Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Houston Half!

Written post-race, January 15th

Feeling good and running along!  Look coach, no smiling at the camera!!!

Today, I am happy.  It's funny because the time I had today is still not close to my PR of 2:10 but there were different goals today and so really, the two races are apples & oranges.    Today, I wanted to show improvement and I think I have!

I'm happy to report that I was 6ish minutes better than I was at the Chicago Half and more than 10min faster than last year.  Today was not an A race so I went technology free and I loved it.  I enjoyed the event today as much as I enjoyed my first half and I think that speaks volumes.  I pushed at times I thought I didn't have much left and I also learned that even when you think you can't push, you certainly can.  Did I get everything right?  Well, of course not but I got more right than I got wrong and the stuff I got wrong is stuff I can now focus on as I head into my final several weeks of prep for The Woodlands Half, my A race.  

I'm not going to get into a summary of how I felt where mainly b/c I just put all that info in Training Peaks for my coach and I don't want to type it again and cut & pasting is for losers.  :)  I'm kidding, I c&p like the best of them.  There were a couple of "Jenny" race moments. If you've been following this blog at all, or know me even just a little, you know that I am prone to some random things happening at times.  Things that make you say, "wtf".  Well today, I had a "wtf" moment at approximately mile 11.75.  I was trucking along and when I say trucking I really mean I was jogging at a pace that wasn't going to kill me.  Anyway, I was trucking along when I felt a pop from my sports bra.  I reached back and the snap closure was broken.  O M G.  What am I going to do?  I had no choice but to stop to see if I could fix it. I glanced across Allen Pkwy to my left and saw Keith riding his bike along.  He motioned for me to get moving and I yelled, "my bra broke"!!!!!  Yes, Keith and everyone within a .5 mile radius heard that one as I had my iPod volume up just a little too loud.  I fiddled with it for a minute and got one of the hooks to work but had to leave the others undone.  I started to run ever so cautiously until I felt confident the hook would hold and then picked up the pace.  I was worried though...what if the final hook final gave in to the pressure it's been supporting for the past year and decided it was going to quit on me too.  Would I be forced to bounce to the finish line?  Ugh.  Luckily I didn't have to find out as the bra held up and is now resting comfortably in the trash.  Upon closer inspection, I'm lucky the thing held in there the whole race.  Some of you might be thinking I need to stop buying cheap sports bras but let me tell you, this bra has been the bomb.  It's not like I'm involved in low impact sports either.  This thing has had the tough job of reigning in the twins for a long time under tough conditions!  Note to self:  get online and order a few more Moving Comfort bras before I bust any others.  :)

Other than the bra incident, I was good.  I finished the race feeling very proud of myself for improving.  For a brief moment I was a little sad by the final time but then reminded myself this wasn't an A race and also reminded myself that it takes time for speed to come back and I have to assume it's a lot like weight loss.  You want to lose weight slowly to make sure it's done the right way.  Well, speed must also come back slowly so that you can be sure that you're really going to be able to maintain the new found speed long term. Once all this was put into perspective, I was back to being happy as a clam. 

Before I get to thanking all the important people who helped me, I have to give major props to my brother, Luke.  This kid has not run since November.  He has run two half marathons at 1:51 and obliterated his time today finishing in just barely over 1:41.  Umm, for those who are wondering, that's a 7:44min/mile pace.  WITHOUT TRAINING.  I have been hoping and praying that Luke would have a race where he realized training was sooo important and that he couldn't get better without it. Well, today was not that race.  All joking aside, I am extremely proud of Luke.  A 10min PR is a big deal but to do it with no training is just unimaginable to me.  Because we come from the same gene pool, I have to believe that maybe I have just a little, tiny bit of his running talent.  Makes sense right?  

Ok, so I have to thank Keith for being out there all morning. He rode his bike all over that course and was my cheerleader the whole way.  From mile 6.5 - 7 he let me know I was running well and to keep pushing.  He yelled at me (repeatedly) to get moving on Allen Pkwy.  While I was fixing my bra, he told me to just GO.  Up until the 12 mile marker, he was just telling me to get it done.  It was awesome seeing him out there!!!  Of course, I thank my coach as well for really helping me get my stuff together.  I know she wants me to see a big improvement soon too but also helps me understand what's important to focus on.  Ana is understanding but at the same time, tough and I really appreciate all she does.  

