Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A week to go

So, it appears that I have one week to go in this little self-challenge I set out for myself. In re-reading my archives, I discovered that the last time I tried to do this was in October, and the house thing was what derailed me, and I never got quite back into the swing of things. Luckily, I was deep into marathon training by then, so I had an overall plan to keep me accountable. But I just could never get back to the daily activity thing once I broke the streak. So it's a good thing when I can keep it up.

So now I'm trying to think of what other challenges I can put myself up to for July. July will be tough, since we have a short little family trip scheduled over the Fourth weekend. We won't have a chance to come back up to the mountains like I'd wanted to, even though I will be working in Boulder through August, so I decided we had to do something to get out of town so we don't kill each other. So we're taking a jaunt down to the Austin area, to take the kids to some of the old reliable attractions that we surprisingly never got a chance to do while we were students and lived down there. We're going to the Round Rock Express baseball game on Thursday, then will spend Friday in Austin at Barton Springs and then down at the Congress Ave. bridge watching the bats at dusk. Should be pretty cool. On Saturday we're going to head to the Natural Bridge Caverns and the safari next door down in the New Braunfels area, and then try to spend some time Sunday either tubing on the Guadalupe or at Schlitterbahn. We're playing it loose and free, and are only scheduling a couple of things each day. Mostly, we just want to spend some time together as a family, without me being gone, and without all the distractions and running around that we usually do. It won't be a big summer vacation like we had last year, but it will hopefully be fun nonetheless. Gotta use those hotel points somehow!

Anyway, if you have any ideas for streaks for July and August, let me know. I'm game for almost anything that will get me stronger, faster, leaner and more studly!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Shoes!

No, I don't have new shoes to show off -- the Saucony Kilkennys have been working out great so far. But, you might get new shoes if you get yourself over to Steve in a Speedo and sign up for his drawing. He's got a $75 gift certificate to give away, courtesy of OnlineShoes.com. So go over and drop him a comment. And if you win, make sure you show off your new shoes to everyone!! Good luck!

Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm a runner without a race. A plane without a flight plan. An obsessively compulsive like-to-have-things-mapped-out planner without a blueprint for how to get to somewhere, even though I don't know where that is. Without an entry into NYC for this fall (and lacking the time and energy to take on the fundraising that would be required for a charity entry), I am at a loss. The whole idea behind the June streak was to keep me motivated, so that I don't turn into a lifeless blob on the couch. That's precisely what happens when I don't have a goal in mind. I went into kind of a funk (OK, it was more than "kind of a funk," it was an all-out pre-mid-life crisis) last week, realizing that the NYC marathon was more than jut a goal race, it was a way to mark my birthday, my 40th birthday, and without it, I was facing turning 40 without a spectacular way to celebrate it.

It has a lot to do with the current state of affairs around here right now, too. The economy and the house situation have me feeling stuck, and I'm no longer satisfied with the idea of having to leave my home every week to earn a paycheck. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I just wish I didn't have to leave my family to get it done. And while i am grateful for the warm safe home I am in now, the plan was to have been in a different house by now, and we all know how that worked out. So being in limbo about the house and the career, and being tired from the constant travel, and then not having a big race for the fall all combined to make me, oh I don't know, melt down. Thankfully, I have some very great girlfriends who helped talk me down and I have a good perspective on things now. Still don't feel in control of jack-squat, but I have a better perspective on it all.

One of the things we talked about is alternative ways to celebrate the birthday. I'd wanted to do a three-day Texas Hill Country bicycle tour last fall, right around mid-October, but decided not to pursue it because of the impending house deal going on at the time. But looking at it now, it seems like about the perfect way for me to stretch myself physically, which was what the marathon was going to be, and to do something new and fun at the same time. It was a women's only tour, with three days of riding, with different ride length/difficulty options for each day and spa services/gourmet meals in the afternoon and evenings. It would be great to get me comfortable with longer distances and also give me the active kind of get-away that I really enjoy. The only problem is that the link from last year is no longer active, and I haven't found another company that is organizing one for this fall yet.

