Monday, January 31, 2011

On Our Way... But First a Race Report: 2011 El Paso 5k

Yeah, I'm leaving for Oprah today.  I'm so freakin' excited I could just bust out of my skin.

First though, an unexpected race report.  :)

Saturday I had a great training day.  I did a 52 mile ride averaging over 16 mph -- that was my first time out on the bike, probably since Redman, with the occasional ride.  I've been lax with cycling and swimming because I'm doing so much running!  It was a windy day, so it was a challenging ride.  And, I was all alone.  Most of my friends got lottery spots in the Houston Marathon or Half.

After my bike, I had a run.  It was my best transition run ever, at a 12:30 pace.  I was quite surprised, because I didn't feel *faster* at all.

I was pretty well spent from that training session, so when someone offered their bib for the El Paso 5k, I decided I would just use it for a training run.  No expectations.

Damnit if I didn't PR!  First, it crappy conditions.  Rainy/misty, windy... just weird weather.  My first mile was 11:19, 2nd was 11:25 and the last mile, into the wind, was 12:30.  for a final time of 38:04!  I know for runners those aren't amazing times, but from where I was over the summer, to get to this point, I'm so excited.  MC says I just "need a few wins in the run column" to feel better and more positive.

The bewildering thing is, I had a hard training day the day before and probably no more than 4-5 hours of sleep!  I really wasn't rested all that well.  Another reason the PR was so unexpected.

That's it from me... I've got to go finish packing. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gimme an "O"

Training has been going well.  My running continues to improve every week!  Again at track I PR'd my 5k time by another minute.  I'm still somewhat shocked at the improvements I'm seeing, but it's about time.

I won a free race entry to a local sprint for women.  The Race Director was nice enough to let me transfer the entry to the Mardi Gras Half Marathon.  Yeah, I know. *Another* Half.  MC really feels like I can crush my 3 hours, not just make it under the wire.  I think he's right.  I feel like I could come in somewhere around 2:50.  Conditions just need to be right, and not like they were for USAFit.  That was just horrible.  Horrible, but I realized it is still an accomplishment.

Training is ramping up and working out my schedule is a bit challenging.  Add to that my Husband is training for Lonestar; this will be his first sprint.  Although he recently found out he has a Hernia, so has to have surgery.  We're not sure yet what that means for him and Lonestar.  We'll know more this Friday when he visits the surgeon.

In Non-training news, guess who's going to an Oprah taping?!?  Me!  Me, my BFF and another friend who had meeting Oprah on her bucket list.  The other friend is actually one of my coaches too.  Here's how it all started.

I've been trying on and off to get tickets for a number of years.  When Oprah announced her final season, I was certain getting tickets would be like winning the lottery for Ironman Kona.  I decided to keep positive and to anyone that would listen I just kept saying, "I'm going to meet Oprah this year."   I just said it to my Boss 2 weeks ago!

Online they wanted fans of Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter and Sissy Spacek to apply for tickets.  I'm a fan of Holly Hunter, so I applied and almost fell off my seat when I got the message from the Audience coordinator.  They wanted me to come to today's taping.  This all happened on Monday.  I called my BFF, but tickets to fly were over $2,000!!  I love Oprah, but my Domestic Financial Officer doesn't love her as much as I do to approve a 2K flight fare.

So I wrote back the coordinator, thanked her,  and told her exactly what I just said.  She wrote me back and said she could invite me to the 2/1 taping, but couldn't tell me what the content was.  Again, I was in shock.

Called the BFF and we managed to figure out an itinerary and get reasonable flights.  Then I recalled a chat with Mel we recently had about things on our "bucket list".  Evidently along with qualifying for Boston she wants to meet Oprah.

Of course I wanted to make the request of the audience coordinator, but I didn't want to sound like I was ungrateful, or looking a gift-horse in the mouth, you know?  But I was sincere and told her about Mel, and why she'd be deserving of the opportunity.  The worst that could happen is that I don't ask and I miss an opportunity.  Mel is so giving to everyone and simply gets joy from helping us... that's why she's such a good Coach.  With 3 boys including Autistic twins, you might imagine she doesn't get much of a break.  If she does, she's training or coaching.

The audience coordinator wrote back.  They said they'd be glad to extend her an invite.  Teresa, at Harpo, you'll never know how happy you made these 3 ladies.

