Happy New Year, 2017 edition!

happy-new-yearAnother new year! I should have posted a couple of days ago but I’ve been honing my procrastination skills in 2016! (Getting pretty good, can’t you tell). A friend of mine told me I should blog about my adventures at the party we were at for New Years and at first I thought she just meant travel but she expanded to say all of it. I haven’t shared my blog with her yet but it did make me think “yeah, I want to get back on that” so here’s to trying to update and make more regular time to fill in the blanks with training plans, neat recipes I found, my travel adventures and everything in between!

Today I am reading up on Being Iron Fit and looking at training plans and swim workouts as the training for Galveston 70.3 needs to kick off in earnest.

I had dinner with a friend last night and we were talking about training, weak areas, bikes and coaching. I’ve previously done the “pre season tri dot” where you are assessed, get given a training plan and work from there. Every so often you do an assessment and they update your numbers and plan accordingly but the interaction with the coach is by phone or email. I think I’d quite like a group to train with and personal interaction if I’m going to be forking out for coaching. I finally feel like I’ve got the “love” and determination back to do this race so I don’t just want to flunk out on it. A couple of friends are training with a local group and have been encouraging me to join – I guess now it’s just biting the bullet and going for it (here’s to making new friends!).

I’ll share my goals for 2017 when I have them finalised!

IMG_3933.JPGHere’s hoping that your 2017 is bigger, brighter and full of health, happiness and love!

Happy New Year!

Race Report: BCS Marathon

Wow! Well I wish I had blogged more frequently leading up to this event because there is a whole load of stuff that happened that I could have shared about.

Anyway more excitingly – Sunday the 11th December 2016, I ran my first FULL MARATHON!

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(I was letting it sink in for a minute).

 

I ran BCS marathon at College Station in Texas which is Aggieland (Texas A&M for the non Texans amongst us). What a race! The volunteers were amazing and everything was well organized with clear, frequent communications from the organizers. It was a much smaller race than I realized and I think I loved it more for this reason! It was so much more personal and every single person out on the course was happy and friendly.

I ran with my friend and I am so grateful that I had someone to run with; it would definitely have been a different experience solo. If you are planning on running with someone, make sure you know them fairly well and get on enough that you can zone out or tell them to shush if you need to (I didn’t need to shush my buddy but I was pretty quiet the whole race – just taking it all in and mentally keeping myself on track).

In my racing/training strategies for my longer runs I like to count down the miles which I know some people hate but it keeps my mind focused and doesn’t let me quit until I reach 0. I was surprised how quickly the miles went down on this race – way quicker than in my ‘training’. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t trained for the race and I wouldn’t recommend it to people as a healthy approach to racing but weather conditions and the course were in my favour. The longest training run we did was 13.1 miles at Thanksgiving (see photos for the beautiful trace we ran in Louisiana)

 

The weeks when I had planned 15 and 18 mile training runs I was so ill with flu that I couldn’t even get out of bed and then my asthma flared up big time – to the point where I couldn’t even speak more than a word or 2 before dissolving into coughing fits and being unable to breathe. (Ironically I can run perfectly with asthma as long as it’s not too cold!). I just can’t go anywhere without my inhaler in the winter.

Anyway.. side tracked (obviously still in that post race daze/high stage).. so the race was amazing. My friend got a huge blood blister just after we passed 13.1 (high five for making it beyond our longest training distance) so we switched to walking through the water stops at each mile marker after that point. At about 18/19 he started to feel unwell (I’ll admit around mile 10 my stomach started to feel rough for a few minutes and then luckily I was fine without any issues for the rest of the race). By mile 23 my knee felt like it was about to give out and I was experiencing quite a bit of pain and my buddy was feeling like he was about to hurl so we walked until 24. We rallied and kept going, looking at the photos of the child slaves freed this year because of this race (WOW!!!) as we ran towards the finish. My buddy had said to me that he wasn’t going to sprint finish as we usually push to do.. but then he picked up his speed so I said ok.. if we’re going to do this, let’s do this properly! We flew into the finish at top sprint and everyone was cheering and screaming (and I later found out our friends were watching us finish!!). It was an amazing end to the race and I didn’t even cry! Yay me!

As soon as I crossed the finish line my feet felt soggy and I could feel some intense pressure points and potential blisters on my feet which I guess I had blocked during the race. Other than this and the knee pain at 23/24 (and maybe some ankle/inner foot aches from the pounding) I felt pretty good the whole race and mentally I was clear and with it throughout. I didn’t hit a wall but I’m pretty sure this was because I had someone with me to push me and keep me going.

There were way too many people milling around in the finish enclosure and when my legs were buckling I was worried about falling into people or things but hey ho.. I made it out upright, with my super duper medal and off we went to have pictures taken!

 

Would I recommend this race to others? Yes! It was awesome!

Pros: 

Cheap sign up if you join early

Marathon only $5 more expensive than half marathon

Fantastic communication and social media support

SWEET medal and finisher jacket (plus a tech shirt)

Great volunteer support

Yummy food at finish

Benefitting a fantastic cause

 

 

There weren’t really any – we decided not to stay in College Station over the weekend and drove up for the race, if I did it again I would stay overnight probably. I would have liked maybe a portapotty or two more dotted around the course just in case!

On a side note, if you’re in College Station and you’re looking for great food – head to Mad Taco near Northgate – best tacos I have EVER eaten!

 

 

Marathon ready?

