Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hotel Running...Again

Grand Junction has become my second home (please make it my real home Mr. Bossman). I was here 3 weeks ago (no exercise) and I will be here in 3 weeks from now.

I was only able to get in one morning of exercising this trip (and it's a short trip...3 days). Yesterday morning, I planned to get up at 5 a.m. to get down for a good 3 mile run on the treadmill. However, I didn't wake up in time. I got down to the nice gym at 5:30 a.m. and just planned to do a mile and lift some weights as cross training. I turned on the TV (Home Improvement) and started walking at 2.5 mph, with an incline of 1. I walked to 0.10 miles before I increased the speed to 5.0 mph (keeping the incline of 1). Somewhere during the mile, I increased it to 5.5 mph, but I'm not sure at what distance. I ran all the way to 1.10 miles. I may have even increased it to 6.0 mph at the last tenth of the mile, but I can't remember. I then decreased the speed to 3.0 mph and walked until I reached 1.26 miles. I burned a total of 144 calories (give or take 5 calories) and I'm unsure of how many minutes it took. I think it was 15 minutes, which I need to make that better.

After I got off the treadmill, I got the 15 lb dumbbell and did 2 sets of 20 arm curls behind my head, while standing on the BOSU. This is good for working your core. I did 3 sets of 10 bicep curls, while squatting on the BOSU. I also did some shoulder curls in between. I put down the 15 lb dumbbell and grabbed the 5 lb for butterfly raises on the bench. I did 3 sets of 15 on each arm. I realized at the end that I should have used the 10 lb dumbbell. When I was done with that, then I did 2 sets of 25 ab crunches on the BOSU. Normally, I would do 30 crunches, but it's hard on that thing. My abs were burning. I got out the mat and did 2 sets of 25 bicycle crunches, 2 sets of scissors, and 2 sets of 30 second planks (the 2nd set, I moved my stomach to each side making it that much harder). After all that, I did 1 sun salutation to stretch out my back and relax.

I wanted to run this morning, but I just got a pedicure and I'm not ready to take a chance to ruin it just yet. Oh well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Day I Almost Killed JL

What a fantabuloso weekend even if it ended on Saturday morning. My friend Ray was having a birthday party down at the beach. I wasn't going to go, because Corpus Christi (actually, it was on Mustang Island in Port Aransas) can be a drive and I didn't think I could stay the whole weekend. But I decided to just go since I get to see my friends, skydive on the beach, and let my dogs get crazy.

I got there late on Thursday night, but wasn't sure if I would leave Friday night or Saturday morning. JL had already asked me if I wanted to run on Friday morning on the beach and I couldn't say no. Ever since my 5K in Galveston, I have been really loving and craving a run on the beach. I think it's because it really is harder than the road, which gives me that euphoric bad ass feeling like I accomplished something tough. Then, I get to yell at those road runners what wusses they are for not being on the sand. Okay, I don't really do that, but I could. Well, Saturday morning came around and who was the one getting things going? Yup, that's right, it was me, waking up the zombie sometimes referred to as JL. I spanked her butt and forced her awake to go running with me. One of the guys saw us getting ready to run and asked if he could join us. Of course he could, but I didn't have the heart to tell him we were not fast runners.

JL and I taking the traditional before shot. You can see the RV in the background.

Our plan was to run to the condos that looked to be about a mile away, with the option to run to the pier.

Nick running ahead of us. The big rectangle on the far left of the picture were the condos for our planned turnaround point.

A closeup of the pier that we had as the option

Our run started off weird since we had 3 different speed types:  JL was the slow one, I was a middle speed (close to slow), and Nick was super fast (running with no shoes or even Vibrams...who did he think he was, a Kenyan?). But I slowed for JL, because she was new to running and sometimes, Nick would stop to let us catch up. I have only run on the beach at night, so this was the first time I have ever ran in the early morning. It was cool and the sun rising and reflecting off the ocean was just so tranquil. I honestly didn't even care that I didn't have my ipod.

Who wouldn't love running on the beach with a view like this?

At this point, JL is suffering (and consequently where I got the name for this post), but she kept pushing through. She didn't want to stop. And we hadn't made it to the condos yet. She finally yelled at me that I was trying to kill her and I said that I would name this post that just for her. I kept telling her that she can walk at anytime, to not be worried about me if she was tired. She just kept going. Damn competitive women. 

On a side note, I realized that I have to get new running glasses or fix my Gatorz. JL is greedy and selfish and would not just give me her 3rd pair of Gatorz. Pish Posh.

What a girl running in the morning with a hangover.

Nick trying to be a Kenyan Competitve Runner

This is one of my favorite shots of JL. She's pushing herself so hard to run with us. She's focused. She's a bad ass.

Whoops! I cut out JL. It's not easy running and trying to get a picture. Seriously, JL, Christmas is coming and I want those pair of Gatorz.

Much better, even though it's blurry. But look at that determination and focus in JL.

Nick running as slow as he can to stay with us.

We finally reached the condos and stopped to walk. We discussed going to the pier and finally decided to go for it. It was only 2 miles away...or so we thought. JL was all for it, but she had to walk more. I was okay with this decision. I didn't want her to die. Our conversation was crazy and since we were walking alot, all 3 of us were together. I found out that Nick has an obsession and appreciation for midgets as do I. If you were an outsider listening to our conversation, you probably would be appalled, but it made the run so much fun. Also, Nick is working on breaking out of his shell by talking to people and he did. Everybody we passed got a good morning, hello, and well, we almost had to hold him back when the girl was doing yoga (in downward facing dog) on the beach in her bikini. Oh and on that note, I knew the poses that she was doing. It made me sound so smart. That was cool. There was only 1 couple that didn't say anything back and I wanted to throw sand in their face.

Finally, it's time to walk.

