Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Club Scrap Graffitti Blog Hop.

Welcome to my Blog.

I am locked away in my hotel room in New Orleans, Iced In.  Luckily I snapped some photos of my project before I left so I can blog while I am away.  I was supposed to fly in today.

My kids have discovered iphoneography.  And I have discovered they  have an eye.  They love to hang out a ranch behind or subdivision and one day they came home with  scores of photos they took.  I printed them out and some of them were really stunning (they are 9 and 11).  I wanted to create a book they could put these in and give to the ranch owners who have all but adopted them.  I made the book, and my daughter is designing and putting together the pages.  The book is nothing more than a paper bag album I created, I used the cardboard found in calendars when you buy them to create a cover and spine.  For the cover, I used my twinkly water colors to color in the black and white graffiti print.   I used the little chalkboard embellishment for the cover, and stenciled the Art Is Fact saying from the Artifacts Kit (February 2009).  I let Phoenix work on the inside pages.  She's still working but she got a good start.

Now hop on over to Debby's blog  and check out her creation.  And if you stumbled upon my blog you can start from the beginning at Club Scraps Blog.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I did it!

I did it!  

I ran my first half-marathon + .9 miles as it was a 14 mile race (but the race organizers very thoughtfully placed a timing mat at the half-marathon mark).  This past Saturday I ran the inaugural DFW Polar Dash, and I finished. I finished 14 miles in 2:34 and some change.   My half  marathon split was 2:24 and some change.   My goal for my first half was to finish in less than 2:30, so I was ecstatic with my time.

Last year I set out to train for a half several times, and even registered for the Rock and Roll Half.   I found I was not focussed enough to put in the time and mileage to train, or so I thought.  Basically, once I fell off the training wagon, I considered it a wash, and that I would never be able to catch up so I gave up.  Then as it turned out I was deployed for the Rock and Roll Half anyway. Then there was the winter.  I could not get myself to run in the cold.  Seriously, I could not.   Then there was my husbands work schedule.  It was wacky, some days working til 8.  Some days home early and working most weekends.   No regular schedule.  I felt guilty trying to get long runs in when there was not another parent at home with the kids.  And, I was trying to do this in Shona's life vacuum, meaning, no support (outside my awesome husband, who is not a runner), no fellowship with other athletes, etc.

So what changed this year?  Many, many things: 
  •  I think I was way more mentally ready especially after going through a season of triathlons.  After realizing 5k's and even 10ks bored me, I knew I needed to step it up or I would not see any improvements.  
  • I bought cold weather gear.  OH MY GOSH, if you struggle with winter running, cold weather gear make all the difference.  My favorite cold weather gear is a neck gaiter.  It slips over your head and rests around your neck, you can pull it up over mouth and nose if you want or pull it down when you are a little warmer.  I found with my underarmor cold gear base layer, a hat, gloves and a neck gaiter, I need not much else.  The secret is definitely to keep all skin surfaces covered.  I cannot tell you how much of a difference this has made.  I have run regularly 3-5 days a week since the onslaught of cold for DFW which started in Nov this year. 
  • Probably one of the biggest contributors to achieving this goal, is that I signed up to do the Ragnar Del Sol Relay in Feb with some friends.  For those that are not familiar with this race, it is a 202 mile overnight relay race, meaning you are part of a relay team.  For our Team, The Prickly Perritas, there are 12 members.  We each run three legs.  I am runner number 11, so I run leg 11, 23, and 35.  They are approximately 12 hours apart (depending on others paces).   When I registered, I downloaded the Ragnar training plan, and it had a 14 mile long run for this week.  Well, I'll be darned if I am going to run 14 miles and not get a medal.  Essentially, I used this race as a A Ragnar Training run.  And nothing motivates a person more than being part of a team, because you do not want to let the team down. 
  • My husband started a new job with regular 8-5 hours and no weekend hours, freeing up the weekends for long runs if needed.  
  • And probably the best thing that really made me want to achieve this goal is my daughter Phoenix(affectionately referred to as P-nut) has developed this new found love of running and started running the same races I do (Shes faster so we do not run together).  This past weekend she ran the Polar Dash 10K.  This was her first 10k.  She finished 1st in her age group.  
  • I have discovered this amazing running community exists.  I've joined the Dallas Running Club, I have joined an online group called Runners Corner (they are awesome by the way).   I am running Saturday Mornings with the North Texas Roadrunners. Running with people of like minds and being able to share your experiences with them is really cool.  I cannot really say it any better than that. 
  • And I also realized, training is fluid.   If you miss a run here or there, your training is not all for nothing.  For this race I had not run more than 10  miles, but I still finished, and I felt great the entire race.  The last mile was tough, but I did not feel like I hit "the wall" 
 I ran this race with P-nut and some friends from Runners Corner Faccebook group.  Now I use the term "run with" very loosely as we all have different paces so we are not running together.  But we sure are supporting each other and high fiving each other when we see each other on the race course (if we see each other out on the race course).   And we are there at the finish line as people come in.   My friend Liz ran this race too, she one of my crazy Ragnar team members.

