Sunday, December 7, 2014


I hate having a photo-less blog update but oh well.  I have been a blogging slacker lately.  Between work and life, I've found it tough to find time to log in but I'm going to do my best starting NOW!

I ran the GE Run Through the Woods Thanksgiving morning and had a very respectable 5th place finish with a time of 26:15 (3 mile run).  While I've ran faster than an 8:45 pace before, I was very pleased with my performance.  I have another race a week from today - BCS Half Marathon and I'm hoping to have another solid race there.  

I'm not going to even try to catch you up with everything so I'm going to end this post now and just do my best to post again sometime over the next few days. 

Happy training!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

1st race of October down - 1 more to go!

10 for Texas is done and I was able to squeeze out about a 6 minute PR!  Now, that might sound like a lot but let me just say once again that this is a race where I have had less than expected results for a number of years (well, every year I've done it).  Every time I've done this race, it's been humid and I've pretty much bonked.  I go out too fast, don't hydrate enough or don't take in nutrition (or I do all 3).  This year I tried my very best to go out slow.  Well, my first 2 miles were the fastest of the race but were at least slower than what I've done in the past.  So yay? I actually walked anywhere from 30-60 seconds at each aid station and made sure to take in fluids.  When it was time for water, I would take 2 cups - 1 for my head and 1 for my mouth.  I sipped on Gatorade at alternating aid stations.  The rain started at mile 6 or so and that's when I thought I felt blisters. My feet didn't hurt but something felt weird.  I later found out that the insert in my Saucony running shoes was coming out. WTF?  I hate to admit that I really didn't push this race too much.  I know part of me just wanted to focus on not bonking again so I might have held back when I should've tested the gas tank a bit.  It's comical to me that a good number of my half marathons have been at paces faster than what I've ever run 10 for Texas.  Part of that is due to time of year of course.  I've yet to run a cold 10 for Texas!

Past the turn around and headed back to Market Street.

Post ride - yeah, we averaged 18mph.  Boom!
All in all, the experience was great and I was happy to walk away with a PR.  I had a very, very solid bike ride on Sunday and today had two recovery workouts  - a 2500m swim and a 30 min ride.  I feel great today and am ready for my workouts the rest of the week.  Austin 70.3 is literally right around the corner.  This will be my first (and last) tri of 2014.  I am finally having my first race in my new age group even though I don't turn 40 for another month.  Keith will of course join me in Austin for the race. Emily, Daniel & Elena are going to make it out too so that will be so much fun!  Doug, Regan & Luke all live in Kyle so maybe they'll stop by for the run.  We'll see!  Keith has a friend from EY who is also racing.  Keith said he's SUPER fit.  I checked and he's in the wave after me so I told Keith he'll probably be one of the dudes who swims right over me.  

That's all I've got really.  I wanted to be sure and blog before another month passed.  Oh wait, there is something else to share.  Keith & I were talking yesterday about what races I'd like to do next year.  Given my new role is still pretty demanding, I'm not going to try to do any long races for awhile - no Ironman distance for this girl in 2015.  I've never had a stellar showing at an Oly and Keith has always thought that distance would be my niche (I actually love half Iron distance the most).  I'll probably sign up for an Oly or two and try to beat my best time which frankly, shouldn't be too hard.  I've also decided to enter the lottery for the Chicago Marathon!!!  I'm dying to run NYC again but we got to talking and thought it would be neat to check out another major marathon before I try my luck at NYC again.  Chicago is kind of a no brainer.  The course has a reputation for being fast.  There was one year the temperatures were unseasonably warm (like 88) and the race was forced to shut down as they ran out of fluids and folks were dropping left & right.  I happen to have a little bit of experience with hot, miserable races.  #IMTX.

Ok, now that's really all I have.  Happy training!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Well hello there! It's race week so I figured I should blog. :)

Greeting from Magnolia, Texas!  My evening workout is done and I'm resting with my pups and it occurred to me that it's race week so I should probably do this blog a solid and actually post something. 