I suspect the content might be Jennifer Hudson as a guest.  The very next day, that's who they were soliciting "Fan" tickets for.  Geez, if it was her that would be amazing!  But really, just getting to go is amazing in it of itself! I don't care!

I'm going to meet Oprah this year. :)

So, next Monday we are Chi-town bound.  It's going to be awesome.  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

She's Coming Home!

My bike, that is.

She's been in the shop for the last week, getting a carbon make-over in the form of new handle/aerobars.  The bars were kind of a post-Xmas gift, I guess.  Right after the new year Darren found a set for half price, then I had a 15% off coupon, so I got a carbon fiber base bar and aerobars, by Profile Design for just $142, and that included 2-day shipping!

I'm not a real big gear head, because I feel like the biggest thing I can do to cut weight off your bike is to lose weight.  All the carbon in the world won't make a difference if what's on the saddle is weighing the bike down.  The bars won't necessarily make me faster, but the ones that came on the bike were sooooo bulky and heavy -- I mean REALLY heavy.  You could tell, jut by looking at them.

I took off from work today because I'm so behind on everything domestic and training.  I was supposed to have an "easy" week this week, but I didn't know easy mean 9 1/2 hours of training.  Yep.  70.3 training has started.

Last night was the first night I had a decent swim at the pool.  I actually felt good in the water and it's taken a few sessions to get there.  I had some moments of greatness where everything just felt right.  The more I swim, the better it will get -- it's as simple as that.

This morning I'm headed out to swim, take a spin class, then go pick-up my bike.  After that, I'm off to catch-up on all things Domestic so I can actually relax a little more this weekend.

Tomorrow is my annual "Funnest Run Ever w Chris" (aka FREC).  We run the last 6 miles of the Houston Marathon course.  Of course I wasnt lucky enough to win a lottery spot, but I like destination runs and running in different areas.  Makes the time go faster.  Only thing is it's supposed to be 34 degrees tomorrow -- just like last year, so I need to be prepared!

Anyway, I'm off.  I have a lot to do today!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

5 Years ago... Yesterday

5 years ago, yesterday, I started this blog.  It's been a resting spot for my thoughts and findings and somewhat of a resource that helps with accountability.   I journal my activities, things I'm grateful for, and what happens along the path to achieving my goal.  I've had other blog-like sites previous to this one, but this is probably the longest running format I've maintained. My blog's former name was, "She Didn't Have Time"

So in honor of my 5 year blog-o-versary, here's snippits from my very first post:

Hello new blog. :)

I'm Donna. Since I will be getting very intimate with you in future, I should explain what has prompted me to find a new place to journal...

It's the third week of the new year and I have finally come to terms with the idea of having weight loss surgery. Over the years I have had very mixed feelings about it. And while I thought it extreme and not the best method for me, I always supported my friends on their journey.

I can already tell this is going to be a powerful and emotional journey. I mean, from the very day I decided to consider it! In a way I almost feel like a failure to my body and as a role model to others. Today I was discussing it with my husband, and the realization that I need help brought me to tears...

...So, to explain my title... We go through life saying we don't have time for this, or time for that, or time for the things that are really important. The fact is I don't have time to not let my inner person out. She is active and fit, and wants to live a full and robust life.

I just want my outside to match my inside, so I can feel good about me...



1 Carrot and Humus
 Wasa Light Cracker bread
1/3 of an apple w/slice of lowfat cheddar
Homemade rotisserie chicken salad with celery, walnuts and cranberries. 


Breakfast today....

I'm trying to get more pro-biotics in my diet because it is supposed to help with absorption of vitamins and medications.  So I had some strawberry Kefir and one of my homemade oatmeal bars (these are burned, but I couldn't toss it!)

I think I posted the oatmeal bar recipe, but here it is again, just in case. Plus it makes me feel good I can actually remember something.  :)

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
2 1/2 Cups Oatmeal
1 Cup whole almonds, unsalted
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds, hulled and unsalted
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds, hulled and unsalted.
1 Cup of unsweetened coconut (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 can of lowfat Condensed milk.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Warm milk in a saucepan over low heat.  Once milk is hot, pour into dry mixture and mix well. 

