Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

We recently had family pictures done, and while we were there, Cassie saw the L-O-V-E letters.  She was DYING to have her pictures taken with them.  Thankfully the studio ran a special and we were able to get a few images.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Getting Back to Normal...

I had no idea how far behind I would be while crossing "Seeing Oprah in Person" of my bucket list would leave me with the rest of life.  Should be no surprise though... it's not like life stops while you take some time out to enjoy other things.

Training has been less than consistent since the USAT Fit Half Marathon and I've missed at least a couple workouts every week.  I've been trying hard to make sure the running workouts continue though, and to that end I've been successful, but.... with less than 60 days left until the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3, I'm feeling like I'm a little behind on my tri training, since I've been doing so much running.

Headed to track on Wednesday night and couldn't even run a quarter mile without knee pain.  I woke up on Thursday morning with some unusual knee pain.  Turned out it's nothing serious, it's just a touch Patellar Tendinitis.  I got a good Graston treatment from Doc Thea and everything seems to be  better.  I feel a twinge now and again, but I get knee twinges all the time. 

I just need to get through the Mardi Gras Half Marathon this weekend.  According to MC, I'm supposed to "crush" my 2:58.  I'm just not feeling as confident about this race as I did the last.  I'm trying to crush 2:58 and on of my friends did a 1:49 this past weekend in New Orleans! 

That said, I felt slightly better after completing my "crazy brick" this weekend.  The plan called for a :45 minute run, a 2 hour bike and then a :30 minute run.  Me and my training partner headed out to the Lonestar course to do our work.  I want to be completely used to the wind.  I want to ride in all the variable conditions.  I'm not the most aerodynamic when it comes to physique, so it's best just to make friends with the wind from the start.

My first run was okay.  It was frigid out -- Brrrrrr!  Headed out on the bike with a small headwind out and small tailwind back.  My heart rate was a little higher than I was shooting for on the way out, but that was because of the head wind.  I figured it wasn't much higher than where I run, so I'd be okay for 2 hour ride.  I would definitely have to adjust for a > 3 hour ride. On the way back it was much easier and I negative split the ride.  Thanks to the light tailwind, I was able to keep my heart rate where I wanted it... I was consistent, so that felt good.  The last run was pathetic.  My glutes had tightened up so much I had practically no stride.  It was kind of crazy how it felt.  I made the best of it and finished the run.

It's those moments, when you feel the crappiest, that you wonder, "I signed up for this race why?"  At that point I couldn't even fathom was going 13.1 would have felt like.  I was already dreading the 4 loop run course.  I can just picture it!  "Yay, there's the FINISH!"  Uh, no, you have 3 more loops.  It's like torture having a course that bypasses finish line one time, never mind 3!

Sunday was more training.  2 hours of mad spin (not 4 since I bricked the day before) and then a 2400 swim.  My swim felt pretty good and I had lots of 100's on 2:00 -- more than I've ever had before.  Still, most of my 100's were 2:05 and by the last 2 of the 5 sets I was pretty much toast.

The rest of the weekend I vaguely remember squeezing in some domestic goddessing and a trip to Build-a-Bear for Cassie to get a Valentine's Day gift.  We picked up some Godiva for Daddy and they surprised me with some Roses.  It was very nice. :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Oh, Oh, Oprah -- Our "Experience"

Me at the Oprah Store
in front of Harpo Studios
I made it to Chicago and saw Oprah!  I was lucky enough to share the experience with my BFF and another dear friend.  It was great.  The show's content was not very desirable (to me) in that it was "supermodel legends."  It could have been on restoring automobiles and I would have been more interested.  But on a stage of supermodels, Oprah still shines.  I'm not sure how she did it, but she managed to somewhat salvage a very shallow, un-Oprah-like, interview.

No great giveaway, nothing but a box of Kleenex under my seat (I checked).  But quite honestly, to me it was special enough to be able share this with my friends.  After all is said and done I think I got just as much joy sharing the experience with them, as I did getting selected for tickets!   I'm so thankful to Theresa the audience coordinator that gave me the extra tickets for Beth and Melanie.  The whole thing seemed surreal.  When I finally entered the studio, I felt like I was going to explode!  When Oprah came out I was literally holding my head to keep my brains from busting out of my skull!

The best part was Oprah sticking around after the show to just talk to us.  She started chatting by graciously thanking all of us for being there.  It was very touching and personal.  It was an awesome experience.  I wish I had the courage to stand up and ask Oprah a question, because of course I had a million of them when I left, but I didn't.  I just knew I would be floundering with my jaw on the ground.  She had pictures taken with almost all who asked questions.  I think I would have died. 

After the show we stopped by the Oprah Store across the street. It was chock full of all the usual trinkets and a few unique items.  I did get a nice "farewell season" tee and purchased a fund raiser bracelet for women (mothers and children) in Rwanda who are HIV positive get the medications they need.  I am sort of regretting not getting a pair of Oprah's shoes, from "Oprah's Closet" -- it would be cool to see how it feels to walk in her shoes.  Yeah, I couldn't resist. 

We tried a couple unique eateries.  On the first day, we ate at "The Purple Pig"  I love their tag line...  "Cheese, Swine and Wine"  Cheese?  Wine?  Meat?  How can you go wrong?  They serve small dishes that are meant to be shared.  The service was outstanding and the food fabulous.  Admittedly we were a little scared, but our lovely server, who was a dead-ringer for Anne Hathaway, helped us through.  We really enjoyed ourselves and afterward did a little shopping. :)

After Oprah, we at at "Market" -- right around the corner from Harpo Studios.  Macaroni and Cheese Muffins?  Yes, it's true. 

Later on in the week, after the storm, we and I found a place called "Hay Market Brewery" tavern/cafe... and the only place open the day after the storm.  We had some great food there too!

Snow Angel "repeats"
How else do you get training in Chicago?

Add to all that being stuck in Chicago for their 3rd largest snow storm in history,  and it was quite the  getaway.   Our flights got canceled twice, but the third time was a charm.  Southwest was awesome with getting cancelation notices out timely and we were able to extend our stay at the hotel each night.  On Wednesday morning we were told that Oprah's staff didn't make it to their homes either; they stayed at our hotel and were at the bar while we were in bed!  Anyway, we made it home on Thursday morning safely.

While we were there, Mel and I did some exploring walking around in the knee-high snow.  It's quite a novelty for us, living in Houston.  I did get a treadmill run in... quite a good one too! We also did some some "snow-angel repeats" for speed work.  Hey, what else are you going to do for training in the Winter, in Chicago?