In just under 4 weeks I’ll be running my first full marathon… somewhat daunting but a good friend is running with me and it’s a goal I’ve had on my list since I was about 13.. what did I know at 13?!

Anyway in the craziness and adrenaline pumped getting ready I may have committed myself to run Austin which is a great deal hillier than anywhere around here.. oops!

I’m excited to prep for it because it’s something I want to do for me and there aren’t outward influences from others, just me! I also want to prove to myself that I can indeed run a full marathon, there may be a slightly crazier thought of going on to race a full ironman distance lurking in my head somewhere. I swam at the lake on Saturday and chatted with a friend who is doing IMTX in April and I may have looked at registration costs this morning along with training tips and plans.

My concerns are about how busy my life already is and how much time I would have to dedicate to quality training (a minimum of 13/14 hours each week apparently). Also.. I hate biking right now, I can’t tell you why but I’ll happily go run or swim but I just want to pout and fold my arms about the bike.. perhaps because it’s my weakest discipline and there aren’t many safe areas to bike around here. But if you don’t get back on it, how will you improve?

Also, Galveston 70.3 is only a mere 3 weeks before IMTX.. that’s not long at all… hmmm…

Other exciting things that have happened this last week were my new 920xt arriving – nothing like some new kit arriving to spur you on!

Time out is over..

I haven’t blogged in ages and I’d held out on updating until now because I didn’t want to jinx myself. I didn’t do that many races this year because I wanted a break and also because we all know how quickly the race fees etc. add up and I needed to stop killing my bank account. My motivation seemed to take a bit of a holiday around this time on all things racing too. I carried on working out with a friend and was going to the gym most days, even planned to work towards a few things on the schedule and voila.. magically my motivation has returned and I’ve picked a few key races that I want to aim for!

I’m currently training for the BCS marathon at College Station (TX) and working in the direction of doing Galveston 70.3 to finish what I started a couple of years back.

I’m super pumped to be working out on a regular ish schedule again – it still needs work and polishing but I’m motivated to go on my own again and to get up early to go which is a big feat for me. I feel like my independence is coming back now.

I have a couple of friends who said they would come out and cheer for the marathon which is pretty exciting and the Alaskaman race came up in conversation after an amazing day at the Houston Air Show (Air Station Houston). A couple of my buddies have offered to Sherpa and come and support if I decide to do the race so who knows.. maybe 2018 will hold an exciting trip to Alaska (or maybe just a regular trip to Alaska).

My purchase of the week was a Garmin 920xt which I’m so excited to start testing and using! I want to actually use the data and see how I get on with my training!

Anyway, I need to go to sleep now so I’ll make my early morning training (and there’s bad weather that rolled in with the time change so need to allow for traffic even at 5am)!

End of an era.

Today was the last day that my best friend here in town would call herself a Houstonian. 5 years we have been together, through thick and thin. We got into running, tris and kickboxing together. We are family, argue like sisters and love like them too. I thought I’d be ok with it but I totally miscalled it. Today was a roller coaster. It felt like being at a funeral; I was ok for a bit and then I’d remember what happening and fall apart again. This may seem a little extreme to some but when you’re an expat without family or friends and you restart in a new place with nothing, the networks that you build are pretty intense and we were both in the same boat so we are like peas in a pod.

I have a great training buddy who keeps me motivated but I feel like I need to really throw myself back into some serious focused training (don’t get me wrong – I’ve been training at the gym with the odd run *cough* thrown in, just not blogging about it) to get through the next few weeks. You know that feeling when the rug is whipped out from under you and you just feel sad and lost.. that’s it right there. I’m so lucky to have a friend that has made me feel that way, and even luckier to still have a fab support network here in Houston. I just feel like maybe now I need to do some evaluation and see where I go from here. I have a 2 year contract before I renew or go for a new adventure but maybe it’s time to start considering my options.

Anyway, before I was determined that I would blog about my sport etc but I found life got in the way but I have realised that this is all part of the journey and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t ‘fess up to that part of it. I’m not obsessed, I’m just a weekend warrior who wants to live her life the best she possibly can so moving forward my blog posts will be about whatever I need to write about that is going on!

I’m off to sleep now as I’m planning to go run in the morning 😉 (ya know that famous quote that says “if the workout isn’t on the internet then it didn’t happen…. that!)

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So, G, this one is for you, girl! xxxx

Hurts so good! 

  
My first time at Crossfit this morning and it was great fun! The people and the instructors were really friendly and helpful – a really nice vibe and I didn’t die! I can already feel my shoulders so I can pretty much guarantee that I will be immobile by tomorrow morning.

 I managed 50 full ab mat sit ups which could definitely have finished me off – I have no core (yet) but this is all part of the journey getting to where I need to be for October 30th and December 11th (Austin 70.3 and BCS marathon).

As you can see I left smiling so it obviously couldn’t have been that bad! 😉  

 

Return to the grind.

I have just landed back in H-Town after 11 days out of the country. I can’t even put into words how amazing the trip was. I had hoped to run whilst away but alas that didn’t happen. I did manage to swim once but I was physically active for most of the trip so I shan’t be beating myself up too much about it.

I’ve come home motivated to get back into training and also realising my perspective has changed quite a bit again. The one thing I really wish I had done for my trip was pack a journal so I could have recorded some of my reflections and thoughts because I know after a week here they will disappear into the chaos that is daily life.

At some point I will share some of the landscape photos that I took whilst away but for now I need to keep busy to fight the jet lag and stay awake for another hour or two at least!