To quickly bring you up to speed, Emily & Daniel welcomed their absolutely perfect bundle of joy on September 16th!  Elena Paige Verhaalen made her debut after more than 25 hours of labor - poor Emily!  Mom, baby & daddy are all doing great.  Keith, Hannah & I were able to FINALLY visit them this past weekend and it was so awesome getting to meet her. Elena is a perfect baby and couldn't be any cuter.  It's so nice that they are only 3 hrs away because that means Papa & Nana can visit whenever they want.  Ok, maybe not whenever but we can visit pretty often!  

Nana, Papa & Miss Elena Paige
My sweet sister Annie remains on bed rest and this week, will be 32 weeks prego.  Annie has been in the hospital since 23 weeks and has been SUCH a trooper.  Honestly, I wouldn't have lasted 3 days.  Annie is hanging in there and baby girl is growing like she needs to be.  There's some talk about when the doc will bring baby #2 but I think it's still up in the air a bit.  Annie will need to have a c-section due to her condition so she will have some recovery time but I know she can handle it.  So proud of my sister!

Ok, so race week!  It's funny because when I think of my nemesis race, I always think of Galveston (which I did concur last year thank you very much).  I forgot that I have a second nemesis race - 10 for Texas.  I'm not sure how many times I've done this race but what I am sure of is that every time I've done it, I have never run as well as I have leading up to the race. And I always have a good race after 10 for Texas.  I think because of that, I'm not even setting expectations for Saturday.  Every year, the weather the weekend BEFORE the race is always amazing and very "fall like".  Then race day hits and it's 90% humidity and 80+ degrees.  Every year, I go out at a pace that is fast but feels good.  And every year, the wheels come off somewhere around 5-6 miles.  It's funny because I typically run better during half marathons than I do at this stupid race.  All that being said, my game plan for Saturday is simple.  Go out easy NO MATTER WHAT and then put the pedal to the metal on the back side of the course. No more sprinting up Woodlands Pkwy only to drag ass on Lake Woodlands.  Nope, I'm going to be smart up Woodlands Pkwy and then run like I stole something on the back side.  At least that's the plan. 

So there you have it.  My week will consist of "easy" workouts and plenty of rest so that my body is ready to go come Saturday.  Here's to conquering another nemesis!!!

Happy training y'all!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lake Houston 5k - Race Report

Holy cow!  Did I say race report???  Say it ain't so!
Racing in August in Southeast Texas is not always fun.  Despite the heat & humidity, I managed to have a little fun this past weekend at the Lake Houston 5k.
My expectations were appropriately managed going into this race.  I am not training how I used to and knew I wouldn’t be lighting too much on fire.  With it being August, I also knew full well I would not have a PR and I would certainly not touch my January 5k time and be under 25 minutes.  I was TOTALLY ok with that. 
Keith joined me at this race even though I told him he didn’t have to.  I wasn’t able to pick up my packet the day before because I had to work so we needed to arrive early to grab my packet.  We had about an hour to spare before it was time for the 5k start so we walked around and did a little people watching and then I warmed up for the race.  
There’s not too much to report given this was such a short race.  The 10k group went out 30 minutes before us so by the time we started, the speedy runners were on their way back.  I immediately thought about how happy I was NOT to be running the 10k.  I decided I was going to be smart and not get too crazy so I went out fast but not too fast.  There is no doubt I was holding back and not putting the pedal to the metal.  I started the race already sweaty thanks to my warm up so I wasn’t surprised that I was a Sweaty Betty before mile 1.  I wasn’t breathing too hard and everything felt good so I tried to just hold the pace I was at.  This was an out & back course so pretty soon, I saw the front 5k runners and knew I would get to turn around soon too.  Thank goodness!  As I hit the u-turn, I glanced at my watch and knew I was doing just fine.  I wanted to be under 30 minutes and that wasn’t looking to be a problem.  
I hit the mile 2 marker and decided to walk through it and get some water.  I dumped some on my head and then drank the other. I probably walked longer than I should’ve or needed too but I had started to hear some ringing in my ears and thought maybe I should just dial it back.  I started up again b/c come on, there’s only a mile left and I needed to not be a baby.  Before I knew it, I was hitting the bridge over Lake Houston and could see the finish line.  Man, I would like to be under 28 minutes so I picked it up but knew I didn’t have enough time left to shave off much time.  I finished nice and hard and felt good about my time.  I knew it wasn’t going to be good enough for a podium place but decided to wait around anyway. 
28:18 was good for 7th in a field of 71 which put me in the top 9.9% of my age group.  I was very happy about that and couldn’t complain one bit!  Out of all females, I was 27 out of 350ish which was good for top 7.8%.  Wowza!!!!   The goal of this race was to kind of give me a kick in the pants and get my competitive juices flowing again.  It felt wonderful to be out there and I really enjoyed pushing myself if only a little bit. Mission accomplished!
So from here, I’ve got Austin 70.3 8 weeks from this coming Saturday with 10 for Texas before then.  Time to buckle down and get moving!