I had a race plan:
  • Eat a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with an egg mixed in wth brown sugar and almonds.
  • Drink 16 oz of Nuun infused water
  • Show up
  • Drink more water
  • Line up at starting line.
  • Put one foot in front of other and repeat at a clipped pace.
  • Get water and powerade at every station
  • Get honey stingers and Nuun infused water every time I passed Chris (he's team Gibson race support and transport)
  • At hour 1 suck down a Clif Shot...and every 20 minutes after that.
  • Finish
  • Pat self on back.
When I lined up, I decided to line up with 10:30 race pacer.  I stuck with him until mile five when I had to make a pit stop at "Jon's place"  I was really hoping I could catch back up with him, but I never did.  I really think if I stayed with him I would have easily finished the race with a 10:30 averave pace.

The pit stop though allowed me to see Liz, when I was done visiting Jon, I came up on Liz, said a few words and kept on going, I got to see her when we looped too, giving her high fives.  She had to stop several times to stretch as she was having IT Band issues.  She finished strong and looked amazingly awesome out there.

I felt amazing the first 12 miles.  Then my darn play list ran out of songs and I apparently did not have it set on repeat.  So it defaulted to my entire library starting at A.  The first song was A your adorable, then some horrid Justin Bieber song then Little Drummer Boy.  I had enough.  I did not want to stop, but there was no way I could go through 2 minutes of unknown music.  So I stopped to get my music straight.  I went ahead and allowed myself to walk 1 minute, but I knew if I did not start running again I would never start running again, so I started running  At mile 13.2 I had to fight back tears.  Seriously,  I kept thinking of 271 lb me and was kind of amazed at this accomplishment.  I had to fight back those tears all the way to the finish because I did not want to waste all my energy on crying.  When I saw the finish line, I sprinted to home base.  Got my metal...went to my daughter to see my "crossing the finish line picture".  Yep...there is not one.  Hubby was calling daughter to tell her to take picture while she was trying to take picture and she missed it.  Race organizers did not have photogs  there when I finished.  So I have no photo crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. 

I am ready for Ragnar I think. I am adding multiple runs in one day to sort of simulate Ragnar.  BUt I am really looking forward to my next Half, or a half marathon distance trail run, and yes even a marathon!   This Sunday both me and Phoenix are running the 10 Mile Too Cold To Hold Race.  Im a little worried for her, but she is not, and she told me that if she had to walk the last 3 miles, she would.  She is so not afraid of anything!.

P-Nut and Me before the Race
Runners Corner Peeps

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two Weeks In

We are two weeks into the new year and how am I doing on my goals.  Well I have run 22 miles total.  I am a little shy of my required weekly average, but I am not worried since I have some long races and such coming up.  

I've ridden 10 miles on my bike.  For me, riding in the winter is the absolute hardest.  The North Texas winds can be brutal to say the least. 

No swimming yet. But I am totally ok with that.  This is my weakest spot and I set my goal to be somewhat challenging but only anticipated 6 months out of the year, while training for triathlons and my half ironman in October.

I have ran one race already, a 10k,  and even finished 2nd in my division and set a PR.  It is the first time every one of my splits were below a 10 minute mile.  Woo hoo! Phoenix ran the 5k as part of that same race with me, and she finished second in her age group too!  One incredibly proud mama here.  And I cannot say enough how much I love sharing this hobby with her!

This is me, Phoenix and my friend who ran the 5k.

I have a 14 miler scheduled on Jan 25, and the following weekend I have a 10 miler scheduled (Feb 2).  Then the big countdown begins for my big Ragnar Relay.  SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT.    Lots more posts coming on that endeavor.

I've got big goals. I've got big dreams.  But I am constantly brought back to the verse I have chosen for 2014:

"Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say this mountain. 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

I know not only with determination, intentional decision making but with FAITH  I will accomplish what I have set out to do.  And not just in my athletic world.  We've got big things going on on other areas of our life that requires some good old fashioned faith.    Cannot wait to see what God has in store for us this year!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year New Goals and a Flashback

Most people do throwback Thursdays, I started Flashback Friday a while ago (although not consistently) so I am going to continue with what I started. Today's flashback flashes back over a period of 4 years.

With New Years comes new goals.   But I really wanted to look back a little bit at where I have been and reflect.  2012 was spent taking care of health business by losing weight in an attempt to not only extend my life, but hopefully ensure my quality of life and mobility are top notch by the time I have grandchildren, I want to enjoy them.  2013 was spent well getting into lots shenanigans and finding new passions.  I am so sad I did not do a better job of documenting my journey in 2013 but I am planning on finding much more shenanigans to get myself and my family into, which is why I renamed the blog.  Soon it will have a new home, but one thing at a time.  

