Sunday, October 30, 2011

Anniversary Edition

I have been such a bad blogger lately. Not only have I neglected my blog but I have not been reading your blogs. I'm sorry. It's been so busy around here in the Happy Texan household.

Thursday was my 21st anniversary.

Some trivia regarding Chuck and I:
  • we met in a stereo shop when I was 17 and he was 20
  • his boss made him ask me out
  • our first "date" was at a party at his house
  • within two weeks he had decided that I was "the one"
  • Chuck never asked me to marry him. It was assumed.
  • Neither of us remember much about our wedding
  • Time flies by way too fast
I decided to make this anniversary a little more fun than the typical dinner and a movie date night. It took planning and a bit of footwork.

Wednesday I was out shopping for all kinds of stuff for Thursday. Chuck never had any idea what was going to happen and I asked him not to guess. Chuck has a bad habit of reading minds. It's actually a little scary that he can read what people think or feel sometimes.

Thursday comes and it's a busy day as usual. Rachel has a class. I'm home by 4pm and then it's go time.

I packed an overnight bag and a toiletries bag and left it on the bed along with a card that gave instructions:
  • Pack for 1 night
  • Bring suitcase and toiletry bag
  • Put on something nice
  • Go to 2500 South Shore Blvd.
  • Text me when you first turn on FM 518
  • Go to front desk and ask for room key to Kelly Schumann's room
In the meantime I rushed to the hotel to check in and left a room key. It's a beautiful hotel.

 I rushed to the room (there was a lot of rushing on that day!) and got the champagne chilling, set out some Godiva truffles, set out some battery operated candles in the room......


 By this time I was sweating from trying to make everything perfect. I turned the AC down to 62* to try to get things chilled down.

Time to get dressed. I bought a little black dress for $22 (love me a good bargain).  I wore the earrings, which you can't see in the picture, that I wore when I got married 21 years ago.
 I also bought some red heels Wednesday to go with my dress. (sidenote: I had to return those cute little heels because they gave me a very nasty blister. They were so cute!)
 Then it was time to wait. The room had a nice balcony.
 Finally I receive the text that he has turned onto 518 so I leave a card on the bed that says to meet me at the bar in the lobby.

I go downstairs and take a seat at the bar. I felt a little uncomfortable at first. I was the only girl sitting there with a bunch of men. But after having a Grey Goose martini I felt much more relaxed.
 One gentleman offered to buy me my next drink but I declined. Thank you anyway. I chatted with the bartender for a while and he made me a drink called a Starf***er. Raspberry vodka, watermelon pucker, and a bit of Red Bull. Wow!! That's some tasty stuff!
Chuck surprises me. Apparently he caught a glimpse of me at the bar (though I still don't know how!) while he was waiting to get his room key. He says hi then goes upstairs then he's back down and we have our drinks. It was a lot of fun surprising him. He brings back a very sweet anniversary card for me. Thank you, Chuck!
 OK. So these aren't the best pictures.

We then headed to Cullen's Upscale restaurant where I had reservations. Another surprise.

We started off with tuna tartar in wonton cups. Oh, these were incredible!
 I ordered the special which was 24oz of dry aged beef. Delicious!
 Though he's not smiling, trust me he was very happy and impressed with what I went through to pull everything off. We had a great time.
 We ended the night with an order of perfect creme brulee and headed back to the hotel in the rain. Apparently we were getting a cold front.

The next morning we got to see a nice view from our balcony while we sipped champagne. It's like a mimosa. We just left out the orange juice.
 Then downstairs where we had complimentary breakfast buffet. Yum!
We had a wonderful time. I had fun planning the whole thing. Surprises are so much fun!

And when I got home my anniversary gift was in! I ordered it myself (why thanks, Chuck! It's just what I wanted!) . I guess the 21st anniversary is the year of iron because I got myself a Timex Ironman GPS training watch. I'm a bit excited about this.
I think this was one of our more memorable celebrations. It was a lot of fun to plan. :)


Happy anniversary, Chuck. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Houston Half Marathon Relay Recap and other fun stuff

Monday already? The weekend flew by this time.

Before I get to the race recap I'd like to share some Saturday stuff with y'all if you don't mind.

Saturday morning I got up early (supposed to be getting up around 6:15 but alarm didn't go off so it was 7) and went for a bike ride at a park in Houston. It gets kind of boring going around in circles in the neighborhood.

