Monday, October 29, 2012

Racing Anniversary Weekend

Last year for our anniversary I planned a fun little getaway. This year was very different but just as memorable. We could have gone away for the weekend. Maybe even gone out for a romantic dinner. We could have had a picnic and been lazy or gone for a long walk Instead, we got up before the crack of dawn to run.

Saturday was our 22nd wedding anniversary (wow, time flies!) so we got up at 5am to head out to the Monster Mash 5k in Houston with the kiddos. It was cold!!!! We got to the parking lot at Sam Houston Race Park and rushed inside to get out of the wind and cold.

There were some great trophies being awarded at this race.
 We hung around until they told us we had to line up. Nobody wanted to go out in the cold.
 Rachel dressed up like Jason but Charlie just wanted to wear his new glow-in-the-dark race shirt.
 The wind was blowing and the temps were in the lower 50s but it was time to line up on the race track. Everybody was shivering and ready to get started.
And the race is off! Did I mention this is a horse track? Running on sand is way more tiring than running on the road. We ran here for 1.5 miles then headed out to the streets. As you'd come around the track the wind would just hit you in the face and almost take your breath away. Brrrr!
 The kids had fun. Rachel chased Charlie with her machete and they had a good time acting goofy. Love to see them playing together.
 I could tell Rachel wanted to go faster but Chuck and I had already decided we weren't going to exert ourselves too much because we had another race the next morning. So Rachel and Charlie decide to take off and finish the race together.
 Rachel said they had a great time and she'd raise her machete at cars that passed.

It wasn't long before the race was over and we met up at the finish line with our new medals.
 Both kids enjoyed the race so much that they want to do more!

We headed to Waffle House for a much needed breakfast instead of hanging out at the post race party. We even wore in our brand new glow-in-the-dark zombie medals.

After getting cleaned up, Chuck and I took a long nap. We then toasted our race (as per custom) then toasted to our anniversary. Afterwards, we were pretty much lazy the rest of the day. Ahhhhh.  Happy anniversary, Chuck. 22 years!!! Wow.

Sunday Chuck and I were up at 5am again. Though the temperature was just as cold it wasn't as windy as Saturday so it felt better. We made our way to downtown Houston and found a parking garage then wandered around until we found the starting line for our race: Houston Half Marathon. This is a southern region championship race and brings out some of the faster runners (such as Kenyans). I ran this race last year and it was just as intimidating then. There are some very fast people.

We get to the start line just in time As soon as we get there it is announced that the race will be starting in 7 minutes. It's dark and people are still driving around downtown looking for parking and trying to find their way to the starting line.
 There are so many people here! It was just as crowded last year, as well. Of course, we line up in the back but even behind us there are tons of people.
 Finally the horn buzzes for it to begin but because of the size of the crowd we just stand there.  Kind of anti-climactic. Finally the crowd begins to inch forward. As we cross the start line there's finally enough room for us to begin a slow jog.

Woohoo! We're off! We're running through the streets of downtown. The course loops through the streets so we look over to the left and see tons of runners looping back. Their legs are moving so fast it looks like a group of cartoon characters.

The sunrise created pretty effects on the buildings.
 Batman was even found downtown. He was chilling on the job.
 Chuck and I were doing run/walk/run intervals. This is an endurance challenge so no need to go out of the gates full force.

The miles were going by pretty easily at first. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed the scenery. We even began to warm up as we moved more.

By mile 4 I started noticing some pain in my left foot. By mile 5 I knew I was developing a pretty bad blister on the pad under my toes. At each step it became worse and worse.

By mile 7 I stopped and sat on the curb and tried to wrap it with some blister tape. It was too late. The blister was huge and had also developed on my right foot at the same location. Not only that, but both heels were developing blisters.

Chuck was worried about me and suggested everything from walking the rest of the way, quitting, to carrying me. But I was determined to finish this. My feet were killing me and each step was becoming more and more excruciating. The rest of my body felt great though!!

By mile 8 I had reached a mental road block and felt like crying. How in the world was I going to finish a 13.1 mile race when mile 8 hurt so badly?!

We met up with a girl who had run a good portion of the Space City 10-miler with us so we chatted for a while and that helped to distract me from my pain. Chuck, bless hie heart, was so worried about me. Like I said, my feet were the only problem. Otherwise I felt great!

Finally we're at the double digit miles. YAY!!!!
 When I'm not running, at this point, I'm limping. It looked like I was hobbling. But at double digits there is no quitting.

