Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I have been missing in action, but I have had a lot going on that really does not involve swimming, biking, or running and I have been taking care of a sick kid. He is not letting the coughing pestilence get in his way though. He woke me up at 2 am to let me know that Santa had come and when I went downstairs at 4:45 I was shocked to see that my family room looked like a tornado had hit it. He did not wait and unwrapped all of his gifts and some of mom and dad's as well! It was kind of funny, but now I have a messy house. He only got 5 things from Santa, but when three of them are huge Lego sets it makes a colossal mess. Santa was very good and brought at trip to Disney World in March and an entry into the Princess Half Marathon for me, YAHOO!!! It is good to know that 10 and a half year-olds still believe in Santa.

I have put in my favorite Christmas TV special moment about what Christmas is really all about.

Have a wonderful time with family and friends and have a blessed day,

Coach Liz

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm a Good Ag...

Yesterday was a fun day! The weather was sunny and rainy, but it was 77 degrees and I was able to wear a tank top. Only in Texas can you wear a tank top in December. I'm sure you would be able to do it in Key West or Arizona, but hey, I LOVE TEXAS!

I had been working hard over the weekend baking cookies. My idea of a good time around the holidays is making sugar cookies. I started the first of many batches that I will be making for the teachers, coaches, friends, and others. The first round in the oven is always an experiment to see if I have the temperature and the baking time correct to make any adjustments. I had the baking time off by a few minutes so that meant that there were cookies for me to munch on. I should not be eating them with my food allergies to wheat, but I would suffer the itching. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. I had the dough chilled, the colored sugars ready and the cooling racks spread out around the kitchen. The first tray to go in the oven was for Buddy's Kindergarten teacher from 5 years ago. Buddy loves his Kindergarden teacher and he always wants to get her a Christmas gift. Ms. Donnan loves flamingos so...I made some funky flamingos! These little guys were a bugger to make because if the dough warmed up too much then the neck or the legs would break off when I transfered them from the counter where I rolled them out to the cookie sheet to be baked. I got it done and a baker's dozen of pale and hot pink flamingos reside in my freezer right now.

My next batch was a labor of love. As a graduate of Texas A&M, I had it drilled into my head from the first day of Fish Camp that people who attended the University of Texas were not to be trusted and overall, they were crazy t-sips. Well, as you grow up, you realize that not all Texas-Exes are bad people. A little misguided in their youth, but generally good Texans. So I made the purchase of a special cookie cutter that caused my kid to flip his lid. "MOM! WHAT IS THAT??!!??" he exclaimed and pointed. "What is what?" I replied. "THAT!!!" he shrieked as I saw where he was pointing to. He was pointing to the Longhorn cookie cutter. Had I gone to the DARK SIDE is what my kid wondered? I told him that the cookie cutter was for cookies that I was going to bake for Miss Lauren for her birthday. Buddy loves Miss Lauren and always asks me if she is going to be at TNT practice. So we went to work rolling dough, cutting out longhorns and getting them ready. I let some cool and frosted them. Mixing up the perfect shade of burnt orange icing was tricky.

I texted Lauren yesterday morning and wished her Happy Birthday and asked if I could run the cookies by her school for her. She had some time and she suggested that we go for lunch with our good bud Ryan. This would be FUN! Ryan and I got to the cafe before Lauren so we were excited to see her big smile when she came in. Lauren was blown away by the cookie and by the spectacular scrap book of all the stuff Lauren had done over the last year that Ryan had put together for her. Ryan did a spectacular job on the scrapbook and Lauren was crying.

Ryan is also a Texas A&M graduate, so like Good Ags we had to "Saw Varsity's Horns Off!"

Good Times! Later Gators,


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Success with the dress...

Well, I pulled it off and got rave reviews from El Esposo and from friends that I have not seen in a while. I was really worried about my hair so I contacted a local radio personality who is gay and asked him for a good referral for a stylist. He came through and I was given a new hair style and I love it!
Here is a pic of the "old hair". It was ok and not ok. It was casual and everyone said it was cute but it was a pain because it was not long enough to pull back the long bangs in a pony tail for work. My pig tails were getting long and my hair was at that stage that I had some of it in my collar and some of it outside of my collar at all times. Now it is in a sleek and polished bob.

On Saturday morning I went for a run with the TNT group that is training for the Houston Marathon and I was thinking that I would get in 11 miles or so. I ran 17 and it felt great! I did have some pain in my lower left leg like I have been having in the past, but it was not causing other parts of my body to hurt. I kept on top of my hydration and calorie intake and I was going strong at the end. NO WALKING!!! Now why can't I have those kinds of day when it comes to a race day? I wanted to get a good run in so that I could eat whatever I wanted at the party later that day. I held to my word and ate whatever I wanted. I do not want to go anywhere near a scale because since I have started lifting weights and running again I am always hungry and shoving food in my mouth. I know that the weight gain will be temporary until my metabolism kicks in and things get back to normal after having 3 weeks of taking it easy.

We had a nice time at the party. I got to see some good friends of mine from college. El Esposo works with his college roommate, the guy who lived across the hall way from him and the guy who lived down the hallway from him as well. There was another one of the "guys" from the hall, but he and his wife moved to Australia this summer. So it was good times catching up with everyone.
This is a pic of me and my girlfriend Tanya who was the Matron of Honor in my wedding to El Esposo 16 years ago. She is married to El Esposo's friend who lived across the hallway from him at Aggieland.
This is a picture of me and my girlfriend Tauri who I have known for 20 years. We lived in the same dorm all through college until she married El Esposo's roommate.

The evening was fun and my kid had a great time going to the Movie Tavern to eat pizza and watch BOLT with my TNT Tri friend Norma. Buddy then talked Norma into taking him to Toys R' Us to go buy Legos. Sneaky kid! I will get a pic up with me and El Esposo as soon as we get it back from the photographer.

My next post will be great fun for all the Texas Longhorn fans out there, but I cannot post about it until after Tuesday when another one of my TNT Tri friends, Lauren, has her birthday.

Later Gators!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

ARGH!!! I hate this!!!

