Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3M Half-Marathon Race Report

Well, I did it. I set a goal of 2:20, and I ended up running it in 2:15:40. I couldn't be any happier with my time, all things considered. In fact, for awhile I was thinking I could finish in 2:10, but the last 1.5 miles got the best of me. But that's ok. I ran 13.1 miles with no knee pain at all, and I'm so happy that I can say I did it.

The first 6 miles were solid, and I was running a sub 10 minute pace. The coarse was almost entirely downhill, and that made it much easier! My 10K time was slightly skewed due to a slower second half race. I did the Cap 10K in 55 minutes last year. Just makes me realize that I should be able to run it faster this year. 6 miles sounds like a cake walk after running a half.

Miles 7-10 weren't bad. More than anything, I was just bored with running. My partner dropped me right before mile 8, but then I saw Hunk and some friends at mile 9 and that certainly helped me keep going. Mile 10 I decided to put my headphones on to listen to some music in hopes of being distracted. It didn't last long though. After not listening to music during my training, I found that it was more annoying than anything. So miles 11 and 12 were really just thinking about things....Hunk, my family, my job...really just how lucky I am and how happy they all make me.

And then mile 13 happened. Ugh. My legs were hurting, and there were two really small hills that felt like mountains. I had to dig pretty deep because all I wanted to do at that point was sit down. But- I didn't run 12 miles to walk the last one, so I just kept moving my feet. My pace dropped significantly, but when I turned that last corner and saw the finish line, nothing else mattered. I was panning the audience for my parents and for Hunk. I didn't see them, but heard Hunk yell my name. I just remember smiling, and stopping just feet after the finish line. The video is pretty funny. Most of the people around me kept running just a little bit more, but I was DONE!

I walked up to happily grab my metal, pose for a quick picture, and then give Hunk a big hug. The rest was kind-of a blur. I was so tired, and my legs were beat. I wanted to find my parents so badly, but it turned out that mom wasn't able to make it, and my dad had gotten there just after I crossed the finish line.  Because I ran a little faster than predicted, he just missed it. Oh well! I got some water and an orange and happily sat down for a bit. And then the cramping started. I made the horrible rookie mistake of trying to stretch out some muscles that really weren't ready to be stretched. I'll certainly remember that next time. And yes, there will definitely be a next time. There is not a chance in hell that you will ever catch me running a marathon, but I am certainly ready to take on another half, and beat my time next year by at least 5-10 minutes. Barring any injuries, I know I can do it!

Overall, it was such a great experience. The weather, the crowds, and even my nutrition was all perfect. I drank water or Gatorade at every stop, ate a Gu at mile 6, and another one at mile 9, and not once did I feel hungry or thirsty during the race. I had a breakfast of toast with almost butter and banana, and just a little bit of water. I'll have to remember that for future races. So check one off my "to-do" list, and moving right along. I'm going to continue with running, and add some biking and weight training twice a week as I get ready to gear up for a fun triathlon season. Looking forward to dropping some winter weight and tackling a few more goals.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 4: Set goals, and do your best to stick to them

I have been back from Hawaii for exactly one week now, and I promise I will get a vacation recap up this weekend. Catching up from 5 days away from work has not been fun, but I'm almost there. Just a few more emails to respond to, and Monday should be back to business.

Now- on to week 4. People always ask "What are your resolutions for the New Year?", and I usually just shrug my shoulders. I don't know that setting resolutions are really the most realistic thing to do, unless you truly are dedicated to making serious life changes. My life is pretty cool, and there's not much I want to change, but there are still things that I would like to accomplish. More travel, continuing to challenge myself physically, finally creating a savings account (shame on me). Those are some of my goals, and there's no better way to hold yourself accountable than to get things on the calendar, set a date to achieve them, and check it off when you're done.

Back in November, I set a goal for myself to run a half-marathon. My place of work was offering a ridiculously reasonable rate to join the ever-popular Gilbert's Gazelles, so I knew I had no excuses not to. I signed up and eagerly showed up for the first early morning group run. For the first few weeks, training was fantastic. My nagging knee issue wasn't really bothering me, and I was consistently increasing my miles each week. I even lost a few pounds without really trying. And then the bottom fell out. My knee issue was back with a vengeance, and I literally had to stop running during a Thursday morning training session. I just couldn't do it, and I was so upset. I tried to continue, I honestly did. But I finally succumbed to that nagging voice in my head that said continuing on would only make it worse. So I took a few weeks off, and eventually went to see a sports therapist for some Active Release Therapy. Thankfully, his voodoo magic worked.