I got to the park around 7:30ish and already the parking lot was almost at capacity! Started riding and realized that I didn't start my Garmin. D'oh! No problem. I'll just start it when I turn around and then double the mileage. Simple. Get to my turnaround, start the Garmin and it starts beeping at me. The cadence alert that goes off if I fall below 80 rpm. Stop to turn that off, pause my Garmin, then start peddling again. Only I didn't push start on the Garmin. Oh well, I mapped it when I got home and it turns out to be around 12 miles.

The trails were packed with runners and bikers. It was such a beautiful day!!! I didn't realize that there would be hills out there either. Oh my gosh, my legs were on fire. Going down was a lot of fun and I may have squealed a little. Going up was a different story. I had to stop and push my bike up a hill once. That really ticks me off! Now I must defeat those hills. Crush them into rubble. It kind of brings out the warrior woman in me. I hate to have inanimate objects defeat me. :)

Oh and I did have a squirrel try to straight up murder me  run at me run towards me and it scared me and I screamed. Once I realized what had happened it cracked me up though.

Some bikers and runners:
The place is a hub of activity on the weekends. Bikers, runners, walker, roller bladers, dog walkers. It was great to see so many people being active. Not sure about etiquette but at first I was saying good morning to almost every person I passed. Just in such a good mood. I mean, surely they wanted to be friends, right?!

It was so pretty that I got distracted a few time. There are several bridges that cross little streams and I kept wanting to look down and admire those little streams but you can't do that on a narrow bridge. I almost hit the railing once. I hope no one saw me. :)  Seriously, look how pretty.
 Finally I had to explore just a little bit. OK, a very little bit. The mosquitoes were so bad that I just got a quick shot and left. This is part of Buffalo Bayou that runs through downtown Houston.
It was a perfect morning. I got back to the truck to load the bike and the parking lot was full and cars were waiting for anyone to leave. Not to self: ALWAYS arrive early!

I had intended to go watch Chuck shoot after I left. He had a match that morning. But he told me the mosquitoes were so bad that he counted 63 on one guy's back. My first question was: "You just sat there and counted the mosquitoes while this man was dying from blood loss?!" But I was told that the guy had on 3 layers and didn't feel a thing. Oh. In that case count away!

I decided not to attend the shooting match because of the bloodsuckers and mosquitoes out there. (I'm joking!!) Chuck ended up winning first place in his division. Congratulations, Chuck!

And my Rachel made a cake! Give me just a moment to brag on my girl. I'm so proud of her. She has some serious cake decorating skills. Check out her Nightmare Before Christmas cake. Love it!


Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?!

After getting cleaned up, Chuck and I headed to Galveston to meet up with my friend Wendy and her hubby Ricky. Why didn't I get pictures?! We were so busy chatting and having a good time that I forgot to get a group picture darn it!

I did have this in honor of a great bike ride.

And I got a Hebrew National hot dog on a homemade bum. Oh my! This thing was so good!
We had some laughs and then I needed to get home. I don't like to be out late the night before a race. No, I just prefer to ride 12 mile up and down hills and have a beer or two. That's smart training right there! (I'm being facetious!)

Got home and tried to fall asleep around 10pm. Because let me tell you, 5am comes early in the morning!

On to the race!!! Picked up my running buddy Renee at 5:30 and then it was off to downtown. No place to park? No problem! We found a parking lot that was only $12. Or so we thought. Reading the fine print it turned out we had to pay $20!!! Really?!

The race excitement starts to get you worked up. The crowds are starting to form. Some crazy people actually ran to the race. I love people who do this and I would like to be one but they always amaze me.

The mosquitoes also kept us moving! There were swarms of them! I did happen to find a bottle of Off that someone left in a port-a-pottie. Sidenote: all of the potties ran out of toilet paper. Not cool!!!

There were a lot of people out there. They said there was a record number of runners that showed up according to the race people.  It's hard to get a good picture of all of them.

Here's a few more of the crowds:

The excitement of the race rose to a crescendo. There's almost a hush over the crowd as the police car gets into position to pace the lead runner. It's dark and the lights are flashing as the police cars block off streets.
Renee and I get a picture before the race.
The national anthem is sung and the starting gun goes off. There go the runners!
After the runners are off Chuck and I walk around for a while. Renee is scheduled to run 6.5 miles so I'll start looking for her in an hour for the relay handoff. We're not the fastest runners, just the most tenacious.

