Friday, December 20, 2013

End of Year Review...No Fancy Title

For the last two years, I have created a list of all the things I accomplished for the current year. I will say this year was far less than normal, but I still did some great stuff. So, let's look shall we.
  1. Ran in some new races, including the Rodeo Run, the Color Run, Green 6.2, and my personal favorite, the Jingle Bell Run. Too funny, I just noticed that all but one of these runs listed were completed with Sara by my side.
  2. Sara and I , the Snow Princesses
  3. Went to my first ever Yoga Retreat with JL and had one heck of a road trip to there and back home. Check out posts here and here
    Namaste, Y'all.
  4. Performed aerial acrobatics, including the trapeze (which I loved) and ropes (from the On the Horizon post). Through this activity, I met a blogger named Beth from Houston when I was trying to show Jim the kinds of moves I learned in my trapeze class. She actually had the same teacher as myself and we bonded over monthly food outings. Check out her blog here and read about the first time I ate grasshoppers.  
  5. Joined Foodie Pen Pals for a couple of months and met another blogger (check out her blog here) named Mary who has now become a real friend. Although, we haven't met yet in person, but we talk via email almost every day.  So, I think that is bucketlist item of connecting with someone on the blogosphere officially CHECKED.
  6. Had a meatless day twice a month for every month of 2013 (from the On the Horizon post). October was hard for me since I was recovering from foot surgery and had limited options as to what I could eat or prepare myself. I know that I had one meatless day, but I can't remember if I had two. However, I had so many meatless breakfasts and lunches and then salmon for dinner. So, I count it.
  7. Met Meb Feflezighi
    Meb was super sweet and we became totally besties after this...until the restraining order was signed. LOL!
  8. Got in to swimming as a way to exercise without hurting my back. I could feel myself getting stronger, but I haven't been in awhile. Hmmmm....need to change that soon.
  9. Visited Chicago to check off another major bucketlist item of a game at Wrigley Field. I also ran where other marathoners run during the Chicago Marathon.
    My brother and I supporting the Astros in hostile territory. 
  10. Visited a new state, Tennessee (from the On the Horizon post). I roadtripped with a great guy to my bucketlist town of Memphis where I stood in the same room as Johnny Cash or where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. I got to see my uncle and watch a playoff game. I also learned that new beers open up to you when you visit a Flying Saucer out of state. It was a wonderful and moving trip. When I think of Tennessee, Arrested Development's song plays in my head.
    Another beer counted to my plate and the best photobomber ever. He introduced me to the third beer that night from Abita called Abbey Ale that I have never seen before. 
    That's me...Walking in Memphis. I had this song playing in my head.
    Jim and I at Central BBQ, which I highly recommend. It's also right next to the Lorraine Hotel. 
    I still prefer Texas BBQ over Memphis BBQ.
    My baby having crawfish for the first time. So proud of him.
  11. Tried out Virtual Personal Training with Suzanne and loved it.
  12. Did my first ever Critical Mass bike ride with Evan. I've done two more since then and even deviriginized JL. That's right, I went there.
    Waiting at the light for the mass to start rolling again.

      This was how JL was introduced to the mass.
  13. Walked up and down 15 flights of stairs and sometimes twice in one day.
  14. Rode to the Karbach Brewery (first time there) for the Brews Cruise with another biking group, the Karbach Biking Team. I haven't been back since this ride, but it's not because I didn't like it. Things have happened and I'm hoping to change this next year.
    Evan and I at the first stop drinking some Karbach. 
    I'm finally at the Karbach Brewery.
  15. Found another biking group called Crucial Matter (R.E.P.) where I have met some fun people and gone on some fun bike rides, including the popular taco bike rides. Who doesn't love tacos? Communists...that's who.

    TacoKeto is a popular stop.
  16. Hiked in the Muir Woods with Jim, Ashley, and Matt, but we didn't see any apes rising up against the humans. This was not exactly what I referred to in the On the Horizon post), but I will take it.
    All four of us survived the massive trek upwards.
  17. Drank all 200 beers at The Flying Saucer and got my plate hung on the wall (from the On the Horizon post). Go check it out next time you are downtown; it's on the second floor ceiling. Thanks to everyone that helped me along the way.

    It took me 2 years and 2 months to get it! 
    Thanks to Jim for coming up with the best plate slogan ever.
  18. Mastered the art of beef stew (from the On the Horizon post). I no longer make it from the McCormick's packet and I'm okay with this. I'm tackling a French recipe next.
  19. Received my CHL (from the On the Horizon post) finally to the happiness of my stepdad. I am continuing my gun education with some awesome tactical training classes, which I love.
  20. Put together my first gingerbread house with Sara albeit it was weird being the only adults there without kids and I so didn't like having the frame already built.
  21. Rode my bike in the Chelsea Memorial Bike Ride to honor someone who was killed by a car. 
    Chelsea Norman's ghost bike as a reminder that we all have to do our part to share the road.
Normally, I have some kind of final activity for the year at the end of the post; however, I didn't really do much that warranted its own paragraph. So, I will end this post with my first time ever organizing a fun run for Saturday, February 8, 2013. It's just a two mile run at Bear Creek Park. It's cheap ($10) and we have a virtual run option if you can't make it. I hope that everyone can join or donate to help out a great friend of mine. Check out the post here for more information on why we did this.