My 5th Houston Half Marathon Finish
I sit here post-race really excited about the next several weeks.  There is no doubt I have my work cut out for me.  There are no guarantees of course but I'm realizing, that's ok.  Today was a great day and I'm a better runner for having this great experience.  Side note: the Marathon committee did an outstanding job.  This is my favorite race every year and I really thought this year was the best yet.  I loved the new corral system (even though I got bounced out of green but hey, no hard feelings.  

January 17th Update
Typically once a few days post-race set in, I start second guessing myself and dwelling on the things that are done that I can't change.  Not today!  I'm still proud of myself.  I still think chipping away at my times little by little is going to help me in the end.  What I'm more excited about is how anxious I am to get out there and run again.  I've found a few races (running) I think I want to do this year and I'm having to resist temptation by signing up for them.  :)  

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!!  I hope you have a great week!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Can I get a What What?

Y'all know how I love to Google images for all my posts right?  Well, the title of this post sent me on my way to find a suitable image.  Below is what came back.  Priceless.

This may end up being my new FB profile pic.  

So guess what?  It's race week again!  The Houston Half snuck up on me once again but I'm super excited for Sunday all the same.  This is my 5th Houston Half and I'm hoping it will be just as fun as ever.  As you know, I would typically share with you all my hopes and dreams for a race when I blog during race week but not this time.  Nope!  Remember that one of my resolutions is to learn to race and that's just what I'll be tackling come Sunday.  I will be running technology free for the first time in a race (well, excluding all the 5k's I did back in the 90's just for the t-shirt).  I'm just going to run.  My brother Luke will be out there as well on Sunday and will also be running the half. Luke signed up for the full but didn't really get to train for it so changed his registration to the half.  Luke will be running with his friend and they are shooting for a PR...a big PR.  Luke's friend asked if I would be running with them (clearly he was D-runk).  Umm, I wish.  No Mr. 7.5 min half marathoner, I will be running a slightly slower pace.  I have asked Luke to come back out on the course to find me and run me in though.  I do want to run my last few miles as hard as possible and have instructed him to come and kick my Kim K. bootie to the finish.  For all you peeps also out there this weekend, I hope you have fantastic races!

I also spend a little time talking about race day attire.  Yeah, I'm not ready to discuss that yet either.  I feel like such a slacker and yet I don't really mind.  I did purchase an Outrival singlet so I have that as an option.  I may choose to leave the team colors at home though and just wear whatever is race day appropriate weather wise.  The good news is that I've tested plenty of outfits and know what will work and what won't.  The outfit below may or may not be in the running (if only it were black & red).  

OMG.  If I wore this on race day, the residents of Houston would get quite the show.
My biggest issue with her choice of running attire is that her flip flops don't match her dress. 

Truth be told, the pic above came up when I searched my race number on Google Images.  I was hoping to get another cool highway sign but I guess having a 5 digit race number kind of prevents that from happening.  It seemed all my searches were pulling up pictures that had nothing to do with what I was typing in the search field.  My last image to share with you is yet another that came up when I searched my bib number.  The pic of the right doesn't appear to have anything to do with running or my bib number or me. Or does it?  Umm, wait a minute.  Every image that came back through my searches tonight were meant for me.  The pic at the very top (the one with the dude sticking his tongue out) is a perfect depiction of me chasing my brother.  The pic of Obama & Biden is classic b/c I'm like Biden, always making faces at weird times.  The chick running in the tube dress is wearing green & gold,the colors of Alvarado Middle School...where I spent 5th - 8th grade.  And finally,Gollum.  I LOVE Lord of The Rings.  Gollum was totally meant for me. 

So there you have it.  My non-traditional (even by my standards) race week update.  I hope you all are having a great week and may the days ahead be full of sunshine and chocolate!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do I look like an extreme couponer to you?

I absolutely can't believe I'm blogging about coupons and the art of couponing but given recent events, I find I have no choice. 

A few months ago my sister suggested I take up this "hobby".  Actually, I think I even included it in a blog.  She was worried that after IMTX, I would sign up for another IM and therefore, be unavailable to her.  I remember her telling me there were lots of other hobbies out there and she found one perfect for me....couponing.  I immediately laughed at her and told her she had gone batty but she insisted she needed to explain.  Extreme couponers are very organized, anal retentive and competitive.  Since I also have those characteristics, she figured it was a perfect match.  

I forgot about her crazy idea for a few months but then she brought it up again.  OMG, leave me be!  I reminded Stef I'm single, live alone and have no place to store all my loot.  Well duh, she knew that but reminded me that I could give her and my mom what I bought.  Ahh, it's all becoming clear to me now.  I told Stef again I was not interested in a hobby like this.  Plus, my hands are now full with Pinterest so she needs to get over it. 