It's not everyday you get to see a heron on your run. I think it was a heron.
JL said a couple of times to run and we did. We high-fived eachother after each run. The pier was getting bigger and bigger and she kept on going. We discussed getting beer or anything at the store, but we didn't have money. Finally, the pier was within 20ft and we quickly sprinted to the pier...well, Nick and I did. But JL kept up the run. And then we made it! I could've kissed that pier. This was such an accomplishment, because as I was running, I realized that the pier was not 2 miles away if that; it was farther. I was actually starting to think it was closer to 3 miles away. So, I was so proud of JL for doing it and me since my legs were even burning. We then asked these nice ladies to take our picture.  

JL, Nick, and I making it to the pier. Look at that smile on JL. Priceless.

With all the excitement of making it to the pier, we forgot that we had to make it back somehow. I mean you couldn't even see the RV from where we were. So, then we discussed just calling Ray to come pick us up. I mean I had my phone with me (didn't want to miss these momumnetal photo captures of our run). But we decided to stick it out and walk back, with a few runs thrown in there. It usually started with Nick saying, "Hey, let's run to the trash can or the fat man (who turned out to be a woman) sitting on the chair, or the hot yoga girl." We did a few when I noticed that JL was really struggling not like before. I mean this was her first time running and she went more than a mile and on sand. I told him that we (JL and I) are going to walk the rest of the way. JL is a super competitive, tough girl like me. She won't say no, because she doesn't want to be a wuss. I know this feeling and I knew what she was going through, so I told her we were not going to run anymore. Later on, she thanked me for saving her life and that the blog should be called the day that Nick tried to kill her. I know, St. Kristi to the rescue. I should really start charging people. We saw this couple on the way back who we saw on our run to the pier and they said that they were tired just looking at us. So, we got our first beach compliments. I will take it. I love compliments.

JL and I in our after shot. I was so proud of her. And really, look at that smile.

Later on, Nick and I drove the beach to see how much distance we really ran. The condos were exactly 1.1 miles and the pier was 2.25 miles. So, we freaking ran 4.5 miles. That is the most that I have done in a LONG time. High-five for me.

The rest of the weekend was just so chill. Well, except for Thursday night when Tropical Storm (JL says it was a hurricane) Ray came through almost blowing away our campsite. The poor dogs freaked out when the thundering and lightening came in and I was in charge of getting them inside. It was not easy.

We fished in the Gulf on Friday, but I only caught a bait fish. I also got really burnt. And then we skydived later on that evening. JL and I only did one skydive together, because we were ready to drink. Quite frankly, JL and I are bad influences on eachother. We will be the ones that are easily convinced to drink instead of continuing to skydive. And the fact that we ran in the morning and waited until almost 5 to drink (so we could skydive) was a big day for us. Plus, JL caught 2 fishys. Later that evening, the dropzone came over to party at our camp sight and we fried up the fish that was caught from the day. Thankfully, Nick bought some hushpuppies and we made those, too. As you can see, I ended up staying the night and left on Saturday morning. Too bad my dogs didn't want to leave. I mean Lady just looked at me as I'm yelling at her to come back to get in the car and then headed in to the water. Naturally, Remington had to help her.

These are some great pictures of the weekend that didn't have anything to do with running.

JL's first caught fish. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of my catch. I don't care if it went in to the bait fish pile, I still caught it. I think she gets special attention, because of her tats.

My dog Lady on Friday night all dead from partying, eating, and swimming.
Remington and Hobie, BFFs

JL and Ray's big dog named Nikko passed out on the couch. If he wasn't there, he was taking up the bed.

That's me about to land. JL is on her downwind base at the top right corner. She has the same canopy as me, same pattern as me, and same landing spot as me. Copycat.

After our funny jump, but I'm so proud of JL for getting the sit down (the first time).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Early Early Morning Run...Did I Mention Early?

And it was early...before the roosters were up. I think I woke some up on my run.

I have decided that until the weather gets somewhat cooler, I'm going to have to run in the early mornings before work if I want to get any running done. I take my dogs for their long walk in the evenings (get them out of the apartment) when it's cooler and it's too hot to do running or their walk as soon as I get off work. By the time I get done with their walk, I'm just done and ready to eat or get ready for bed. And it is just not enough to run 2 days on the weekend. Since I get up early for 6 a.m. bootcamp a couple of times a week, I figured I could get up early for a run on the other days. This morning was the first attempt to see if I could actually do it. I've thought about it before, but never set the alarm clock to wake me up. Well, not this morning. I need to stop being a slacker, because I have a 10K to prepare for on September 17th. By the way, I did register last week for the Toughest 10K Kemah...got my confirmation yesterday.

I planned to only run the 1.5 loop around my block for my first time to see how it goes and then bump it up to the 3 mile loop when I get used to it. I didn't stretch (and come to think of it, I didn't stretch when I got done...damn), took out the trash, set up my ipod with unknown music, and walked to the stopsign by the convenience store (counterclockwise). When I got done warming up, I started running. "I'm a B," by Black Eyed Peas was the first song to play to get things started. NICE. It set the mood.

The run wasn't too bad, not too hot, not too unbearable. I noticed that my form was not great, because I was more concerned with the potential rapist popping out of the trees or the BIG cracks in the sidewalks that could trip me. I also noticed that my breathing is still eratic, but that will smooth out when I get used to running again (meaning that 1 mile will no longer be a big deal). I only saw 1 person on the way; he was with his black Labrador. I was envious since my Lab would never be able to run with me or be that stable running with me on the leash.

I ran the entire way around and I was close to the end and sortof feeling it. The one thing that sucks about running alone is that it's easier to walk. I've said it before, but once that thought creeps up in your head, it's hard to ignore. You figure since no one is around (especially this early in the morning), no one will care. I tried to push the thought away, but it was getting harder not to say yes to the walk when the song came on again. You know the song...I mentioned before in a previous post. I actually picked up speed and kept on running. I ran to the stop sign where I started and turned around to walk for my cool down. The run was about 20 minutes total (including my warm-up and cooldown walks), which I need to work on shaving off that time. I did have 1 slow (very slow jog) time when I was changing the ipod music. So, next run, I will work on speed.

Even though I was hot and sweaty, I would have ran another loop around if I had more time. It's a start.

