well over 35 or 40 places

7. What’s your favorite color?
pink and's a tie

8. Do you have any pets?
2 cats that are my world

9. What would your ideal job be?
either and office job or sewing renaissance costumes full time

10. Do you have any tattoos?
I have 37 tattoos

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Race Scheduling & TRXing

“If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. January is a month filled with the ghosts of failures past.  January is for dreamers.  February is for doers-a cold, dark month that makes you gaze seriously into the proverbial mirror and run from your reflection.” 
–The Newbie Chronicles, Runner’s World, February 2014 issue

I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to get frustrated over a little setback (the whole not-pooping incident) and that impacting my eating and I ended up bingeing.  I’m still having binges, but they’re slowly lessening.  It’s so frustrating to do so well for a month and then totally allow myself to flop and completely backtrack on my progress.  I can still fit in my clothes, it’s just a bit of a squeeze is all.  It’s not as completely uncomfortable as it was at the end of December and beginning of January, but it’s close.  I know I’m only like a pound or two away from that feeling again.

I need to recommit myself to the effort.  And I’ve sort of started.  I planned out my food for Tuesday, yesterday and today.  I pretty much at the same thing each day because it was just easier since I worked a double shift Tuesday and yesterday.  I ate fairly wholesome foods that were also whole foods for the most part.  Obviously, the yogurt, granola, bread items, sandwich fillers, and soup were processed, but they were the minority of what I ate…not the majority.  I’m toying with the idea of doing a pseudo-Paleo diet for a 30-day trial period to see if I like it.  I also want to do a week or two of vegan here and there.  I’ve said that before.  (and for anyone interested, the plan I mostly follow is the 15 day NON-guided plan on Reboot Your Life)

Anyway, back to the quote I started this post with.  I fully committed myself in January, but then I did what like 85% of America does at the beginning of February…I lost my steam and fell off the wagon and couldn’t get back on.  I got lost in my frustration.  If I can recommit myself, I’m like 95% sure I can and will succeed.  I’ve been getting in my 3 runs and 1 trainer workout per week.  But that’s just not enough.  I really need to make the effort once a week to get to the gym and do some stair climber and some more strength training.  I really need 2 strength training sessions a week and in order to do that, I NEED to get to the gym on my own once a week on top of my trainer workout.  I have the time to do it, I just need to do it.  I’m going to give it a go this week and do my best to get myself up and moving and to the gym Saturday morning.  I want to do 20 minutes on the stair climber followed by about 45 minutes of strength training.  That means I need to get out of bed NO LATER than 8am Saturday morning.  That way I can leave the house by 8:30-8:45, be at the gym around or shortly after 9 and then be on my way back home by about 10:15-10:30.  That’s plenty of time to get a really good workout in.  And I can pair it to my trainer workout.  If I do legs with him, I’ll do upper body on my own.  And vice versa.  For legs day on my own, I will most likely stick with the “Paige workout.”  For upper body, I’ll do a lot with the TRX straps, plus some dumbbell and cable machine exercises.  With both upper body and legs workouts, I’ll do abs as well.

Oh, so I realized the other morning that when I updated my race schedule that’s in the right margin of the blog that I completely forgot about the Thundercloud Turkey 5 miler that happens on Thanksgiving!  I had wanted to do it last year, but things conspired against me, not least of which was that I was completely untrained for it, but also that I didn’t have the registration fee in “free money” available.  So, I want to make sure I do that race this year.  Right now, I think I don’t have any races for May, July, and August.  But, I’ve mentioned before that there is a website that offers virtual races with custom bibs and medals once you send in your proof that you ran the distance (Jost Running).  I can use this website to plug in races in the months that I can’t find a suitable race to do…hopefully then ending the year with January being the only month I didn’t have a race scheduled.  Next year, I’d like to do the 3M half marathon (January) AND the Austin Half Marathon again.  Anyway, here’s the updated 2014 race schedule.
So, I absolutely HAVE to make sure I have the money to pay for my trip to Oregon in June.  Why?  I mean, aside from it’s been over 5 years since I’ve seen my family so the trip is long overdue.  Because, I just had my supervisor reschedule a training class that I was scheduled to take while I was planning to be out of state in June.  So, now I have to make sure the trip happens because how ridiculous would it be for me to not go on my trip after my supervisor rescheduled my training?

