Saturday, April 28, 2012

Triathlon, Here I Come

My big joke has been that I would totally do a triathlon, but first I would have to get a bike.


And  a helmet.
And a bathing suit.
And goggles.
And learn how to swim.  (I can swim, but I could use a lot of improvement)


So, to make a long story short, I was blessed by a girl named Marcy who is a friend of Kelly's.  She is loaning me a very nice bike.  Kelly brought it over tonight and after the itty bitty tires were inflated, I was able to ride it for about 15 minutes up and down the street. Seriously, I kept hearing people say how skinny road bike tires are.  But until I saw them, I was all "whatever" because how small can they be?  Well...now I know.


My new bike with it's itty-bitty, skinny wheels
I haven't been on a bike for at least nine years.  And as I was mounting it for the first time, I had an audience.  And I felt ridiculous.  I just couldn't get it right, and suddenly I didn't know how to start!  I was trying to move the pedals.  I was trying to get started, and I was the most awkward and uncoordinated that I have been in a very long time.  I felt like an idiot.


So I took a deep breath, and sucked it up.  I jumped up on the bike, and praise God, I didn't fall.  I rode down the street.  Then I rode some more.  My youngest was beside me telling me maybe I should have started with training wheels to make it a little easier.  Then she encouraged me and let me know that I was getting the hang of it. 

"You think so?" I asked.

"Yes, "she said confidently.  "You are doing so great!" she said in the same voice that I use to tell her she is doing something awesome.  It was a great moment.

So I rode up and down the street, not feeling quite so ridiculous now.  I just rode up and down not worrying about my neighbors watching me, and I started to really enjoy it and have fun.  It was a great night.  The temperature was just about perfect and the breeze was blowing in my non-helmeted hair.  And I thought to myself, "I can do this."  At least after I get a helmet.

So...we shall see.  TriGirl Sprint Triathlon is in August.

And the countdown begins.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boot Camp

It's 8 in the evening, and I'm sitting here on my couch.  Sitting although I could be standing and walking around. I should totally take advantage of the fact that I can stand up and walk around right now, because I have a feeling I won't be able to come morning.


My friend, Lisa, picked me up for boot camp.  I know, trust me I know, that I have been slacking in the weight training area; so I knew I was up for a challenge this morning, but I welcomed it.


At least I did for the first 10 minutes.


We got there a little late, but they had just started yet.  It was a little cool out, and the breeze was nice, but I knew I would warm up very quickly. Our first task was to run around the church twice for a warm up.  No problem. I was all over that.  The group had already run the first lap as we walked up, so we were only a bit behind.  Immediately following the warm up run, we were to lunge across the vestibule area carrying weights.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten my hand weights so Lisa let me use one of hers, which I think was about 2 pounds.  The lunge distance was probably about 100 feet or so.  So I lunged across the way, alternating legs that quickly started screaming in protest.  After we reached the other side, we were to do push-up burpees.  I have to say I did an alterate version of that, or at least much, much slower version of what everyone else was doing.  Then we lunge-walked back to the other side and did some shoulder lifts alternating with kick backs.  Before I could finish, the others were already lunge walking their way back again, and I asked Lisa if we would be lunging for the entire hour.  "No," she answered.  "We never do this much leg work."  And then Micheal, our torturer de jour called out the next tasks.  


Squats.  


Squats, followed by shoulder presses followed by inner thigh squats followed by dead lifts.  And all over again.  Followed by step back lunges with side twists.  There's probably more, but I tend to block unpleasant things from my mind.


By now, I can feel my legs are like spaghetti; and I know that I will be doing the zombie walk tomorrow.  But I was having bouts of feeling pretty good, and in between thinking I couldn't do one more freaking lunge, I heard that old familiar voice telling me to keep going.  


Next we had to do alternating sprints and walks of 30 paces each.  We were to run around the parking lot until Sgt. Michael told us to stop.  So this was up my alley.  But as I took off, I swear my legs almost gave out.  It took a few steps before my legs were like, "Oh! Ya! I remember this."  After that, I truly ran as fast as I could for the 30 paces.  I didn't keep track of time, but I think I made about six laps around the parking lot before we were reprieved.  


Then we were back under the vestibule preparing for ab work.  Sit ups, and more sit ups, crunches, side crunches, leg lifts, and finally v-ups.  OUCH!  


And then, Michael uttered the word that sounds like foul language to my ears.  The word that I have spent half a year avoiding by erasing the vile memories from my mind.  His next order was the PLANK!  Planks!!!!  We had to do planks.  And not the easy kind, the kind where you are on your elbows.  And then side planks.  And then the other side.  CURSE YOU MICHAEL!!!!!!