What I learned on my run:
1.  Get everything ready the night before by putting everything you need in 1 spot. I was late getting out of the house, because I was searching for my keys, running belt, mace, phone, ipod stuff, sports bra, shorts, and all other running gear.
2. Make a spare key (this is good for people coming over to watch the kiddoes) and then only use that one to put on my running belt. I'm tired of constantly taking off the 1 key and then putting it back on the keychain.
3. Take your dogs out before you go running, because even though it is earlier than the time they get up when you go to morning bootcamp, they still are awake. They might not understand that they are awake, but they know that you are awake and they want to be with you. I was gone for 20 minutes at max and Remington peed and pooped in the apartment. I know it was him, because he didn't immediately pee when I took him out and he didn't even want to try to sniff any of the ground to poop. Usually, he's my golden boy and Lady is the one holding up the bathroom outside time.
4. Take your dogs out when you change up the schedule. They did this last time (Lady) when I went to my first bootcamp class and I showed up late, because they (Lady) wouldn't even sniff the ground. She wanted to look around.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hot Undies Run 2011 Recap

Wow! I can't believe I did 2 races, 2 weekends in a row. First one was the Sand Crab 5K the Saturday before and now the Hot Undies Run. Both of these races were completely different. The 5K was to survive and the Hot Undies was just to have fun in my undies for charity and drink some beer. It is a 2 mile run that starts at an Irish pub, runs around Rice University, stops at another pub on campus (didn't know this since most of us thought we would stop at 3 pubs on the run), and then ends back at the Irish Pub. My only issue was this race was in the middle of the day (1 p.m.), which meant that it was probably the hottest race I have ever done. Texas has been dealing with triple digit weather for 4 weeks in a row without including the heat index. Thank God, it was a 2 mile run and mostly covered with trees.

Literally on Friday, my friend (Amy...yeah, I'm calling you out) and I decided to sign up for the Hot Undies run. She dragged her boyfriend along. I still had to go by some cute underwear for the run. I decided that since this is my first year, I would wear boxers (with no underwear on underneath) and see how people dress up or dress down before I just decide to flash my personal wear to the world. After seeing everyone, next year, I'm going all out with real underwear. I almost bought these cool Batman male boxer briefs (because quite frankly, he's a badass and so am I), but settled on these female boxers that you normally sleep in. It turned out that Amy had the same kind only different plaid. And the big theme this year was superheroes. There were alot of girls in the Batman, Superman, Flash, Iron Man, and Captain America underroos.

That morning, I popped in to an All Levels Vinyasa class. I figured it would be somewhat easy like the last one. I was so very wrong. This teacher was not easy. I had a pool of sweat and my body was achy, but I survived and then headed to my mother's for some lunch before the run. I got to the Irish Pub (first stop) right at 11:30 a.m. and it was packed. I saw my friends and headed on down to wait in line and check out the sights. Oh and there was some sights. Men wearing nothing but barrels, dark angels, superheroes, floureseant girls, etc. I downed a bottle of water and stayed away from the beer. I also entered in to the raffle (didn't win).

Amy and I before the race in our cute boxer matching underwear. Im trying to suck in my tummy.

Amy and Brian looking cute before the race. He really should've taken the shirt off!

Some Scottish runners.
These are the Flash underwear. I should've gotten a picture of the Batman ones.

Dark Angels to take down all runners
Amy and I lined up waiting for the race to start. It's getting hot.
The race started and it was kindof slow to get 700 people moving in this tiny area (the road wasn't blocked off). I kept getting stuck behind people that wanted to walk.

As you can see, why we started off slow.

I just jogged with my friends and huffed and puffed my way along. It was so hot and we were shaded for majority of the time. The little jogging path was bloated with runners in their underwear and people were driving by honking at us. I waved back at them (no...not with 1 finger to tell them they are #1...it was for charity). Some lady was commenting on how cute Amy and I's plaid shorts were. I'm glad we we coordinated even though we didn't plan it. Too bad Brian wore shorts and a shirt and ruined our whole unplanned theme.

Rice University campus is so pretty...thank God for trees.

Yeah, I fell behind. I got stuck behind these slower runners and I was just too tired and hot to try to catch up.
 We finally made it to the turnaround point and I stopped to walk, mainly because I was told that the pub was just around the corner. It was around several corners, so I picked up the run again albeit slower. But I'm pretty sure it was a mile that I ran without stopping (go me). Brian fell back with me and Amy (showoff) ran ahead and then the pub became real, not a myth. I decided to run to the pub and stop there. A guy in his underwear was playing the bagpipes. I grabbed a water that was laid out for us and then got in to the beer line. Basically, we lined up, went inside, took a beer that someone handed us, went out the other side, and then drank the beer outside. It was hot and the sweat was burning my eyes, but I had determination in my tmind...to finish this beer, get going, and have more beers when I was done.

Brian and I enjoying our first beer of the day during the first pub stop (middle of the run). See how sweaty we are and it's only been a mile.

Bagpipe player in his underwear...nice.

There were 3 of them.

We drank our beers fast and got back to the run (only this time, we were walking). We walked all the way towards the end of the campus. We saw one of the guys on rollerblades in his underwear and I know he was a part of the race. Cheater. Some guy was cheering us on that was a volunteer and it inspired us to run. Brian threw water on me, but it felt really good. We walked again and then ran at the last part, slapping some kid's hands on the way.

We survived a very hot run even in our underwear. Amy and I got in to the sprinkler and it never felt so good. The beer was not cold like the Sand Crab race, but good. I saw some friends of mine, but couldn't get with them later.

Amy and I sweaty after the race.

Even though this race was so very hot, it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again next year. This time, I'm going to be in my underwear for real. 

