Friday, January 11, 2008

30K Hills, Mimosas, and 3 Hours of Sleep!

I've been bad about blogging since I got back from Chicago and I know everyone of you (mom, me, maybe one or two others) have waited for a new post to come along in your life like a... I've been working on the simile for too long and it was becoming very lame and juvenile so I'll just let you insert one of your own here ____here______ (note: fat jokes are old and juvenile at the same time).

I want to tell everyone about the 30k race on Sunday but first I'll give a brief description to explain my mental state on race morning.

First off, I'll say I had a wonderful time in Chicago and am still smiling from the trip. It really did my heart good to be there.

I was schedule (so I thought...keep reading) to leave Chicago at 9:45pm, bringing me into Austin at a not really reasonable hour of 12:30 am Sunday morning, six and a half hours before the race gun. Its always hard to leave Chicago and my boyfriend and it always sucks but this time I didn't even get much of a chance to swim in my sad pity pool because the entire ORD airport was out to get me! No, I kid- I'm not one of those people who thinks if one thing goes wrong, everyone is out to get me.

A brief summary of what was said to me,
check in desk:
"You are not on this flight."
"Your flight took off on the 31st of December, where were you?"
(drinking champagne by the fire and watching an Entourage marathon with my boyfriend)
"When did you change your booking?"
(um, I didn't...)
"That will be $100 to get you on the flight"
OK, great- with some issues I got on the flight but I still don't know what happened.

"Mam, you have been randomly selected for further TSA inspection, would you and your cat please step to the side."
"No, you can not put your cat back in the carrier, we have to search him too."
"Is kitty-witty nice."
ok, I'll pause here because this is the most annoying thing. His name is Mr.Furley and do NOT call him kitty-witty. He will spit his organic cat food on "kitty-witty" and then pounce on his ass!
"I just need to know if he'll scratch or bite me."
My response (honestly)- "Lady, it depends on where you touch him. Look, he's been cooped up in his carrier bag without meds, now you are having me hold him and asking to feel him up? Seriously, I give him free reign to scratch anyone who comes by." Really? Do you think he's holding an sawed off under all that fur- I promise you, its just too many trips to the cat bowl and not a secret stash of WMDs.

At the gate:
"There is no seat with that number
(the number on my ticket) on this plane."

Once I boarded:
"Yeah, it would be really great if we had pilots." -from the stewardess
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to be honest with you. We have no heat right now and we have no pilots. We'll let you know when we know more."
5 minutes later
"Good news, we know the pilots are in Chicago- we think they are in the airport."

About 5 minutes later the pilots showed up but the plane itself had already been delayed over an hour so I didn't get to Austin until 1:30 and to my apartment until 2. I cleaned up, ate and orange and tried to get some sleep before the alarm started beeping at 5:45.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that awful getting up and going to the race. Its easier if I know other people are waiting on me. I hadn't talked to the girls in over a week so I was looking forward to a long run. We were not planning to take it hard. We did not take it hard and I think that was the smartest thing. Here's the elevation profile for the 30K- total elevation change: 4513 feet. It was rough, I'll be honest, but it was really fun and we got great medals from it.

Afterwards we hit a place for breakfast and bottomless mimosas for Jen's birthday. We had a great time. There were 10 of us total- 5 of us who did the race, one who ran the Rogue 20 miler the day before and still wonderfully got up to cheer us on (thanks so much!!!), one who ran a bit that morning on her own, and then other friends. The food wasn't outstanding but we did get our money's worth in mimosas. We kept going after we paid the check and had another few rounds. Hey, orange juice is essential in a healthy athlete's diet!

The rest of the day was really a blur- from tiredness and not the drinks my friends- of shower, bed, drink water, eat, couch, eat, couch, bed.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Night at the Museum

Exciting times in the city for me. We took the train from Deerfield to the city last night to go to the museum of art. It was a new thing for me- I've never taken the train to the city anywhere other than in Ireland, Italy, and England. It is a little different when it is your own country I guess. It was cold, I mean really, really cold outside. We had about a 5 minute walk from the car to the station and then it was about 15 minutes in the city to the museum. The city is really beautiful. I like watching all the people walking around and the buildings are so great. The architecture of the city is amazing (and now I feel I'm running out of superlatives). I'll post some of my pics here and then talk more about the city later.

I'm going to log off in a sec and do some yoga. I've done lots of walking while I've been here but I want to get a good stretch in since I have the 30K on Sunday. I cant wait to post positive things about that race...lets hope its fun and not too painful!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year Friends

I'm up in Chicago for New Years and I'm having a blast. I got a nice 12 miler in on Saturday morning before my art class and was even able to hit the Gazelles stretching session. I really appreciated that when I was stuck in the cramped seat on the airplane. I brought my cat as well so any foot room I would have started with was taken up by his carrier.