Happy training!

Pre race smiles for the future Mr. & Mrs.  :)

Just trucking' along!

All smiles on the way home!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Adding to my race calendar!

Even though IMAZ is off the calendar, I'm not exactly resting on my laurels.  Wedding planning is actually kind of exhausting.  We thought about hiring a wedding planner to help with some logistics given our wedding will be out of town. Well, the quote I got was nearly $5,000.  I'm cheap and don't value my sanity all that much so I said no thanks!  My sisters, sister-in-law and Emily have all agreed to help me and I will take them up on it.  Each and every one of them.  :)

Before I get into the updates to my race calendar, lets talk about the other stuff in life that isn't wedding related.  Keith & I were in San Marcos last Friday for Emily's grad school graduation.  Yay!!  I think it's safe to say Emily was the only VERY prego graduate that day and looked super cute.  We had a really fun dinner the night before with some of her friends and then after graduation, Emily's mom treated us all to lunch at Los Cucos.  It was a great celebration and we're so excited for Emily!  Next up:  the debut of Miss Elena Paige Verhaalen!

Hannah was in Germany for a church conference.  Thousands of teens from around the world went to Muenster and she had an amazing time.  We got to see her last night and she told us all about her adventures and the way she and her friends were touched by God's presence.  She had a super amazing trip!

We saw Caitlin for just a short time at graduation and she's sporting a cute & sassy new haircut.  We were really hoping that at lunch, she & Daniel would get into a queso eating contest but no such luck. 

Keith & I got to FaceTime with Addie & Morgan yesterday.  Oh my gosh...they are absolutely adorable.  Addie was in a great mood and Morgan was sweet as she could be.  While we don't have any plans to go to San Diego before the year is over at the moment, Papa & Nana are probably going to need to book a flight (you hear that Heather & Michael?)!!!

On a sadder note, Annie is back in the hospital.  She hits 24 weeks later this week and has started bleeding again.  With her condition, placenta previa, this is going to be what she continues to experience the remainder of the pregnancy.  We keep hoping and praying that she can make it as long as possible. She's now been on bed rest for 7 weeks and is hanging in there. We love you Annie and baby!!

Ok, so now we can chat about racing!  I cancelled my hotel reservations in Mesa today so decided I need to cheer myself up by spending money on some races.  I'm going to do a 5k in a few weeks (I didn't ask my coach first so I hope Ana is ok with that). ;)  I thought I needed to do SOMETHING just to get my competitive juices flowing again.  I also signed up for a 5k in early February and 10 for Texas in October.  I've got a few other races I may try to do but need to see how wedding related "stuff" shakes out first. 

After I get through Austin 70.3, I think I'm going to spend a lot of next year focusing on running and then mixing in a few sprints here & there to keep me active and happy.  My half marathon count will be over 20 races in no time so I thought I would see if I couldn't hit 25 next year.  :)  Dream big or go home. 