People were really giving it all they had during this race. We saw a person in the back of an ambulance receiving oxygen. We saw several people stopping to puke. We heard people coughing and gagging. But I think most people finished.

That finish line never looked so good. The medals were beautiful but the sense of accomplishment was the real reward this time. (Such an ugly hat but it has tiny flaps that keep my ears warm) frozen yogurt. It tasted sooo good but did not set well on the tummy.
 A pretty new medal. It's nice to get some anniversary bling. The proceeds from this race went to a fund to reforest a park that lost a lot of trees during the drought last year and that's why it's a tree medal.
 We hobbled around downtown a little until we found the parking garage (always remember where you park!). Then time to check the aching feet. This is one of 6 blisters I got.
 Seriously, what is the deal with the blisters? I'm wearing Asics that aren't too used that I got from Luke's Locker. They fit fine. I'm wearing Experia socks that are $14 a pair. I don't understand why I'm getting these. It's frustrating because the rest of my body is doing fine!

We wipe the salt crystals from our faces (from the sweat) and head out to celebrate our victory. Cheers!
And yes, we are those obnoxious people who wear their medals into a restaurant. Mostly because we want people to understand why we're dressed like that and why we look so terrible. Also, to understand why I'm having trouble walking.

After getting cleaned up, popping blister and taping up my feet, rubbing Chuck's knees, we take a long nap.

We celebrated the anniversary a little more with some cookie.
Then it was off to an early bed.

Happy anniversary, Chuck! Thanks for supporting me in everything I do. It means a lot to me. And thanks for the anniversary bling. I had a wonderful and memorable time this weekend. Congratulations on finishing your second half marathon!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Who/What is a Runner?

My last post I said I'm not really a runner and I'm not a walker either but didn't know exactly what I was. I admit that I overthink things but that's just how I operate. All of the runner talk made me start overanalyzing thinking about what makes someone a runner?

Is the definition of "runner" subjective or objective? If I'm not a runner then who is a runner?

The definition I found online goes like this:
run-ner: noun 1. A person who runs, esp. in a specified way: "a fast runner".
2. A person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby: "a marathon runner"

According to that definition, I am a runner because I run as a hobby. Usually in races.

But according to Pearl Izumi I am most definitely not a runner. (Follow link to see a rather pompous definition of a runner.)

But according to John Bingham (the Penguin) I am a runner: "If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."

And: "I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. I am a runner because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not."

I'd like to know what you think makes someone a runner.

Is it the frequency of running? Is it the pace? Is it a race entry? Is it the distance? Is it running without walking at all? Is it the shoes? Is it being able to run a specific distance without stopping?

I'm not a huge fan of labels because along with a label comes everything attached to that label. All of the baggage.

One of my favorite astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, put it this way regarding labels:  "The moment when someone attaches to a philosophy or a movement, then they assign all the baggage and all the rest of the philosophy that goes with it to you, and when you want to have a conversation they will assert that they already know everything important there is to know about you because of that association. ......  I don’t have the time, the interest, the energy to do any of that."

So while I really don't care if I carry the label of runner or not, I'd love to know what others think makes someone a runner just because these kinds of things interest me.

I'll be the first to tell you that I have not trained like a runner should these past few months. BUT it hasn't kept me from going out there and enjoying each and every race. I'm not first but I'm not last and I have loved it. I've loved it so much that I have the whole family doing a race together on my 22nd Anniversary tomorrow.

In other news, all of the running discussion gave me the itch to go for a run on Wednesday. :)
 It was an easy 4.1 miler. I did use walk/run intervals because that's what makes me happy. My running paces were actually pretty decent! At least for me.

Before going for the run, I rode my bike 6.05 miles
Fun picture playing with the solarizing feature on the phone. Coooool.
  Tuesday was a 10.5 mile bike ride. Beautiful day despite my allergies giving me hell.
 Thursday was a busy, busy day so I had to split it into two rides for a total of 12 miles. More fun with the camera.
Show and tell time! Meet Sawyer. He adores Rachel.
 He's very playful, cuddly and very loud! They're playing tug with a straw.
 Sawyer looking FABulous in peach this season.

Tomorrow is my 22nd wedding anniversary. Time sure does fly when you're having fun! As a family we're doing an easy 5k and Sunday Chuck and I will run/walk a half marathon. If we can do 10 miles, we can do a half marathon. This will be our second one this year!

**Please leave a comment and let me know how you define a runner. I'm curious.
Speed? Frequency? Mileage? etc

Have a GREAT weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Biking and Shooting and Star Dust (oh my!)

Good Wednesday to all my friends in Blogville.