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Jingle Bell 5 Mile Recap

    It's Christmastime (hence the font color). The Christmas lights are flashing, the hot chocolate is brewing, presents are opening, and there are more cops on the road to catchya after too much eggnog at the holiday party. What better way to celebrate than with a run...and not just a 5k, but a 5 mile run. Am I really ready for this? I think not. Am I going to try it anyways, because I'm a complete moron? Oh hells yes.

    This is the second time that I have actively participated in dressing up for a race. Last time, the girls and I donned the Maiden USA costumes during the Hot Undies Run. For this race, I decided to be more creative and fun. I searched Pinterest for some cute ideas and landed upon one. Sara was immediately on board and we bought our pieces separately.

    Pinterest Inspiration 

    Alas, the Snow Princesses were born and looking pretty cute I might add.

    Striking a pose to melt your heart!
    Finally, December 14, 2013, arrived and it was time to put on our super cute costumes. We looked amazing. I couldn't have been more happier. If we would have showed up early for the costume contest, we so would have won.

    I mean seriously, did the other runners have a chance at the costume contest?

    That. Just. Happened. 
    On a side note, we went to the Walgreen's to get a solid color red scarf for my costume. We caused quite a stir, but a man wanted to take a picture with us to use in the holiday card promo. Actually, this wouldn't be the first time we were asked to take a photo with the guys. Sara may or may not have caused a fight between a woman and a man. I swear we thought we were just cute.

    We arrived at the event and it was cold and windy, but thankfully, it was sunny. So, as long as we stayed in the sun, we were golden. We walked around looking at everything and I conceded that our costume was in fact the best. Only one other costume got my attention and that was the Gingerbread man costume (didn't get a picture though).

    Hey look, it's Santa AND Clutch. We had to get a picture. 

    Okay, maybe this little guy was cuter than the Snow Princesses.

    Or maybe this guy. I want a puppy so bad.

    This was a contender for the most original, but we were betterer (spelled wrong on purpose).
    As they called for our race to begin, I got nervous. Even Sara was nervous. I haven't ran this far in a LONG LONG time (same for her). At this point, I've only ran 1.5 miles maybe. Then, I heard the countdown song of Jingle Bells. This was different, but totally cool. Then, we were off. Here goes nothing.

    Check out my snowflake red scarf that I had to get to finish the costume.

    That's right...we are in the FIVE mile run. WHOA!

    Even though it was stupid packed, I didn't feel as jammed as I did in the Turkey Trot.
    We (mostly me) was slow and that's how I wanted it. The plan was to run the first mile without stopping and then go four minutes run/one minute walk, which we did for the most part. Since there were small hills involved, I would just run to the bottom (even if we were at four minutes), walk up to the top, and then start the one minute walk at the top of the hill. I quickly learned that I should have ran a bit on the cement instead of on the running track. My feet immediately felt different. In fact, my feet hurt alot, but I kept on pushing through. I was so proud of how great I did considering the lack of running and the foot.

    Um...didn't know Clutch was running. Didn't know Clutch was already passed the that costume. GRRRR! No wonder we met up with the walkers.

    Cute reindeers and snow princesses...yes, please.

    Sara had to join in on the fun.

    Hopefully, I'm still in love like this after all of these years.

    Yeah, these hats were cool!

    We got a lot of compliments on our costumes during the race, including a lady from the top of the bridge taking pictures of Sara and I. And because we were going slow, I was very aware of the photographers. One of them even told me how great are costumes were.

    Our 50,001 compliment of the race...from a photographer...we rule.

    Jim noticed we were all smiles. There's a reason. 
    Love this photo. We saw the photographers on the bridge and decided to do something fun. The other photog got us doing this. YES.

    This was by far one of my favorite runs. Even Jim noticed what a good mood I was in when I got home. Sara and I just had so much fun looking at the costumes and enjoying the beautiful day, except for the bells. It was funny that I pushed for the bells on the shoes until Sara said how annoying that they will be to hear the entire run. OMFG, was it ever annoying. Everyone had bells going. One lady had an entire costume doused with bells from neck to toe. 

    See bells...they all rang...ALL.OF.THEM. And naturally, she stayed with us the whole way.
    I just wanted the bells to be gone; however, it helped push me to run faster. Even though the sun was out, I was glad that I wore my leggings. I probably could have gone with a t-shirt instead of a long sleeve, but it was nice while we waited for the race to start.