So, that's the goal now -- a bicycle tour through Central Texas, for a couple of days in mid-late October. I'll have to work out logistics, whether it's with a tour company or with a riding club from that area or solo. But that's OK -- planning and logistics are my specialty. I'll have to get ready for it, too, which probably means that the July-August-Sept streaks will be centered around some sort of riding/spinning/exercycling activity instead of running (I'll still be getting my run on, don't you worry about that!). I'll need a new bicycle, but having the goal will give me the reason to either save the money for a new one or make the time to do the research/hunting for a quality used one. No, it's not the NYC marathon, but it might end up being exactly what I'm looking for. How's that song go? "You can't always get you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Week One Down

June streaking is going well so far. Only one day where I had trouble fitting it into the day, and that was yesterday when we started out the morning with a stint at the lake for clean-up day with TDP DinoBoy. We had to head out pretty early, so unless I was up at 5:00 to get the run in, I'd have to postpone it to later in the day. The cleanup itself ended up being quite a workout since there was a lot of crouching in the undergrowth alone the shore picking up bottles, styrofoam and cigarette lighters that ended up on the island in the middle of the lake. Such a shame that so much junk ends up there --anything that goes down the storm drains ends up on the shore of that lake. So, here's my PSA for the day: No more styrofoam! No more plastic bottles! No more! I know a couple of hours picking that stuff up will make us both think twice about using either of those things.

Anyway, after that, we went to visit an aunt on the south end of town who was having a garage sale. It was actually a pretty pleasant morning, so we sat outside on her driveway for a while and caught up on things. Then it was home for lunch, some reading and a nap in the heat of the day before heading to hockey. Then dinner and waiting for the sun to go down. There is a balance here in Texas about how dark it has to get to be cool enough to run outside vs. how dark it is before it's not really safe to run outside. You basically have a window of about half an hour in that gloaming period. So I waited for that and headed out for a quick dash around the neighborhood. I didn't make it for a full three miles, but I at least did the minimum of two, so I was happy with it. And it reminded me that I have to be up early to hit the road while I'm home, or else be prepared to go to the gym and hit the treadmill. I was reminded of that again today, when I slept in until 7:00 and wasn't ready to hit the streets until 7:30. By the time I got done with 5-plus miles, it was steaming hot and the sun was blazing pretty intensely. so, yeah, I've got to get up early now that it's summer. That, or melt into a little puddle on the sidewalk!

So, there's week one in the books. Let's see how week two goes!

Friday, June 05, 2009

streaky streak streak

The longer I go on consecutive days, the easier it gets. I haven't topped more than 3.5 miles a day yet, but that's about all I have time for in the mornings before work. The plan is to get a few longer runs in on Saturday and Sunday. I haven't been paying much attention to the paces of my runs yet, although they are hovering around 10:40 or so in CO and right at 10:00 at home in Texas. After a couple more weeks I will start focusing more on the speed -- for now, I'm just trying to re-establish the habit and make myself accountable so that I get back into the groove of running with no excuses made, no "I'll do it tomorrows" even when there's not a big goal race on the calendar.

The longer I do this, the easier it gets. I like that!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


no, I'm not taking over Chocolate Friday from Jon, I'm just sad that for the third year in a row, I did NOT get picked for the NYC marathon lottery. Which means I have to find another way to celebrate turning 40 this fall. Fortunately, it also means I get in for sure next year. But still, I was hoping to do something spectacular for the 4-oh milestone, and NYC Marathon has spectacular written all over it. So now what?

I guess the other part of this is that I'm going to need to get on the bicycle again. And in the pool. yippee...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

wow, has it been that long??

sheesh, I'm hideous at updating the blog lately. It just seems like it's the same song, different verse, y'know, so there's not too much interesting going on. Still hitting the road to Colorado every week, still trying to drop those same last 30 (+/-) pounds I've been trying to lose for the last three years, still trying to run faster, but frankly not seeing much progress anywhere. Hell, it's all I can do most weeks to get a good 20 miles of slow jogs and walking to pick up dinner.