I think I've come up with the workout I want to do at the gym Saturday morning.  I'll start with 20 or so minutes of intervals on the stair climber.  Then I'll move to the TRX rack and do:
oblique abs with the TRX straps

suspended crunches with the TRX straps

this is the one I was called the "ab reach" last week
my trainer has me look up and pull the straps down in front of me though
bicep curl with the TRX straps

chest press (aka push up) with the TRX straps

deltoid Y's with the TRX straps

triceps extensions with the TRX straps
I'll do a circuit of 4 sets of 10 reps each.  That should get me a pretty good workout.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Silent Pity Party

You won't be hearing from me again until Thursday night, so I wanted to let you know how today went.  I slept.  A lot.  Since yesterday, anyway.  I was in bed until about 9:30 this morning.  I woke up fully looking forward to this afternoon's session with Samy.  Since we did chest/shoulders last week (aka-upper body), logic said today would be a legs day.  And logic did not disappoint.  When I woke up this morning, my hip flexors, shins, hamstrings and my calves a little bit too were all sore from yesterday's half marathon.  I knew from 2 weeks ago when I did my chilly 11.2 mile training run and then had a killer legs day the following day that today's session would do me good in my recovery.  I'm definitely an active recovery type of gal.

For my first round of exercises, there was the usual jump rope for 1 minute, then jogging in place while alternating arms with the heavy rope, then I donned the weigh vest and did freeweight squats with a 45 lb bar and two 25 lb plates (so 95 lbs on my shoulders plus the 25 or whatever the vest weighs).  After that, I kept the vest on and added a 25 lb sandbag to my shoulders and did what I'm going to call crawling lunges (you lunge and walk forward, but stay crouched, never coming all the way back up).  Then, he had me do the squat walk with the entire set of plates on the machine!!!  Yea, I need to start taking my weight lifting gloves with me.  My hands were so sweaty I could barely hold onto the bar as I did the squat walk.  The second round of exercises was the usual suicide sprints with a minute of medicine ball slams with jumps.  Three sets of that.  Then onto the kickboxing!  We did two rounds and BOTH times, he's the one that called "time" and told me to go get a drink.  Up until today, I was always the one to say I needed a break.  Today, I powered through it and it felt great!  We ended with abs, as usual.  One of the ab exercises he had me do was that TRX ab reach he had me do last week, the one that made my upper abs S-O-R-E until close to the end of the week.  Oh, and as I was setting up to do the ab reaches, I let him know that the TRX exercises are one of my favorites and that when I do buy a house I plan to put a set of TRX straps in my workout room.  So, he said we'll start doing more exercises with them since I like them so much.  YAY!  I'm excited to learn and do more TRX exercises!
legs day for 700, Alex
Earlier in the day, I had gone to the used bookstore and looked at the diet books they had there.  I was looking mostly at the ones that were promoting that you could lose 10 lbs with their book.  I pulled them down and flipped through them and then stuck each and every one of them back on the shelf.  I didn't buy any of them.  Why?  Because I know how to eat healthy, I'm just letting myself get overwhelmed by the fluff I've put on over the last couple weeks.  I've let myself fall into a bit of a pity party, thank god I didn't invite you guys to that party and kept it to myself.  Over the last couple weeks, I've taken the defeatist route and that's just not like me.  I let the frustration win and didn't do a dang thing to solve it.  What the heck?  I'm a problem solver.  I work great under pressure.  So, why oh why did I crumple under the minor pressure of regaining a few pounds after getting "stopped up"?  I don't have the answer to that.  But I'm going to rise back up and try to take control again.
So, I'm not going back in with the Shred Diet...not right now.  Right now, I think I'm just going to try and calorie count for the most part.  I'll try to plan out my food for the next 3 days tonight before bed.  I'm going for a sandwich (either pb&j or lunchmeat & cheese), 2 servings of yogurt, 2 servings of fruit and 3+ servings of veggies, chicken or fish, oh and breakfast...scrambled omelet with diced/sauteed onions, tomatoes and mushrooms and a glass of not from concentrate juice with a whole grain croissant.  Not sure how "good for you" those are, but they intrigued me, so for the next 4 mornings, I'll be eating one of those with breakfast.
Wish I had found this picture yesterday, because this was sooooooo me yesterday.  I stuffed my face and then I CRASHED!  Hahaha!