I thought that I was off the hook this year. El Esposo has been in Dominican Republic for work for the last two weeks and he was unsure of when he was coming home. That meant that we would be missing his company Christmas party. It is a great party and they really pull out all the stops but I HATE having to get ready for it. For many years when we were still poor, living in an apartment, and paying off school loans I had my standard holiday outfit. I had found a black stretch velvet skirt at Old Navy in the kid's section that I swapped out a different top each year. I did that trick for about 6 or 7 years. Then the party organizers got too creative. One year it was "Country Christmas" and we had to wear country western dressy clothes. It is not hard to find that kind of stuff in Texas. The next year it was "Black & White". I have worn that black dress to lots of events and weddings. And I only spent $21.99 on sale at Anne Taylor Loft. Last year I wore a beautiful leaf green suede leather jacket with western fringe and stitching on the shoulders with a dark green velvet skirt. It was what I wore to my Dad and Val's wedding and it is distinctive enough that if I wore it again "The Wives Club" would be wagging their tongues.

Well, I got the call that El Esposo was headed home to attend the share-holder's meeting and that we were able to go to the Christmas Party. AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! In the last 36 hours I have been to four different department and clothing stores, conferenced with El Esposo over the phone and laptop so he could see the choices, conferenced with my bud Johnny Tri to get a second opinion, and then traveled to three different Banana Republic Stores to find a dress that fit.

Today I had to go get the nails done. This is a once a year event for me. Maybe twice if I am lucky. Manicures don't last long in the pool. I can paint my toenails myself but usually I won't put some poor gal through the mess of marathon feet. I had to get the eyebrows waxed. Yeowch! I can tweeze and keep them at bay, but sometimes it is better to let a professional handle that. Since I have been growing my hair out, it looks like C.R.A.P. and I have no idea what to do with it. It is usually pulled back with a headband or under a Head Sweats cap of late and I don't have a curling iron or hot rollers. So I had to go buy hot rollers. Gads, at least I had a $5 off coupon. My TNT buddy Norma was kind enough to agree on short notice to take Buddy to The Movie Tavern to go see BOLT and have a burger. The college age gals that normally watch Buddy are all employees of El Esposo's company so they are unable to babysit since they will be at the party. Did I say that I hated all of this???

The bad part is that I hated laying down two hundred dollars for a dress! Other women do this all the time without a thinking twice and I stood around in the store for 30 minutes before I could take the dress up to the counter to pay. Now it if was a new pair of carbon fiber cycling shoes, or a Blue 70 swim skin, or two new pairs of running shoes I would not blink an eye as I pulled out the cash or the card. Does that make me weird?

Tomorrow I have to mess with make-up and I am dreading it. I have a feeling that I will end up either looking like Tammy Faye Baker or Cindy Lauper. Well, check back later for pics and hopefully I won't look like a dork in this dress.

Later Gators,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Where's Coach???

Well, I am back in H-town for now. I needed a well deserved break from training, cleaning house, work, and blogging. Here is what I was up to while I was away...
I made a lot of pumpkin bread to give to teachers, coaches, and neighbors for Thanksgiving...

I made candied citrus peel for my kid to take to school for Colonial Day...

I sewed up a costume and a nifty tri-cornered hat for my kid to wear for Colonial Day...

I worked on my knitting and crochet...

I read the entire Twilight series of books and a few others to boot...

I hung out with relatives and went and saw the holiday lights in the town square in New Braunfuls, TX...

and I put in one 11 mile run "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving morning in the hill country of central Texas to make up for the stuff I would eat later that day.

I am back to work, back to training, and back to eating clean. Buddy is back to school and hopefully El Esposo will be back from his two and a half week work trip to the Dominican Republic on Friday so we can attend his office Christmas Party. Yeah, he was stuck at a 5 star resort in the Dominican Republic forced to play golf for Thanksgiving. What a shame...

The big news is that the countdown has started! I have 365 days until Ironman Cozumel!!! This time next year I will be finished with the race, purchasing FINISHER's gear, and laying on the beach. Whoo Hoo!!! This is going to be a fun year for training.

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Later Gators!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Race Report

I had to take a few days to collect my thoughts and to get my head on straight. There was so much to experience over 26.2 miles and there are so many emotions that one goes through from elation to anger and back again. I have also realized that I may be actually starting to feel my age or at least my fitness graded age. And last of all, I had to accept and embrace the title of this blog--slow but determined. I have to take joy in the fact that I can let my feet carry me over 26.2 miles in 4:30:04 and that there are other people who would kill for that or just want to be able to toe the line at a marathon. I have to consider myself extremely lucky ,having had open heart surgery, that I can even do this at all.

Alright, enough of Jack Handy's "Deep Thoughts". On to the fun stuff!

I had spent Friday night at my Dad and Val's home on Canyon Lake. It had been warm on Friday, but the temps really dropped over night and the wind had been whipping through the trees. Here is that photo from the deck...The view is beautiful. The deer are all over the place and there is an 8 point buck that I have seen wandering up the driveway. This is the one place that I don't worry about leaving my car door unlocked overnight. Totally relaxing! I headed into San Antonio about an hour south and was determined to find the Wal-Mart to pick up a few minute last items. The radio announcer had been warning about taking care of the "3 P's" which are pipes, pets, and plants since they were expecting temps of 31 degrees overnight. We don't get many freezes here in Texas so we tend to go a little over the top on these things. I picked up the pocket warmers...These can be found back by the fishing and camping gear and two set of hand warmers cost a whopping $1.25 not including tax. I got the men's wool blend socks to use as arm warmers and found a little Lego set for Buddy as a thank you for getting up early and standing out in the cold for mom. I grabbed my lunch at Taco Cabana and then was able to check in early at the hotel.

Once I got down to the expo I was determined to get in and out of there quick. It did not take much time to pick up my stuff, but the expo part was a mad house. The official gear was pretty much sold out of women's clothing other than fleece vests and capri length sweat pants. I did not want that or another cotton t-shirt. I settled on a pair of socks and figured I ended up saving a ton of money. Once in the expo I moved quickly to specific booths and found the MOST AWESOME long sleeve top at my favorite clothing/gear booth SUGOI!!! What made it even better is that there were only three tops left and they were in XS, just my size. This shirt reminds me of the Ed Hardy tattoo inspired clothing that is popular right now. I LOVE THIS TOP!!! It is so much better than an event shirt and I will wear it a whole lot more.

