Thursday, November 19, 2009

a quick update

This is just to say that I found the Massage Therapist to end all massage therapist searching.

I have been having so many problems with my left hip, which I know deep down are related to the lower back problems I have had most of my life. Funny thing is, I really never could put my finger on what the source of my life long discomfort really was, I just knew that my left hip was always out of place.

So, I had been waiting to see the MT after I saw my retired doc. He never called me back, and I totally understand his not wanting to adjust my back when he is retired from medical practice... I broke down and called the new MT I had spoken to one day when she came in to the store to buy a mattress. She was able to see me two days before the Rocky Raccoon 50k trail race.

She practices CranialSacral therapy... which I read about in advance of my appointment. At first the plan was to see the doc, then see her for 30 minutes of massage. Since I could not see the doc, I decided to spring for the whole hour of MT... That was money well spent, because she got right to the root of the problem. Really worked on stretching the tightness out of me, rather than just giving me a rub down, which I could have gotten anywhere. As she worked down my spine toward my tail bone, I felt better and better. She started working on my hips and tail bone, and she stopped to ask me how I had injured my tail bone so severely. I thought about it for a minute... then the light bulb lit up. I was always the fat kid, as a matter of fact, my nickname as a child was BFBB (Big Fat Butter Ball). I remember wanting desperately to be able to go across the monkey bars without falling like most of the other kids. So, I set out to try my best. I fell so hard on my ass... that I saw stars and bit something on the inside of my mouth so that I was bleeding. The funny thing is that I had blocked that fall from my mind as if it never happened. Anyway, as the MT worked on my hips and tailbone, I could feel the left hip clicking as it worked itself back into place, all without ever touching the leg itself.

So, this woman is miracle worker and when I turned over and she started working on my head... my sinuses drained. I have suffered with seasonal allergies for years... now I know how to keep my sinuses clear without pills!

Needless to say, I have not had a problem with this left hip since I saw the MT. To think, at one point I was considering quitting the ultra walking because the hip was becoming so problematic that I could not even stand long enough to wash the dishes.

Who knew.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rocky Raccoon 50k, 11/7/2009

I sent in my entry fee for this race right before I decided to do the Q50 50k. I signed the bottom of the entry form, and then I added a note to the race director, Paul Stone. You see, he is the guy who held the finish line of the Hog’s Hunt 50k open for me to get an official finish time in, even though I finished after the 8 hour cutoff. The note read: “I promise to finish this 50k within the cutoff time.”

Now, let’s get back to the beginning of the weekend. The plan was for me to pack my car Thursday night so that I could leave for Huntsville from work in Rosenberg at around 1pm on Friday. I have not figured out the specific reason I cannot get away from work when I say I am leaving. It turned out that I had to drive back to Sealy and go to the bank before I could start my trip. That was not so bad. The bad thing is that when I was about 10 miles from home, I realized I had forgotten my Garmin (GPS and Heart rate monitor) that I use for all my racing and training. I also forgot the last of the wonderful fig cookies that Mom makes for me. I really wanted to share a cookie with PC, who I was meeting for the race. I also wanted to try a shorter route from home, but all I had with me in the car was an atlas. The atlas shows secondary roads, but they are so small on the map, that they are not labeled really well. Also, country roads in Texas are not very well marked. I missed a turn and ended up in Conroe, just where I did not want to be on a Friday afternoon. My ETA for Huntsville State Park had been changed from 2:30pm to 4pm, and I finally arrived at about 5pm. I checked in and found PC. J-M was already there, too.

I walked over to the park lodge to pick up my race packet and introduced myself to Paul Stone, reinforcing my promise to finish the race the next day within the 8 hour time limit. I planned to stay at the park all weekend, so I brought home made pasta salad with hard salami and turkey pepperoni for our pre-race carb load. The pasta salad was delicious! PC brought veggies and some really good bread to go with our meal. I set up my tent, and then we had dinner. Afterwards we built a campfire and sat outside and talked for a while.

I think it was about 11pm when I went to get dressed in my race clothes and go to bed. (Remember, I always sleep in my race clothes, at least the bottom layer). It was kind of chilly, so I put on my thermal tights over my shorts. I was still cold when I got up at 5 in the morning, so I chose to wear my new CW-X compression tights to race in. They are also supposed to support calf muscles, hips and IT band while working out. My top layer was a Star Trek shirt a friend bought for me. I chose to carry my hand held Nathan water bottle and leave the fuel belt behind because I knew the aid stations would be well stocked and they were. I filled my Hammer Gel flask with a mixture of espresso and vanilla gel and stuffed it down my sports bra so it would be easier to dispense.

I was still worried at the start of the race about not having my heart rate monitor, but there was nothing I could do about it at this point, just go out there and get it done… I ran into a friend, Donna, (met her at my first 50k Sunmart 2008) who I have been seeing at a lot of races, and she will be at a lot more of them I will be doing in the near future, including the Davy Crockett Bear Chase in Groveton Texas which she WON last year!!! And, she qualified for Boston. What a thrill!!! Anyway, we stayed together and talked through the first 4 or so miles, and then I suggested that she go on and run her race from there. I didn’t want to hold her back, and I was afraid I may have started out too fast right at the beginning of the race. There was also an older man who races a lot that I traded race position with several times during the race. Now, everyone needs to remember that I am not in competition with anyone except for ME. My only goal in this race was to finish it in less than 8 hours.