With that, I hope you all have a great week. Look at me back at blogging a little more regularly!!!  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Delaying the inevitable.....

I can't believe I haven't blogged since February.  Oh my goodness!!!  I know I drafted a few blog posts but clearly I never got around to actually posting any of them.

So I got a promotion back in February.  After that, my work life literally blew the heck up.  I worked 75 hrs/week for months.  If I wasn't sleeping, commuting or working, I was trying to squeeze in whatever type of workout I could.  And to be honest with you, there wasn't much left to squeeze in.  I was still early in my training and was keeping my awesome coach looped in so I wan't too worried....yet.

Every time I thought work would get better, it got worse.  On top of my crazy work schedule, Keith & I bought a house and then had to start the process of packing and moving two households.  We had been talking about where we would live when it was time to retire so I'm still not exactly sure how it was that we decided to just go ahead and buy now but we did.  And I'm glad we did because I love this home we're making together!

As if I wasn't stressed enough, I learned my sister Annie was pregnant again.  She just had my beautiful niece Olivia back in December and is due once again in December.  Without sharing too much of Annie's business, she is having a very difficult pregnancy and has been on bedrest since she hit 17 weeks.  She's just over 22 weeks now and she remains on bedrest.  We also know that there is likely no way she will make it full term with this new little angel.  So we wait, hope & pray that she makes it as far as she can but at least to 24 weeks.  

On a brighter note, Keith proposed on July 4th and we'll be getting married early 2015.  Since this is a training blog, I'm going to spare you all the details but I mention this because obviously this has an impact on my free time.  

Before we got engaged, I was really struggling with my ability to do Ironman Arizona in November.  I had traded messages and talked to my coach and we agreed we could give it a little time before I had to make the call as to whether or not I could spend the time I needed to train for this race.  I would have a few good training days and think I was getting back on track and then something would happen.  Even though I'm not working 75 hrs/week anymore, I'm still working over 50hrs/week most weeks.  To put it in perspective, I worked more over time March - June than some people at my company work in a full year.  Seriously.  

Last week I finally made the toughest decision I've had to make in a long, long transfer my race registration for IMAZ to Austin 70.3.  I didn't want to do this.  I wanted (and still want) to do this race more than anything.  And especially on my 40th birthday.  But this year is not my year.  I've told so many people that had I known what this year would look like when I signed up, I never would've signed up.  Never.  I didn't have a crystal ball though so I signed up knowing I would have the time I needed to train for and kill this race.  

So yes, the decision is made and is final.  Instead of killing myself and stressing out over IMAZ, I will be able to focus my attention on training for Austin 70.3 and hopefully train to PR.  

I'm going to have to change the name of this blog.  I may even have to spend some time posting about my wedding planning.  Or just stick to blogging about training.  We'll see!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Race week sorta snuck up on me….again.

2013 The Woodlands Half Marathon - PR!

It's that time….race week time.  I've been looking forward to The Woodlands Half Marathon for awhile and while that hasn't changed, my expectations for race day have.

I had high hopes for this race.  Coming off the NYC Marathon and then having fun at the Houston Half, I thought I would be able to refocus my efforts and train like a beast so I could finally achieve my sub 2hr half marathon.  Life sort of got in the way. And I'm ok with that!

Back in December I applied for a new role at work….a promotion.  I had hoped to hear something right away but the process seemed to take forever and it was late January before I finally was offered the position.  My transfer date was 2/1 and that's when I started transitioning to my new role.  I've got significant more responsibility and I am responsible for a team of 13 (and we're hiring 2 more).  I got my workouts in but they were not quality workouts.  And some of my long runs had to be cut short because I simply didn't have the hours in the day to do everything.  I was surprised by my attitude about the whole situation.  In the past, I would've stressed myself out and been so upset that I wasn't setting myself up for the best race.  Today I look at it as an opportunity to go out and enjoy something I truly love doing….running and being outside!  I know I can run 13.1 miles with no problem.  I've had solid runs the past few days and even did a speed workout that consisted of 6x400 all at a 7:30min/mile pace or faster. It's not impossible for me to have a good race.  Is it possible to have a big PR?  Yes but maybe not likely.  I also have to remind myself that technically, I'm taking a much needed break right now and should be focusing on building strength as I get ready to start IMAZ training.  Go with the flow, baby.

