Friday, August 29, 2014

Sunrise Yoga at the Beach

It was the annual Rayapalooza beach vacation in Port Aransas, TX, last weekend with the Cordovas. I look forward to it all year and especially at the beginning of August. This month has been by far the busiest month that I have had all year and really couldn't wait for the beachy getaway with some good friends. I can expect good food, some drinking, dogs playing, walks along the beach with JL (and not in a romantic way), and some exercise.
I was only sad that I had to leave a day earlier than planned, but it was worth it to watch my two friends get married.

Congrats to Dindi and Brian!
And since we always exercise, JL decided to do something different. A couple of weeks ago, she texted me that we were getting up early to do some yoga on the beach with the sun rising around us and our dogs playing. I planned to do a beach run on both of the days, because I LOVE running on the beach. However, I wasn't sure if my toe pain would allow running on both days or possibly not even on one day (more on that in a later post). So, the idea of doing yoga on one day and running on the next day was a much better plan. Then, she wrote to tell me that we would have an actual yoga instructor (Michelle Acebo) from the Yoga Studio of Corpus Christi out there teaching the class. I was even more pumped about my weekend getaway and couldn't wait to get there.

And then our alarms went off at 6:15 a.m. on that Friday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed for some sunrise yoga. I quickly realized that not only did I forget my skydiving rig, but I also forgot my yoga mat. Thankfully, JL had an extra mat for me to use (but no skydiving on the beach for me). The sun was peaking out and the temps were somewhat lower than the death heat and humidity we received days before and certainly on Saturday morning. I tied up Remington, because he wasn't used to all these people and had been really grouchy since he got there the night before. But he had front row center and sometimes he would get on the instructor's yoga mat to what I assume supervise the situation.

She started off by rubbing our shoulders with a little deep massage cream (the same one JL used on me before). If yogis started their classes out like this every day, they would have a lot more students.

I have to say that it was weird not being in the lotus pose for this part, but this is what she wanted.

These ladies got the best spot in my opinion.

Molly is doing her own version of downward dog.

I really enjoyed Michelle as an instructor.

And this right here is why we got up so early.

I forgot my darn bandana.

Zori was the only one to get the leg up all the way; I tried, but failed.

This picture cracks me up, because we were all falling and I was getting molested by Niko.
The exciting thing was that I stuck my headstand. I couldn't get my feet up (which is so weird, because as a child, I had no issues with this at all) without jumping to it. So, the instructor helped me out. And then she let me go only giving me minimal support. I swear I thought she was holding on to me a lot more until I saw the pictures. I held it for awhile and was pretty proud of myself. This has now become a new goal for me.

I'm so close, but I just do not have the control to lift myself up without jumping it.

She was the only one to get the headstand without assistance.

Initial help to get me started.

She's barely holding on to me.

After looking at this photograph, I felt like a rock star. Every time that I have attempted the headstand in yoga class, the instructors are holding on to me for dear life. I think the sand really helped me let go.
We did some final stretching and the corpse pose, which I love and then said our goodbyes to Michelle. JL's dogs were fully involved at this point.

Remington is supervising the instructor as the quality control department.

I've never had an instructor do an extra stretch for me in corpse pose. I liked it.
It was not the hardest yoga class I have ever taken, but we had a few ladies in the class who have never taken a yoga class before. And to be honest, it was just perfect for me. I haven't done any yoga in a couple of months and my foot was still bothersome, so I didn't think much of it. I will say that it was weird doing yoga on the sand, because the sand was all over my hands and feet and especially on my face when I went into a child's pose. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I highly recommend Michelle if you are ever needing a yogi in the Corpus area. It was by far my favorite part of the beach weekend...well, except for when my friend E caught a 5' shark on my last night.

My baby boy all tired from chasing flies in the sand and digging for leftover ribs.