Oh, and not that I'm trying to reach any kind of mileage goal for the month, but I've got a good amount of miles in for this month already and there's still almost 2 weeks left!  For February so far, I've already logged 43.4 miles!!!  If I only run 3 mile runs for the remaining 5 runs I'll do for this month, that will get me 58.3 miles, but I know I'll run more than that.  For instance, I plan to do the 3.3 mile loop for tomorrow's run, so that right there will put me at 58.6...but only IF the rest of my runs for February are 3 miles each.  I'm also planning a 5 mile run for my "long run" next week...which will probably get done on Monday because Sunday I'll be at the renaissance festival with Amanda.

Also, maybe you noticed, but maybe you didn't, but I updated my run schedule in the right hand margin.  You'll notice that the Austin Marathon is listed as a PR for me.  Also, you may notice that I removed the RNRLV and replaced it with the Dallas Marathon.  Why?  Because 1) it'll be cheaper for me to do a somewhat local race, and 2) it's happening on my birthday, what better birthday present to myself than completing my first full marathon?  None.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Race Report

Let's start off with some fun facts!  25 countries were represented at today's race.  80% of the runners were from the Austin/central Texas area.  20,000 gallons of Gatorade and 30 lbs of petroleum jelly were used.  And I saw a guy who's name on his bib was "BoomBoom."

Obviously, the professional/official photos are not available yet.  I will be buying some, but not right when they're available...I'm going to wait until they offer the 3 digital downloads for the price of 1 like I did with the RNR half.  But, when the official pictures are published online, I will screenshot the ones I like and plan to buy and post them on here.  Since I shuffled my way through the half at the RNR in San Antonio back in November with a finishing time of 2:51, I was pretty much set for a PR with this half.  And I did.  By 20 minutes.  I finished in 2:31.  So, I got to get a picture of me ringing the PR gong at the finish line!  YAY!

Okay, here's the report.  Since I work in downtown Austin, I just parked at my work in our parking garage to avoid traffic drama/mania/panic.  It was a 3/4 mile walk to the start line from where I parked.  So, a nice little warm up walk...especially since I forgot to do my normal pre-run warmup of leg swings and calf raises.  Last night I went to the store and bought myself a large blueberry bagel and a banana to eat pre-race today.  Plus, I had a travel cup of coffee from the other day that I drank down.  I forgot to bring a small bottle of water to chug at the start to make sure I started off hydrated.  Oh well.  I also did something I have never done before for a race...I no-no.  I've been fairly "regular" (if you know what I mean) lately and I didn't have to go at any point before the race this morning, so I stopped and bought some generic Immodium to make sure I didn't have any accidents or long waits for the port-a-potty impacting my race time.  It success!

The race started promptly at 7am.  I did not start where I was "supposed" to, which, with a half marathon goal time of 2:41 or less would have been waaaaaaaaay in the back with the 5:00 hr marathon pace group start corral.  I think I positioned myself around the 3:45 corral.  I may "cheat" at the start line, but I stay to the right so I'm easy to pass for the [much] faster runners.  There wasn't a lot of start line congestion and I made it to the timing pad within about 3 minutes of the gun time.  There was the standard general congestion for the first mile or so, but it really wasn't too bad.  It was easy to maneuver my way around people for the most part.  My coworker I ran into at the expo yesterday, Dion, warned me about the hills.  They're all over the place in this race, the worst 2 being in the last 1.5 miles of the race.  OMG!

I went into this race with a general understanding and deal with myself that I would take somewhat structured/regular walk breaks to make sure I didn't end the race doing the shuffle for the last 2 miles like I did at the RNR half.  Unlike the RNR, I never hit the "wall."  I had originally thought I would walk for a minute at every mile mark, but that's not what happened.  No one was doing any walking yet at the first mile, so I just kept on going.  I took my first walk break at the first water stop at mile 1.8-ish.  The first 3 water stops, I grabbed some Gatorade AND water.  After that, I was a little selective about grabbing fluids.  I didn't want to overdo it.  I mean, on my last long training run of 11.2 miles, I didn't drink ANY fluids during the entire run even though I had a bottle with me...I just wasn't thirsty.  Since I haven't been taking in a lot of fluids during a run in training, I didn't want to confuse my body by taking in a bunch of fluids today.  I had taken 2 AccelGels with me for the race (the 2 that I scored as handout samples from the expo yesterday!) and only ate mile 7. 