As I was channel surfing last night, I came across an episode of Kourtney & Kim Take New York and actually stopped b/c Stef told me Kourtney got really into couponing.  I decided to stop and watch it.  I mean, what else did I have to do?  My coach has me on lock down and is only allowing me to run and stretch.  And last night, my only "workout" was with El Diablo (I'll explain that one later).  I decided to watch the episode and see if it was entertaining.  Oh hells bells it sure was!  One of the characteristics I share with couponers and evidently Kourtney Kardashian is that I'm also a little bit on the obsessive side (past/present obsessions include nail polish, shoes, purses, Star Wars, 3 Musketeers, notebooks...I think you get the picture).  I was laughing my butt off.  Kourtney goes to the store and buys like $180 worth of stuff and saves only $7.  Umm, you suck at this!  I went to Kroger today and saved that much on a $40 bill.  Oh crap, maybe I am a couponer at heart!  The episode ends with an intervention as Kourtney's baby daddy is tired of her spending more time cutting coupons than focusing on him.  They hide her coupon binder (OMG) and tell her she has to stop.  The best part was seeing her stock pile of stuff in their hotel room.  

So tonight I turned on my DVR to find an episode of Extreme Couponing:  All Stars.  I'm not going to lie, I'm impressed by what these ladies did.  The winner of the show got over $500 worth of stuff for like $24.  W T H.  While I appreciate her ability to save, I was horrified that she refers to herself as the Couponator.  I'm single and I can promise you that if I called myself the Couponator, I would remain single long enough to accumulate about 300 cats.  No thanks.  The Couponator was victorious because her "competitor" did not meet the minimum purchase of $500.  Even if she had, she had to pay way more for her carts than the Couponator did.  

As I sit here and reflect I know more than ever that I MUST sign up for another Ironman ASAP so I don't cave and take on couponing.  

A couponer with multiple shopping carts.  Nightmare.

Nearly $700 worth of groceries for $8.27?!? Holy savings Batman!

A couponers home stockpile.  This is nuts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Eve & New Years Day

My blogging in 2012 is off to a great start!  It's Monday, January 2nd and I'm enjoying my last day of vacation.  The dogs let me sleep in until 7am and I'm about to get my run on.  :)  

I've never been a huge fan of going out on NYE but always seemed to do something.  The past few years, we've been at Keith's, usually with Hannah and some of her friends.  This year she did something different and we were left to figure out on our own what we would do.  We kicked around the idea of going to a nice dinner since several restaurants had special NYE menus but then we decided we'd rather just sit around at home.  Since we came to that conclusion a week or so before NYE, we had time to get online and order us an awesome pizza from Lou Malnati's in Chicago.  Okay, we didn't order just one pizza...we ordered 4 as we realized the shipping cost is the same for 1 or 4 pizzas and this way, we have extra for nights we don't want to cook.  

We did have a few errands to run NYE day and so we set out on our mission to start 2012 organized and went to The Container Store.  I swear I hear angels singing every time I enter that place.  I LOVE getting stuff organized and I love that store.  After that, it was off to HEB for their Coinstar as I had a lot of change accumulating in my Star Wars beer stein (those who doubt how much of a Star Wars fan I am really shouldn't).  I asked Keith if he wanted to make a guess about how much change I had.  He guessed $30 while I guessed $60.  Final total?  $65ish.  Woo hoo!!!!  If you get a gift card from Coinstar vs a cash voucher, there are no fees so I selected an Amazon gift card and got online to order my Star Wars Blu Rays.  :)  

I was very happy to visit the Coinstar machine!  Kid in a candy store.  
The rest of the day was spent organizing (remember, I did go to The Container Store) while Keith worked in his wood shop.  Mucho props to Keith for getting so much done this break.  Our NYE celebrating started at about 7ish and I'm happy to report we were even able to stay up until midnight!!!!  

I hope you all had an awesome NYE and are enjoying these first few days so far!  Now, off to run!!!  :)

Organizing my "adult beverage" center.
 Don't laugh, I also have a baking center.  

An awesome way to ring in the New Year!  BTW, the wine was fab!

Mmm....dessert.  :)

Well, at least Keith looks good.  

Aww, a NYE kiss for Sophie. Not sure she's enjoying it though.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012, I'm so glad to meet you!

