Sunday, July 13, 2014

Introducing Red

Now that I have a house. (Have I mentioned I have a house?) Now that I have a house I did the next thing I wanted to do. I acquired a dog.

Meet Red. I adopted him from a City animal shelter. Red is a senior - maybe 7 - 10. I actually called the shelter to be sure he was still available because he had been on the Petfinder website for several months. The various City animal shelters are all kill shelters. Luckily he was and he came home with me. Red may or may not be a Chow cross. One thing I read implied not because his tongue is totally pink. The black tongue is a dominant gene.

One thing I'm having to work on with Red is his behavior. He is really a good dog. I wouldn't just say that. He really is a good dog. However, as he settles down here, he's trying to develop Alpha behavior. That's what we're working on. I'm also working on basic commands with him. He knows "Sit," and now he knows "sit" when I use just an arm motion. This weekend we worked on "Come." So far that one is a little bit hard - mostly because Red rarely lets me away from him. How can I teach him to "Come" when he spends every moment right next to my knee?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Queen of DIY

I bought a house. I bought a house back in March and spent the month of April into May moving in and doing little things to it. Immediately my sister and I painted the master bedroom and the kitchen. Oh and we tore down wallpaper. Wallpaper is the devil. My sister also blew in more insulation into the attic. We bought the bundles of insulation and the blowing machine rental is free. It is super hot work and very dirty. You end up covered in the product. We didn't use the fiberglass kind which would have been itchy.

I've been slowly tearing up parts of the back yard to make gardens. I have planted a food garden with tomatillos, jalapeno, red pepper, cantaloupe, watermelon and parsley. In the back corner of my yard I'm trying to start a butterfly garden. I've planted some flame acanthus (which now that I look at pictures of it online I don't really like it but whatever. I've also planted some yellow columbine and I just got a black & blue anise sage. Oh and a lantana. All of these should attract butterflies eventually.  I also plan on tearing out a whole segment and throw wildflower seeds down and see what I can get to grow. I also planted a red leafed Japanese maple tree.

The exciting part, to me, is the things I can do myself. The dryer I own wasn't the right kind for the outlet. I took the outlet out and replaced it with the correct kind. I've been in the bathrooms replacing the knobs on the tub. The ones on the house were awful. So I changed them. :) Today I also have been staining some shelving my mom brought me. I'm really excited about the way it is turning out.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1/2 marathon, a recap

So I never wrote a post about the 1/2 marathon. I meant to and then life interfered. So I'll write about that first and then other stuff later on.

My biggest concern did happen, and I got picked up by the bus of shame. The morning started very very early. We had to be on the bus from the parks before 4 AM. It was already 70 degrees. I had been training with Frank in temperatures that were 30 - 40 degrees. It was also somewhere around 100% humidity. Hence it was super hot. Since I'm a damn flower in the heat, I wilted. It took almost an hour to even get to the official starting time. Right off the bat I was having difficulty with my right shoe. It had caused little problems in training and I knew I had to tighten it. Have I ever mentioned that during the first 2 miles my back and legs are really painful? Well, during training the first few miles my back would be super tight and painful. So trying to find a place where I could bend the way I needed to to tighten my shoe was difficult. 

Early on I spent much of the race identifying a person I wanted to catch up with and then pass. I had read somewhere that was not a bad strategy. It helped keep me motivated and going forward. My sister did pass me (as I expected she would).  I was in the process of tightening my shoes at the time. I had hoped to get a photo with her but she's too quick!

Along the route there were photo opportunities with various Disney characters. I kept going past most of them because there was a huge line and I knew I'd be cutting it close anyway. I did have to drink a lot at every water stop. I think I took 2 glasses of Gatorade and 2 glasses of water every stop. I was WEARING the Gatorade by mile 3. I did stop for one set of characters - the villainesses. I stopped mostly because those were my older sister's favorites. The line was short so I felt okay stopping.

