Monday, August 19, 2013

The Environment is Totally Key

Since I haven't been running due to this back, I have done a great deal of other exercises to occupy my time. One of those exercises include walking and my baby boy Remington is reaping the benefits. I take 30 minute walks and the last few days have been 60 minute walks. It's been awesome.

So, what's up with the post title?

Sorry for the poor quality, but this was perfect. See it here at

One of my biggest pet peeves (besides drivers who use the fast lane as a time to catch up on their cheeseburgers and phone calls) is littering. I hate it. I don't know if it's our Texas campaign that has been ingrained in to me since I was a kid.

Source* Don't Mess With Texas Litter Campaign
Or it could also be that living in Singapore as a young girl had a greater affect on me than I ever knew or expected. It's the one place I know that makes littering a big a really big deal. It's a much bigger punishment and makes our "up to $10,000 fine" a joke. I wouldn't even spit out my gum there.  

During my walks with Remi, I take a large grocery bag with me to pick up poop. On my street, there is so much litter from the medical people parking over there to the construction workers to the homeless walking by to even other dog walkers that drop bags of poop. And the worst part is when my dog finds food, sometimes it is covered with ants. Does he care? No. One day, he may learn.

I remembered reading about how to be green during our runs and that was mentioned to pick up some trash along the way. I haven't ever done that before. So, on one of those walking days last week, I decided to pick up piece of paper and then a plastic water bottle and then a cigarette butt and then a beer can. Yes, there are tons of beer cans all over the place. Yesterday, I found a broken beer bottle. 

I kept on picking up litter until my bag was full. I may not have made a dent (more trash showed up the next day), but I felt good to get what little I could off of the streets. 

This is just one trip.
I decided to do it on the next walk and then the next and then the next. I just kept picking up litter. I couldn't pick it all up; I draw the line on napkins, underwear, condoms, and any medical waste for obvious reasons. I think people might start calling me the Trash Lady or something. I did have a guy honk at me, but I do get that a lot, especially when I'm picking up poop. It's weird. I mean, your honk is not going to get me in to your car.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. 

My next challenge for you is that when you take a walk, do something good for the planet and pick up some trash. I know it's hard when we pick up some trash when you are doing the walk part of your run. I know it's hard when you are biking, but maybe pick something up, while you are waiting for the light to turn green. Just get out there and help.

Okay, here are some awesome pictures from my walks with Remi. Yeah, I used Instagram on some of the pictures...don't judge me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Karbach Brews Cruise 19 Bike Ride

Through a casual conversation about my participation in Critical Mass last month, Adam told me about the Karbach Brews Cruise bike ride that the Karbach Biking Team (he's apart of) leads at the beginning of every month. My ears perked up immediately...biking and beer...and a brewery. DEAL! It didn't take me long to convince Evan to join me again. Seriously, he's become my bike partner extraodinaire and I think we finally have a system down for packing his car.

The meetup was at Local Pour on West Gray at 6 p.m., but rollout would be at 7 p.m. We got there with enough time to fiddle with my bike and it needed fiddling. Somewhere from taking on and off the bike wheel, it tighten up the front brakes so much that I couldn't move it. With the help of several guys (one I had met before at Hash event), my tire and brakes were fixed and I was comfortable riding. It did expend energy being out in the hot sun fixing the bike and getting frustrated, but it all worked out in the end.

Hanging out at Local Pour.

Evan has finally gotten the whole smile thing down.
 Evan and I debated on getting a beer, but we decided against it. The final annoucements were made about safety and anything else. I did really appreciate Adam going over everything since they really didn't at Critical Mass (or I didn't hear it). There were a minimum of 100 cyclists there, but I'm not sure the exact count.

Finally, it was time to start riding. The sun was in my eyes almost the entire first half of the ride, which made the ride that much hotter. We reached a turn to get a break from the sun and then we hit the bridge. I had trouble keeping up with Evan and he was gone. I immediately noticed that more and more riders were passing me by as I felt like I was pedaling more. I'm still working on the gears and I just couldn't make it happen. With CM, the ride was slower and I didn't notice how slow I was going. This ride was smaller and faster and I so noticed how freaking slow I was. I quickly became the rider in the very back of the pack.

I turned a corner to head to our first stopping point (forget the bar name) when I saw Evan pulled over fixing a flat. Thanks to Joanne, Long, and John for their help and extra tubes. They were awesome and I can't wait to bike and/or run with them again.

We only had a quick bike ride to the first bar break just long enough for a rest, to down a beer each, and talk with some people before we headed out to the Karbach Brewery.

Our one beer each at the first bar.

We made it to the brewery. This was the first time that I have been to the Karbach Brewery and it was intimate and really cool. I loved their wall art and even ran into Melissa from my Ethopian food nights. Evan waited in the LONG line for food at the food truck. His bright idea that night was for me to order my own food when I got back from getting us beers. I did. However, the guy stopped after Evan's order to make food. So, it took forever for me to get my food. I so blamed Evan profusely.

He's smiling, because he got his food order in first.
This was a totally cool bike worthy of a picture.

I'm loving this wall.

Got to love a brewery that has "Come In Take It."

Evan drinking some beer.

This was on the window.
After a quick tour by ourselves and finished eating our food, we got on our bikes to head out. Long joined us on the ride home for the most part. It was dark and I was thankful for my bike light and rear red lights on my helmet. I even had a guy work with me on the bike gears as I rode, but I'm still not feeling the difference. I still have some time to work on it before I go for my next big bike ride.

The Karbach Brews Cruise was a total of 15 miles through an area of Houston that I NEVER ride. Again, I got to experience Houston from a different perspective and I loved every minute of it. It was stated over and over again how the leaders of this ride want to make Houston a cycle city in which I think they are well on their way. I see way more bikes than ever before and lots more cycling events that are fun and about getting us out there.