Line a 13x9 pan with foil or use a baking spray.  Spread mixture into pan.  Bake for 1 hr. in the oven.

Remove from oven.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Score your tray into bars.  (I use a pizza cutter to score mine).  Original recipe says 16 bars; I think it's more like 10 if you're making a meal.  Let sit for an hour then remove from pan.  The scoring should make it easier for you break apart.

Note:  If you cut the bars too soon, they will crumble.

Funny Update

As it turns out I must have beat Taco Man over the finish.  Looking at the clock time on the overall results he crossed after me. He must have stopped to shake hands again.  I was so out of it and hurting, I didn't even notice. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

USA Fit Half Marathon Race Report

I was getting super-excited about this race. Strange because, first, it's running. I only see it as a necessary evil to Triathlon, and second it's a running race. Bleh!  Nonetheless, I was excited to see what would happen since the last few weeks I felt like I was improving. A PR is always great, but a PR in spite of obstacles and mental game, is even better.

Everything started going whacky on Friday night. I went to packet pick-up and a car backed into me while I was walking through the parking lot. I saw the guy leaving the ATM and getting into his Bentley (yeah, I was at Luke's Locker) and I thought, surely he won't just get in and back-out. He did. He saw me a the last second and stopped. He hit my legs, but didn't knock me over. It was more scary than anything!

Then I get home and I'm getting stuff together to go volunteer for the Surfside Shuffle (to earn some good Karma!). I was coming down the stairs in my house and, in socked feet, fell down half a flight of stairs. My back and shoulders are pretty jacked up; by yesterday afternoon I couldn't even move a gallon of milk from the counter to the fridge. I checked the weather for Sunday and saw 100% chance of rain. Cr@p! Now it wasn't a question of "If?" but, "When?" it would rain.

It was like everything was just going against having at least decent conditions for a PR and it wasn't good for my head. I took some ibuprofen and hit the sack by 8:30 and prayed the rain would pass and promised Mother Nature if the rain was gone by morning, I'd never shift another Tuesday Track workout, ever!

I got up at 4am and still the rain fell. I quite reluctantly got my gear and headed out. The closer I got to Sugar Land the more rain. Rain, wind, rain and more wind. I never race with an iPod, but my head was in such a bad place, I brought it with me thinking it might help me get out of this funk. None of this BS was in my race-viz.

Made it to the race and headed out to the start; did I say it was raining and windy? I squatted in an alcoved entrance to the university with 9 others in an effort to stay out of the wind and rain. We heard the first announcement.. 10 minute delayed start, then 15, the 45. At 45 I headed back to my car. I made a friend in the alcove who didn't have a car, so I brought her with me. I sat in the car and warmed up for 30 minutes, it was worth it.

We headed back out to the start and I headed towards the back-of-the-pack. I decided to use my iPod since my general attitude was still pretty crappy. I hoped some good tunes would come on and help my motivation. It worked. It was like the first 20 songs in my shuffle were the perfect motivating mix. My first 5k, 5 miles and 10K were awesome! Every time I passed someone calling out pace I was generally maintaining or getting faster through the first 8 miles. I was a little unsure of how I was actually doing when this very tall, probably 70-something year old, guy was walking as fast as I run. He must have been walking Half Ironman pace :) He asked me what my pace was and I told him. He said, "you're doing great!" I looked at the time and realized I was still doing good. I just pr'd my 10K time too! I had a little trouble keeping speed up through mile 8-10 but I was still passing people steadily, but I took in a small piece of banana and started feeling better.

My last 5K was supposed to be "something special" and I was supposed to race it. By this time my back and shoulders were killing me. My glute was causing me grief too. After I took note of the time, I knew if I could just keep my pace steady (which was getting more difficult) I would make my PR. I decided to push my heart rate just a little more and go back to 1/2 mile intervals with a walk just long enough to keep my HR from getting out of control, less than :30. I really wanted to race it more straight, but I didn't want to be stupid since I was hurting pretty badly. Thank goodness a Fort Bend Fitter who goes by "Taco Man" (as stated on his shirt) was in front of me. His nickname gave me a chuckle, and I was determined to stay on his heels. He was doing some kind of run/walk thing too, and we were leap frogging on another. He also reminded me of Cathy M., this guy seemingly knew everyone on the course. LOL He's chatting and shaking hands like he was the mayor of Sugar Land.