Part of October's goals was to exercise more so I intend to get in 100 miles. Boy, has this month been flying by!

*Got out Monday for a 5 mile bike ride. Yesterday was beautiful and I got in an easy 10 miles.
 I have a little bag on the front of my bike where I stash my phone and set it to Pandora and listen to music as I pedal along. Monday I put on Louis Armstrong and it was one of the most relaxing bike rides I've had in a long time. LOVED it!

*I always seem to forget what a mood enhancer exercising is. I feel great after a walk or bike ride.

*So I don't run an entire race but I don't walk the whole thing either. I guess I'm not really a runner nor can I say I'm a walker. I have no idea what I am. I do have two races this coming weekend and I plan on walk/running both. More walking on the 5k since I need my legs ready for the half marathon on Sunday.

*Allergies suck! I've been battling sneezing, watering eyes and nose all week. Not fun. Last night Chuck wanted me to take two Nyquil gels. I usually only take one. I passed out! Working through the Nyquil hangover today.

*Last weekend we took Rachel and her beau to the shooting range. Chuck is playing with his toy.
 Rachel trying out some big, black rifle as boyfriend watches.
 Me? I was reading a book on quantum physics. I just can't wrap my head around some of that stuff.

*Monday Chuck wanted some more range time so I tagged along but did some sudoku.
 The blurry ones are so much more difficult. *snicker*

And I got to see a lovely sunset!

*I made up a cleaning schedule and put it on the fridge. For 15 minutes we clean the hell out of one part of the house. Feels good to accomplish things. A clean house is a peaceful house.

*The Orionid meteor shower occurred last weekend. The earth plowed through the debris field of Halley's Comet and we got to see the fireworks from it. I say "we" but this chick went to bed early and missed it all. BUT I'll show you how to collect meteorite dust! It's so easy.
1) Turn a plastic zip bag inside out and place a strong magnet inside.   2) Locate your drain locations from rain gutters. Or place a pie pan outside for a while if you don't have gutters.  3) See the black particles? Run the magnet over them a few times.  4) The black particles attached to magnet or tiny bits of meteorite dust. Turn bag inside out again and save them.

An astronomer at George Observatory taught me how to do that a few years ago.

Tonight I'm going to try a recipe for salmon patties. I'll let you know how it turns out.

That's pretty much my life in a nutshell right now. Nothing too thrilling but I'm happy.

I haven't been stepping on the scale. Clothes are a tad bit tighter so I need to buckle down again. Ugh, stupid weight.

Hope you're having a fantastic week!

Monday, October 22, 2012


I always look for new things to try/do and I certainly got to do that on Saturday!

Our friends Kyle and Valerie bought us tickets to go with them to the Texas Renaissance Festival. They go every year and have wanted to share the experience with us. It has been something Chuck and I have talked about doing but just always seem to have things going on so we miss it year after year.

Saturday morning was our initiation into the RenFest. I had to sit down and look around to take it all in! There were so many people and things going on. It's definitely a good place to people watch.

There were interesting things to see like knights on horses:
Mock jousting!

 There were buildings that looked like castles.
 There were shows all day long.
 I snuck in a flask (shhhhhh) but they sold much larger ones. And no, I didn't dress up. I wanted to be super comfortable.
 There was a centaur! His back legs were on wheels. Very cool costume.
 Valerie and I had to go meet him. These people really get in to character.
 Most people that dressed up were in regular costumes (pirates, dresses, etc) but some went all out. Not sure how a giant bat fits into the Renaissance period but it was pretty darn cool.
 This guy has an ax to grind. Haha? None of the costumes were very scary but the people were very interactive which freaked me out a bit at first. A couple of people walked right up to me and started talking. After getting used to that (and after a couple of beers) it was fun to talk to folks.
 There were people everywhere and of all age groups. And all age groups were dressed up.
 There were drunk people on top of buildings.
 There was my friend Kyle in period costume with a period cell phone.
 There were demonstrations by very friendly people who were more than willing to tell you about their craft.
 There were falconry demonstrations. This, of course, is not a falcon but a cool vulture that would hop around.
 There were also activities to do like face painting, bungee jumping on a trampoline, elephant rides, and swings. We had a great time.
I wish I had worn my Garmin because we put in some miles that day! And that evening we were exhausted.

Sunday we spent the day cleaning up and fixing some things. It always feels good to get things done around the house.

That evening Chuck grilled steaks and I made sweet potatoes with scary eyes. Cute and tasty!

I need to get in some miles this week if I am going to reach my 100 mile goal of October. This month had flown by!