That was a big boy and they had some good tacos that I missed.
Ray took these photos and they are just amazing. I had to include them. Actually, thanks to Ray for taking all of the yoga pictures (except for 2-3 when we couldn't find Ray and Michelle had to take them).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Splash and Dash

On Friday, August 15, Elizabeth and I finally made it to the Houston Racing Triathlon Club's (HRTC) cool event called Splash and Dash. You swim 400m on the 288 Lake and then run a mile right afterwards. Then, it finishes with a slip and slid...oh yeah.

On a side note, if you are members of HRTC, you can swim at the 288 Lake on Friday for free. You also get discounted rates to swim at the lake.

When we got there, I reminisced about getting my scuba diving certification here over 24 years ago. It certainly looked differently (better) than it did back then. I think we have may have had two ladders and that was it. I remember being in the car with the AC on eating McDonalds to get away from the heat, while I waited for my parents to finish. The new 288 Lake had a nice gazebo area, decks, nice loading/unloading area, and buoys/flags to mark out the swimming distance needed for triathletes. It was amazing.

We got in for a warmup to get used to the lake. I immediately loved it. I felt so comfortable in the lake unlike the pool. Yes, it was warm, but it didn't bother me. I felt like a fish and instantly knew that I would be okay for my first triathlon.

The group started to congregate around the main loading/unloading area and we asked how this works. We were told that we swim out to the big red buoy thing for 200m and then back for another 200m. It cuts through the lake like a diagonal. I did wonder if we were allowed to swim like that on regular days. Then, a guy said the rules and how we were or actually weren't going to be timed. And then we were off like dirty shirt.

I did exactly what I do in races...I started off too fast getting caught up in the group and the excitement. So, I tired easily. I just tried to remain calm and work on my swim. I stayed with Elizabeth for a while and then we were separated. I thought we had to swim out to the platform in the middle of the lake, but we didn't. I quickly learned that it was out of the way when heading back to the main loading area. I eventually made it back to the small group I trailed and got up without too many issues. I have no idea what my time was, but there is a possibility I heard 9 minutes something. And really who cares since I wasn't last...thank God.

We got to the makeshift transition area to change into our shoes, which was painfully slow and headed out. I stayed with Elizabeth until the first dip in elevation (not much). My foot began to hurt, so I just took it nice and slow and easy. I didn't want to press myself. And boy is it weird to run in a swimsuit. My butt jiggled so much and there was nothing to protect it. Eventually, I made it back for a nice whale like finish on the slip n slide.

Photos taken by Elizabeth.
We had some food and beer and talked for a bit to Robert. The weather was so beautiful, which made me want to stay forever, but we had to head out for the evening. I can't wait to swim here again.

Since this was my first experience into the world of triathlons, I have a lot to work on before October. I need to get up some speed in the swim and not take it fast right out the gate. I also need to work on looking up out of the water in a smoother way. I definitely need a better system in the transition area. Boy howdy, was that slow. And I'm always got things to work on for the run.

With that said, I'm so ready for the triathlon. I have no loss of confidence on how I will do in the swim. It's a 400m swim on a lake and well, I proved that I can rock it out with the best of them. Okay, maybe not like Chrissie Wellington, but more like KW.

If you want to join Splash and Dash, the next one is Friday, September 12, 2014, at 6 p.m. It really is worth it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fred Hartman Bridge Sunrise Run

We had so much fun as a group running the Kemah Bridge two weeks prior that we decided to run again on the Fred Hartman Bridge. We chose sunrise mainly because we didn't really get to see it last time (otherwise known as cloud coverage and very late people). This time, we stayed at a friend's house (thanks Rebecca for your hospitality) close to the bridge to ensure that we got there on time (15 minutes early...booyah).

As I was driving across the Fred Hartman Bridge heading to Rebecca's house, I realized how beautiful this bridge is and that I haven't been on it since my first half marathon. I started to get excited for my run.

And then the morning came and I was less than excited to be up so early. Why did we pick this time again? Oh right...the sunrise. Martha, Cesar and I headed to the bridge with Rebecca leading the way (she was only up to show us how to get there). Like I said, we were 15 minutes early. Only five of us total showed up, because we had a lots of cancelations at the last minute and one that just slept through it (yeah, I'm calling you out Jim).