The spectators were great.  My favorite signs were:
• "should have taken a dump while you had the chance"
• "Sunday funday you're doing it wrong"

• a sign that said something similar to "keep pushing! (just not too hard) poop bags" with arrows pointing to doggie bags taped to the bottom right corner of the sign
• a guy dressed as Jason with a "blood" covered plastic machete holding a sign that said "RUN like I was behind you!"
 • not a sign, but a guy's garbage bag to keep himself warm pre-race that said "death before DNF"
Okay, you know how at some of the later water stops they hand out petroleum jelly on tongue depressors?  You know how most volunteers will yell out "petroleum jelly!  not for eating!" as they hand it to you?  Well, there were quite a few people from Japan, so their English was probably not all that great.  I say this because I watched a Japanese guy EAT the petroleum jelly.  GROSS!!!  Another note with the p.j. is that this is the first time I've used it during a race.  I know it's because my shirt was cotton and not a tech shirt, because it happened under my biceps right where my arms rub against the underarm part of my shirt.

The 2 worst hills were in the last 1.5 miles of the half.  But, I powered through them with strategic walking, so it was all good.  One good thing about wearing a shirt that says something fun on it like my shirt ("I don't sweat I sparkle") is that spectators will single you out and cheer for you.  On more than one occasion, someone hollared out something about "you got this, Sparkle!" or "you're doing great, Sparkle!"  Also, a plus to having your name on your bib and having a habit of running to the far right is that spectators can read your bib as you run by and cheer for you by name!  And 2 people did just that.  It felt great to have someone personally cheering for me, even thought I didn't have any friends or family within the spectators.

I ran without music again.  I think I've figured it out.  If it's a big race that will have a lot of participants, I won't wear music because it makes me feel more a part of the group and enjoy the experience more.  If it's a smaller race with not very many participants (for instance, the Brown Santa 5K), I will wear music because I find myself to be incredibly bored during races where I'm not running in a big herd of people.

The finish area was great.  I got my medal almost immediately after crossing the finish line.  
it has Willie Nelson on it...wish it was Stevie Ray Vaughn
I was able to grab a bottle of water to chug, 2 mini bagels, the most delicious oatmeal cookie I've ever eaten, a banana, and a bag of generic Frito's.  I have to say, I think my favorite post-race food is Frito's (or a generic version).  The only thing I would have wished for that wasn't there was some chocolate milk.  Maybe next time I'll do gear check and stash a bottle of chocolate milk in there.  After raiding the food, I hit up the PR gong photo op, then made my way toward the gear check/finisher shirt pickup tent.  I got my shirt and then wandered the rest of the post-race area.  
post shower, sporting my finisher's shirt
They even had a tent with laptops set up to search your results.

I found the massage tent, only to find out that they weren't free 5-minute massages but 20-minutes for $20 massages.  I didn't have any cash on me, so I was S.O.L. on a massage.  I then made my way back to my car.  
On the way, I made sure to stretch out my calves and hamstrings to hopefully keep my legs from seizing up on the drive home.  It worked.  When I got home, I finished up my stretching and did my IT band foam rolling, then hit the shower.

After I showered and got some yummy food in my system, I went to the website and looked up the official results.  I think if the course hadn't been so hilly, I could have easily have gone about 3-4 minutes faster on my finish time.  But I'm more than happy with my finish time.  I shaved 20 minutes off my previous half finish time and that's awesome.
I'm not too happy with the muted colors they used, hard to see.
With these results, I can set a goal time for the Austin 10/20 (a 10 mile race) based on what I hit the 10 mile mark during this race.  I hit it at 1:55 hrs.  So, I'll set a goal time for the Austin 10/20 of 1:52.  That sounds good to me.  I did just notice that there's no 10K time listed.  Hmmm.  Weird because there was a timing set up at the 10K mark.

Here's my splits from my Garmin

Anyway, I'm super happy with this race and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Expo

Well, I was supposed to work a double shift last night, but when I arrived for my second shift, I was told I wasn't even on the schedule...not that I was extra...but that I wasn't even on the schedule.  What?  They better pay me for my minimum 2 hours for showing up since I was told last week by these supervisors that I was working last night.  Good thing I still have the email stating that!  2 hours isn't as nice as 8 hours on the paycheck, but it's better than no hours.