The snow here is beautiful. I forgot how much I do love the snow. It is so amazing when the ground is all covered and you see the little flakes float down on their random pathways to the ground. Though my last true workout was Saturday morning, we've gone on a few walks and I think we'll go to one of the parks today to walk and play. Yesterday I shoveled show. I know, you northerners can insert a laugh here...and here. This was actually a fun treat for me since I haven't really done it much before and since I used it as sort of a workout. It was fun to help out David and then we made the best ever snowman and snoopy snow dog with breaks taken during our artistic creation for snowball fights. I also made a snow angel :).

Yes Texans, its cold but it is so lovely. I'm bundled up nicely so its not awful. I was really colder after our long run on Saturday on my walk to the car than I have been here.

Have a wonderful New Year's Day my friends, take a deep breath in and smile. We are so lucky and blessed.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Joe and Colleen Killer Insane Ab Workout

Here it is- have fun! We do it everyday. We started with 100 and have added at least 10 each week. It is tough but fun.

Section I- 10 each
1. Basic Crunch, 3 up, 1 down
2. Double Crunch (bring upper and lower up at the same time)
3. Side Crunch
4. Basic Crunch, 1 up, 3 down
5. Extreme Twists- 10 each side
-raise upper body like basic crunch, twist right, left, raise up just a little more in the center, then back down
6. Basic Crunch. 3 up, 1 down
7. Extreme Twists (again)
8. Basic, 1 up, 3 down

Section II-
9. Weighted twist, 10 each side/20 total
, -with weight in hands (we use 10lbs) come up in a crunch and twist side to side, letting weight almost tap the floor on each side of hips.
10. Weighted Sit-Up - basic full sit-up, done SLOWLY with weight in hands. do not use momentum.
11. Weighted twist, 10 each side/20 total

Section III-
12. 10 Second Holdout- hold legs out straight just above ground for a count of 10
13. Descending Legs, 10- from holdout position, pull knees in, raise legs straight up, and slowly descend back to the ground
14. 10 Second Holdout
15. X-legs- from holdout position, bring legs up to 90 degrees, crossing three times, repeat the 3 crossing on the way back down.
16. 10 Second Holdout
17. Bicycle Crunch- 10 each side, 20 total
18. 10 Second Holdout
19. Basic Crunch, 1 up, 3 down for 5 counts, 3 up, 1 down for 5 counts
20. 10 Second Holdout
21. V-Sit-
from holdout position, bring arms and legs up at the same time to put body in the v-sit position.

Section IV-Side Planks
22. Right Hold 10sec
23. Right Side Plank Crunch 10 count
24. Center Plank hold 20 seconds
25. Left Hold 10sec
26. Left Side Plank Crunch 10 count

Section V-Back
27. Opposite Arm, Opposite Leg, 5 each side- start in table top position, raise opposite arm and leg for a count of three
28. Supermans/Swims- 5 total laying on stomach, raise arms and legs at the same time for a count of 3. After five, raise arms and legs at the same time, then move arms out to the side


=360 abs

Lame, that's it, no other catchy title.

Ok, I know I'm lame- but I only take partial membership in the lame club for yesterday. I did go to the Gazelles workout. I got there very early because there was no traffic. I left work ten minutes early to make sure I didnt miss the 5pm start time and ended up staying in my warm car for a bit in the RunTex parking lot. The wind picked up, the sky became another hue of dismal gray, and the car felt oh, so warm. The heater produced the killer list of "Things I need to do" in my head as I waited for the familiar faces of any of the other Gazelles to show up. I gave it 5 minutes and then had that inevitable internal conversation of reasons I should go home and not run in the gloom outside.

My runner conscience lost, the car turned on, and I decided to go home. Yes, I was initiated into the lame club for that but there's no toaster coming my way. I did not fall fully into lameness- I didnt give up completely. My OCD nature would never let me just go home and not work out. I've been missing my bike so much lately. I've missed being in the saddle. I've missed hearing the gears change and the feeling as my legs fill up with lactate. I've missed the feel of the aerobars on the skin below my elbow and the beautiful slickness of the carbon when I grab the aerobar ends. I've missed the tension the middle inside of my hands experience when I hit the shifters and the stretch the skin between my thumb and finger makes to position my hand correctly over the top of my bars. If you are a cyclist you are now smiling because you know what I mean. If you are not, you may only see this description as odd. Get on a bike for an hour and you'll understand.

