Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

nifty, nifty!

A couple of nifty training calendar finds!  Both of these finds are based on Hal Higdon's various training schedules; the second one offers training schedules for both Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway.

While I was organizing my thoughts and looking through training schedules for my first half marathon, I became somewhat overwhelmed with comparing run days, mileage, long runs, etc. against the different schedules.  In a Google search, I came across a great find!  It was  Woot!  I could select my race (5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon, the event date and my ability (novice, intermediate, advanced, etc.) and it would generate an ICS calendar that I could them import into my Outlook calendar or my Google calendar!  Awesome!  So, I created several different calendars for the same event and could easily compare them on my computer screen.  It allowed me to select the best one for me (I am better with 3 runs a week and long runs on Sundays) and I no longer had to handwrite in dates on the schedule, count backwards for the start date or carry around a piece of paper that I would lose!  Nor did I have to manually enter all of the training runs on my phone's calendar.  I was super excited!

Today, while sharing this find on an FB post asking for recommended training plans, I mistyped and put 'mytrainingcalendar' and what do you know?!  It popped up a similar website, only this one allows you to input your email and phone number and you can have it send you text or email alerts/reminders daily with what your supposed to run, etc.  I thought it was pretty nifty, too!

So, this afternoon, I plan to dig around a bit more and see if I prefer it over simply for the text alerts, etc.  I think both links are great finds and I hope that I was able to share something new with you!  Maybe you can utilize either one of these links to help calm some of the crazy involved with picking a training plan, creating a training plan or calendaring a training plan.

Let me know!  :)

busy, busy!

Since my last post, we have attended a family wedding and I have ran with my family twice.

On Saturday, MD's little brother (he's the youngest of 4) got married.  MD was his best man and I must say that I think he (MD) cleaned up quite nice!  Also, his speech to his little brother - who is 14 years younger than he is - made me tear up.  He did good!

The girls and I got to go get our hair done.  You cannot really tell in this picture but Rebekah went from long locks to a sweet swingin' bob!  Makayla only took 6" off of hers.  Yeah, only 6"!  That girl has some hair!

Us at the reception.  At this point, the ceremony was over, family pictures had been taken and we were waiting on the bride and groom to finish their pictures so that we could eat!  :)

Everyone had a blast!  Even MD got in on some line dancing action.  I don't think my girls sat down the entire evening.  They were constantly on the dance floor.

At one point, I lost Makayla and a few of the guys.  I got a little concerned with the fact that Makayla wasn't around so I went looking for her.  And, found trouble!  Ha!

The old school cans were my idea!  Although they didn't quite stream them up the way I instructed.  Oh, well.  They still made lots of noise as they bride and groom drove off!

Done!  From right to left, MD's nephew Chris (who is actually a year older than MD's little brother, the groom), MD's brother-in-law, Leroy, Makayla and MD.  They kept the truck 'clean' and went old school with "Just Married" across the back, a ball & chain drawn on one window and hearts and smiley faces drawn on another.  I bet you cannot guess which one Makayla was responsible for!  You got it.  The hearts and smiley faces.

Oh!  And, if the girls weren't on the dance floor, they were in the photo booth.  There was lots of photo booth fun!  Can you tell?!

My photo booth favorite from the night!

And, the bride and groom.

On Sunday, MD and the girls road their bikes while I jogged (I don't think my pace qualifies for a run just yet!  ha, ha!).  My little one kept calling back to me "Come on, Mom!" as if to tell me that I wasn't moving fast enough.  I finally told them to go on ahead of me and circle back for me as needed.  This gave me a chance to relax (I was tense trying to keep up) and them a chance to go up and down one major slope several times.  Win, win!

Sorry, no pics of Sunday!

On Tuesday, all four of us made it to the Fleet Feet group run.  My husband and oldest daughter did run/walk intervals while my youngest rode her bike with me.  We all ended up finishing about the same time since MD and Makayla decided to only loop the park (part of the Fleet Feet route goes around an elementary school and public park and then loops a couple of neighborhood streets) while Rebekah and I made the entire loop - including the neighborhood streets.  I am sure I just lost you.  It's hard to visualize; however, the entire route for Rebekah and me was just under 3.10 miles while MD and Makayla only got in about 2.25'ish miles.  Not bad for MD who has just starting making running a part of his week and Makayla who hasn't been running since July 7th.  She took a sabbatical from summer track.  We just couldn't get back into a groove after the first week of July was a rest week for them.  We had other summer camps come up along with family gatherings (a wedding!) and such.