I got back to the hotel and cleaned up for our TEAM Pasta Party. The food was good and I was ready to get back to get my gear all set out. Here is a pic of Anna, who I have coached through a triathlon, me, and my bud Terry. We had our TEAM meeting and decorated our singlets with our names and pictures of our honored patient. I had a bad headache that was stress related and I just needed to get my stuff all set out for the next morning and get into bed.

When I woke up, the headache was gone. I got my double banana and Nutella breakfast in me and got down to the lobby to catch the shuttle bus to the start area. I took the first bus since I was in corral 8 out of 32 corrals and it was just a few of us on the bus. Terry, Ben, and Jarntip were all quiet as we drove through the dark. Once off the bus, Jarntip and I headed to the UPS trucks to drop off our gear bags to be sent to the finish area. I fished my contractor grade trash bag out and pulled it over my head. It was freezing, but there was no wind like the day before. The Jack in the Box, Taco Cabana, and Whataburger were all doing booming business selling hot coffee to runners. Once free of my bag, I headed to the port-o-can line. I had come prepared for there not to be any toilet paper like at the L.A. Marathon and then had to hand over my shirt to Johnny Tri to use. I had a pack of tissues and individually wrapped hand sani-wipes stuffed in the pockets of my Race Ready shorts. As we got to the front of the line, the word came back that there was no toilet paper. Women were crossing their legs and dashing in and out of unoccupied cans looking for TP. I was not letting on to any one about my secret stash under my trash bag! Yes it is gross, but I saw bandannas, gloves, and a shirt down in that port-o-can! Oh, I was happy that I had learned my lesson in L.A.

As I made my way up to my corral, I bumped into Ben who was looking for me. He had eaten something and it had triggered his asthma and he wanted to see if I had my Albuterol inhaler. I had it on me and handed it to Ben so he could get some lung relief. We wished each other luck and headed off. I saw Terry and wished him luck as well and then I went into my corral. There were a lot of men that had trash bag envy as they stood around in their 13 gallon drawstring trash bags. My 45 gallon bag came down right above my ankles and was keeping me warm. I found the 4:00 pace gal and stuck with her when she jumped up to corral 7. After the National Anthem, we started moving up. It did not take us long to hit the start line and I pulled the trash bag over my head and tossed it aside. The 4:00 pace group was trotting along and it was a comfortable pace. I was surprised! I was doing really well and not feeling winded.

My bare legs felt fine and I was warm with my men's wool sock arm warmer, gloves, hand warmers in the gloves, and a $8 toss-away Tyvek jacket on. By mile 3 I had unzipped the neck of the Tyvek jacket and gave it a toss after crossing the 5K timing mat. When we ran by the Alamo, I pulled the arm warmers down to my forearms. Someone in the crowd shouted "Go Coach Liz" and I waved, but I have no idea who it was. If you cheered for me, thanks! By mile 4 I was running past El Esposo's high school that he went to and I was considering ditching the arm warmers. They came off soon after that because we had a quick up-hill and I needed heat relief. At mile 5 I tossed the hand warmers and stuffed my gloves in the back pocked of my shorts so I could take a Clif Shot. I was feeling GREAT!!! I had gotten ahead of the 4:00 pace group because they were stopping for aid stations and I was moving through them since I had my Fuel Belt on. I kept tabs on my pace and I was staying steady at 9:08 to 9:20 per mile. At mile 6.5 I saw a bank time and temp sign that said the temperature had warmed up to 46 degrees. I was in my singlet and shorts and the weather felt GREAT!!! Around mile 7 I saw Coach John and he ran with me for a half of a mile and asked how I was doing. I started scanning the crowds for my dad since I had talked about seeing him around mile 9.

At mile 9 I did not see him and the course doubled back in that area so I would keep an eye out when I got back. I did see a guy with great abs dressed as a Spartan warrior and a goofball dressed up as David Spade's Joe Dirt character with a sleeveless red flannel shirt, cut off jeans that were Daisy Duke high, and the mullet with a ear flap sheerling cap on. HA! nice costumes. The 4:00 pace group got back with me. I guess I had slowed to scan the crowds. I ran with the 4:00 pace group for a good long while again and I saw Buddy and Val around mile 10.5 and they signaled to my dad that I was coming around the corner. We started running south towards the missions and the half way point. I crossed the timing mats and I was not sure about my time since I had it set on pace, but I thought it was pretty close to 2 hours. I was still feeling good. I had stayed with my plan on hydration, Clif Shots, and Enduralytes and I was not experiencing any stomach issues. We ran past the Lone Star brewery and I was seeing the front runners come back on the other side of the road. i made sure to clap for them. I stopped briefly to grab cups and refill my Fuel Belt bottles and I had to let the 4:00 pace group get a bit ahead of me. They were only 15 yards up, but I did not want to get back too far. It was right about that time that my left posterior tibialis muscle in my lower leg decided to proclaim that it was not happy. From mile 14 to 16 I kept slipping back from the group and I finally had to let them go and just run my own race. Discomfort was setting in and I modified my pace to deal with it. At mile 16 I found a bank of port-o-cans that did not have any lines and I dodged in for a pit stop. There was toilet paper and I was happy that i could hold on to the last of my stash if I needed it later. Getting going again was hard!

Mile 17 on was a slow decent into running hell. The cool dry temps were keeping the sweat away but that meant that I was starting to chafe under my right arm. Every med tent I passed had the med staff sitting in chairs and no one was up and ready with tongue depressors with petroleum jelly. ARGH!!! I forced my self to keep running and not stop but at the next aid station I stopped to walk and drink. It hurt to get going again. I was really slow now and everyone was seeming to pass me up. I was supposed to be running past Mission Espada and Mission San Jose, but I was in such a fog of pain that I did not even see them. I saw a cheerleading group, the South Side High Cardinals, and the stupid cardinal mascot was wearing red knee socks rather than yellow ones!!! YOU MORON!!! YOU NEED YELLOW BIRD LEGS!!! I was in pain. At mile 19 I had a series of hills to tackle and my knees were not liking the downhills. Coach Dan found me on an uphill and he was great. He knew I was having a rough go of it and he told me that he knew that I had been here before and that he knew I would make it to the end. He told me sponges were up ahead and gave me a pat on the back. The sponges were great. I stopped to wash off some salt from my arm pits and grabbed some water. My mouth was getting dry and my lips were getting chapped and I knew I needed more fluids. I got running again and it was rough. I saw another one of my TNT team mates running by and I could not keep up. I was heading into mile 22 and I saw a sign by the side of the road that said, "You are now entering the BITE ME zone." Heck, I entered that back at mile 18!!!