So, since I didn't work the double I was expecting to work last night, I got to sleep last night.  This is really good because all the experts say that it's not the sleep you get the night before a race that is most important, it's the sleep you get 2 nights before the race.  Most people don't sleep well the night before a race anyway due to race jitters and general excitement about the race.  I usually don't have a problem sleeping the night before a race, but why not be as well prepared as possible, right?

Since I didn't have to work until 6 this morning, that meant I got a fairly normal night's sleep.  I just let myself wake up when my body said it was fully rested...which was at about 9:45.  I got up and got ready and headed to the expo.  I had budgeted myself $100 to spend at the expo.  I went hoping to find a set of arm warmers and that Hippie Runner would have a booth so I could buy a couple more expandable gear belts.  I found a set of solid pink arm warmers for $10.  I could have gotten some One More Mile arm warmers with funny quotes on them, but they were almost twice as much, so I just went with the cheaper ones.  Hippie Runner did not have a booth, so I didn't get any new gear belts.  Boo.  I stopped into the Brooks/Luke's Locker area and perused their clothing racks.  I found a Nike running shirt and an Anue tank that I really liked.  They were both on the clearance rack, so they were already about half price, plus, everything in the store area was an additional 20% off.  So, both the shirt and tank were $26 after tax.  Nice.

BondiBand was there and, as many of you may know, I have a bunch of BondiBand headbands.  I didn't know that they made balaclavas!!!  Well, they don't call them balaclavas, I think the lady just called it a neck warmer, but it's the same thing.  Theirs seemed to be more insulating than the one I bought at Gander Mtn the other day, so I bought one.  It needs a wash though, the fabric smells funny.  Haha!
I love stars!!!
I also bought a new headband (ha, like I really needed anymore!!!).  It's sparkly pink cheetah print!  Love it!

There were 2 booths that had running related stickers for sale, however, neither one had a "couch" sticker.  One had a 0.0 sticker, but that's not as funny as one that says "couch."  I'll have to see if I can find one on the internet somewhere. 

I've gotten myself all messed up here.  The first thing I did when I arrived at the expo was pick up my race packet.  That way, I'd have a bag to put my purchases in.  I arrive at the packet pickup area and you stand in line based on your bib number.  There was a sign telling you what website to go to look up your bib number.  the half marathon numbers went from 6000 to 15,000.  I looked up my number and it was 7241.  Pretty low...and then I remembered that when I registered, I did it within the first 24 hours AND I was one of the first 1000 people to register, so, yea, my number is gonna be low.  Nice.  The bibs are very attractive and this is the first time I've had a bib that had my name on it!!!  I feel all fancy! 
At the expo, I only spent about $65, which was $35 less than I had budgeted for....SCORE!  So, I ran by Academy afterward to grab a couple new sports bras.  When I got home, I put together my outfit for tomorrow.  I'm feelin' the pink for this one!  Yellow would have been fun, but pink it is!
you can see my new sparkly pink cheetah print headband
Oh, and I ran into a coworker at the expo...while I was waiting for the dressing rooms to try on the shirt and tank to make sure they looked good on me before buying them.  He's run this race before so he warned me that it's hilly and hard, but he said I would do just fine.  It was really cool to run into him!  When he and I worked the same shift like 9.5 years ago, we used to workout on our lunch hours together. 
One of the freebie things I received at the expo was a 2013-2014 race schedule.  Obviously this isn't going to have EVERY race out there, just the ones that pay to be in it, probably.  Anyway, I've said I have plans to run my first full marathon at the RNR Las Vegas this year (Nov 16).  I've also said that if I can't financially make the trip, then I will run the full at either the Dallas Marathon or the RNR San Antonio in December.  Well, I know what day the Dallas Marathon is on now: MY BIRTHDAY!!!  If I can't make the RNRLV, I am *definitely* doing the Dallas Marathon.  What better birthday present to myself than to do my first full marathon?  I can't think of a better one.  So, now I'm kind of hoping I can't afford the trip to Vegas (sorry Kim!).  If I do that, I still want to run the full in Vegas, so maybe I'd do it next year if I don't do it this year.  Oh, and the Army Marathon happens here in Texas in March.  It's way too soon for me to run it this year, but maybe I can do it next year?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Done for the Week