I had to start back slow, and find my motivation again, but I did it (sort-of). It's the motivation part that I'm really struggling with, and I've had to do a lot of thinking this week about why this goal is important to me. It's easy to make excuses when it feels a little like the cards are stacked against you- injury, holidays, vacation (yeah, I know- hard to feel sorry for me), but they all contributed to a lack of consistency that has hindered me reaching this goal. But my knee is feeling stronger, and I know that while it's going to be hard, there is nothing to physically prevent me from accomplishing this goal.

So on Sunday morning, I will wake up at 5 am, eat my breakfast of toast, peanut butter and banana, and run 13.1 miles with my friends from my training group. It's going to take me awhile (goal for time is 2:20), but more importantly, I want to "run with joy", and think about all the great things that I'm running for. My family, friends, and a wonderful, supportive boyfriend are things that I continue to be thankful for, and I know they will help me push through those last tough miles.

As for the rest of my goals- I'm working on getting them on my "calendar" and setting a date in order to hold myself accountable. They are all important to me, so I need to take the steps to make sure that they happen. What are your goals, and how are you going to accomplish them this year?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week 3: Vacation More

So far my year of healthy living has kicked off by vowing to take better care of my skin (damn those wrinkles) and to regularly take my vitamins. Week 3 is by far my favorite- vacationing!

I've always held true to the belief that everyone should take two trips a year (if fiscally possible). One for adventure and one almost purely for relaxation. You can certainly accomplish both things with one trip, but I love the idea of resting and recharging all by itself.

I'm extremely lucky in that my hard work this past year earned me an all-expense paid trip to paradise. Otherwise known as Oahu, Hawaii. I was able to invite a guest, and my sister was the lucky recipient of that invitation. You might wonder why I didn't bring Hunk- the timing of our relationship was definitely an issue. But I had already extended the invite to my sis, and I'm so glad I did. We both deserved a week of this and we've had a great time. Hawaii will still be here should Hunk and I decide to return.

Due to the fact that the trip was mostly organized by a corporate team, it has been a mix of activities. I'll do a whole recap when I'm home and can include links and more details. But today, I'm enjoying the essence of rest and relaxation from a blue and white striped cabana on the beach. I've taken a nap, read a little bit, and am soaking up some sun (no worries, I have on SPF 45 and my face is covered). It's the perfect way to wrap up an amazing vacation, and to gear up for working even harder this year so that I can enjoy another week of relaxation in Nevis next year.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kamoana Pl,Kapolei,United States

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week 2: Vitamins

Week 2 is half-way over, and I'm already falling off the wagon of my next healthy living tip- vitamins. Not being one to enjoy taking pills, it's a struggle for me to fill up the water class and choke down the 3 behemoth multi-vitamins that I'm vowing to take from now on. I've already forgotten twice this week!

Staying true to my "keep it simple and affordable" theme, I didn't want to start off with every bottle on the shelf. So I grabbed a bottle of the Central Market brand Multi-Vitamin for Women. At my age, what is most important is making sure you're getting your daily dose of vitamins C, D and E, all of which can be accomplished by one multi-vitamin.

Why vitamins? Well, according to Livestrong.com, they help repair and maintain organs to make sure that they're doing what they're supposed to. A healthy balanced diet usually ensures that you're getting most of what you need. But if you aren't seeing enough color in your fruits and veggies each day, it's not a bad idea to supplement your diet with either a multi-vitamin, or one specific to any deficiencies you might have.

If you want to go the extra mile, you also want to make sure that you're getting enough Calcium, Iron and Folic Acid, too. Since your body stops building bone density around age 35, it's super important to make sure that you're adding plenty of low-fat dairy products into your diet. Weight-bearing exercise is another great way to improve your bone health. Osteoporosis runs in my family, so this one is especially important to me. I might run, bike and swim a lot, but two days of weight training is crucial to my health for this very reason!

So next time you're at the store, especially if it's on one of HEB's "Healthy Living" Saturdays (when many vitamins are on sale) stop in the health aisle and see what's available. It's never to late to start doing good things for your body.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Knee Injury Update

My first half-marathon is only 3 short weeks away, and I'm still hoping for a tiny miracle that I will be in good shape to run it. I took a couple of weeks off, but the knee still wasn't getting much better. I knew I needed to take action.  The Friday before Christmas, I drove down to San Marcos to visit Core Running so that I could at least get a much needed new pair of shoes. Hunk is good friends with the owner, and swears that he is the best "fitter" in Austin. No doubt about that! He was very thorough in analyzing my feet, and set me up in a great new pair of Asics 2160. They are gorgeous, and so so comfortable. However, it was his advice to go visit the guys at Austin Sports Therapy that was probably the most helpful. He swears by their magic ART treatments, so I decided to give it a shot.