I soldiered on past mile 23 and then I had to walk as I was coming back to the Lone Star Brewery. The 4:15 pace time passed me up and there was no way that I could even keep up. I had to let them go. When I got going again, it was excruciating and I made the decision that I could not allow myself to stop and walk again until I crossed the finish line. I found some petroleum jelly at mile 24 and slathered it under my arm pits. But then I had two hands coated in petroleum jelly, YUCK! I had my left over tissues and put them to good use. I came around the corner from St. Mary's Street and on to Broadway and found Coach Miranda. She had run with me before when I had been hurting so she knew just to stick with my slow puny pace and not say a word. I had lots of people cheering for me and I appreciated that but I was not really responding to the well wishes. I saw that dude dressed up as Joe Dirt again. Seeing him this time was not so funny. The creep was going to pass me!!! Dang it, run walkers were passing me up who I had passed when they were on their walk breaks. YOU ALL SUCK!!! Some guy told me to keep up the good pace and that all I had to do was go to the end of the street, turn left and go downhill, go around to the other side of the Alamodome and I would be at the finish. At this point it felt like someone had been beating me across my low back with a 2 x 4 and my right leg was sending the pain right into my tailbone. Ok, I can do that. I can do it. I can make it through the pain. I am almost there. I did not see the 25 mile marker so I was a little lost. Broadway seemed to go on forever! Where was the end of the street??? Miranda and I turned left and then the road went UPHILL! WHERE IS THE DOWNHILL??!!?? Miranda reassures me that if the road goes uphill it has to go downhill as well. We were running under a bridge and I saw, both at the same time, the 26 mile marker and the fact that we had to go back uphill....F--K!!! I was in so much pain and tears were coming to my eyes. A TNT coach shouted at me, "30 seconds around the corner to the finish line! COME ON!!!" I crossed a timing mat and heard the announcer call out my name. Just get across that line. I did not care about my time I just wanted it to end. I wanted the pain to end. As I crossed the finish line and came to a stop, I could barely breathe because I was so emotional at that moment. I was more than just a little "verklempt".

It was a huge contradiction to feel like a failure but to be a hero to so many cancer patients and their families. WHOA!!! I had to get my head on straight right then and there. I was not running this race for me, I was running this race for others and against the clock, yes, but not the clock over the finish line. I was racing against the clock to find a cure so that no one else has to live in pain or die from the type of cancer that took my mother's life. I had a PR for crying out loud. This was the fastest marathon I had ever completed and I needed to be proud of that. I made my way through the "Secure Zone" for the athletes and all that looked appetizing was a box of raisins. I exited the "SZ" and went looking for my Dad, Val, and Bud. I had to find them fast because they had been waiting for me for a long time since I told them I would be running with the 4:00 hour pace group. When i found them, Buddy gave me a huge hug and I almost lost it. Val let me have a seat in the camp chair and I downed my bottle of Endurox mix that I put together from my gear bag that I retrieved from the UPS truck. Buddy and I went to the Team in Training tent to go check in and I picked up a chicken burrito even though I could not fathom eating it at that moment and a Jamba Juice smoothie which I slurped down lickity-split. After posing for this picture way too many times, my dad finally let the guy taking it finish the job. I have learned how to hold a smile for a long time and not blink with a dad who's profession is professional news and sports photographer. We packed up the camp site and we headed to the car so that Dad and Val could drop me and Buddy off at the hotel.

We got back to the hotel and I found Terry and he had a good/bad day as well. He had a great 3:30 marathon but missed his mark to qualify for Boston. I loaded up three Target plastic bags with ice from the ice machine and prepared for my ice bath. I kicked off my shoes and in the spirit of Steve in a Speedo, I had to take a foot and blister photo...Notice that all of my toenails are intact and my feet look pretty darn good!I had only one blister on the outside edge of my right toe. My feet had been hurting, but those hot spots were ones that I had been feeling in these shoes ever since I had gotten them but this was a first time I had gotten a blister and it was the first time I had ever had a blister in this area and half way under a callous to boot. As I eased into the cool water bath to add the ice I was shocked not by the cool water, but the burn that I was feeling. I did not know that it was possible to chafe your a--hole, but I managed to do it. How humiliating. I guess it ranks right up there with bloody nipples for men. After the ice bath I woofed down that chicken burrito from the TNT tent and put the hair dryer on my body because I was freezing. I got dressed and hung out in the hall where it was warmer and chatted with my buddy Ryan who ran the 1/2 marathon in 1:24 and we found Ben and he came in just a few minutes after me at 4:34. Buddy and I went to the victory dinner and then we took a walk along the River Walk and over to see the Alamo. We watched The Wizard of Oz back in the room and Bud was thrilled because he has been wanting to see this movie for a while. The alarm rang at 4:30 am and it was time to head back to Houston and get Buddy to school.

I feel better about this race. This was a good marathon and sadly I will not be able to run it next year because it will be too close to Ironman Cozumel. I had a PR and I did it with some strange things happening in my back. The wonderful docs and Kimberly at Spine and Sports Therapy took good care of me on Monday afternoon. My hips were way out of whack and my left leg was longer than my right leg and causing a majority of that pain in my low back. I got stretched out and today i feel back to normal. So with 26.2 miles under my feet, my shirt I got at the expo says it all...

Thanks for reading a race report that was WAY TOO LONG.

Later Gators!


Monday, November 17, 2008

It was a PR...

But not the PR I wanted. I did not beat P. Diddy's marathon time, but I am sure that I beat Oprah's marathon time. With the amount of physical pain that I was in at the end, I will take it. NO STOMACH PROBLEMS THIS TIME!!! Yahoo!