I got up yesterday and ran for the 3rd day in a row.  Monday was 6.3 miles, Tuesday was 3.2 and yesterday was just 3.  I didn’t want to run the same 3 mile loop I’ve been running the past few weeks.  Even though I love this 3 mile loop, I know I need variety in my routes to prevent boredom.  So, before I headed out yesterday morning, I mapped out a new route.  It’s not too bad.  I liked it.  I’ll definitely run it again and keep it in my route rotation.  So, I ran 12.5 miles in 3 days.  Nice.  And, I’m done running for the week.  Pretty much done exercising in general for the week.  I “might” do the hour DVD of Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior Saturday evening, if I feel up to it.  But, I’m not going to stress or anything if I don’t feel up to it for whatever reason. 

Anyway…why am I done exercising for the week?  I remember saying that I might squeeze in a short workout of some variety tomorrow morning.  However, I remembered after posting that idea that tomorrow is payday and I have to pay bills and run errands.  So, no workout tomorrow. 

I worked a double shift yesterday and I’m working another one tomorrow.  I have a vacation day on Saturday so I can 1) go to the expo and pick up my packet and do some shopping, and 2) so I can get to bed at a decent hour and hopefully get some good sleep before waking up super early to be at the start line on time for the Austin Marathon (I’m running the half…if you’ve been reading, then you already know that).  The start line is at 16th street and Congress Ave in downtown Austin.  Instead of fighting and stressing over parking, I’m going to park at my work and walk the 8 or 9 or 10 blocks to the start line.  It’ll be a nice little warm up, I know my car will be safe, and it’ll be a fast exit when I leave because I won’t be parked where everyone else is.

Well, I guess I’ll go ahead and lay out my exercise plans for next week.  I’m working double shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday, so no workouts Wednesday or Thursday mornings.

• Sunday – half marathon
• Monday – trainer workout
• Tuesday – run
• Wednesday/Thursday – no workout
• Friday – run
• Saturday – gym or yoga, maybe a fast 2 mile run (?)

So, this lady I follow on Instagram (Lvnfit) has lost an incredible amount of weight, so much that she had to have a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin.  Anyway, she is constantly posting her workouts and what she’s eating.  She details everything.  She lists what exercises she did, how much weight and how many reps and sets she did.  With her food, she takes a picture of the food and then lists what it is, if there’s a recipe, she includes that and then she lists out the calories, fat, protein, etc content of the meal.  Something I think I need to do is sit down with her Instagram page and write down her workouts and what she’s eating and apply some of that to myself.  Especially the food.  The food she posts is always so healthy and hearty and looks delicious!  I will probably peruse her page on Sunday evening.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Would you rather....?

This morning was a 3 mile run.  It was cold again, like last night, so I bundled up again.
One thing I did differently was to put on a pair of thin knit gloves on underneath my windbreaker gloves...mainly because the insides of the windbreaker gloves where damp from sweat from last night's run.  Haha.  I felt colder on this morning's run than I did on last night's even though it was a couple degrees "warmer" this morning...and it showed in my pace

Not super fast, but faster than last night's run.  This cold weather running is good for me as far as speeding up my average pace.  Oh, and I went further than the planned 3 miles because it was cold...I just ran the last bit that I would have walked at the end.

I'm pretty sore from yesterday's trainer workout.  LOVE IT!!!  He had me do a combo dumbbell chest press/military press.  Lay on the bench, press the dumbbells up (like a bench press), then a sit up and military press above your head.  My pecs are quite sore from this exercise.  Then, at the end, when i was doing abs, he had me hit the TRX straps for one of the exercises.  You know when you use and ab-roller (the wheel with handles) and you're on your knees and you roll it out in front of you and then use your abs to pull yourself back in?  It's like that except you're standing.  You hold onto the straps, lean forward with your arms straight in front of you as far as you can go, then pull yourself back to standing straight up with your abs.  My upper abs are so sore!!!  Again...LOVE IT!!!  Also, my rhomboids (I think those are the ones...the ones between your shoulder blades...if I'm wrong, please let me know) are sore from the heavy ropes.