I made the last turn into the Finish and tried to race Taco Man to the end. Unfortunately for me, Taco Man still had some salsa left in his pot and I couldn't catch him, but I still, I achieved my goal, in spite of all the obstacles.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feeling Good!

Training has been going well, and I feel like maybe my running is peaking in time for my "A" race this  Sunday (feel funny using that term at my level!).  Track work last night was another PR -- all of my 1 mile repeats were under 11:55.  My first was 11:35, and I was interrupted and stopped because I thought someone was talking to me, trying to get my attention.  It definitely would have been under 11:30!  I was beside myself, once again, because frankly I thought my legs felt like crap.  Turns out they were just cold.  It was 40 degrees and windy at track last night.

My plan for my race is to run 1/2 mile intervals with a :30 walk for the first 5 miles.  For the next 5 miles I'll do 3/4 mile intervals with a :30 walk. The last 5K is supposed to be "something special".  Race it, but keep my heart rate from getting away from me and take a 5-10 second walk break here and there if needed.  If I can just visualize the track and my 400 repeats, I can make it through the last 5K in good time.  I want < 3 hours, dang it!

My nutrition plan is 1 gel in each of 4 10 oz. bottles and Gatorade at the rest stops, or every 15 minutes.

It's going to be  cold morning, so I plan to leave enough time before I leave for the race to take a quick lap outside, like I did for RunGirl. 

I'm struggling a little with the idea of some alternative treatment of my hypothyroidism.  Armour Thyroid is dessicated hormone from a pig, but it's real, natural.  I take Levoxyl which is a synthetic hormone, which is well, synthetic.  I've been reading about people's experiences when they switch and it just seems that some people respond better to Armour Thyroid than other products.  I'm just wondering if I'm not one of them.

I talked it over with my trusted PCP and he's on the fence about it.  The problem is the dosage is not standardized so that leaves some questions -- but is that enough for me not to try it?  I don't know.

I know my Endo and I have made some progress, but we haven't hit a home run yet.  Numbers are right, but still not feeling great all the time.  I have both good days and bad days and to  his credit I think the good out number the bad, but only slightly.  He's not a believer in alternative medications like Armour so I'm really, really torn. I know when I talk to him about it, he's not going to approve.  And I'm not prepared for the "Why do you want to do it question?" with a good reason.  My reason is, I just want to try and see how I feel. 

I still have these large fluctuations of weight up and back down, up and back down -- that can't be good for my metabolism!  I'm still freezing cold all the time.  Last night I went to bed with socks on my hands, a tee shirt, sweatshirt and sweatpants, while my husband was sweating in the middle of the night!

My hair is better, my sleep is more sound, but what of my other symptoms?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Giving Some More Thought to Races

So I needed to give some more thought to my schedule.  One of my goals is to slow-down a little on racing, and give my body a chance to get better.  Being constantly in training mode really isn't good for me or trying to get my hormonal issues in balance.  One thing, for sure, is that I'm taking the month of May completely off from tri training.  I'm going to get some rest and do some weight training and regular exercise to maintain fitness, but nothing crazy.

Someone asked me how I choose my races.  Basically I pick a couple "A Races"  Those are my main training focus, then I fill in with what will compliment my training for those races.  So I really don't *race* everything -- sometimes it's just for training.  The 3 big races  for me this year are Lonestar, Redman and OilMan.

USA Fit Half Marathon - January
This is my "A" race.  The race I've been training for since Redman.

Silverlake Swim - March
They did a 1 mile and 2 mile swim last year.  This was a huge confidence booster right before Lonestar.  so I'm hoping they'll do it again. 

Gateway to the Bay - April
Just a relay; I'll be swimming.  As I previously stated, I'm already scared shitless!  They take you out to the by by boat and you swim back to shore.  It was pretty rough last year, but the only way to beat the fear is to do it!

Lonestar 70.3 - April "A Race"
This will be my second 70.3.  Just hope to improve on my time from Redman.  It will be nice to race in my own backyard!
 Ironman Texas - May (Volunteer)
I'm excited to be a "catcher" at the Finish!

TriGirl- August

I have a free race entry for one of their events.  Probably do the August Sprint distance event, since May is a super-sprint. 