On a side note, I took the Yoga For Athletes class on Sunday. Man, was that hard. She wanted to work our core and she did. I think the military people would have been crying if they had to do some of the stuff we were doing. There were things that I just couldn't do, but I tried everything. At one point, she wanted us to hold our Chatarunga, but everyone kept missing what she was saying. I missed it the first time, but I got it the second time. Too bad that so many people did. I looked at her and she just said, "Well, your classmates aren't listening." Evil lady. I came out of that class stretched, sore, shaky, and almost like jelly. And then, I went skydiving. I did 1 jump (head down and it was fast). I wanted to run that evening, but I took the doggies for a 1.5 mile walk instead around the apartments. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011 Hot Undies Run

Today, I signed up (at last minute) for the 2011 Hot Undies Run, which benefits the Children's Tumor Foundation. It's really cool. You meet at an Irish Pub (awesome) and stop at 3 pubs along the way during your 2 mile run (awesomer)...in your undies. Heck yes. I finally found someone crazier than myself to go with me on this adventure. I remembered wanting to do this last year, but something came up. Something always comes up. But not this year. I'm doing it. Now, I have to go to Target and buy some cute small boxers to wear. My boy briefs do NOT look good on me...not yet. I need more runs. So, this is what I will be doing on Saturday besides my yoga class. Go me. And NO I'm not going to put up pictures of me in my underroos...maybe my sports bra, but that's it. I'm super excited.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bootcamp and Yoga

I was supposed to go to Hatha Yoga on Monday, but I needed an exercise break. I have been go go go for a couple of weeks now. Even if I'm not running or doing classes, I'm walking the dogs for 1.5 miles a day. Monday, I took a much needed break, but I was back on Tuesday.

My bootcamp class started at 6 a.m. and guess what? I got to wear my new running shoes. Normally, I would probably just wear my Nikes for bootcamp, but Shirley makes us run to warm up and cool down. Weird, I know. So, I was happy to use that as an excuse to wear them. And I might say, they are wonderful, awesome, excellent, God like shoes. But back to the bootcamp. It wasn't has hard as other bootcamps, but effective. Bikes, squats, kettleball, medicine ball, bogo thingy, stairs, STAIRS, STAIRS. I have come to hate it when they say stairs. Last week, we had to do stair drills 4 times. Yesterday, it was 5. Run up and walk down 5 times. I hate it. Even though, this class kicks my ass, it still made me feel good. I just wished it carried throughout the day. This is the time where I really miss my kickboxing classes. If I had stress or pinned up anger, it punched or kicked it right out for an hour or 2.

That evening (late), I took All Levels Vinyasa yoga class. I haven't taken this class, but the other classes that I have taken use Vinyasa in some way. It was hard and calmed my mind, which I needed really bad. She never turned on the AC or fans and it was hot. At one point, I kept slipping on my sweat that had created a puddle on my mat. Oh and when I did the Chaturanga (push up pose), my arm tweaked really bad. I guess it was all the pushups I did in bootcamp, but I couldn't do that move anymore the rest of the class. Oh well. I liked this class, but I get more out of Cardio Yoga or Yoga for Athletes (which uses alot of the same moves). And when I want to calm my brain in relaxing, just stretching yoga, I take Hatha Yoga. I probably won't do this class again...maybe.

I've got Hatha Yoga today and then, I have to take my dogs on the long walk. My poor Lab looks longingly at the outside of my apartment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Galveston Sand Crab 5K Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran in the 2nd Annual Galveston Sand Crab Race; however, this year, I did a 5K instead of the 10K like last year. I was really nervous about this race, because of the following:
  1. I haven't done an actual race since this time last year...this race, in fact.
  2. I haven't ran 3 miles in a LONG time. I have walked 3 miles and I have ran 1-1 1/2 miles. But this wasn't just 3 miles, it was 3 miles on sand. This race is so much more difficult and tiring than regular 5K races on the flat street. I actually wasn't sure I would survive this race.
  3. This was my first race running alone.
  4. I had some anxieties about certain aspects of my personal life showing up right before the race.
I asked my mother to join me for full mother support and to take pictures of me. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, it's always nice to have a Photographer in the family. Plus, I needed someone to drive my sandy corpse home.

We got in to Galveston, TX, a couple hours early to pick up my race packets at Fit 2 Run Galveston. If you are a runner and in Galveston, go check them out, because they are awesome and so very helpful. Even with the crazy traffic on 45 right by NASA, we managed to make it there by 4:30 p.m. I picked up my packet and thought, "Hey, since I'm in a running store, I might as well try on some actual running shoes." I have wanted to get new running shoes for some time now (the kind that are actually made for your feet), but I haven't had the money. The very nice lady, Kim, helped me pick out shoes. She watched me run, stand, everything to see what would be the perfect shoe for the type of runner that I am. I walked out of there with the new Asics Nimbas (neutral runner) and I swear those shoes were made by the Gods. It was like paradise on my feet...a comfortable paradise. My feet felt so great in them. I was so happy and I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these shoes. I have never paid that much before, but I think they are worth it. The only sad thing was that I couldn't wear them for my race that evening. You should never break in your new shoes on a race and I didn't want to get my new shoes all sandy. Last year, it took forever to get all the sand out; therefore, I wasn't risking it.

After some very filling and overly sauced pasta, we made our way to Poretta Beach where they were still setting up everything. I did some stretching by the car and got my things ready to go, such as my ipod, my race tag, etc.

My mom took some pictures as we waited for the start time. On a side note, if your with a Photographer and he or she walks away leaving you standing there with a tripod, everyone thinks that you are a Photographer. I got asked so many times to take people's pictures.

 #489 waiting to start this race with my headlamp wrapped around my wrist.

I love this shot of me watching the water and trying to expel my worries. Plus, the moon was starting to come up and it was pretty.

The race organizer got on there to thank the sponsors, the band lead singer sang our National Anthem, and then we herded ourselves like cattle to the start area. He also went over the rules. For instance, we had to touch the blue mats at the start and 5K turnaround (or 10K turnaround if that is your race). Your time wouldn't get counted if you didn't touch the mats.

Finally, the race started and it was a slow moving process to get everyone through the gates and across the blue mats. My mother was already set up to go with her big, fancy camera and tripod.

Did I mention that I love having a Photographer mother? How cool is this shot?