    We finally crossed the finish line at 1:10:19, with a time that beat my first 10k. I got excited until I realized that I was running one less mile than a 10k. Oh well. I still had fun and I can't wait to do this again next year. And we ARE entering the costume contest and we WILL win.

    This is what happens when you use Pinterest as your inspiration. I still feel like our costumes were way cooler. Get it...cooler...yeah, I know.
    And what do Snow Princesses want when they are done with a great race...they want TACOS! So, we headed to the taco truck by West Alabama Ice House. This is where Sara almost caused a fight with a couple. Awesome. 

    Barbacoa, white cheese, and lime on a corn please. 
    So, if you are keeping score, that's one run done out of my upcoming races post. I already feel like I have accomplished something.

    Next scheduled race is the Quadraman on Saturday, February 8, 2014. Register for this easy and inexpensive run at Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. A special gift will be given to the top fundraiser. Donate at If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field. Like our Facebook page for updates on the fun run and fun facts or visit Dave's Caring Bridge site for updates on his progress.

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Chelsea Memorial Ride

    Hundreds of cyclits gathered at Whole Foods Market on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. Why were there? To ride in honor of a fallen cyclist. Chelsea Norman was riding home on her bike from Whole Foods Market a couple days prior. She was struck by a car and died at the hospital. The car drove off and did not render help. To this day, they still haven't found out who killed Chelsea on a hit and run.

    My city (like so many...London comes to mind) has become engulfed in a war between cyclists and drivers. Drivers do not realize that cyclists BELONG on the street as per law (although, some states might have specific laws) and they get angry for cyclists "causing traffic" as they like to say. In fact, it's appalling to read comments that Chelsea deserved to get hit for the mere fact that she was riding a bike on the road. And to make matters worse, some cyclists do some messed up stuff and/or not follow the laws, which makes even angrier drivers. No matter what cyclists do, we don't deserve the aggression or hitting or killing that is occuring in my city and cities around the world. I myself have witnessed some aggression by drivers when I'm in the bike path that scares me. Right now, during the Christmas season, the drivers are even more aggressive and angry and hopped up on Christmas present getting cocaine. So, when I see another hit and run story about a girl whom I have never met before in my life, I get sad. It's just an unspeakable and needless act whether you are in a car hitting another driver, cyclist, or a pedestrian.

    And that's why we gathered in a controlled environment at the Whole Foods parking on that day at 7 p.m. 

    They even had a bike safety talk at 6:30, but I didn't get a chance to attend. They also had non-alcoholic cider to warm our bones for this cold ride. Bike Barn had flashing red lights for the cyclists and I even ran into the guy that fixed my bike and taught the bike maintenance class. Also, we had volunteers stationed at all intersections of the bike path handing out flyers to anyone and everyone. It was so great to see them there and to see drivers caring to know what was happening instead of the "I'm going to report you" way.

    The plan was to have groups of cyclists, walkers, and rollerskaters/bladers in groups of 30 launching at different times and directions so as not to crowd the streets. Each group would do a four mile loop about 3-4 times, including riding by Chelsea's ghost bike memorial where she was killed. Once again, I joined the Crucial Matter folks, but we all got separated in to different groups. I even saw my friend and fellow skydiver, Caroline.

    Isn't she so cute? 

    Thankfully, Evan was with me in my group. 

    Lining up in the different groups.

    Overall, I had a good time and can really feel myself getting faster just in a week (not quite fast though to consider myself a good cyclist). We had the rollerbladers within our group. Three of them actually kept up with us, which was quite impressive. However, the rest didn't do so well. One of them wiped out pretty bad and did not continue with the ride. Our group leader went a little faster than the entire group could handle and there was very little communication from front to back and back to front. One guy had his go pro light on the helmet and blinded you if you looked back or made you think it was a car coming. 

    Which one had the helmet light?

    But eventually, the group started to thin making me the slow one where I rightfully and comfortably belong and our communication got so much better. The best part was stopping at the memorial and taking in what you are seeing.

    We did three loops for a total of 12 miles. I was definitely sore the next day. It was a well run bike ride and for a great cause. Plus, Houston Chronicle got a picture of me riding my bike (3rd picture). Thanks to everyone that organized it, helped with it, Whole Foods Market, the volunteers handing out flyers, David for picking me up and hauling me around, and Evan for riding with me. If you would like to donate money to Chelsea's family, click here.

    If you are cyclist, driver, runner, speedwalker, please watch the video below. We all need to do our part in sharing the road.

    Also, if you missed my post about my first organized fun run, please check it out.

    Register for this easy and inexpensive run at Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. A special gift will be given to the top fundraiser. Donate at If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field.

    So, please come out and show your support to help our friend called David.

    Like our Facebook page for updates on the fun run and fun facts or visit Dave's Caring Bridge site for updates on his progress.