I did feel like this was a much better ride than CM, because it was smaller and had way more beer stops that didn't include a parking lot. The people were friendlier...or lets just say, the people talked more with other groups instead of just sticking to their friends. We met so many people (helpful, too) and had a great time, but I was ready to be home. It was afterall a worknight. I think that would be my only complaint is having this on a freaking MONDAY, but I got over it since it was exercise.

This was the 19th Karbach Brews Cruise. Have you done it before and what were your impressions? I did it for the first time last Monday and I loved it. Who wants to join me next month?

Have you done Critical Mass? Yes, once and I plan to do it again for August. Who wants to join me?

Do you gravitate towards bike rides that involve beer? Um...that's just a stupid question, because yes, I do.

On a side note, I was sad to hear about the cyclist who was killed by a car on Monday at Memorial Park. I run often at this park and see lots of cyclists. It really is known for both disciplines and I'm surprised to hear this awful news. Be safe out there and just like in driving, don't expect that the driver sees you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tackling Life of Negativity

It's no secret that I have been a rugby fan for some time. I know it's weird that an American girl would like rugby, but I do. I guess Texans (whether you are a girl or a boy) are trained to like football at an earlier age. Rugby is similar in concept as a game. Before you bash me, yes, I do know that there are big, large, HUGE differences between rugby and football, but they are still similar. So, it's only natural that a football loving girl from Texas would find rugby one day on the television and instantly be hooked. My time came when I saw Jonny Wilkinson play in the Rugby World Cup in 1999. was sexy (sorry Jim...won't happen again). Now, I had watched rugby here and there before, but I became a fan of the England team that year and have followed them throughout the years, especially watching the big win in Australia during the 2003 World Cup. 

So, my wonderful boyfriend bought me the book, Tackling Life, which has been on my wishlist for quite some time for my big birthday. He's so sweet. And this book came at the right time, because it wasn't a full on biography of his life. It was a book about how he overcame the mental torture of being injured, getting to the big win in Australia, and not doing what you are set out to do in life after everything is done. 

This year has been a rough year for me. I have had some personal struggles and loss, including two deaths by March. I have had some serious sickness, but with my Doctor's help, we have figured out the cause of one of them and I may not have to endure that anymore. And last, but certainly not least, my back went out...twice. I've officially canceled my marathon in October and plan to either do one some time between April and June of next year. Oh, I also forgot that I'm having foot surgery in October. 

By the time I hit June, I was like a tsnunami of negative drowning me at every turn. And I had "be more positive" as a goal for this year. 

I was looking for Wayne from Wayne's World saying, "Yeah Right", but I couldn't find just a clip of that and found this instead. This was just too freaking awesome not to include and besides, it does say it in there. 

In Tackling Life, Jonny just doesn't suffer one injury, he actually suffers an injury every time he comes back from rehabbing the last injury. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so, too. Throughout the book, he basically grows up to realize that sometimes, it's him causing the injury by pushing himself too quickly. Athletes are trained to keep going no matter what. I have weak ankles, because I played basketball through the pain for seven years. This book shows that insight in to an career athlete's mind, why he keeps going, how he learns to stop, and then learns to accept that he can't change his circumstances. My favorite part was reading about how he gets injured during the first or second match of the World Cup in Australia only to come back and win it. I guess it struck me as my favorite part, because he just accepted that he was injured. He didn't whine about it or cry about it or get angry...he just was. I loved it, because I needed the swift kick in the butt to get to that point. I needed to just be. This is what it is and I can't really do anything about the circumstances surrounding me like a dumptruck to a landfill. I just have to roll with it, I guess. Like I said, this book came at the right time.

I loved the insight from Blackie who is his mentor and I guess he's there to put things in to perspective for Jonny. Blackie always sends a fax to him right at that moment when Jonny begins to doubt himself. It was a nice touch. However, sometimes, the insights within the book did not match the category of the chapter. I mean if we have a chapter about injury, I want the insights to be all about injuries. The next chapter was about overcoming them and that's where I want stories and insights that cover that particular journey. In fact, many of the chapters would have half of the information that didn't really align with what was written.

The other thing that I didn't like about the book is that they would jump back and forth through differnt years and games and teams. I do not get all of the games in America. I pretty much get only the World Cup and a few National team qualifying games or tournaments leading up to the World Cup. Sometimes, I was lost as they casually jumped to this game when Jonny was on a team and then to a World Cup qualifying game and then back to another game for another team in a different year and then right on in to 1999 World Cup. They didn't give warning, because they expected that I as a reader would know every single game. Hell, I watch a lot of football and I don't always remember every game. It would have been nice if they stated this game in this year or just kept a flow timeline of the years leading up to the World Cup in Australia. Also, it was confusing how they would start talking about a soccer game (okay, football) interchangeably with the rugby games without somewhat of a warning. For me, again as an American, I don't get all of those games either. I don't know all of the teams. So, it was hard to follow. 

Overall, I liked the book a great deal. Even though I knew the outcome of the big tug at your heart/against the odds game moment, I still was on my seat impatiently waiting to see how it turned out. I loved hearing about what he went through to get over his injuries and there were alot of them. I loved to read about his journey on achieving happiness, true happiness and content within himself. And I loved his stories about his brother and him practicing. There were quotes that would start a chapter (and throughout) that really summarized the chapter. It made me realize that I'm not alone in this world in how I feel.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are heading down the toilet bowl of negativity regarding your sports injuries. Just read up on your sports history before you jump in to this book.

Have you read any inspiring books lately?