Well, here's a runner's "would you rather" survey I found on Carina's blog.

Would you rather…run with one of your ancestors or your role models? I don’t see any of my ancestors beyond prehistoric ancestors being much in the way of runners in my family.  So, I would go with a role model.  I love Mike from Run Nerds Rock and he’s an amazing runner with an 800+ day running streak.  So, if I could get him to run almost 4 minutes per mile slower than he usually runs to pace with me for a run, I think that would be absolutely fabulous.

Would you rather…run a race that is a few hours drive but in a beautiful location or in your city with a short drive?
  Can I do both?  Hahaha.  I would choose the one that is the further drive.  I can drive there the day before, stay in a hotel and be up early for the race.  I notice the scenery when I’m running, so I would really appreciate the beautiful location of the race. 

Would you rather…take an ice bath for a half hour or foam roll for a half hour? I’ve never done an ice bath, but then I’ve never done a run longer than 15 miles either and I hear ice baths are for the really long runs.  But then, I haven’t really looked into them because I’m not sure how I would get all that ice into an apartment.  I don’t have a chest freezer to store bags of ice from the store in.  So, I’ll have to go with option B, foam roll for half an hour.  I already foam roll my IT bands post runs, and I’ve been through therapy for shin splints where they taught me all sorts of ways to roll all areas of my leg muscles, so I know what to do with a foam roller.  I do want to get one of the knobby rollers, though.

Would you rather…have a black toe nail pulled off or have your entire back chaffed from running and be forced to shower for a hour straight?
I don’t have a huge problem with chaffing and I’ve never had a black toe nail.  I do know from experience that chaffing only burns for like 5 seconds after the water hits it, so I guess I’ll go with what I know and choose the chaffing shower.

Would you rather…spend an extra $100 a month given to you on running/fitness or save it?
 I would say save it because I desperately need a savings account, but I could register for all the races I would want to do within Texas with that extra $100 a month and even pay for the gas to drive to them, and I know me, I like to spend money if I have it, so I would spend it on race registration or a second pair of running shoes so I can cycle my shoes.

Would you rather…be known for running the fastest marathon or running the longest distance at one time? I would absolutely love to be able to run super fast.  I don’t run any times that could be confused for fast and I don’t think fast is my destiny.  I think I’m a distance runner.  So, I think it would be pretty cool to run a super long distance.  After I’ve tackled the marathon later this year, I may start setting my sights on running an ultra sometime down the line.

Would you rather…have your medal handed to you by Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan? I’m not super familiar with either lady, but I follow Shalane on Facebook, so I’ll just go with her.  Hahaha. 

Would you rather…lick someone else’s armpit after a marathon, or lick their foot after a marathon?  Um…gross…either way.  I guess their foot.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Balaclava? Baklava?

So, yesterday I worked overtime in the morning and when I got home, I felt not so good.  Not sick, but not good.  So I laid down for a nap.  I figured I'd nap for an hour and a half, but when that time frame came to pass, I was still feeling blah, so I slept for another hour.  I felt better, but at that point, it was sunset and about to be dark.  So, no run yesterday.  I rescheduled yesterday's run for this morning, right before meeting up with my friend Chris for coffee and yakking.  Well, I woke up late and texted Chris.  I decided we would go ahead and meet up and I would run later in the afternoon.  Well, true to form, he and I yakked for about 2 hours.  At that point, I needed to do my grocery shopping and then start getting ready for my trainer workout.  Guess I would be running post trainer workout, then.