First thing I did when I got home was go straight to my office and put my biking shoes in the middle of the floor. No excuses- the shoes being in the middle of the floor is enough to send my compulsive neatness radar into overdrive mode. I did a few other little things but the MO was to get my bike on the trainer and start my workout. After I had her all set up, my workout written down, a bottle of water out, and a video on the player, I decided to do the "Joe and Colleen Killer Insane Ab Workout" since we missed getting it in at work. As penance I used my weights on the whole thing- my catholic upbringing coming out in full force with that one! I got a good ride in with some sprints, some stands, and lots of cadence work. I'm glad I made the decision to bike, really. I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back on my bike since I'm off to Chicago this weekend and most of my workouts are running involved. I still miss the feel of the road and the smell of the air when I'm in the saddle but that will all come again soon.

For anyone interested, I'll post the ab workout later on this blog and explain its awesomeness!

Meeting the girls for a run tomorrow before my art class. We're doing 12 miles though I'm only scheduled to do 10. I figure I wont be getting too much running done in Chicago (though my shoes and sports bra are packed) so I wouldn't hurt to get in a couple of extra miles. Hopefully we'll make it to the stretch at 8:30 and I can say hi to all the gazelles.

Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ravioli, Runnervals, and Time to Rest

Christmas with my family is a really nice time. Its become a very relaxing holiday where the focus is on family and not presents. I really like it like this. This year we decided to make everything low key. We had our traditional cheese and wine for Christmas eve dinner- oh so good and I didnt spend time thinking about the calories, we had challah french toast for breakfast, and wonderful ravioli from Austin based Pasta&Co. We traditionally have an Italian style Christmas dinner. We started the ravioli addition last year. We got 4 different types this year and made three different sauces and a salad. It was outstanding.

To help burn a minute bit of the massive calories I took in over the break, I was determined to keep up my workout obsessions. I woke up early all the days and did a workout or two from FitTv along with a yoga session. I dont have cable in my place so when I go home to my parents, I always take full advantage of the fitness channels. I got to work on painting my parents pool- not intended to be a workout but it certainly was. I hit the treadmill and experienced the new Runnervals DVD. WHOO- that killed me! I did the intermediate workout on Tuesday since I'd be missing the Gazelles. It was a great workout and left me very tired after only 30 minutes. I'm glad I got some speed work in but its just not the same without Gilbert there to tell me "Cookie Colleen, cookie!". I also played with my works new fun tool, the TRX. Its a pretty intense workout and I'm content with just being able to do half of the exercises.

I'll be back with the Gazelles for our workout this afternoon. I'm looking forward to burning more of the food from the holiday. Ugh, I feel like my 2000 meter repeats will feel much slower than I hope. I'm just going to focus on doing one at a time. No need to try and think about how many more I have left when I'm on my first one.

I'm just going to go out and try to run with joy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Running with the Girls

Yesterday was a good run day. It was the type of run that makes me really enjoy getting up early even though the covers feel so good. The road was nice, the sun was kind, the wind took a hike for the morning, and the conversation was wonderful.

It was a little cold but probably only for me and probably because I wanted to sport my new brooks pink running gloves. I met my gang of women for a 7am run Saturday morning. Our running group gets bigger every week it seems and that makes me so unbelievably happy. The strength we give each other is multiplied with each new person. There were 6 of us doing the full distance and 2 others taking it a bit shorter at a different pace. It wasn't long, it wasn't hard, it wasn't fast but it was with my girls and a time to see friends before the holiday madness sweeps us all away. We met for our 10 miler which was a very welcome distance given that we did a 17miler followed by a 19miler these past two weeks. It was nice to get it in first thing in the morning and know that today, Sunday I could sleep and not think about putting a sports bra on for a day or so....unless my mother's treadmill starts calling me today while I'm at home visiting.

We did a new route- I try to always have some new route planned out so we don't get bored. We hit the first part of the marathon route, cut through some neighborhoods, and finished up on my absolute end route of the Capital and Congress Ave. Three of us did the marathon for the first time last year, one woman has done the AT&T four times but hasn't raced on the new coures, andWe finished with smiles, stretching at our cars and the conversation, as it typically does after our long runs, drifted into french toast, eggs benedict, and good coffee at Austin Java. Unfortunately I had to get off to teach my art class so I wasn't able to join the rest of the girls.

Running with this group of women is such a blessing. They have all made me a better runner and its a real gift to always have someone waiting for me to show up no matter if I'm having a good day or a bad day. It helps to keep me from getting lost in the waves of the days.

My mother ordered a new runnervals DVD but it hasnt come in yet. I'm excited to play around with it on Tuesday since I wont be hitting the trail with the Gazelles today.

A joyous day to you all. Hopefully you'll get some sun on your face and some good (healthy) food in your stomach.