I have now been to see them 3 times, and my knee is already worlds better. It's not totally pain free yet, but I was able to churn out 3 easy runs this week without it hurting that much. The real test will be my first long run tomorrow in over 3 weeks. According to my training plan, I'm supposed to do 10-13 miles. However, I came to an agreement with the doc that I would only do 7 (dependent upon how my knee feels, of course). I have to say I'm a little bit nervous, but also really ready to get back out there with the group.

Fingers crossed that it holds up! I've been spending time on my bike to try and keep up with cardio, doing lots of hip strengthening exercises, and getting some serious quality time in with my foam roller. That will continue all the way up to the big day. Hopefully it pays off and makes tomorrow a success!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week 1: Skin Care in your (upper) 30's

Getting older sucks sometimes- no doubt about it. It gets harder to lose weight, parts start hurting that didn't hurt before, and if you're like me, you're also getting wrinkles. At age 36, I am entirely too old for my skin to look as bad as it does. I've noticed it recently, but just haven't done anything about it. I've never been one to be all that much into make-up, and honestly all the choices for skin care are a little overwhelming to me. So it's easier to just buy a bottle of face soap and some moisturizer, and call it a day.

Thankfully, my hair stylist not only does amazing color, but she also gives unsolicited, honest advice. When I went to visit her on Saturday, she asked me point blank what I do to take care of my skin. I asked her why, and she said "because it looks terrible". Thankyouverymuch Nancy B. But she was right, and I knew it. And unfortunately, my answer was "not much". I spend a lot of time out in the sun when I'm training (though I am really good about wearing sunscreen every day), but my skin is also really dry, and the fine lines seem to have tripled recently. The very first thing Nancy said I needed to change was how I'm moisturizing. She also said (much to my relief) that it's really not necessary to drop some serious cash on the fancy skin care lines, either. Her recommendation? The Oil of Olay Regenerist line.

Since I'm trying to save money for my trip to Hawaii (in just 12 short days), I was not ready to go all out and buy every product on the shelf. So I started small and picked up the Regenerating Cream Cleanser (that also does a light exfoliation) and the Regenerating Serum that she said was an absolute must. Currently, this is my small arsenal of skin care products:

And this is my skin care routine:

Morning: Wash with water only (too much soap adds to my dryness problem) and scrub with a washcloth. Apply a dab of Regenerating Serum, and then finish with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Moisturizer SPF 15 (not pictured).

Evening: Wash with Regenerating Cream Cleanser, apply a dab of Regenerating Serum, apply a generous amount of L'Oreal Revitalift Night Cream (soon to be replaced by an Oil of Olay product) and then finish off with Clinique Repairware Intensive Eye Cream (another product that will be replaced after my trip.)

Twice a week: Scrub face with The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Cream for some serious exfoliation.   

If money were no object, I would also try to fit in monthly facials. But that's just not going to happen right now, so I'm going to keep trying to find affordable ways to make my skin look better. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate seems to be the key. Exfoliating and getting rid of those pesky top layers of skin seem to be the other trick. Along with the microdermabrasion cream, I might also try a Thermal Mini-Peel that Oil of Olay has in their line. All I know is that my skin can't look much worse than this:


I like to think all those lines are a result of a lot of smiling, but can't I say I would be all that sad to see them go. So....I'm going to try my hardest to stick to a solid routine for the next month, and come back with an "After" picture to see if there is any noticeable difference (fingers crossed). Any tips that you swear by are more than welcome!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012!

Hello again, and welcome to my new blog. Again, bear with me as I get the wheels going on this one. While I don't necessarily believe in New Year's Resolutions, I do like having goals. And a big goal of mine for this year will be finding ways to continue taking care of myself and lead a realistically healthy lifestyle. I hope to make at least one healthy choice each week, and share them with you through this blog.

I wasn't exactly sure where to start, or what my first healthy choice should be, but my hair stylist cleared that up for me easily when I went to see her yesterday. Stay tuned tomorrow for the first little change I'll be making that will hopefully produce some big results. I'll give you a hint- growing old ain't easy, and I'm starting to look my age. Time to do something about it!

Hope everyone had a fun, safe New Year's Eve, and that you're enjoying this beautiful weather today. Happy New Years!