Finish time 4:30:04

Half Marathon time 2:01:40 (see how I had to slow down due to the leg and low back pain?)

Ok, I will give a more detailed race report soon. I just drove back in town this morning and got Buddy to school and I have to go teach a Step aerobics class at the gym and then head off for a stretch session. Before you call me a nut for teaching a step class, I will be hobbling at first, but it will really loosen things up after sitting in the car for 3 hours this morning and get the muscles warmed up for the stretch session.

More pics and details later gators,


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sorry I am late with this post, but I have been busy today. Yesterday the kid and I drove to Canyon Lake, TX to spend the evening with my dad and step mom. We had a great steak dinner and I hit the hay early. I got up this morning and Val fixed a German pan kucken (huge pan cake souffle thingy) with warm cinnamon apples for breakfast. I loaded up my stuff and paused to take a picture off the deck of the house...(photos later, they are not loading right not)

I drove into town and stopped by Wal-Mart to buy pocket warmers because now the temps tomorrow will be 31 degrees. Lunch was at the San Antonio staple, Taco Cabana where I picked up a few chicken fajita tacos. I got to our hotel and then hopped the shuttle to go to packet pickup and dealt with the crazy crowds there. I picked up a few cool things and then got back on the shuttle to head back to the hotel. After getting cleaned up we had our pasta dinner to go to where I did not eat pasta but at least they had salad, grilled veggies, and chicken. There were chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.

Ok, we have a team meeting and then I am off to bed. Keep me in your prayers for tomorrow and I will be back in the evening with some quick race details and a more in depth race report later.

Thanks for all of your support the past few day!

Later Gators,


Friday, November 14, 2008


I am taking a brief break from running around to get the last of my stuff together and my kid's stuff together before I have to go to work. As soon as I finish working with my Pilates clients, my Small Group Personal Training ladies, and teach my group strength training class I will pick Buddy up from school and we will head out to Canyon Lake, Texas to see my Dad and Val.

All of my stuff for the race is pretty much together but it is the other stuff that I will wear that is hanging me up. Not to mention the atomic bomb El Esposo dropped last night, "I'm gonna CLEAN this weekend!" ARGH!!! I love him for wanting to help but he takes it upon himself to go through all my bags dump them out and reorganize everything or toss it out. This means that I will come back and not have a stinking idea where anything is. It kills me, who puts measuring cups in the same cabinet as the glasses and mugs??? (Babe, they are all cups!). When I went and did Longhorn 70.3 I came home to all of my running shoes, dead ones and live ones that I switch out and rotate, were in one large bag. All run hats, visors, skull caps, swim caps and head bands were stuffed in an insulated cooler bag that I use in the summer to keep cold drinks in my car for after a bike ride. All of my small bags that I carry bike tools/stuff, nutritionals (capsules, gels, mixes, etc.), gear (chip straps, race belts HRM straps), and odds and ends I had not seen in awhile and every piece of stuff from a race bag from packet pick up dumped in my swim bag. And the one that sent me over the edge,,,he emptied out my bag that I use for work to teach my cycle classes and threw my bike shoes in the garage, put the iPod cable in a box full of cables in the computer room, and THREW AWAY over 50 written out classes that I had in a pocket in the bag!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! I am dreading coming home and not being able to find stuff.

Ok, I love my spouse but as all of you in committed relationships know, there are times you want to hit them over the head with a wet skunk.

Alright...TWO DAYS to go and here is another piece of the TEAM PURPLE kit. Fuel Belt ROCKS for making a special Team in Training PURPLE Helium Fuel Belt!!!

I have been wearing a Fuel Belt for every run that I have been on for the past 3 years. I even wear my Fuel Belt out to small little 30 minute run workouts. I have a two bottle belt, 2 of the four bottle belts, and a six bottle belt. Hmm, do you think I have enough? Living in HOT Houston the Fuel Belt is essential to survival in the summer. If you have not checked it out, Fuel Belt has a cool tri site called X-Tri that I like hopping over to.

Ok, we are headed west later today. More fun pics tomorrow!

Later Gators,


Thursday, November 13, 2008


I am in full slug mode. I have a super short interval workout today and my super awesome sports docs are taking care of me today. At noon I get acupuncture with Dr. D to help with my sinus congestion since I had allergy shots yesterday. After that I get a stretch session with Kimberly and then I follow that up with a tune up adjustment with Dr. H to work out all the kinks. Spine and Sports Therapy has "Got My Back" and they have been doing an awesome job with keeping me injury free for the past 3 1/2 years.

Big News...

Buddy had his first 20 minute timed swim today. All Free, flip turns at every wall, continuous... He cracked out 875 yards!!! I am so proud of him! I feel totally comfortable with his request to do one of the pool sprint triathlons next spring and possibly even one of the shorter sprint triathlons that I take my TNT athletes to. Someone is getting some Legos for their effort!

Here is the next part of the TEAM PURPLE kit. I still have to put my name on the front so I can get some love from the crowd and I have a picture of my mom that will go on my back.

Alright, I pack today and we hit the road tomorrow after I teach my noon class.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

4 More...

days of sitting around on my rear! I am going to develop couch sores on my butt and legs if this keeps up. I have the next part of the TEAM PURPLE kit set aside and ready to go...This is not a normal part of the kit that everyone will be wearing. Last year I had Sugoi do up some custom jog bras for me. I love Sugoi's stuff and they have always gone above and beyond the call of duty to get me great custom tri shorts, tri tops, and cycle/run vests ON TIME and when I needed them.

I cannot say that for Louis Garneau...

Louis Garneau did not deliver team gear ON TWO OCCASIONS when I had been working with them for MONTHS and had paid them a lot of money and they told me many many times that they would have the custom tri shorts and tri tops ready for me by the date that I needed them. Top it off, they were slow in getting the money I had paid back to me when they could not deliver the product and the second time I worked with them to give them the benefit of the doubt, they gave me the same sales rep and she dropped the ball again and was not able to stand by her word and get me the custom gear I ordered on time. GRRRR!!!