I decided this year that I would just start with the headlamp around my waist instead of on my head. Last year, it was a pain. It moved around alot and when I started sweating, it moved even more. I got the same light with it just around my waist. And with the beautiful moon out at night lighting up the sky, I didn't even need to turn it on until much later in the race.

The biggest difference with this race is not only the moon, but not that many people pointed out the holes. Last year, you could hear everyone saying, "HOLE. SANDCASTLE." There wasn't that much going on, but it was still light enough to see these things. Well, almost. I came up to this massive sandcastle with 3 big holes next to it. I did my football joop move to miss everything and completely didn't see the small footprint hole. My ankle took a little tumble, but it didn't hurt (only my pride). Someone asked me if I was okay. Damn, someone saw that.

I stayed close to the water with the packed sand making it just that much easier for me. I had my Unknown albums (thank you Whitney for hooking me up) playing on my ipod with lots of club, pump me up type of music. I ran all the way to the turnaround point (1.5 miles) without stopping. That was my first goal and I made it. In fact, I ran through their large turnaround point that took you well out in the deep sand (much harder to run on deep sand). I didn't stop until I was facing the direction back to the starting point (on the packed sand again). Finally, it was time to walk. I was about to die and I didn't think I was going to ever make it there.

I walked for about the rest of the song and then another song before I picked up the run. Then, the song came on...the one song that is officially going to be on my running playlist from now on, especially at the end when I'm dying. It was Lil' Wayne and Eminem called, Drop The World (sorry, for the cussing grandma and mom...you don't have to listen).

The song was perfect for everything that I was feeling. What sucks about your first walk is not only is it hard to start the run again, but it's easy to just stop to walk. It's almost like once you open that door, the walking desire comes flooding and it's really hard to ignore. So, I made a pact to just make it through this song before I walked. I was actually glad that Drop The World was a LONG song, very long song. And I made it through the end. It was hard; I'm not going to lie. Then, I decided to help with the future walking desire; I would run a song, walk a song. That seemed to really help and keep me running when I wanted to quit.

I looked up and noticed the moon on the water and it was really just amazing to see. The moonlight reflected off the black water and it made for a nice scenery. Finally, the end was nearing. The lights at the stopping point were getting brighter and it's funny, but I could see my mother's big camera flashing away (shutter after shutter). I was getting tired and sweaty and wanting to quit. And then, the song (Drop The World) came back on right at the end when I really didn't think I was going to make it. I picked up the speed to finish with a sprint.

I'm not sure why I look like a ghost, but it's my mom with her camera techniques or it's me being so fast that the camera didn't get me clear. Look at me dropping my head (dropping the world on your f*cking head...sorry grandma).

I waved at my mother as I passed her and looked up to notice I was finishing at 38 minutes, 40 seconds. WHOA! My mom asked me what my goal was for this race and I replied with, "Not die. But seriously, just not to finish after an hour or last." So, this far exceeded my expectations. In fact, last year when I did my first ever 5K in the Woodlands, I came in at close to 45 minutes and I was regularly running 3 miles at that time. I'm going to thank the yoga and bootcamp classes for this, because it gave me the endurance I needed to finish this race. People always told me that the cross training (especially yoga, thanks SUAR) really helps your running and I didn't believe them. Well, try using only cross training, because it's too hot to run and you will notice a difference. Now, could it have been better? Hell yes, but that's going to come in time. And now, I'm not so nervous about the 10K in a month in Kemah.

Afterwards, they had beer. THANK GOD! Last year, they ran out of ice and it was all warm (they stopped serving when we got to the front of the line). I'm not in England anymore and I want ice cold beer, especially after a run. This beer never tasted so good. Could it have been better? Yes. This lady told me that she couldn't find the water when she finished and grabbed a beer. She thought that was the best beer ever. I had water when I finished. Next time, I'm going straight for that beer...I want THAT feeling.

Sorry for the blurriness of the photos, but my mom took video instead of photos. I had to take the frames. And she calls herself a Photographer.

And that brings me to the water stations in this race (which sucked). They put them way out in the deep sand, while most of us were running on the packed sand. Not only, did I never see them in time, but everytime I ran by, that's when 1 person would come out to offer us water. I decided not to go back and keep on running, but I was feeling it when I crossed the finished line (was so very thirsty).

It was a great run and I'm pretty proud of myself for completing it in a good time (I am in 20th place our of 59 for my age group...yay!). I want to thank my mom for being there to support me and drive me around. I really appreciate it and I love you. Next race will be the 10K in Kemah, September 17 (probably should sign up). 

On a side note, I found out that the loop around my apartment is 1.5 miles. I also attended Yoga for Athletes on Sunday morning and was pretty sure that I was going to die. It was so very hard, including head/hand stands (couldn't do the handstands). There were other moves that I just couldn't do, but I made a promise to work on it. That class kicked my ass and I was sore, but it's helping.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Caught the Zumba Fever

Today, during my company's wellness program, we did Zumba. I have never done a Zumba class before. I watched the infomercial all the way through and put the Zumba DVDs on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years. However, the price kept going up and I never got them. I've been meaning to head to Discovery Green in Downtown Houston to try their free Zumba classes, but haven't made it down there yet. So, I was really looking forward to this class when I first saw it on the list.

The class itself was awesome. I love Latin dancing. I love to shake my hips. I love Shakira's body (her stomach is my dream stomach). So, this was perfect for me. Some of the ladies I guess were shy, because they started laughing when we began moving our hips in a very Latin sexual way. I was like, "What are you 5? Get over it."

The instructor started the class with a warmup to get the heart pumping and to tell us that there are no wrong moves in Zumba. So, I moved to the beat. In fact, whenever I looked at her for too long, I lost the beat of the music and probably looked like a stupid white girl that has never danced before (ala Baby in Dirty Dancing). Some of the dance moves we did were not always in line with the music. I felt sometimes, we were going to slow or too fast. Since she said there is no wrong moves, I would speed it up or slow down to correspond with the beat. There was one move that I had trouble with and I kept looking at her, which made it worse. So, I just stopped looking at her for too long. I would just glance her way to get the moves and then look away. She only came over to me once. My favorite was the salsa (of course) and the last dance (no, not because it was the last dance). I liked it, because it was done to a really cool Shakira song and it just really works you. I also liked the belly dancing, but this one was hard for me, because I felt we were going way to slow for the beat.