I love the buildings downtown. I'd love to go up in them. Maybe explore and see the architecture of the different places.

The runners start to make their way around a loop that brings them past the start line again so we got to see Renee. Doing great!
 And then I get a glimpse of why I got up at the buttcrack of dawn just to stand in a swarm of mosquitoes and push my body to its limits. Medals. Beautiful, shining medals!
 Volunteers are the best! Without them we wouldn't have these awesome events. Thank you, Mr Volunteer!
 It's been an hour so time to head over to the relay exchange point. Lots of folks waiting. As the first leg runners start coming across a rumor is passed amongst the crowd that there was a mistake with the course and the first leg runners are actually running closer to 8.25 miles!! Poor Renee!
 

One thing I learned about being second leg of a race. You get to wait and in that time waiting you grow sleepy. Very tired. I was ready to doze off when I see a green baseball cap running towards the exchange.

Renee shows up and I congratulate her on running 8 miles. She had no idea but she knew it sure wasn't 6 miles!  Then I'm off. Sorry, no picture of the handoff.

Well, what do you know? Houston does have hills! And it looks like I'll be getting several of them. Really?  I'm not exactly sure what happened but my legs got tired. I was tired. I took a couple of extra walk breaks and my time sure did suffer for it.

The last home stretch I decided I wanted to pass some folks and gave it a good push. That time I was running in the 10 minute pace. I passed a couple of people and felt good about it! (not pleased with the heel strike in the picture. Gotta work on that!)

It turns out that I only had to run 5 miles! I'm a little disappointed. I want to feel like I earned that medal. I wanted to suffer for it. LOL I know, it's weird. But Renee had to run 8 miles for hers! I guess 5 miles is still decent. Especially when it's hill after hill.

I got my medal and Renee and I posed for a picture. My face is still red from pushing that last bit before the finish line. I swear I was staggering around in a daze. Now I know why runners sometimes die at the finish line. It's that last push! My heart rate got up to 192 bpm. That's almost my limit.
Look at the big piece of beautiful bling! Yeah, running is a lot of fun. It does have some not-so-fun moments. Sometimes you have to dig deep and push yourself. But it's a great feeling to get that bling.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ode to My Love

When we first got together we didn't always get along. There were days when I didn't really like you at all! Some days it bordered on hate. And you weren't exactly nice to me either.

I quit you a lot but I always came back to you. Everyone else seemed to enjoy you so much that I didn't want to miss out. I couldn't stay away.

It wasn't until a couple of months ago that we started getting together four times a week that I realized that I had fallen for you. I felt so good after our sessions! I was so happy every time we got together! I felt so full of energy and my mood was so good! Some days that euphoria carried on throughout the entire day.

It wasn't until this week when we couldn't get together according to our schedule (because you hurt me last weekend) that I realized how much I missed you. I felt down. I felt sluggish. I missed you.

And today we were reunited. It felt so good to be together again! I loved every moment of it.

I love you, running. I'm so glad I didn't give up on you because I'm having a lot of fun and I don't want it to end. Let's get together again this Sunday.
----------------------------------

I woke up this morning for my first run since last weekend. The back of my leg had been hurting because I may have overdone it and/or twisted something running in the dark while dodging pedestrians in Galveston for the 5K Friday. Either way, I haven't been exercising all week and I really missed it!

But it was 46* outside when I got up. Um, I don't do cold. I know, I know. That's not cold to many of you guys. But this Bahama Momma likes it warm.

I usually give up running in the winter so I wasn't quite sure how to dress for the cold. Helen sent me a link to Runner's World to help me dress appropriately. I thought I was doing it right but I didn't. I ended up dressed like this:
After one lap around the block I had to go back home and shed some layers. In the end this is what I was left with:
Half marathon training week 11
It's good to be back running the roads.
25 minutes, 2.22 miles, 11:16 pace
Ran 5:1 intervals (5 minutes running, 1 minute walking)
My running splits: 10:29, 10:32, 10:56, 10:48, 8:34
Did you see that last one?? Yeah, I pushed it for the last minute of running and got 8:34. I was pumped!

So my love and I have been reunited. May our relationship be long and pain free!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friends Edition

Saturday. What a day! I haven't had a day like that in years!

It all began at 5:15am which is an hour that should be dedicated to sleeping in my opinion. Way too early to get up to run! And I paid to do this with a running club. Oh, yes!