Redman Full Aquabike - September "A Race"
The 2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike will give me a good idea of how it will be to do a full Ironman.  I have visions of finishing, but then hopping on the run course for just one loop, in-bandito, just to see how it feels.  Hahaha!

5150 Series Triathlon in Galveston - October
This is an inaugural race.  Will probably use this Olympic distance race as prep for OilMan Texas.

OilMan Texas (formerly Ironstar 70.3) 
We had a free race entry for this race as a door prize for our tri club's End of Year party.  One of my  friends won it (I wanted it!!!) -- She wants to do IM Cozumel, so she sold it to me for half price.  Whooohoo!  This half will be a hilly challenge, but I'm hoping that training for Redman will prep me for it.  This will make 70.3, #3.  My goal is 6 70.3 events before I even think about a full... but in reality, I know it will be Panama City for my first.

Texas Marathon - January 2012
I wanted to do this one when I didn't make it in the Houston Marathon Lottery.  I don't know yet whether I'll do the half or the full, but I know it will be one, for sure.

In addition to this stuff I might do some organized rides and runs... It's nice to do a fully supported events and not have to worry about always being so prepared; just get out and run or ride.  I'm hoping Hubs and I can plan to at least do some stuff together.  He's doing his first Sprint at Lonestar, so we're working together to make sure both of us get our  training in.  So far, so good.  :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Welcome 2011

Happy New Year! A little late, but sincere in sentiment. :)

I've been kinda busy the last couple weeks, so I didn't finish out the year with my Reverb10.  The prompts were becoming somewhat repetitive to me in ways and I kept drawing on the same instances in a year.  In any case it was fun to do.  Reflecting on the past and asserting some thought to the things you want to change is a great way to get started. 

Family is good and we all had good holidays.  I was a little sad since my Mom didn't come here at all during the holidays, but she's having a rough time these days and needs some space to just "be".  I get that completely.  I hope 2011 is better for her and the rest of my NJ family.  Right before Christmas my brother-in-law lost his job of 18 years without any notice whatsoever, and for no fault of his own.  So help me sent some good vibes to Jersey... because they need it right now.

Training is going great!  I know... can you believe running + training + great.  I'm really starting to see some improvement.  I did a 5K in 38:37 -- That's about 6 minutes off my average time and another 4 minutes off my best time for a 5k.  It happened during a track workout last week.  I did 3.25 miles in 40:41 and that was with a 400 jog between sets.  I was so happy I wanted to cry!

I'm back to biking via Mad Spin on Sundays.  I'll do this through the Winter.  We work from 2 hours up to 4 hours.  It was really good for me last year and hope it helps again this year.  This past week was our first 3 hour week.  Getting through it was no problem, except for the saddle time!  Ouch!!   My plan was to keep my heart rate low and take it easy, since I started tapering for my half marathon. 

As for running, besides my PR, I headed out to the half marathon course for USA Fit for my long run last Sunday.  I was stupid-excited about going... still hyped up from my PR, no doubt.  My 2.5 hour run was a disaster.  I really was behind on sleep from the holidays, really didn't have great nutrition and lost a water/gel bottle somewhere around mile 7.  By mile 10 I was pretty well spent.  I was hoping to get in a hair over 11 miles, but that didn't happen. At first I was feeling kinda down about it, but logically it should have been expected.  I had a killer week of running and started spinning.  My legs should have been pretty well spent.  They were. 

Swimming?  Well, the best way to get better at swimming is to get to the pool and swim, and I really haven't been doing much of it.  I tried last week but had some weird pressure in my ears like I had an infection.  No matter though... I went yesterday and I was fine.  I did a warm-up and 3x500's descend.  There wasn't much descent, but I got them all in at varying degrees of speed and my last was faster than my first.  Looks like I've lost about 10 seconds, or so, off my 100 since Redman.  I'm sure I'll get it back with more swimming. 

So what's the plan for next year?  So far, here's what's happening:

USA Fit Half Marathon
APR Gateway to the Bay (Relay -- I'm swimming)  I'm already scared shitless!
APR Lonestar 70.3
MAY NJ Marathon Festival (Half Marathon) IF I went to visit NJ in May
SEP One of the TriGirl events (I have a free race entry)
SEP Redman Full Aquabike (2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike)
NOV Oil Man (formerly Ironstar 70.3)