Add insult to injury, when Team in Training decided to have tri gear for our teams to wear to events, who did they do a deal with??? Louis Garneau! Every season they are running to the wire to get us our tri gear in time for the event. This last season we got our tri gear on Friday afternoon for a race on a Sunday. We were lucky that the race was in Texas and within driving distance because if we travel for an event by airplane, we leave on a Friday morning. Someone from the office got the box from the UPS guy on Friday afternoon and then drove it to Austin. Our guys don't like the LG tri shorts because they are super short. They are a good length for women's tri shorts but even a kid that I coached who was a competitive swimmer for a major university and wears Speedos on a regular basis would not wear them because he said they were too short. He said he felt like he was wearing Hot Pants.

Ok, enough of my beef with LG. They just don't get my business any more and I don't buy any of their products. Not a huge impact on them, but it is how I roll.

4 days to go! More TEAM PURPLE kit tomorrow...

Later Gators,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Days...

...and my job today is to go to REI and buy 5 Clif Shots in Strawberry, Mocha, and Raspberry. I am going to avoid Speedy's advice to sample every performance enhancing food/drink at the Expo. I did that at the L.A. marathon expo and I ate different stuff than I normally would have before a run and it cost me big time. I cannot remember a time that I was in that much physical pain in my core other than the long 29 of labor before the doctor decided to take my son by C-section. IT WAS THAT BAD, thankfully it did not last that long. I only had to endure that marathon pain for less than three hours. That is not going to happen this time around! NO BAD FOOD!

Ok, here is the next part of my TEAM PURPLE running outfit...Yes, just like the shoes the shorts are really not purple but they have the TNT logo on them and these have been good race shorts when I did the Houston Marathon. I like all the pockets so I can stash my Clif shots and the pocket that has the velcro flap so that I do not loose my hotel key card or I can have a $20 ready for a post race massage. I use the big pocket on the back to stuff gloves in if it is chilly enough to start off with gloves. I will NOT stuff the pockets with everything but the kitchen sink. 5 Clif Shots and not much more.

Ok, I did my 30 minutes of easy cycling in the small chain ring this morning and I am good to sit on my butt for the rest of the day.

More TEAM PURPLE kit tomorrow! Later Gators,


Monday, November 10, 2008

In a pinch...

...when you forget to stop and get Clif shots for your run, Stretch Island Fruit Leather works just as well. Will I be using it for the marathon this next weekend??? NO I have a nutrition plan and I am sticking to it and Stretch Island Fruit Leather is not part of it. I am sticking to water, Clif Shots, and Enduralytes like I have for all of my running this summer and fall. I have not had any GI problems and especially no stomach issues like I did at the Los Angeles Marathon and I want to keep it that way.

Ok, I only have 6 days left to go. My coach has given me a few short Fartlek workouts to do just to keep the body from going into snooze mode. I had my last long run on Saturday of 10 miles and I ran that 10 miles like the 10 I ran with Greyhound. FAST!. My average pace was 9:06 and I know I went out a little too hard on the first few miles but it was chilly and I was trying to get warmed up. Yeah, go ahead and laugh, 45 is chilly in Houston! I shed the "shrug" after the first mile and a half and got rid of the gloves around mile 4 only to put them back on around mile 9 because I was running in the shade again and my sweaty hands got cold again.

My tasks for this week are to get my marathon gear set aside. Everything is clean since I did laundry this weekend. I have to go buy my Clif Shots. I have to send a note to school letting them know I am pulling Buddy out of school early on Friday so that we can hit the road and make it to my Dad's in Canyon Lake, TX before it gets dark and I run the risk of hitting a deer on the road. Last but not least, I have to nail down my Dad's and Val's spectator locations on the marathon course. The good thing about having a former professional news photographer as a dad is that I will get some great race shots and I won't have to pay for them! Too bad he still does not have his UPI press credential passes to hang around his neck that would allow him access into places he could not normally get into.

This marathon has SOLD OUT and there are 30,000 runners/walkers who will be roaming the streets of San Antonio. I am in corral 12 so that means that I may not actually cross the timing mat until 7:48 to 7:56 am or longer. Sunday in San Antonio looks like it will be sunny and beautiful with a low of 55* and a high 70*. I will need to remember my sun block! I thought about it for a moment, but NO, I am not dressing up in a costume like Steve in a Speedo. I think it would be too hot to run with a Mexican blanket sarape and a big sombrero on. I will be running as part of TEAM PURPLE!!! Here is the first element of my outfit...So they are not purple, but they are a lot cleaner than the last time I posted a picture of my shoes. I have my TNT Yanks in my shoes and my TNT shoe tag on my shoes. I have TNT socks but I have not run in them and the last time I wore TNT socks on a marathon I ended up with some black toenails. I am sticking to my regular socks. Tomorrow is more of the TEAM PURPLE race kit!

GOAL: My fastest "stand alone" marathon was back in 2006 when I ran a 4:42 at the P.F.Chang's Arizona Rock n' Roll Marathon. My coach says that I am going to surprise myself but I am aiming for a 4:15. This allows me time for port-o-can stops and for the crowded conditions. If I can go 4:14, I will beat P. Diddy's NY Marathon time. I would love to do that.

Race Number: 12295 Days Until Race: 6

Later Gators!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma...


My lucky garden chameleon, Boy George, stopped by my front door today to check in and let me know he is still around. I let him eat all the mosquitos he wants and he lets me take pictures of him. He is gotten pretty big. He is now about 8 inches long from nose to tail. When he was smaller and only about three inches long, he got in the house and I found him sunning in the front window. I talked him into letting me take him back outside and he was a good sport and did not jump off my hand and make a break for it as we headed to the door. As you can see from the picture, he is feeling brown but some days when I see him he is bright lime green. He always brings a smile to my face and my kid likes to leave him little bits of orange pulp out on our front porch.

Well, as I am tapering for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll marathon in 10 days I am a little antsy. I could not stand it any longer yesterday when I woke up on my own with out the alarm at 5 am. I got my running gear on and went out for a run without my GPS on or without turning on my heart rate monitor. I just needed to get out because I was feeling like a huge slug. It was one of the best runs that I have had in a long time! It was FUN and it was relaxed. I ran and did not push hard but I am sure that I knocked out 6 miles in that 50 minutes. The temps were perfect. The dew point was high so there was some fog hanging in the air and it kept the 65 degree temps cool and comfortable.