All in all, I really enjoyed Zumba. It got my heart pumping, my abs/legs/arms burning, and I was sweating. However, Zumba class is not as fun when you are so very sore, especially in the the thighs. It was hard for me to bend low and move my legs around when they felt like twin freight trucks holding me down (metaphorically, since I don't think my legs are that big).

Also, Zumba was just what I needed to put me in a slightly better mood. Have you ever just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and then from there, your day just morphed in to something not great? Well, that happened to me today. So, I'm not kidding about Zumba being a great pick me up. Just remember that when you are looking for a change in your routine.

I canceled my Pilates class today, but I have Hatha Yoga tomorrow and I may try to run this evening. I'm not sure. I almost need a break day from exercising.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Am I Stupid or Just Glutton For Punishment?

In a quest to get in shape and actually use my groupon/livingsocial classes that I bought, I managed to schedule 3 classes in 24 hours (2 bootcamps and 1 yoga). I felt that since I didn't really work out hardly at all last week (okay, not really at all...there was that 1 day), I needed to double up or something. I actually didn't think it was going to be all crazy, but it was for sure crazy. Now, I'm starting to wonder if that article I read in Runner's World about how it's not the adrenaline that keeps us running, but a love for pain is true. Do I love pain? I didn't think I did, but apparently, I do.

I could only get in to the 12:15 p.m. class on Monday, which was during my lunch hour. The place is really close to my office and it's only 30 minutes. I got over there with enough time to stretch out really good and wait patiently. We started our warmup and he asked me about my skydiving shirt (said he wanted to do it...yeah, I haven't heard that before). Then, he started me out in weights (which I learned later that it means you are in the advanced rotation...damn skydiving shirt). Next, we moved to the medicine ball. By this time, I'm dying...literally. I can't breathe, I'm thirsty, I really just want to throw up, curl up in a ball in fetal position, and lie still forever. Afterwards, my group moved to the jump/squat/move down the ladder and then go up and down the stairs. It's here where I fell away from the pack, going slower and slower. The girls were breezing passed me like I was a weakling (stupid advanced group). I was slow and I'm pretty sure I didn't do all of my sets in the allotted amount of time before he moved us to the kickboxing bag. I do love this set, but I was so tired. I actually got corrected on my foot form when I did the side punches. ME? Can you believe it? Well, that's because in Muay Thai and BBJ, we didn't have this kindof form. So, it's not completely my fault. As added torture, he did the cool down, which involves lots of ab work...lots of AB WORK. My abs were burning at the end.

Even though it was a hard class and I was huffing and puffing my way through (largely because I hadn't worked out in a week and I didn't eat particularly good in Grand Junction), I felt the first class I did was harder in terms of the workout. But it was still HARD! Don't ever think lightly about bootcamp...ever...because, that's when it will sneak up on you and knock you down dead.

Cardio Yoga
So, I thought, well I will just add some yoga at the end of the day to stretch out what I had done in bootcamp. WRONG! Completely and utterly wrong. If it's titled Cardio Yoga, run away fast if you have done a workout before (okay, maybe not if you are beginner...I am). Holy Moly was that hard. I never sweat so much and I used to play basketball practicing 2-4 hours a day, plus games. I did bootcamp for Heaven's sake and I still never sweated so much. The teacher (Sadist as I refer to her) spoke in a foreign accent (I couldn't tell where she was from...Brazil, Russia KGB, Hell). She moved and talked fast...Breathe in fold, exhale up...move on to next pose before I even made it up. We had to jump back, extend, twist, and OMG, the abs burned. At one point, I literally thought this is the end of my life. I'm going to be twisted up in a half warrior pose looking up at the ceiling and slip and fall in my own pool of sweat. Death by Sweat...not a pretty way to go. I always pictured my death as something of a work of art...death by impaling after I've fallen backwards in a nestee plunge, but not by a lady that I could barely keep up with in a tiny room with 15 other people (not sure how we all fit in there). And then she would call out 10 more. We would get done with the 10 and she would start counting down to 10. She did this 5 times...5 FREAKING TIMES. My poor stomach was yelling at me. Then, she would yell at us for doing it too fast, so we would have to start again. Finally, everyone was so controlled and breathing loudly in synch together. Don't ask me where I was in the class...not sure. I think I yelled out "WHEWWWW," when we got to a sort of break (Downward Facing Dog is usually a break...not in this class) and everyone laughed. There was only 1 time where we went into Child's Pose, which is the universal relax and reset pose. And she actually said to us, "You will get Child's Pose after you make it through this...maybe." Then, she cackled with her pitch fork and fire filled eyes. I kept looking at the clock and I swear it was going backwards. When we got to the end and laying down breathing in/out, she did the echo callout. It was so weird. But I survived it and did feel good albeit tired, but good.

I then took the dogs on a short walk when I got home, because I guess I didn't feel enough pain. I popped in the Ibuprofin before I went to bed and rubbed Tiger Balm all over my sore thighs and arms when I got up for my 6 a.m. torture bootcamp class.

Early Morning Bootcamp
I have decided to try the 6 a.m. class, because it's always easier to get up early to exercise than try to exercise after you zombie'd your way through work. I'm already getting up that early anyways, so that's not a big change for me. I can take a shower there at the gym and get ready for my day. However, I didn't expect that my dogs would not cooperate. Well, actually, my precious GOOD dog, Remington went to the bathroom quickly, but not Lady. No, it's like she knew that I was going to make this a quick bathroom break or maybe she was punishing me for the short walk yesterday (hey, at least she got out of the complex). She just walked around, barely smelling areas, and just looked on. I took her to the lighted area that she goes to the bathroom in all the time, but she didn't want to have none of that at all. Needless to say, I showed up as the bootcamp started. In fact, they were already started. I had to rush to catch up to their run. Yes, Shirley (Lee's wife) starts her warmups with a run from stop sign to stop sign. It's not so bad, but it's rough when you are late and haven't stretch. Oh God, come to think of it, I didn't stretch after today's workout. I'm going to be hurting tomorrow.