For early morning runs I have to have everything I need gathered together in a central location. My brain just doesn't wake up until 8ish. Before then I'm on autopilot. A dysfunctional autopilot at that!

I stumbled out the door and was at my group run location by 6:10am. It was still very dark so I got to wear my new blinky light! There's one thing to cross off my bucket list: wearing blinking lights in public. (I like lights and sparkly things.)

We had a small group that morning. Maybe the smart runners decided to stay home? Renee and I stayed together but everyone else was scattered into mini groups. This was to be our 7 mile run.

All was going well. I mean, my legs were a little tight but other than that nothing major. Then my left knee started to bother me. As the run progressed so did the pain. Renee was having trouble with her foot so we took a few more walk breaks than usual.

Even through we were both not having our best run we still laughed. I think we may have been a little delirious by the time we ran passed a sign that announced we were leaving the city limits.

We even made up our own math that we call "Runner's Math". It's a way of rounding up so that your brain doesn't freak out too much on a long run. For instance, once we hit 3.2 miles we'd say it's really the same at 3.5 miles. And once we hit 3.5 miles we'd say it's really the same as 4 miles. This went on the whole way.

At mile 6.5 I found a snake in the road and stopped to help him out. He didn't seem to appreciate it at all.

We finally finished up and afterwards we were sure that we could have run a half marathon that morning but we were choosing not to. That's what happens when endorphins meet delirium.
7 miles. Done and done! We're not going to discuss pace. The main idea is that we finished.

Half marathon week 10 completed.
----------------------------
To home for a very quick shower, pack for a road trip then out the door to meet fellow blogger Jinny in Galveston!

We were to meet at Casey's at noon. I had to stop at a Walgreens because I forgot to put on deoderant and needed to buy some. Plus some gum. And a Rock Star. It's so hard to leave Walgreens with just one item.

Got to meet the lovely Jinny and her cool hubby. Casey's has a Texas sized shrimp in front!

We hung out, drank a beer and a screwdriver. Screwdrivers were on sale for .99!! Ate some lunch and chatted some more. It was over way too quickly. So good to meet you, Jinny!

Mad dash back home to finish packing and get on the road with the family. Finally get the kids to my mom's and get checked in at the hotel. Nice room!
 My BFF from high school Wendy picked me up at the hotel and we were off for a fun filled night. Not all of that night will be mentioned on the blog as some things were sworn to secrecy as they should be.

The idea was to just go place to place and have fun. We had no idea where the night was taking us. My strategy was to have a lot of water with each drink I had. I did not want to overdo it.

First stop was for dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Wendy and Melanie.
 One margarita. And a big glass of water.
 My dinner was some sort of cheese with chicken and jalapeno wrapped in bacon. Oh yum! Could only eat two of the little bundles.
 Then off to our next stop all the while laughing and having the best time!
 Worst margarita ever. I had to send it back and I don't usually do things like that. It was so crowded!
 I decided to go to the bar to just get a shot of tequila. A couple of gentlemen offered to buy my drink which was a nice compliment but I declined. As a matter of fact, I didn't even order my drink. We decided to go somewhere else afterwards and hung out there for a while. No pictures. I did have one drink and lots and lots of water.

Off again we go!! Chuck had sent a text telling me where he was so we decided to crash his party. We pull up in the parking lot and hear someone holler a couple of rows over in the parking lot. I yelled too. Apparently I am a hollaback girl.

They make their way to us and Wendy recognizes them as guys we went to school with!! We exchanged hugs and all went inside. Chuck had no idea I was there. I had to go to the restroom first and he was sending me texts while I waited in line.

I came out and saw him at a table and went up and asked if I could buy him a drink. His expression was hilarious! His friends bought me a drink and we hung out for a bit with the high school friends.

Then I spot this "cop"!  We made eye contact, I pointed at him and beckoned him to come to us so we could get a picture. He was a good sport. Mr Reno 911.
Things got a little weird (and that's all I'm going to say about that) so we decided to call it a night at 1:30am and leave.

We really did have a total blast! My throat was sore the next morning from laughing so hard. We were laughing so hard that Wendy was having trouble driving. We were crying from laughing. I think next girls' night out needs to be in Houston. :)

Saturday was a busy bundle of fun. Sunday was home and to bed early!

I haven't been running this week. I've been letting my knee heal and it's feeling fine today. May give it one more day off before I test it.

Hope your weekend was fun too!!