2012 is here and before I go on my first run of the year, I thought I would sit down and start my first blog of 2012 off right.  Most years, it seems silly to me to come up with resolutions or anything like that but this year it just feels fitting so I will give in!

So what do I hope to achieve this year?  SO MUCH, that's what.  Instead of having one list of resolutions or goals, I feel like I need to have a few:  personal, work & triathlon.  While I do love my lists, that just seems a wee bit overwhelming.  

Because I want to be accountable, I'm going to list some of my most important goals here.  If I remember (and if I'm making progress), I can give updates every so often.  Of course if I'm slacking, you won't hear a peep about these goals again!  LOL.

(1) Learn how to race!  I know this sounds silly given I've been "racing" since 2005 but it's no joke.  While I have proven I know how to race a few times, overall I let little distractions get to me and this year, I'll be practicing how not to do that.  Yay to Ana for telling me this is something I will be focusing on with her help.  

(2) Live a healthier lifestyle.  I will turn 38 in 2012.  Ok, shut up all of you who are either saying I'm still a baby or I just turned 37.  The fact is I'm closer to 40 and while we all know 40 is the new 30, we also all know things just change and slow down as you age. My body parts haven't headed south yet but I know it's only a matter of time.  This year I want to be more mindful of what I put in my body and try to eat better.  I did this for a few months in 2011 when I tried that Blood Type Diet and I really did feel better.  I do want to drop some LB's as well as I know that will have a positive impact on my racing, especially my running.  While the LB's aren't my primary concern, I would be lying if I said weight was just a number and it really didn't matter to me.  It matters.  :)  Ok, maybe the LB's ARE my primary concern.  

(3) Get started on some DIY projects for my townhouse.  Other than family gatherings, I have yet to have a real party or anything at my home.  I LOVE to entertain so this is just shameful.  I always use the excuse that my house doesn't look exactly how I want it to yet.  Dumb!  As I look around, there are only minor things I have yet to do and some of those things I'm not doing until I have to (i.e. I'm waiting until the carpet is done before I put in wood floors).  So the big projects I will be tackling this year with the help of my super handy boyfriend are:  making bookshelves, making an end table and building a deck.  Smaller projects include figuring out a good storage system for my thousands (literally) of photos and making something for my workout room to display my race numbers.  Oooh, I also plan on getting my garage organized again so it will be neat & clean!  It's not bad now but definitely needs some work. Whew.  There you have it.

(4) Since I'll be in a new role at work, I know I'll be spending a good part of early 2012 learning my new job.  Excited doesn't begin to express how I feel about my new opportunity!  I am so, so, SO happy to be moving on and doing something new and I just hope I will do as well in this area as I did in my old job.  

(5) I have to have one fun goal right?  Ugh. I can't think of one right now.  I keep going back & forth between a photography class and cake decorating classes.  I just don't know which!  What to do, what to do?  Hmmm.  Let's just say that I will settle on one goal that has nothing to do with work or triathlon or my house.  Something that is just for me.  I need a little time to research what that will be but know it will be somewhere in here!

(6) Set some PR's!  I hate to put this to paper b/c so much can happen on any given race day that are out of your control.  For a long time I've had the goal to PR at the Half Marathon distance.  I'm hoping that in 2012, I can achieve that goal.  The Woodlands Half Marathon is my "A" race and that's what I'm trying to do there.  What I can tell you for certain is that I intend to train my heart out the next few months and will give it everything I have that day and just hope that the stars align and that I will get my PR. Also, I want to PR at the Oly distance (triathlon).  Right now I have one Oly officially on my schedule with two more as potential.  In my mind, a PR at this distance is far more attainable mainly b/c my current PR is less than stellar so I have lots of room for improvement.  My current half marathon PR is actually a pretty good time and I will have to work a lot harder for a PR.  Make sense?

(7) Run the NYC Marathon.  Ok, this one is somewhat out of my hands. I will be entering the lottery and hope this is the year.  If it's not, I have guaranteed entry in 2013.  :)  

Seriously, who wouldn't want to be part of this?

(8) Finally, I will sign up for another Ironman in 2012.  This is my goal.  While the race won't be in 2012, my preparation for it will certainly start in 2012.  I can't believe that in just a few months I'll be filling out a registration form for another Ironman.  I am so very excited to sign up and am literally counting down the days. 

So there you have it, my Top 8 for 2012.  I was trying to have 12 in '12 but given how meaty this list is, I think I need to stop now. I am only human after all!

Do something you absolutely love today and kick off the New Year right!  May 2012 have amazing things in store for every one of year out there in cyber land!