Finally, finally, we were stretching and cooling down.  Stretching was really awesome.  We were lying on our yoga mats in the sun and the breeze was still blowing over us.  It was heaven.  Stretching felt so good and he finished us out with a couple of yoga moves-child's pose, downward dog-that kind of thing.  Then, and only then was it over.


On the way home, I was happy.  It felt really good to work so hard, but I wondered how I would keep this up.  It was only a trial class, and forcing yourself to do these kinds of things is kind of hard.  At least it is right now.  I think I am still in the need of accountability with this type of exercise.  But I'll try.  I will make a list of these kinds of exercises, and the goal is to get to them three times per week at minimum.  


I'll do this tomorrow, and start on Monday.  Well, actually I'll start on Tuesday since Monday is my birthday, and I'll be taking the day off.   I'll be lamenting the fact that I'm one year older and hopefully drowning my sorrows with a nice dinner and a glass of wine that I don't have to cook.   That's all I can hope for.  Well.  That and being able to walk.  


Walking would be good.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Good Morning Run

Thursday morning, I hauled my cookies out of bed at 5:15 to go for a quick two mile run with Kelly.  This should be no big deal since we were getting out of bed this early or even earlier every single Saturday for 1/2 a year.  But it's amazing how quickly you can get used to not waking up at 5:15 to go running. 

My Garmin was not charged, and Kelly's was about to lose all battery, so we decided we would just run until we needed a walk break.  In my head I was thinking that that would take all of 2 seconds, but I kept my negative thoughts to myself. 

Surprisingly, as we rounded the corner to the next street, I felt pretty good.  Of course we still have much to talk about and catch up on, so it was easy to be distracted.  We ended up running the entire two miles and I can honestly say I am sorry the time went by so fast.    For a run that I thought that was going to be awful and that my body would surely protest, it ended up being a great way to start my morning.  We even had a 14 minute pace, which is not too shabby for us. 

So Saturday, I'm attending a boot camp with a friend from Church while Kelly will be zip lining her way by Lake Travis. 

Somehow I think I am on the less exciting and fun side of this equation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Out of the Slumps

I've really been struggling lately.  I can't figure out why.  I'm not one of those people that dislike exercise.  I actaully enjoy it and I love how I feel when I've finished a good work out.  Yet, I have been slowly losing my gumption and my "want to." 

 had a really bad day yesterday.  I could blame the weather, which was stormy and rainy; and it only compounded the feeling that I would have rather stayed in bed than braved the day.  I feel beaten down.  I feel tired.  I feel...like anything but a Warrior Princess.

I had the girls pray for my last night.  And I have to believe that God finally listened to those prayers, because I woke up this morning feeling a little more empowered.  I packed my lunch and snacks, and I felt confident going to work armed with goodies that were healthy and good for me. 

It was a better day.

And then Kelly called.  I had forgotten that we had talked about going for a run after work.  We have talked about running on several occasions, but it's only been talk.  She came over at 6:30.  And we both had that look on our face.  Like "I don't want to do this.  Why am I doing this?"  But if nothing else, we had much to catch up on; so off we go to the back of the neighborhood.  She talked about her new job.  I talked about the weekend with my oldest.  She talked about her upcoming girl's trip and a zip linging excursion, and I caught her up on what's going on at work.   It was great.  The run was slow, but we were talking constantly.  And it was just what was needed.

I used to say that Saturday runs were "girl time" and how they were stress relief on so many levels.  It's been almost two months since we have run on Saturdays.  And now that she's not working in the same building anymore, the idle day-to-day chit chat is gone as is the more important as-needed venting.  This is what is missing.  Or at least part of it.  I don't know why I didn't pinpoint it before.   Kelly has been with me through this journey, and we have stopped being accountability partners.  And that stops today.

We are friends.  We are confidants.  And we are runners.

We will get through this slump.

And we will remain Warrior Princesses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

Okay, so was about to go to bed.  I decided to quickly peruse the Pinterest page since I haven't checked it in quite some time.  Immediately I'm inundated with pictures of this guy running.  He's everywhere with captions like, "He goes for a jog, and everyone follows him."  In case you haven't seen it, here's the original pic.




........

Hello!  Focus!  Back to me now!

So since he is EVERYWHERE, I googled him.  I found out he's a runner from New York running this 10K in South Carolina.  The photographer posted it and within an hour it had over 300,000 hits.  300,000 hits!!!!


In the year that I have been blogging, I've had a few thousand.

And I have a good photogenic run picture, too.  See?


AND I just wanted to point out that I'm smiling AND waving!

Let's take a look side by side, shall we?


Okay, now that they are side by side, I see that I went for a jog and no one followed me.  And he does look better.  But still. 