All right, I am back to sitting on my butt again.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted...

Now I get to go to Starbucks and get my free cup of coffee and later today I am hitting Ben & Jerry's for my free scoop of ice cream. I will pass on the free Krispie Kreme artery clogger.

History is being made today and the next 4 years will be interesting to watch.

Have a great day,


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend update...

Ok, I am giving more than the weekend update but it is all related to each other. On Thursday morning I had my yearly Halloween Ride with my Indoor Cycling class and I was surprised when the trick-or-TREATED me. I guess that they had been hearing me whine about my Dr. Pepper and how I only drink one after a marathon or a half IM distance race. They have picked up on the fact that even though I try to eat well, chocolate is a staple in my diet. They must have gotten tired of me forgetting to buy Clorox Wipes so that everyone can wipe down their sweaty handlebars and resistance knobs on the bike. And they must really love my "Shake n' Bake" set that I pull out about once a quarter. The back row instigated all of this stuff!!!

I spent the rest of Thursday getting my Elastia-Girl outfit together and baked up two batches of pumpkin muffins and got the dough rising for cinnamon rolls. I let the muffins cool and then I put three of them and a few Taso tea bags in some Halloween Treat Bags for my Pilates and Personal Training Clients that I would be seeing on Friday.

Friday saw me in that oh so INCREDIBLE costume all darn day. Alright, all I am going to say is that there are some interesting gentlemen at my health club. I got hit on by more than just a few. Hello! I am MRS. Incredible. Mr. Incredible may not like you hitting on his wife. Flattering...Yes, thank you for the compliments and that is where it ends. I was dressed as a Disney character for goodness sakes! I think that I missed the class at Super Hero School that was titled "Running and Living Comfortably in High Heeled Boots" My feet were killing me by the time it was to take Buddy up to the neighborhood club house for the hay ride and trick-or-treating. The kids had a great time and Buddy made a killing on the candy. Yes, I did have some and it was very yummy.Here is the front truck pulling the hay wagon. I was riding in truck number 2.
There is Mr. Incredible in the blue dress shirt and Buddy in his Vote for Pedro t-shirt in the wagon ready to head to the next trick-or-treat area in the neighborhood.

I have started my taper for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon. On Saturday morning I only had to run 14 miles and I had two 11 ramp parking garages tacked onto the end. My pace even with a bathroom break in the Hilton hotel and stop to fill up water bottles had me at an average pace of 9:54. I am planning on running with a pace group on this marathon so I do not go out too hard and start slowing the pace down around the middle. I have less than two weeks to go and I am feeling good about this marathon. I have my nutrition down pat and I am not deviating from the plan like I did in LA back in March.

Other than my pre-run banana with Nutella and a package of Shot Bloks I had not eaten anything else. Once I got home and cleaned up it was time for lunch at Berry Hill Baja Tacos for some chicken fajitas. They were so good. We went and picked up a new ceiling fan for the guest room and for the rest of the day I ran some errands and then I sat on the sofa and started crocheting a scarf. Since yesterday, I have ripped out all of the work two times. It was a good amount that I ripped out but my eyes are not what they used to be and I am working with black yarn. I kept tabs on the IMFL racers and enjoyed being a bum.

Today was not that much different. The weather is great and I am hoping that it will last until the marathon. Hope you had a great weekend. The time change has me off so right now I am falling asleep at the key board.

Later Gators,


Friday, October 31, 2008

Hope you have an INCREDIBLE day!

More pictures later gators,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Around here...

Thursday at 5:30 am I am holding my annual Halloween Spin Class. I have a great line-up of spooky tunes and I give away 13 Lucky door prizes from gym bags to Starbucks gift cards. Everyone will get a treat of a mini Clif bar or mini Luna bar. Here is the line-up of tunes if you want to head on over to iTunes and make yourself a play list.

Jerry Sienfeld-- Halloween "Get Candy" skit
Van Halen--Running With the Devil
Bow Wow Wow--I Want Candy
Beatfreakz--Somebody's Watching Me
Oingo Boingo--Dead Man's Party
CCR--Bad Moon Rising
Ray Parker Jr.--Ghostbusters
Rocky Horror Picture Show--The Time Warp
Mitch Ryder--Devil With the Blue Dress On
Michael Jackson--Thriller
Santana--Black Magic Woman
Warren Zevon--Werewolves of London
Blue Oyster Cult--Don't Fear the Reaper
The Classics IV--Spooky

I have been working hard getting my Halloween costume ready and it is going to rock the house! Buddy's costume is pretty dang awesome as well. I will do the reveal on Friday!

Stay Tuned!!!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

21 Miler and Weekend Fun

Since last week I promised that I would comment about the FUN I had last weekend and I never got around to it, here it is... KOI!

Alright, I saw more than koi. I took my son to the Houston Zoo for Zoo Boo! Special Trunk Or Treat stands were set up around the zoo and kids were handed a bag for their goodies when they entered the gates. There were also Tattzoo stations, places where you could make animal masks, and a pumpkin patch where all of the kids got a mini pumpkin to take home. The Extinct Species Cemetery was next to the Children's Zoo where special animal encounters were taking place. We got to take in the Sea Lion show and paid a visit to the Elephants. I could not resist getting a picture of my son drinking out of the lion water fountain because my dad had taken a picture of me in very much the same pose at a lion water fountain when I was a kid. After the zoo, we walked over to go take a ride on the Herman Park Train. The train has been around for years but last January it was shut down to make way for the new train which made it's debut in March. Since then, more track has been laid around the park and the journey lasts a good 20 to 25 minutes. A new depot is being built and should be ready next spring.