Chris and I had met up at the Starbuck's in Target, which is where I was going to do my grocery shopping.  I was hoping to buy something I mentioned the other day and called a "neck cowl."  Well, they didn't have said "neck cowl."  So, after I got home, I decided I would leave early and go to Academy on my way to workout with Samy.  Got to Academy and when I couldn't find it on my own, I approached a staff member and described what I was looking for.  She curtly replied they were all sold out of those items and then promptly went back to what she was doing.  Nice to meet you too.  Anyway, I left and headed over to Gander Mtn.  Again, I couldn't find what I was looking for on my own, so I found a very helpful and very friendly staff member and described what I was looking for.  She took me to a display of something called "SunThing" which was exactly what I was looking for.  And it's not called a "neck cowl," it's called a balaclava. 
So, I got myself suited up for a cold weather run with my new balaclava and headed out the door.  I wore the balaclava over my face as pictured for the first 3/4 of a mile and then pulled it down so it was just covering my cheeks, chin and neck.  It made me super aware of my breathing and between not liking that and not liking breathing through something, I wasn't a fan of it being over my mouth.  But, it wasn't super windy out, so it was okay for the rest of the run to wear it like that without my face getting too cold.  This is what I ran in
FEELS LIKE 26°?!?!?!?!?!  Eeep!  But, I bundled myself up so well that I never really felt cold the entire run, so I didn't run all that "fast."  I actually pretty much ran my normal paces the entire run.  That's still good.  It's less than a week from my next event: a half marathon, so I should be somewhat taking it easy anyway.  This isn't the time to be pushing myself to new limits or faster paces.
The first 2-ish miles, my shin muscles were aching.  It was similar to shin splint ache, but in a different area of the shin.  I knew why it was achy...during my trainer workout, Samy gave me a choice between push-ups and mountain climbers to pair with my sets of suicide sprints.  I chose mountain climbers.  He made me do them with my toes on these slider pads.  Doing the mountain climbers on the pads made me use the muscle on the front of my shins.

Today was a double workout day!  Woohoo!  I burned about 1500 calories between the two too.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Am I "That Girl"?

I went to Walgreen’s this evening to return something.  While I was standing at the cosmetics counter waiting my turn, a lady walked in that had a nice slim, not-too-skinny body.  I wondered if she struggled like I did or if she was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have to work hard at a nice looking body.  When I was walking up the stairs when I got home, carrying my frozen pizza and copy of the March Runner’s World, I said hi to some neighbors unloading some things from their car.  At that moment, when I started climbing the stairs to my apartment, I wondered if people looked at me and wondered something similar while seeing me stuff my face with pizza or a burger or whatever it may be.  I mean, I’m not skinny, but I’m most definitely not fat anymore.  I’m still about 20 or so pounds above my goal weight, but I look good in clothes that fit well…even though I’m not entirely happy with how I look in a swimsuit or naked right now.  So, wondering if people thought that about me sort of put things in perspective a little bit.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past week…about my weight loss, weight gain and eating.  While I absolutely LOVE the Shred Diet (minus week 3…week 3 is really hard for me) and it does get me really good results, it may be a little too restrictive for me to follow day after day without a break.  So, I’m thinking I need to combine it with some other ways of eating healthy.  I mentioned doing a vegan cleanse after I run my half marathon next week.  So, maybe what I can do is a week or two of the Shred, a week of vegan, then a week of calorie counting.  That way, I get a good variety and it keeps my body guessing more than doing just the Shred does.  Because, you see, while the Shred helped me lose 10.4 lbs in 4 weeks, it also caused me to become very constipated, which led to me becoming extremely frustrated and then resulted in me gaining back the weight I had lost.  Ugh.  I’ve got to move past the frustration that this has caused and is still causing me and try something else to find if that works for me.  I think that if I do the 1-2 weeks of Shred, 1 week vegan, and then 1 week just counting calories will help keep things moving, if you know what I mean…haha.

So, today was a scheduled long run day.  However, I worked overtime on the morning shift this morning and didn’t sleep very well at all last night.  On top of all that, I had overactive bowels today, which further exhausted me apparently.  When I got home, all I wanted was a nap.  I figured I’d nap for an hour and a half and then go for my run and be done around sundown.  An hour and a half went by and I reset the alarm for another hour or so more, which would mean if I ran tonight, I’d be running at night or going to the gym to run 6 miles on the treadmill.  When I did get up just before 6pm, I had some back and forth about whether to run or not and ultimately decided I would just wait until tomorrow.  I finalized the decision after checking the weather.  This evening, it’s in the upper 60’s, tomorrow morning, it will be in the low 40’s.  Perfect.   

I’ll get up around 7:30 or 8 tomorrow morning, go for my run, shower and then go meet a friend for coffee.  Then I’ll do grocery shopping and then come home and do whatever food prep I need to do for the week and then chill until time to go to my trainer workout at 4pm.

Oh, and I relooked at my work/overtime schedule for this week and, if I'm up for it, I can get in a bonus workout on Friday before, maybe a 2 or 3 mile run or I'll do that yoga session?  We shall see.

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