Group wish you were this cool.
Once again, the awesome John led our group with a slower warm up than the previous bridge run, which was still faster than I could muster. Martha and I quickly fell to the back of the pack. I stayed with her, because she was smart last time starting out slow and saving her energy. I learned my lesson to not go fast right out the chute.

I immediately noticed the car traffic on the bridge. At 6:30 a.m. on the Kemah Bridge run on a Sunday, there were hardly any cars out...mainly runners. The Fred Hartman Bridge run at 6:17 a.m. on a Sunday was completely different. I expected fisherman and truckers coming, especially considering where we parked; however, it seemed like these cars were a great deal of regular joes coming back home from a crazy night in Houston, sometimes loud and sometimes honking at us. I didn't bring my headphones, but listened to my iPhone. It was actually hard to hear even with the volume turned all the way up, because the traffic was so loud.

We got a few minutes of these beautiful colors.

Martha stayed with me the whole time, while the boys were ahead...far ahead. As we got near the top, I remembered how freaking long this bridge was in comparison to Kemah. It is less steep than Kemah, but so much longer. Kemah is steeper and short. So, you felt okay afterwards, because you got through it quickly. I didn't feel okay after getting done with one half of this bridge. My energy wiped out on the first lap. I had to walk a few lot of times and Martha and I just worked together as a team (mostly her stopping to let me catch up). I was also having lots of side and stomach pain.

We saw the guys returning from the turnaround point and we got lots of pictures of each other. Then, we reached the turnaround point, but we really didn't know where to turn around. I remembered where we dropped in for the La Porte Half Marathon, which was now blocked by a concrete wall. They either took out a block of concrete for us or this highway section was in fact new. We wanted to make it an even three miles before we turned around, but the bridge goes up and off into a highway with a really narrow shoulder. The cars were coming pretty fast and made us both nervous. So, we decided to turn around a little earlier than three miles. When we reunited with they boys, we learned that our turnaround point was farther than where they turned around. Score points for us girls! But we still blame the boys for losing us!

Wow! I love this picture and thank you to whoever took it.



We did have cloud coverage, but for a short period of time, we saw the beautiful colors of the sun rising. Even when the sun was high in the sky, it was only peaking out through the clouds giving us a beautiful calming hue.

The other difference about Fred Hartman vs. the Kemah Bridge is the scenery. Kemah has beautiful views from both sides of the bridge, including the boardwalk, the boats, the harbor, the houses, the lands, etc. Fred Hartman is not so lucky. It is near a major port, which means lots of shipping boats, some weird island looking thing where they dumped pipe parts, some oil rigs, and refineries (lots of refineries...wall to wall refineries) on one side. This is why our pictures only show one side. Martha said, "On the right, we have what our environment could be and on the left, we have what we are doing to the environment." I did agree with her, but at the same time, I did see jobs. It's a Catch 22 in my eyes. And it didn't matter, because the Kemah Bridge was still prettier as a whole than the right side of the Fred Hartman Bridge.

This was probably my slowest run ever, but that's because Martha and I were stopping to either walk or take pictures. Don't judge us. Eventually we made it back. We should have ran more to make it an even six, but I didn't understand John's hand signals and just ran to the parking lot. Oh well.

I believe this is John's picture and it's just so serene and wonderful.
We aren't late. We were lost, because the boys lost us.

Cesar put this together and I thought it was really cool.
We put Cesar in charge of finding our after run restaurant in which he went the wrong way and took us to an industrial area that didn't even look like they had any restaurants, but we got there. It was actually really cheap and good Mexican food. I wish I could remember the name. 
My freaking yummy breakfast. Seriously, nothing was over $7. This plate I believe was $3.
On Saturday, August 16, we are getting up early again (6:15 a.m.) to run the Elysian Bridge in Houston. Meet us at Market Square downtown for a seven mile run. It's with a good group and we all try to work together as a team. Nobody gets left behind.

On a side note, all of the pictures on this blog are either from John, Cesar, Martha, or myself. I know the ones from me, but not from them. I just want to thank them for awesome pictures.