Post run.  No pizza tonight so we were headed out to get our own.

Check out my next post!  I found a couple of nifty sites for training calendars!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two Miles & Tunes

Last night, I was short on time but didn't want to skip out on a run so I went out for two miles.  To keep it short but not too short and close to the house, I ended up zig-zagging down some neighborhood streets that I never run on. I'm not sure why as I found them to be breezy and shady streets with hardly any traffic.  I'm going to have to zig-zag these again!

Maybe this wacky run pattern should be my emblem?  Sort of like a Zorro and his slash/swoosh thing?

For the last year or so, my running playlist has remained unchanged.  I have about 25 songs that I just let play in a shuffle pattern and was pretty happy - sort of.  Songs were the typical "I'm sexy, boom, boom, pow' stuff.  None of the songs were anything that I would listen to outside of running; and, (frown face here) a few of them -  more than I really realized - were songs that I would die if I heard my kids listening to.  The last two weeks or so, I have not been so thrilled with the songs that would pop up and found myself hitting 'next' on the iPod more often than not.  Just because the beat was good for running didn't really mean that the lyric was good for my listening and they started to annoy me.  And, I began to realize that the songs majorly affected whether or not I was having fun on the run.  More and more, not so much.  So, I set off to get some new tunes.  (I also ran two times in a row - on accident - without my iPod.  That was actually really nice, too!  No iPod here or the run before on Monday night.)
I recalled a friend mentioning Family Force 5 as one of her top groups on her playlist so I googled (is that a real verb?) and searched them on iTunes and found their songs to be great for running.  With my runs being around the 3 mile mark, the 10 songs that I downloaded haven't made the cycle too many times and they still seem fresh and new to me.  And, quite entertaining!  With lyrics such as 'crank it like a chainsaw', 'attack, attack, you've been bitten by the boom' and 'wobble your legs, wobble your head', I cannot help but laugh out loud during some of my runs.  In fact, I made sure last night's run actually happened because I wanted to listen to these three songs without my daughters laughing at me.  ;)
Go check them out!  I am loving their stuff - new and old!  And, the videos make me laugh, too.
Do you have a superhero emblem?  What's on your iPod? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Group Run!

Alternate title:  Date Night.

So, what do you do when your kids are away at camp?  Lounge around the house and enjoy the peace and quiet?  That's what we did last night after a run/bike combo.  I went out for a 3 mile run and my husband, MD, decided to tag along on his bike.  Well, that lasted all of 0.25 miles.  We ran into a neighbor.  I kept running and MD stopped to chat for a minute; he said "I'll catch up to you.'  I went out and back on my normal route and he was still there ... standing with his bike, talking to the neighbor as the neighbor absentmindedly watered his yard.  So, I don't have any pictures from this run.  MD had graciously offered to carry my phone and my water.  Running companion fail.  (I kid, I kid.  Not really.  I was really wanting my water around mile 2.)

Tonight, not necessarily to make up for bailing on last night's run but just because he knew I was interested, MD encouraged me to check out a local running store's weekly group run.  I had seen their posts on Facebook and the flyer at the store this past weekend while there and was curious but still unsure.  Other than organized 5Ks and running with a pal here and there, I had never participated in a group run.  I was unsure of their route, the paces of the other runners and if they were going to be clique-ish at all.  I was feeling pretty insecure about me and whether or not I'd be able to hang with the crowd both physically and socially.  If he hadn't encouraged me, I know I wouldn't have gone.  I haven't gone all summer since they started the group runs.  I always had a reason why it wouldn't work out.

Well, tonight two of my main reasons weren't around.  Our girls are away at camp.  So, the girls couldn't be a reason we didn't go check out the run.  And, MD was interested, too.  The friend who just so happens to be a fishing guide also just so happens to be the new owner of our local Fleet Feet.  While they were fishing on Friday, David (the friend/guide/owner) told MD about the group runs and encouraged him to come check it out.  So, we went.