Mile 5 was the first pick up spot. I was ahead of "the balloon ladies" so I was okay there. The balloon ladies are how Disney paces the course. They carry a balloon (obviously) and they are walking the 16 minute mile pace. During mile 5 the balloon ladies passed me, but at mile 6 they told me the ladies were only 2 minutes ahead. I possibly could have run to catch up but in reality I don't think it would've mattered.

Between Mile 5 and 7 we got to go through Disney. We went through the castle which was awesome. I was really excited about that and glad I made it that far. Before the castle, I think, I saw Lyday waving at me. (Oh maybe it was shortly after the castle now that I think about it because she was on Main Street.) It was nice to have someone on the course cheering for me. Even though I knew at that point I was done at the next bus point.

At mile 7 they said "You have 11 minutes to get to mile 8 to not have to get on the bus." I honestly laughed at that. If I could do an 11 minute mile I would've been doing them long before. Along mile 7 there were a few characters. In hindsight I should've stopped to do my photo with each. I knew I was done so why not? I think I just wanted to keep going. I also walked past the song from Frozen, Let It Go, which made me tear up a little bit.

At mile 8 there were buses. There were 3 buses and I'm sure we were not the first buses and I'm fairly sure we weren't the last buses. I didn't feel too badly on the bus. A lot of the other people on the bus did. One woman, with her 3 friends so how awesome are they, had fallen very early on the race and couldn't run. She and her friends were clearly competitors so I did feel badly for her. On the trip back to where the run started we went over this HUGE overpass. Had I continued on, I would've had to walk over that. That might have killed me so I wasn't sad to not have to go over that. According to my sister there were Army men there (from Toy Story not the real deal) and they were harassing the runners about running.

The bus dropped us off at the end of the race and we got our medals anyway. I did tear up a little then because I don't fully think I deserved it, although my FB friends and Twitter peeps were glad for me even trying. So found Lyday and my sister and we went back to the hotel. Lyday left back to her home and Amanda and I took a nap and life was good. My right foot had a blister and on Monday when we went to Animal Kingdom it got worse. But that was about all the bad from the whole adventure.

I have confirmed I don't really enjoy this kind of activity. My sister has decided to try the Marvel Avengers 1/2 Marathon (at Disneyland) in November so that she can get the Coast to Coast medal. I'm going and registered as a chearleader. I want her to have good pictures of her crossing the finish line and to see someone cheering for her along the course.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

By this time next week...

I will be celebrating finishing my 1/2 marathon at the Happiest Place on Earth.

It is pretty apparent that I will walk the whole 1/2 marathon. Fast walk, but walk. I can't maintain a reasonable run speed. If I run, my walk parts slow down too much to maintain a 16 minute pace. But that's okay. Near as I can tell based on the walks I've done I can do it.

This weekend my sister came to town and we did the Electric Zombie 5k. I walked most of it (started jogging early on but not so good for me). We walked around the outside of the Texas Motor Speedway in the dark. "Zombies" were around the trail to scare us. Somehow the entire trek was uphill. How is it possible... we were going in a circle!? I think we only did 3/4ths of a circle actually. That's the only explanation.

This week is my rest week before the big day. I'm glad because then I can stop feeling guilty when I don't go to the gym (except I'm going to just do my water aerobics and Body Pump on Wednesday morning). I'm getting excited. And nervous. And ready for it to just be done!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

I'm getting it!

So all the time I've been training and struggling I kept hoping there would be one moment where I would "get it." Where, like all of those inspirational movies, things would just magically open up and I would be able to do that impossible task. But, I'm a realist if nothing else and know life doesn't work that way... or does it?

I've mentioned before I need to do a 15 minute mile and how concerned I feel because I don't know that I've ever accomplished this. (MAYBE in PE in high school... MAYBE, I think that was the bare minimum to get a "C")  All along, I've not been able to do a 15 minute mile. No matter what I've been doing I've not been able to get there.