I'm just saying.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Marathon Barbie

My rec center membership expired last week.  I am so sad.  Tuesday was my last day, so I made the best of it by going for a couple of hours.  First up was Lisa's Zumba class.  Oh how I am going through Zumba withdrawals.  And this was not the class I would have chosen to go out with, since it's such a toned-down class.  The movements aren't as crazy and the music is not loud enough. And none of my peeps were there.  But it's fun, and I really like her; so it worked.  After that I did Lydia's strength toning class.  I opted for the 7 lb weights instead of the normal 5 so I could push it just a little.  It was worth it, too.  I woke up the next morning with that nice, sore feeling; and I knew that I had worked out well.  But then I realized that that means I am not working out enough.

Anyway, I have gotten a couple of good runs in around the neighborhood.  Mostly 3 to 4 miles.  Saturday, I was stood up by Kelly (still love you, Kelly); so it was a solo run again.  Since my Garmin isn't doing intervals, I set my Map My Run app on my phone to alert me when I have ran 1/2 a mile.  I turned on the music and took off.  It didn't start out awesome or anything, but I was happy to be out.  It was perfect running weather.  The breeze was great, the neighborhood was quiet, and the family of bunnies was out and about.  As I rounded a corner in the back of the neighborhood, I saw another runner coming from the opposite direction.  I couldn't help but notice since the runner was wearing florescent orange shorts.  As the figure got closer I could see it was a woman.  As she got even closer, I could see that she was wearing a purple sports bra. 

She was Marathon Barbie. 

She was everything you think a runner should look like, and who else besides Barbie could get away with wearing florescent orange with purple.  She looked fabulous as her long ponytail swayed perfectly back and forth as she ran.  Luckily for me she was running the opposite direction. 

So I kept running.  All was well in the world again.  And then I was just about to hit the mile 2 mark when Marathon Barbie passed me up.  Now she was in front of me.  That's okay.  I can focus on my goals and know that I'm on the right track, and even though I'll never look like Marathon Barbie, I will once again be able to shop in any store. 

Then I saw my shadow.  Oh, how far I have to go.

But, undefeated, I continued on for another couple of miles.  And I'm proud to say I kicked it up a notch for the last 1/2 mile.  Now it's time to start speed work.  I'm kind of nervous about that, but it's what's on the agenda.

I read somewhere that, theoretically, for every 10 pounds of weight lost you can gain one minute on your per-minute pace.

Time to get to work.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Muddy Girl

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Although there wasn't as much exercise last week as I would be proud of, I did get a good swim in with my little one.  Just a few laps across the pool, and then I did some water weights.  The only thing about that is you're not in a class or anything, so I imagine it looks pretty funny.  But I tried some arm exercises and worked my quads.   And all this was after the 15 minutes it took until my little one was distracted by other little girls that wanted to play with her.  She makes friends everywhere she goes.  I think if I went up to some woman doing water weights or swimming laps and asked her if she wanted to be friends, she would probably leave the pool or inform the lifeguards that I was stalking her. 
So Saturday night comes around, and we were fortunate enough to be able to go to a benefit and see Jay Leno.  It was a fun night, and he was very funny; but I started to feel a little sick as the evening went on.   I tried to brush it off, but it was a relatively early night for us; and I settled in with a dose of Advil and vitamin C in preparation for the morning.

Soon enough, it's Sunday morning, and Kelly and I took off for Baytown for the Muddy Girl run put on by Tri Girl Sports.  We had several muddy girls to meet there, and we were looking forward to another fabulous day all the while knowing we have slacked off way to much to say we are ready.

Packet pick up was a breeze, and we recieved these awesome little lunch kits, a koozie, our race t-shirt, and our bibs.  Very nice.  The only thing I can saw was missing was music, but that would come later.   We made it back to the car and Shawn arrived with our awesome t-shirts and socks. 
Our Tie-Dye Tees

They looked great, and we were ready to go.

Front Row: Che and Kim
Back Row: Natalie, Holly, Kelly, Me, Shawn, and Lauren

There were eight of us all together.  You could see most of the course from the pavilion where everything was.  The course went around the lake that is there with a few detours into the woods.  We lined up in the back of the wave and as Che's husband said, "Way to bring up the rear!"  We passed a volunteer before we got too far off, and he heard us talking about being last.  He said, "Well, you'll look the best so just keep smiling."  That would be easy to do.



Unfortunately, one of Lauren's students gave her a touch of the stomach bug, so she started feeling the effects of her recovery pretty quickly.  We just encouraged her to walk and pace herself, because she was going to do this. 

The first obstacle was a small hill, which they snaked the course around about four times so that we had to run up and down several times.  Next obstacle up, I think we skipped by accident because there was this thin muddy ditch kind of thing, but everyone, and I mean everyone ran parallel to it.  I think we were supposed to run in it.  Oh well, why have heavy shoes before you're ready.