Ok, for this weekend I was getting ready for my 21 mile run leading up to the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon. I had been experiencing congestion, but a relatively dry nose. Houston had a wonderful cool front that rolled through on Thursday morning and had dried up the humidity. I felt like my sinus area was swollen and restricting breathing, but since there was no mucus I knew it had to be swelling due to irritants. I picked up a Netti Pot sinus cleansing system at the local CVS. This had been recommended to me by both my allergist and my sports doc so I thought I would give it a try. I never knew how much fun pouring water up my nose could be! Well, I followed the instructions on mixing the saline solution and started on the right nostril. Constant breathing through the mouth is necessary to keep the saline solution from draining down the back of the throat rather than out the other nostril. It was a very bizarre feeling. I was having tears streaming out of my eyes from the saline solution coming up the ducts that drain tears away from the eyes. I had some clear mucus and then some yucky hard green junk come out of my nose. It was not much but it looked like it was dried stuff that had been stuck up in the upper part of the nostril. I repeated the process on the other side and only clear mucus came out. Immediately I felt like I was able to breathe better through my nose rather than feeling like it was corked up. I am still breathing easy tonight but the best part was waking up without being plugged up and a dry mouth from not being able to breathe through my nose while sleeping.

So I got up early and had my pre-run banana and Nutella breakfast and then started rooting around in my gear box for my gloves and my run vest. The temp this morning was a brisk 48 degrees. I know most of you are laughing at me right now, but for Houston, that is chilly. I put on my TNT run shorts, TNT jog bra, a long sleeve Under Armor type of shirt, my TNT thin run vest, and grabbed my new Headsweats hat from the Longhorn 70.3 race and my gloves and rolled out of the driveway a bit late to go to Terry Hershey Park for our "All Team" 21 mile run. I hate running in Terry Hershey Park for 2 main reasons. First, there is only ONE bathroom. ONE! You hit it at mile 3.5 and again at mile 10 and then if you have to go, you hit the woods and you had better have some TP or wet wipes on hand. Trust me, I have had to resort to this and it is not fun because there are a lot of people who are running and biking the trails and you end up mooning someone as you take care of business down by the bayou. Well, the West Houston group rented a port-o-can this year! It was at the end of the parking lot and no where near the trail that we would be running on, but it was better than nothing. I did not have to use it, but lots of people in the group did. Hats off to the West Houston group for making life a little easier this morning. The second reason I hate running in Terry Hershey park is that each year, we get sent out on the easy part of the trail first and the last 9 mile out and back is four and a half of the most hilly miles in Houston. These hills are steep and sharp. We basically have to go from street level down to bayou level to go under the roadway and then back up to road level. This happens 5 times before you get to the turn-around point and then you have to do that up and down C*R*A*P 5 times on the way back when your legs are screaming tired. Oh, there are sprinkler systems to dodge as well. Needless to say, my calves are trashed and my left knee is sore tonight and it has never given me problems before.

I pretty much ran by myself which is odd since there were about 100 of us out there to run. I am not as fast as my buddy Terry and the other fast boys, but I am faster than many of the gals. Many of the fast chicas had done their marathon last weekend in San Francisco at the Nike Women's Marathon. They came out to cheer us on at the 12 mile/Finish water stop. We took off in the dark. There are areas along the trail that has no lighting so I had gone to REI and purchased a new Petzl LED light that I ended up strapping around my chest and made fun "I am IRONMAN" jokes with Ryan and Terry. The Petzl light was great! I was heating up and I stuffed the gloves in the back pocket of my Race Ready shorts at mile 3 and I stopped to use the bathroom and peeled off the long sleeve shirt and tied it around my torso and took off again. So now I only had on my thin vest with a mesh back over my jog bra but it seemed ok. It was still dark and I had caught up to a few people that I had passed early on and who had passed me while I was taking the bathroom/clothing break. At the far west end of the trail there is a dam at a reservoir and I ran with two other gals and the Clear Lake coach only so I would know where I was going once we passed the dam since this was a new part of the route that had been added. Once we ran a mile south, there was a gravel drive that went up to the top of the dam and then we ran back along the gravel path on top of the dam and down a paved hill that got us back to the spill way. From there I got back on my own pace and left the gals I had been running with. I saw lots of people on the way back in. I hit the bathroom again at mile 10 and I was starting to feel my calves mildly tightening up around the 10.5 mark. I had Coach Dan run with me for a 300 to 400 meters and he said I was looking strong. I ran it in to the 12 mile water stop and dropped off the long sleeve top and filled up all the bottles on my Fuel Belt and started out on the dreaded last 9 miles. The Nike team gals were cheering me on and I would need it for the last hilly stretch. I was running into the sun now and the run vest was getting a bit warm. I saw Ryan heading back in and a mile and a half later I passed Terry headed the other way towards the finish. Then I had to play chicken along a 200 yard stretch where the sprinkler system was running and the sprinkler heads were shooting over the path. I managed to stay dry but my shoes got a little wet dodging into the grass. This made those super steep accents and descents a bit dicey. I felt like my feet were going to either fly out from under me, or I was going to topple forward and do a face plant on the paved trail. I finally made the turn around spot, downed another Clif Shot and took off for the last 4.5 miles with my screaming calves. There were many times that I contemplated walking up one of those steep hills, but I just leaned into the hill and took dorky little baby gate running steps to the top. What a relief it was the see the cars passing up on the road ahead when I came over a hill. I had not even seen the TNT tent yet. When I finished, the gang was all ringing cow bells and then Ryan yells out "Keep Going!!!" WTF??!!?? was my response and then everyone started laughing. It was all good fun. We cheered on other finishers and I was able to get a cup full of good salty Chex Mix even though it was going to make me itch.
Yea!!! Glad to be done!
Me and the Nike gals. The Nike Women's Marathon raised over 19 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to go towards research and patient aid! WHOO HOO!!!
Jarntip and me after my finish. Jarntip had to call it quits at the 12 mile mark due to a problem with her left arch. I coached Jarntip to finish her first triathlon this past spring.
Terry and Me at the finish tent that is stocked with all sorts of goodies that I really can't eat. Dang it!
Dave and Ben shortly after their finish. Way to go TEAM!!!

After getting in an ice bath and chowing down on some Pepper Steak at P. F. Chang's I took Buddy to the Fall Festival and 35th Anniversary at our Church. It was a good outreach program to invite the community to bring the kids to. There were lots of carnival games and big inflatable mazes, climbing walls, slides, and bounce houses. Lots of candy was being given out at the games and there were free hot dogs, bags of chips, drinks and cupcakes for everyone. Here is Buddy enjoying his hot dog.

So far the weekend has been great and I hope that yours has been just as enjoyable!

Later Gators,