So, to combat all that, we're streaking again. June has 30 days in it, and I've run two of 'em so far. I need to throw in some weight training and continue with the push-ups (re-starting week 2 for the third time now, ahem) and situps (not as consistent, but can definitely rock about 50+ in a day no problem -- the muscles are good under all the layers of 8-year-old baby fat...).

It seems like the only time I get any traction at all on my weight is when I log 25-30 miles a week, so getting at least 3 miles a day in while traveling and then a few longer runs on the weekends will hopefully get me there (5-7 tops right now is what counts as long). I'm also being conscientious about what I put in my mouth, and tracking calories and fat grams again. I hate to be anal-retentive about things, but lately I've been horrified by photos of me (Bolder Boulder* race photos a perfect case in point, random snapshots another) and frustrated by how my clothes fit. So it's time to be conscious about it again, at least for a couple of weeks. It's not a diet, it's more of a budget of calories, and knowing that I need to be aware of what I eat and how much. I hate it, but it ain't happening any other way, so here we go again.

I will hopefully hear about my lottery entry into NYC Marathon in the next few days, which will give me a goal to work toward. I tend to need some kind of goal race in my future or I end up being, what's the word, I don't know... LAZY!? If I don't get into NYC, I will throw myself wholeheartedly back into triathlon and aim to get two sprints and an Olympic in by October. Which would necessitate getting into the water... and on a bicycle... Neither of which I've done purposefully for more than a year. Yeah, I'm really hoping I get into NYC...

I need to get back into triathlon in any case, just because I really feel more like an athlete when I'm doing the swimming and the cycling in addition to the running. Any maniac can run a marathon -- it takes a special kind of crazy to do triathlon! And again, while I've put the Ironman goal on hold for the immediate future (as in, ain't gonna happen before 40, which is this fall, btw. EEEP!), it's not permanently gone, so I need to be moving in that direction eventually. I haven't been in the financial situation to be able to take the TI workshop as I planned, and I really feel that I need that or something similar before I jump back into the water for longer distances. My swimming is so atrocious that I am afraid of building up bad habits if I spend too much time unassisted and uncoached. But I need to be able to build up the stamina and confidence to swim 600-800 yards in open water in the next four months, so that's the goal there.

And the bicycle thing has an economic aspect to it, too. The Toys 'r Us thing from two summers ago is not fit for riding even around the neighborhood (one of the brake levers is toast and the alignment is just.not.right..) and yet, I don't have even $200 to put down toward a used entry-level road bike right now. I've been checking Craig's list and ebay, but haven't had the time in my three days at home to scout the bike shops for trade-ins or even the goodwill stores or pawnshops. Plus, there's the whole fit thing to deal with. And I get extremely intimidated walking into a real bicycle shop because I'm such a total newb. You could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge if you said it would get me to ride 15 mph.

So I'm a little underprepared to dive back in, and if my first two sprint triathlons two summers ago taught me anything, it's how superbly not ready I was for them. I think I'll have a lot more fun if I can get everything lined up beforehand, right? But at the same time, I don't want to go into analysis paralysis and wait for the perfect alignment of stars, sun and moon before I get back into the pool. Sometimes, you gotta just take a deep breath and jump right in. So there.

I'm also trying to do the Twitter thing. Feel free to ask to follow me (txskatemom) -- I'm still not sure how it all works. But I'm hoping that it will be another tool for me to use re: accountability with the streak and the eating.

*re: Bolder Boulder 10K over Memorial Day -- I owe a race report and photos from that. It was awe.some. I have a draft started but haven't had a chance to get back to it. Soon enough, folks, soon enough. The blogging will come back with the streaking, I think. It usually does. thanks for sticking it out with me while I get my schtuff in a pile over here!!