She moved me in to weights (but this time, I just think it's because I was late). Her weight routine was not as bad as her husband's routine, but it's still hard. She sets up the routine and then you have to do it 3 or 4 times. That's where it kills you. Oh and I am forced to watch myself in the mirror at bootcamp. When did my arms get so big? I can't tell if it's muscle or fat, but it's huge...like Conan the Barbarian huge. It's not like I'm using the big weights (only use 5 lbs) or the big medicine ball (fluctuate between the 4 and 6 lb ball). Next up was the kickboxing bags. Whoa, now this one was harder. Lots of punching and kicking and situps and squats. And to further torture us, she made us run the stairs 4 times.

She then put our group on the stationary bikes that go real fast and lock your feet in, but we had to do it standing up for 1 minute. OUCH! First, I didn't like these bikes. I didn't like that stupid foot lock thing, because it took me longer than everyone else to get my feet in the buckles. Then, I didn't find out later until I almost fell off that there is a brake on these bikes. We did some exercises with the medicine ball and then repeat the whole thing 3 times. Afterwards, we went to the floor for abs work. Planks while meeting one foot to the other elbow is harder than it sounds. My abs are feeling it right now. She told us to switch, which meant that we had to jumping jack our way down the ladder and then run around. With Lee, we have to do that jumping jack down, squat, and run up and down the stairs. I liked this so much better. My back was in some pain at then end of the workout, but I still felt good. I wasn't throwing up just yet. When we finished, everyone ran outside. I went to my car to get my work clothes. Apparently, I was the only one that didn't hear her say run from stop sign to stop sign. I more than made up for it by running faster to catch up. I passed 4 people. Go me! Of course, they were all walking, but whatever. Small victories. Finally, I was done. I liked this class and added more of the 6 a.m. ones on my schedule.

My first 5K (in a really long time) is on Saturday. I'm not sure I'm prepared, but I'm going to try anyways. I went ahead and canceled my Friday bootcamp class and that torture thing they call Cardio Yoga on Saturday. Tomorrow is Zumba during lunch and my first pilates class. We shall see how this goes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Finally Picked my Half Marathon

A couple of weeks ago, I found the Toughest 10K online and I basically thought it looked cool since you get to run on the Seabrook Bridge. Well, after reading some more, I found out that it's the first event in The Texas Bridge Series. After you run all three events, you get a commemorative something or other. However, when I first saw it, I didn't see a half marathon on it. I did some reading this morning and the LaPorte one that I thought was a 5k was actually a half marathon (found that out by carefully reading it). It's called the LaPorte Half Marathon.

The first event is the Toughest 10K, which is held on September 17, 2011 (concidentally, my father's birthday), in Kemah, Texas. The second event is the other The Toughest 10K Galveston, which is held on October 22, 2011. This one is what sold me, because we get to run on the Galveston Causeway. How freaking cool is that? LaPorte Half Marathon is held on December 4, 2011, in LaPorte, TX.

Why did I choose this particular event over the ones that I was wavering on:  See Jane Run (maybe do the 5K, because it does look cool and it supports women) or the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon in November (maybe I will save this one for my full marathon)? I loved this tri-event series, because it's benefitting the towns that lost a great deal during Hurricane Ike's destruction. These events are kind of closer to my heart and they are just so unique. So, I'm signing up for them. And now, I have plenty of time to train for my half marathon.

The only question left is, Who's with me?

On a side note:  I didn't do much running or exercising in Colorado like I planned. I worked too much. What little time I had leftover was to eat and sleep. One morning, I did 50 front crunches, 2 sets of 30 second bicycle crunches, 2 sets of 30 second planks, and 2 sets of 25 situps. I also watched and performed this Stretching thing on PBS at 5:30 a.m. They had another one right afterwards that was more stretching and I did a little bit of that, as well. That's pretty much it. I'm heading to boot camp during lunch. So, if I don't return, you can call my mother.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Goodbye Running With Mal

So, last night was a sad day for me, because it was my last night with MaloRee. She heads back to the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada for Vet school. God, stupid Mal with her stupid dreams and ambitions. GRRRR!

Our plan was to go run and then eat. She made salmon and corn with fat free brownies (I only knew about the salmon and corn). After eating, our thought was to go hang out at a bar (not to get completely wasted...just a few drinks). However, I got off work late again (it's been this way for a week now). I still had to drop off the kiddoes at a friend's house since I am in Grand Junction again this week for work. Oh and I'm already on the whole running in nice weather, not Africa weather, scrape your skin off the sidewalk weather.

Anyhoo, I didn't get there until well after 8:30 p.m., but we still wanted to run. They finally opened up the other side of the walking/running sidewalk trail in her neighborhood. So, we walked up there and walked around almost the entire outer/inner loop when I finally said, "Hey, do we wanna run?" We just got so caught up in talking and walking that we forgot to run. We ran the rest of that loop and then ran on the other side of the bridge (both inner and outer loop). Then, we ran back to the other side where we started. By this time, it was hot and dark. I even took off my shirt to run in my sports bra. Thank God, it was dark and you couldn't see my roly poly tummy. We made it all the way around the outer loop when the fact that I was sore from boot camp and yoga caught up with me. The back of my thighs hurt something fierce. But I was still proud of myself for running a lot more than I expected. We walked the rest of the inner loop and then walked home.

After we got home, she heated up the food (not as good heated up) and then we went to see Crazy, Stupid Love. She's become my movie buddy, as well as my running partner in crime. The movie was awesomely funny. I highly recommend it. It could've been cancer.

I said goodbye to her this morning for what seemed like forever. I didn't want to let her go and she almost made me cry. Stupid Mal. She was one of the few rocks by my side keeping me grounded during this whole last year horrible ordeal. I got used to her being here this summer and I'm going to miss her, but at least we can still talk on the phone every night!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Classes, Classes, and More Classes!