Although I have always been active on and off, it was very, very hard to be active at 270 lbs.   I incorporated running and biking into my fitness routine almost immediately when I embarked on my weight loss journey. This year I took it up a notch, not only by adding swimming, but also by trying to add distance to my runs and improving my pace.  It was not always an easy go of things, but sitting where I am at right now, I would say I succeeded.  But probably the most exciting thing I did this year to kick my fitness and activity level up a notch is to start participating in triathlons.  And as I sit here and reflect over the past year, I am sad I did not document this experience more. To try and keep this post short (ish) I put together a collage of different races I have completed in since Dec 2009. I participated in zero, zilch nada in 2010.  I have to say,  I still have a hard time recognizing that girl in the first picture.   

First Row:
The first two top pictures were Dec 2009 at the Dallas mayors  race 5k.   I completed that one in about 55 minutes.  It was my worse time ever!  The third picture was at the Heels and Hills 5 k in May 2010 with my friend Cindy who was doing the half marathon.  I think I completed that one in about 50 min.    The fourth picture was at the Freedom Run in Denton on July 4th 2012.  I had lost about 35 -40 lbs by this time.   I think my time was around 41-42 minutes.   
Second Row:  
The picture of me in front of the plane was at the Hotter than Hell Bike Rally in August 2012.   My first bike race/rally. The second picture in the  middle row is me and my p-nut in Nov 2012 at the Color in Motion 5k. That was a 35-36 min finish.   
Bottom Row:
First picture in bottom row was the Dallas Marathon min Dec 2012.  I ran the last relay leg which was about 7 miles.  My time was about 82 min 15 sec.  or 11:45 min per mile.  I was chasing that elusive 10 in front of my pace per mile all of 2012.  The second picture is me and P-nut at the Play Tri Festival in June of 2012.   I ran the run portion as part of a triathlon relay team.   I actually hit a pace with the 10 in front of it here..woo hoo.  The next picture is my at the Hula Girl Triathlon.  This was my first time participating as an individual athlete in all three events.   The fourth picture is my at the Monster Triathlon in Denton in October 2013.   I actually placed third in my division in this race.   I was hoping for a 2013 Dallas Marathon pic, but it was cancelled due to the ice storm.  The last pic is me and P-nut at the Deck the Trails 5K trail run in Dec 2013.  She ran this with me too...and she placed 2nd in her age group.   I finished in 32 minutes, not bad for my first trail run.
I had no goals in 2013, none.   I kind of floundered all year when it came to my physical fitness.   No goals = no vision.     I actually once said I would never do a triathlon (now that is funny)   In the past two years I learned I am far more capable of achieving things that are seemingly (in my eyes) really hard or impossible and I finally broke that elusive 10 min mile barrier. I have ran my last three six mile runs with average paces in the 9:50-9:56 min per mile range.  I never thought I would get there.  But with consistency I did!
With that shortish re-cap out of the way lets get on to my physical fitness goals for 2013.  I am some what reluctant to put these to paper because I feel like it could set me up for failure.  But a fellow athlete in a running group put it into perspective.  Write them down  then work towards them.  Every time you walk out the door to run (or bike or swim) you have succeeded. Then I was reminded of Proverbs 29:18:

"With no vision, the people will perish"

If I do not have goals, there is distinct possibility I will achieve nothing.  So here they are:
  • I want to run a total of 800 miles this year.  That is a little over 15 miles a week.
  • I want to bike 1500 miles this year.  That is a little over 25 miles per week.
  • I want to swim 115,000 yards this year.   That's 4500 yards over a span of 25 weeks. 
  • I want to complete a half marathon (scheduled Jan 25 2014)
  • Want to complete an ultra relay race (Ragnar Relay Scheduled Feb 20-21 2013)
  • I want to complete a Half Ironman (scheduled in April but rescheduling to Austin in Oct)
  • I want to participate in at least 12 running races (7 already scheduled and paid for)
  • I want to participate in 6 triathlons, of which at least two are the Olympic Distance
Those are my goals.  They seem really big.  But I have a plan and that is half the battle I think.  It helps I like to work out in the morning and I have a tri-club with regularly scheduled work outs.  I have an amazingly supportive husband.  And I have kids who like to run with me occasionally (or they ride next to me, or they bike water out to me on my long runs).  But most importantly I have faith.

That brings me to my last thought.   I have adopted a Bible Verse for me for this entire year.  We have some pretty big things going on in our life as a family.   The verse I chose I chose to constantly remind me my faith belongs with someone far bigger and more capable than me.  Someone who has only my best interest at heart.  Someone who can do the impossible.  The verse I choose is in my blog header.  

"Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say this mountain. 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20