Next up came these bars that you had to run under, but they were not real low or anything so basically we just ducked under them.  I said, "Are you ready to limbo?" and then answered myself with a no before going under them myself.   After that, the mud was unavoidable.  We had our first serious obstacle which was a mud crawl.  First there was about 100 feet of mud, and I do mean mud.  Black, thick, smelly mud.  Kim lost her shoe for the first time here.  Mine were close to coming off several times.  Then came the crawl. There were ropes that you had to go under, but you were able to get under them by just crawling and not necessarily belly crawling.  I lost one of my mini tiaras under one of the ropes.  Kelly saw it fly off, but by the time she got to it, it was lost having sunk into the murky water.   After getting up from the crawl, there was another 100 feet or so of walking through it before coming into the clear.  And there was no way to get your hands clean.  They were caked in thick mud.  Yuk.

Once we came out of the woods, we were back by the lake, and I washed my hands off in there.  Sanitary, right?  We ran a little bit to the next "obstacle" which was bales of hay stacked up that you had to climb over.  We all gathered at this one for a group picture.   After that were lines of barrels to jump over, or in my case, climb over.   At this point, Natalie found a ball on the bank of the river, so we added our own obstacle, muddy ball soccer, as we ran to the next obstacle.  



We got there, and we were backed up waiting on the Cargo Climb.  This was not nearly as difficult as I had remembered with the Warrior Dash because the only thing you had to worry about here was the thing tipping over.  It was very small and started at ground level,  allowing at the most three muddy girls at a time.  Three girls, but you would have to be careful not to get kicked.   Everyone made it over, and then we had our water break. 

Next up was another set of barrels.  I saw Shawn and Che ahead of me hurdling them.  Awesome!  When Kelly and I got to the second set of barrels, we posed for another picture, laying across them and acting like we were flying.  The photographer guy thought that was funny.   I have to say that we had awesome volunteers.  Everyone was encouraging and smiling and telling us how great we were doing.  I tell you, I just love the volunteers.

Soon enough, we are rounding the last corner to the end.  But then, I saw the detour.  We would  be going through the woods again which meant walking through more thick, slushy mud.  When the mud is this thick, the risk is you can't see the holes and you can't tell which mud is going to give.  This trek was probably 500 feet or so.  At then end of it, there was an older man who was moderating the course, and he made the comment that this did not look like fun to him but this is what we paid for.  It was pretty funny, and this is really the most negative thing I have heard in any race that I've done; but I don't think he was trying to be mean.  I think he just really doesn't understand why we sign up for such a thing.  We came out of the woods, and I thought we were home free and onto the last obstacle-the muddy trench. 





But no.  We were detoured off yet again for another muddy trek.  This time, it was deeper and slushier, and it was longer.  Much, much longer.  I don't know for sure, but my guess is that this last one was 150 yards of muck.  It seemed like it took forever, and Kim lost her shoe again.  She picked it out of the mud and carried it, but eventually we stopped and got it back on her foot because we feared she would step on something.  All this, and she was recovering from a broken toe.  


Finally, FINALLY, we are out of the mud and heading to the muddy trench.  But this was more difficult than than the previous ones because it was thigh deep.  I did lose my balance a couple of times and fell to my knees.  In hindsight, we probably should have swam it like the Muddy Mayhem in the Warrior Dash, but unfortunately, we didn't think of that until after.  It was much longer than the Muddy Mayehm too.  When we were finally all out of the water and mud, we waited until everyone was out, and we ran it in together.  We crossed the finish line in a group, and got out awesome medals.  But then we lost half the group before we could pose for a finisher group photo. 




We opted to rinse off in the lake rather than making the trek to the fire hoses.  It's all pretty disgusting I thought as I drank out of the water bottle they gave me after I crossed the finish line which is covered in mud.  These are the same hands I would later use to eat my breakfast taco and Oreo cookies. 

 


The post race party was pretty fun.  There was the music we were looking for, and they had a great selection of food and drinks for us.  And again, the volunteers were awesome! 

We had a great time.  It was really a lot of fun, although not nearly as challenging as the Warrior Dash.  Other than the cargo climb, there was not much that required a lot of upper body strength, and even that was a far cry from the Warrior Dash cargo climb.    There was longer stretches of mud (very.  long.  stretches.) which gave your legs a good workout, but still.  More fun than tough.


I have to say, Tri Girl Sports puts on a good race.  When I finally get a bike and am ready to do a triathlon, I will sign up for one of theirs. 

So what's up next?  I'm not sure, but I'll have to come up with a plan.  Che's charitable organization, Leaving without Regrets, has a group running for the Austin 10/20, which I so wanted to do, but was not able to sign up.  If I am able, I will go volunteer for the group that day.  And I'll try not to cry because I'm not running it.  However, Muddy Girl Lauren will be running it, so at least I can cheer her on through my tears.

Until I figure it out, I'll focus on dropping some weight.  And getting re-charged and motivated to do so.