So with that, I'll be out there this weekend and I am sure to have a big smile on my face.  I'm going to do my very best and am probably going to make it hurt a little bit.  But at the end of the day, I'm not going to be disappointed if my time doesn't start with a 1!  There will always be another half marathon.  :)

Happy training!!!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 is off to a great start!

Yes, today was a race day but I'll get back to those exciting details in a minute.

My family is awesome.  I mean seriously, how many people will get up at the butt crack of dawn to go to a 5k?  I stayed with Stefanie last night and she & Avery were up at 5:30am with me to head over to the UH Sugar Land campus for my 5k.  Avery doesn't typically like to get up early but we found her in her room, ready to go!  Angel baby!  On top of that, Keith work up extremely early for the 2nd weekend in a row so he could drive down from The Woodlands to watch.  As if that's not awesome enough, my mom was there to watch too. The 5k started just before 6:40am…yes, you heard that right.  After the half & full marathoners started, the 5k took off.  Let me tell you what impressed me about today though.  While the race start was 6:30am, there was a 4:30am start for marathoners who expected to be on the race course for longer than 6 hours.  FOUR THIRTY IN THE MORNING.  I can't tell you how impressed I am with those who started this early….and I'll tell you, there were a lot of them b/c they were out there when I arrived at the race site.  To get up that early in the morning means they really wanted to finish that marathon.  I was so impressed.  

After the race, we had beignets and hot cocoa/coffee and then Keith & I went to Rosenberg to deliver the cradle he made for Olivia.  Oh my gosh, she's going to love sleeping in that thing.  Keith is so talented and it makes me so happy that he takes the time to make these special keepsakes for my family.  They love them so much and I love him!!!  Yay Keith!

Ok, the race recap.  My previous 5k PR was run in 2009 (I think) and was 27:44…a time I was very proud of.  To finally run a 5k under 30 minutes was a BIG deal to me.  

It would appear that my first mile was somewhere around a 7:50min/mile pace.  W.T.F.  I knew when the race started I wanted to make this one hurt but I didn't expect that type of pace.  Heading out, I saw my family half way between the start and the turnaround.  I wish I could've smiled and waved but I was a woman on a mission and I needed to stay focused. I also thought if I waved I may actually fall down.  Run, breathe, repeat.  Mile 2 I slowed a bit which I think partially had to do with a slight incline and then also a little to do with the turn around.  Either way, I knew I was at a pace that would guarantee a PR.  Just run.  Mile 3 I dropped my pace by about 15 seconds from my Mile 2 pace and knew I had enough to finish strong. I saw my family again and was SO happy but still so focused on making my goal.  I knew that there was a chance for a podium spot if the times were consistent with 2013.  That being said, you never know who is going to show up in a given year so I reminded myself that a PR would be a very good reward with a podium spot being icing on the cake!

I could see the finish line and was hurting. Pumping my arms for extra speed wasn't working due to the fact they were sore from my barre class the day before.  Oopsie.  I glanced at my Garmin and was at a 7:29min/mile pace.  Ok, just a little longer now.  I rounded the final turn and hit the gas.  My breathing was labored, my abs hurt and my arms were on fire.  Not so surprising, my legs felt strong (thank you NYC Marathon training).   I crossed the finish and saw 24:55 on my watch but knew that wasn't official.  Nope, I would have to wait for those results.  Either way, I knew I was probably below 25 minutes and was FREAKING EXCITED.  I called Ana to leave her a message.  Even though she's not coaching me right now, she's still my coach and I knew she would want to hear my update.  I was dying when I called her. I think I even said, "f, I'm tired" and then hung up.  LOL.  I didn't vomit post race but I did taste blood when I coughed.  Hmmm, not sure what that was but I think it meant I went balls to the wall.  