And, I was glad.  The crowd was just big enough to call it a crowd, every one was friendly and they had a representative from Pearl Izumi there with shoes.  You could ask all the questions you wanted and try out a pair of the shoes during the run!  So cool!  I opted to run in my Brooks; however, maybe next time I will be even more brave (it was brave of me to go tonight, winky smiley face) and actually speak to the guest rep and try their product.

After everyone got settled into a pair of shoes (those that opted to try them out, and there were several) we all headed outside the store to run.  We started off down a main road (where the store is located) and then turned off into a neighborhood.  Being that I don't live in the area we were running in (I live miles and a big bridge away), I wasn't sure where we were at all times.  I just did my best to keep the group in my sights!  About a mile into the run, I realized they had arrows spray-painted on the neighborhood streets for us to follow.  This allowed me to relax a little bit and not to try to push my pace just for the sake of not getting lost or turned around.  My husband chose to run/walk the route and, at one point, cut across and met me around the mile 2 mark (he had done about 1.25 miles).  This made me smile.  Afterall, it was date night. We should spend more of the run together, right?! :)  I hadn't seen him since the mile 1 mark when he decided to take a walk break while I kept on running.  It was about 30 seconds after this meet-up that it started to drizzle and about 30 seconds after that that it started to full out rain.  We ran the last mile in pretty decent rain and just as I was about done appreciating the cooling effect and beginning to get annoyed with it, I realized that we were coming out of the neighborhood and about 5-6 minutes from being back at the store and done with the run.  And, the rain stopped.

The run ended up being 3.18 miles ran in 33:57 for me.  I am pleased with it and so thankful that MD encouraged me to go check it out.  I hope to make it back next Tuesday!

Some shots from the run (just before and after, none taken during since I had MD carry my phone for me.  I guess I didn't learn.  :))

Folks mingling around the store as everyone started to arrive.

Pearl Izumi rep, Michael, (in black tank) chatting with a runner (in yellow) while my husband grabs some pre-run water.  When we got back in from the run, that table had pizza for the taking!  Woot!  That was a happy surprise!

Runners heading out.  I stayed back for a few seconds so that I could see what was going on, etc.  I was still a little uncomfortable not knowing what exactly to expect.  Silly nerves.

Post run!  I was excited.  I managed to stay with the group - even if at the back of the pack - and had a great time.  I actually liked running in the rain.  Granted it was only for a mile or so; I might have a different opinion if the rain was heavier and lasted longer.

Oh!  They had a raffle!  And, MD won!  He won this pair of Optic Nerve sunglasses.  They're in shiny metallic grey (which isn't really that shiny) and have interchangeable lenses.  He can go with the mirrored lenses or swap them out for copper ones.

They look good on him, right?!  I know, I know.  I'm a bit biased.  He was actually pretty excited to have these.  He's been running in a pair of Costas that are more for fishing than running.

If you have never tried a group run, do it!  I know lots of local running stores host them.  Hunt one down and give it a try!  I really did enjoy this one and will go back.

out-fishing (with) Daddy

My oldest daughter is not afraid to sweat.  Or, work hard.  Or, get dirty.  While she loves her some time in a pedicure chair and going to girly girl events, she also loves to get outdoors with us.  Whether it is running with me or hunting and fishing with Daddy.  (The same can be said for my youngest daughter; however, she did opt out of this particular adventure.  She isn't a fan of 4 AM wake-up calls.)

Last Friday, my husband booked a special surprise for her.  He has had some luck catching red fish and speckled trout off of a kayak, wade fishing and the jetties; however, he wanted to get her some more keepers.  So, he took her out with his friend who just so happens to be a fishing guide.

She had a blast.  She said 'it was the best day ever'.  Not to take away from Daddy but she also said running up and over the Harbor Bridge with me was a pretty awesome day, too.  ;)
One of her first catches of the morning was a dogfish.  While not very pretty nor something you'd keep, she was excited to reel it in and get the morning started!
She happened to also make the biggest catch of the day.  A 21" speckled trout.  Dad reports that she kept saying 'It's heavy!' but worked to reel it in on her own anyway!
Patiently waiting for the next bite.
Back at the dock!  After 6+ hours out on the water, they managed to catch 14 keepers; the limit is 10 keepers each so they were just about maxed out.  Dad reports that M not only caught most of the keepers but caught the most fish, in general, that morning.
I'm so very thankful that my husband is who he is.  He's such a good daddy!  He's definitely a keeper!  ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

wacky (last) wednesday

Not exactly an original title.  Nor was my Wednesday particularly wacky; however, it's what came to mind when it was time to title this thing.  So, Wacky Wednesday it is.