Enter Frank.  Frank is this older guy from my water aerobics class (by older I mean OLDER... he's 72, just 5 years younger than my dad).  Frank is a marathoner. Frank has run in the Boston Marathon, one in Austin, New Orleans, here in DFW, etc. He has over 350 trophies and medals from his running. Even more impressive - he started at about age 50. Frank ended up with a heel spur in like October/November I think and has had a long road to recovery. All along Frank's been offering to help me train and so a few weeks ago when he said something about it, I replied ok - Tuesday morning 6 AM tell me where to meet. After that we've gone out on Saturday mornings - meeting at his house at 5:00 AM.  That's right, I arrive at his house AT 5:00 AM. We go out and he drags me around a course. He's given me some good tips on improving my breathing, my stride and all that.

Last week and last weekend (the week before last? I mean the week before last weekend) I was really struggling with my calves. They just tightened up every time I started exercising and on last Saturday's walk about 2 miles out I was hobbling and we turned back. That was one of the worst times I've had with this training, in part because I felt like I was wasting Frank's time. So I did a little online research and found I MIGHT be overworking myself and so I took Sunday (my new normal exercise day off once I started going out with Frank on Saturday), Monday and Tuesday off from walking. Saturday I also went into the fancy running store and bought a new pair of shoes. I knew my other ones were from July and so it was probably about time anyway and I needed to get them broken in before the big day.

Wednesday morning I go to my usual early am water aerobics class (class starts at 5:45) and then did my 30 minutes on the track. When I started out I was going at a pretty good clip. As I kept going, I realized I was on track to do a 15 minute mile so I kept going. And I did it! I was so excited I almost cried. To me, this means I CAN do this 1/2 marathon.  For so long when I couldn't get the pace I needed, this meant it wasn't going to happen. I wasn't going to magically accomplish something on the big day I hadn't been able to do any of the days before. Now that I KNOW I can do a 15 minute mile, I KNOW I can finish the 1/2 and that's very important.

This morning I went out as usual with Frank. I mentioned to him on Thursday that I made my goal of a 15 minute mile. I'm not sure he believed me. We were 4 miles out when he checked his watch and realized we'd only been gone an hour. He was so impressed and it makes me oddly happy I could impress him. Next Saturday we go out for 13 miles (even though both he and Kayteadee say if I can do 10 miles I can do 13, I feel like I need to do my 13 miles to know I CAN do them). The following week a simple 3 miles and then I go to my race. Now I know I can do it I feel so much better. I no longer feel like I've been wasting the past many months. So I have Frank to thanks for this breakthrough. Frank, and these fancy magic shoes -

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Six Weeks Left

As the title suggests I have 6 weeks left. I've been slacking over the holidays because a - the weather has been very cold and apparently just like I don't want to exercise when it is 100 degrees out, I'm not so fond of doing it when it is 40 degrees. I've also been struggling with the I don't wannas. But I'm (yet again) finding renewed vigor and excitement in doing this. It helps that there's only 6 weeks left. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can see having to go to the gym a lot less and no more long runs on the weekend.  At my water aerobics class is this old guy who used to run. (I say used to because he has a heel spur which he has had to rehab for quite awhile) so now he's walking. He keeps saying he could train me so I've taken him up on his offer. On Tuesday we're going to go for 4 miles and see how to get me to the pace I need. If it works I'll see if he'll be willing to go again.

Today I went out and only managed 7.4 miles. I was hoping to go further.  My pace was better than usual but not where it needs to be. Part of that is the last mile and a half where I a - ran out of water and b - the wind picked up. This wasn't a nice cooling breeze. This was WIND and somehow despite the fact that I made a 90 degree right turn almost the entire mile and a half was into the wind. I almost gave up and sat down and took a nap. (Only a slight exaggeration).  The other problem is that I mis... mis something... misestimated (that's not a word I don't think). My concept of a mile is pretty much stupidly wrong. I knew the trek to my grocery store was about 2 miles and somehow I was hoping the distance going the other direction was further. That's illogical. I get that.

One of the things I want to do in Orlando is go to Universal Studios. I had forgotten that they had Harry Potter world now. I MUST go see that. MUST. That's the plan. A couple days in Disney World. A stupid 1/2 marathon. And never ever running again. :)  MISCALCULATED that's the word I was looking for.