I caught up with the family and then waited (not so) patiently for them to post the results.  Official time was 24:57….a nearly 3 minute PR.  That time was good to get me 2nd place in the 30-39 age group!!!!  For a split second, I was sad not to get 1st BUT I was so happy with my performance. I've done virtually no speed work and I signed up for this race less than a week ago.  I'd say I did just fine!  I do want to point out that had I raced in the 40+ group (like I would've if this were a tri), I would've had 1st.  Just saying.  

So yeah, my 2nd race of the 2014 season was awesome and it felt so good!  I'm racing again in 2 weeks…my first duathlon.  I actually plan on having a little fun with that. I haven't been out on my bike in awhile so I thought this would be a good kick in the pants.  

Happy training y'all!!!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Houston Half in the books!!!!

Monday I completed my 7th Houston Half Marathon and I have to say, aside from my first race, this was my favorite.  I wasn't chasing a PR so I really got to enjoy the day.  And what a beautiful day it was!  The sun was out and it wasn't as chilly as it's been recently.  It was gorgeous!   

This race was especially special b/c I got to run with Keith's daughter, Caitlin.  This was her first half marathon so the plan was to run together.  I was so excited for her and never had a doubt she would finish this race.  She got to experience the feelings I think we all face at some point during a race.  Excitement, exhaustion, being "over" running, etc.  There was nothing cooler than turning on to Allen Parkway and getting that glimpse of downtown, knowing we were headed to the finish.  All the spectators who yelled for her made the day even more memorable.  I especially like the dude who called her Cat-lin.  Meow.  Keith was our best spectator once again and made his way to three points on the course to cheer for us. I always look forward to seeing him out there.  It was a great day to run.  I'm so proud of Caitlin for tackling a goal like this and doing something she never thought she would.  How cool is that?!?!?

Being out there has definitely reignited the bug to race.  So of course, I signed up for my very first duathlon, Du the Polar Bear.  I haven't been out on the roads on my bike much at all so this will force me to get off the trainer and/or spin bike and get outside.  This race is a short, sweet one which makes it even better.  A 2 mile run, 15 mile bike and 2 mile run.  I'm super excited and hope to do well!  And if that wasn't enough, I signed up for a 5k that is this Sunday so I can run after my PR!!!  There is something seriously wrong w/ me.

The Woodlands Half is on the horizon for me as well and weather permitting, I will be chasing my PR and my goal of getting in under 2hrs.  You guys know this is a goal I've wanted for a long time and I'm so close.  I just need all the stars to align, execute a great race and not go out too hard.  Seems reasonable.  Oh yeah, I also need Mother Nature to be kind to me and give me PR weather.  Pretty please.  With sugar on top.

So that's all I've got this fine Wednesday.  Happy Training!!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First post of the year (sorry it's boring)!

(this entry was previously recorded)

My first official post of 2014 and we're only 6 days into the year!  Woo hoo.  

November 2012 was my last visit with Chase who helped me achieve my weight loss goals.  I'm happy to report I maintained that weight loss for a solid year!!  I made the decision to start back on the meal plan he had me on effective today!!  While I did eat like crap for much of the holiday break, the reason for getting back on the wagon now is because I want to try to get a little lighter as I gear up for Ironman training (which starts in April for me).  I've been very happy with the weight I maintained all through 2013 but I do want to see if dropping a little extra can help me with my race goals for the next 11 months.  I figured now was the time to get started so I could see if the new weight I want is good for me and if my performance stays where it's been.  Sometimes you get a little weaker/slower when you lose weight and I don't want that. 

Other than that, I've got nothing new to report just yet. The Houston Half is a week from Sunday.  I have not been training hard at all and as I mentioned before, this race will be strictly for fun. I can't wait!!!

Happy 2014!!!!