This weekend was quite different for me, because it was all about classes. I didn't even run all week. It was too hot or too stormy, but I took out my dogs instead for nice, long walks. My intention was to run all weekend long to make up for that, but it didn't happen. However, I wasn't lazy, sitting on a couch eating bon bons and yelling out, "Why am I so fat?? Recently, I purchased unlimited yoga for 1 month at Happy Belly Studios and 12 sessions of Boot Camp at Elite FX Studios. I didn't want to be a person that bought these certificates and not use them like a lot of people. So, I immediately signed up for bootcamp on Friday and yoga on Saturday and Sunday.

Elite Express Bootcamp (notice the resemblance to blood)
I have never done a bootcamp before, but they are really popular right now. I see the classes in the parks that I run all huddled up secretly plotting to kill the instructor causing the pain. I arrived at the gym 30 minutes early (errands ran quickly), got dressed, read some of my book, and then started stretching (extra stretching, too). This was an old school looking gym that you would see in movies; however, it was very nice with state of the art equipment. Upon seeing the gym, I got scared that I might not survive this, because it's a small gym and easy to target scared prey. Thank God it was only 30 minutes long.

While we were waiting and stretching, the instructor, Lee Schuppenhauer's 3 year old son helped set up the torture devices...er... I mean the equipment. He was so cute and very smart.

Lee started all of us out with warmups, such as jumping jacks and some other stuff that I repressed from my memory. He then split us up in 3 groups; I chose to go to weights first. I'm not sure why I decided this was a good idea, but I went there. We did pushups on weights, held weights above head while we jumped, squated, or whatever else, and then we had to run up and down the stairs (with weights over our head). OUCH! There were other things we did, but repression is a hard one to get over. My legs were already jello and I had 2 more stations to go. After times up, I went to the medicine ball area where basically, Lee thouth it was a good idea to use the 6 lb medicine ball to squat, crunch, and anything else he could think of as pure torture. This is where I got the most critiques, because I was not holding the ball straight out; I was bending my arms, because it was PAINFUL. At this point, he's cackling at us with his pitchfork and then he says, "It's bikini season, don't you want to look good." Pffft! Finally, we were done with that session and then I moved to the ladder on the floor (what the kid was setting up). The goal was to jump and squat and then run up and down the stairs five times. This is where I found out that I'm not squatting low enough and I'm too forward. Thank God, I didn't have weights over my head when running up the stairs. The fifth time didn't come soon enough; I was beat. Since we finished earlier than everyone else, he had us finish up on the bags ala kickboxing. This, I really enjoyed...kicking, punching, things I did in my mixed martial arts classes (that I miss so much). Although, at the end, we had to jump and kick the bottom (at a high level) of the bag. That was hard. I guess he felt that we weren't done and had us all do abs...lots of abs...lots of planks...lots of things that made my stomach hurt so bad. Again, he's cackling and yelling out absurties like bikini season. There were guys in the group, too.

I was sore for days; I'm still sore. I signed up for Saturday's class, but I was sick and couldn't make it. No, I really was...I'm not being a wuss, I swear it. I can't wait to do this class again, but I'm out of town all week. I'm still debating on going to the class today during lunch.

Yoga all Weekend
I recently gotten in to yoga, especially since I am running now (sort of). When I saw this deal, I had to take it. My first class was called Beginners Vinyasa since I'm new to this whole yoga thing. I do know some poses like downward facing dog, cobra (actually, was wrong on this one), child's pose, etc. But I really didn't know what I was doing and still don't. I put my mat down (left the block in my cubby hole since I didn't know what it was used for), did some light stretching, and waited for people to show up. The class was full. The instructor put blocks by our mats. We started doing the poses sometimes getting faster and harder. Some of the stretches felt so good, but other ones felt just rough. It was hot in there and sweaty. This one guy breathed so loud that he threw me off on my breathing. I tried to block him out, but couldn't. At one point, she moved me to the front since I was on a wall and couldn't properly do the stretch. I was to link my arms with the girls on each side of me and just move my body from side to side. Oh did that feel good. When I got done with the class, I felt amazing. I was less sore than I was, but still felt like I did too much. And I got to learn why I got a block with my mat. It's to help you when you can't do the stretch all the way...it's a cheater block and boy, did I need it.

My next class on Sunday was Yoga For Athletes. The plan was to run the 1 mile around my apartment complex in the morning with Haley (prepping her to take over for Mal...okay, I'm tearing up again...stupid Mal and her dreams to become a vet in Grenada) and then head to the class. It would be perfect; I would run and then stretch it all out. Yeah, running didn't happen. We got home so late that I had enough time to wake up, take out the dogs, eat some cereal, and head to class.

Yoga for Athletes was a hard class; I think even harder than bootcamp. In fact, the evil lady said that the class last week was too easy and she was going to remind us as stupid participants that this class is supposed to be hard. Heavy breather was in this class, too, but this time, he wasn't so loud or I was just so in to me not dying in the pose. I was sweating so much. I was shaking. I felt like a human pretzel sometimes worried that if I unwound myself, I would surely pull a muscle. There were some things I couldn't even try yet, but she encouraged us to try anyway. I just couldn't bring my back leg to my cross arm behind my body, while balancing on one knee in a lunge. I couldn't lift my body up to balance on my hands, while my body was in a pretzel twist thing facing at an upwards angle. Afterwards, I was exhausted, but it was worth it. I already signed up for the next 2 Sundays.

Today, I'm supposed to go to Hatha Yoga at 4 (judging from last Wednesdays class, it should be easier and all about breathing) and then run with Mal today. Monday, I should take off, but this is the last time I get to be with Mal (sniff, sniff) before she leaves. I'm off to Grand Junction tomorrow and will get some good hotel gym time in and maybe even a run or 2 outside.

On a side note, I did 50 front crunches, 2 sets of 30 second bicycle crunches, 2 sets of 25 situps, and 2 sets of 30 second planks this morning.