The temps and humidity have definitely crept up.  This time last summer I had completely quit running because of the temps and humidity.  I just couldn't get acclimated and running was the polar opposite of fun so I just didn't go out and run.

Here is the normal for 8 o'clock AT NIGHT down here.


This is the coolest part of the day unless you start your day at 4 AM.  And, by doing that, you are really only getting temps 5-6 degrees cooler and you are actually going out in higher humidity (by nearly 10% some mornings!).

This summer, I didn't (and don't) want to do that.  I don't want to give up so easily.  So, I have been trying to find ways to make it more pleasant and actually something I look forward to doing.  One of the things I have been trying to figure out is running tops.  I am not a tank top person.  Even if I get over the scar I have from a surgical procedure had in 2006, I am bothered by not having a sleeve on the shoulder to shrug up and swipe sweat with.  (This makes sense to me.)  However, I have gone on the hunt for running tanks to help get me through the South Texas summer heat and humidity.  I have purchased and returned more tanks from Hibbett Sports and Academy than I care to admit; however, I have finally found one that I like.  In fact, I like it so much that I want to buy another but I am waiting.  I am waiting for to see if I won one from here.  Now, don't you all go over and enter and decrease my odds, now!  :)

After seeing Tiffany's post about the tank (it's UA Women's Fly-By Stretch Mesh Tank), I entered the giveaway and then began googling for more information about it (the tank).  Curiosity (and heat and humidity) got the best of me and I purchased one from Academy.  I wasn't sure how I was going to like the mesh part of the description.  Mesh always makes me feel 'exposed' and usually uncomfortable in public, if I am the one wearing it.

I tried it out on Wednesday night's run.  I feel in love!  It was cool, light and not too form fitted.  I was completely comfortable from beginning to end; I didn't even mind running into a few people I knew while I was out and about.  What I mean by this:  I felt covered, not like I was exposing too much of me, while wearing it.  It was fitted just right across my chest, flowy just right across my mommy middle and long enough to cover my tookus in my short tights.  See my not-so-great selfies below:

Let's leave the modeling to the professionals, shall we?  Here's a pic of the tank from Under Armor's website.  The color I am wearing was available at Academy; however, it is not an option on the UA website.  I am thinking I'd really like that cerulean color!
Now, if running in a tank instead of my usual AOG (my gym) short-sleeved shirt isn't wacky enough for you, there's more.  I changed up my route.  For real!  This was a bigger deal than showing a scar, wearing mesh and loosing my shoulder shrug sweat swiping ability!
My route almost always looks like this:
However, on Wednesday night, I was feeling a little adventurous and decided to change it up a bit.  Instead of my usually out and back down the main road through our neighborhood, I decided to roam around the neighborhood a bit, going up and down streets that don't venture over to often.  It's my neighborhood and all but when you only go down one or two streets daily, it feels like a whole 'nother world across the street!  My route on Wednesday ended up looking like this:

I found that I had to work harder thinking about when to head back home as my normal mile markers were not there.  I spent some time thinking about whether I should go up or down this street or wait to cross over at the next street, etc.  So, I didn't really worry about pace while I was out.  I just took in some new scenery and made sure I got to 3 miles before I found myself back in my driveway.  The run ended up being 3.12 miles ran in 33:16 minutes.  About par here lately and I was pleased with it knowing that I slowed here and there to think about 'what next?' as I approached stop signs and such.

Wacky Wednesday was wacky because I wore something I have never worn (a tank!  I never wear tanks.) as well as ran a new-to-me, loopy route.  I found that I missed shrugging my shoulders to wipe sweat only once or twice (not enough to keep from wearing the tank again!) and running a new route to be more fun than I would have thought (even though I did have to think more about where I was going so as not to cut the run too short or find myself too far out and walking longer than I wanted to back home).