The 25k runners started passing me and I commented to the third place woman as she passed me… I told her I thought she was running third and she said I am and waved her hands in the air! Exciting! Anyway, I always stay to the right when the faster folks are coming… A lot of them made positive comments to me as they passed. You know, that is the best thing about trail racing. The runners never begrudge sharing the trail with slower people like myself. There was a smooth stretch where I could get a real good walking pace going and a couple of guys told me I had a nice walking pace on the trail. When I told them they were a lot faster than me, they told me we’re all going the same place, the finish line. That always makes me feel good about what I am doing.

I came out of the woods toward the start / finish line where there is an aid station, and when I saw the photographer, I held up my hand and made the live long and prosper hand signal for the photo! Lots of the folks who had finished their race (25k or one loop) were milling around the aid station, and I really needed to get in there and refill my water bottle and grab a handful of cookies or something salty to eat, so I asked… “Please excuse me, you all are finished, but I still have to go out for another loop.” A young girl looked at me, said: “You mean you just walked 15.5 miles in 3 hours and 43 minutes? Now I remember passing you on the trail. You REALLY walk fast!” I mean to tell you, if that ever happened to me in a road race, I would faint. Trail runners are just DIFFERENT! They parted and let me get what I needed and I thanked everyone and headed back out.

I felt good that I was able to get the first loop done in about the time I thought I would get it done. I knew the second loop would be a little more difficult, and it was. I had a few really bad patches where I was wondering if I would finish at all, let alone under the 8 hour cutoff. It seemed like I was barely moving, so I did take some time to regroup by slowing down a lot to give my body a break. It seemed to work and I was able to pick up the pace again. One thing that was helping me keep moving was the knowledge that I was not in last place as I approached the second to last aid station. The 7 Hills running club from Huntsville always mans the same aid station, and they are awesome. I joked around with them a little and one of the guys teased me about catching the guy who was right in front of me. I told them I just didn’t care what that guy was doing, I just wanted to finish. So, I took off and seemed to be feeling better.

The last aid station before the finish is 2.8 miles out. I was starting to get a cramp in my left inner thigh so I asked for some coca cola and maybe some electrolyte capsules because I really did not want to eat anything else. They gave me a salt stick cap and about 6 oz. of coca cola, and I downed the rest of that Hammer espresso gel I was carrying in the flask inside my bra. As I was finishing up stretching that cramp out, they told me I had 38 minutes to make the cutoff. I hauled my butt out of there thinking, there is something wrong with me if I can’t walk 2.8 miles in 38 minutes, even on the trails. I trudged up the sandy hill out of the aid station and as soon as I hit more solid ground, I really stepped on the gas. I came up on the man that I was trading places with for most of the race, and I said, I need to pass you now. When I did, he tried to keep up with me side by side on the trail, and I asked him to please not try to walk side by side with me, because I was going to trip. Just as the words left my lips, I tripped hard, but did not fall down. I just kept going and never looked back.

I made it to the turn towards the finish, the last mile and the volunteer there told me I had 13 minutes to make the cutoff and I said, there’s just no way I can do that last mile in 13 minutes after the day I was having. Remember, I just did another 50k 3 weeks ago??? Then I thought about the fact that I had done some running in the first loop, so when I saw the long down hill section coming up, I started running. I don’t know where it came from, but I was running faster than I have ever run on a trail in my life. When I reached the bottom of the hill, I kept running a little farther just for good measure, and then I finished the race walking. I so wish someone else had seen me running as fast as I could after struggling for 30 miles. I am sure I was a sight. I still cannot believe that I did that last mile in 9 ½ minutes. Yes, I had 13 minutes to go, and my finish time was 7:56:32. Wow, I have never been happier at the end of a race. Yes, I was trashed and the first thought that came to mind was; “Oh, My God, I have to do a full marathon next Sunday.”


Great race, great company! PC and I explored some trails this morning for a nice hour and 45 minute recovery walk before we ate lunch and packed up to leave.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

trying to stay positive

So, here I am... after attending a weekend racewalking clinic and completing another 50k trail race. My left leg is still aching, and I have yet to see anyone who can help me put it back in place. I took 9 days off from training after the 50k in Louisiana. During that rest period, I started taking ibuprophen in large enough doses to actually help reduce the inflamation that is associated with my hip problem. I also did lots of self massage. Nothing seemed to really help, as my leg continued to ache, especially while standing still.

The 10th day (Oct 28) rolled around and I was getting bitchier and bitchier... Finally Raymond suggested I go out for a walk. He usually does not encourage me to work out, so I thought, what the heck. I got dressed and headed over to the little league park, taking the route with the most grassy areas. Yes, the softer dirt and grass surfaces seemed to do the trick. The outing totalled 6.26 miles and I ran about 1 mile of the total. Running seems to work a different set of muscles and gives the rest kind of a break. And, yes, running in the mud and wet grass is fun.

We had terribly rainy weather the next couple of days. As a matter of fact, I had trouble getting home from work Thursday afternoon. The low hanging wall of dark clouds that evening were really ominous. The wind started gusting and the driving rain that tracks from southwest to northeast along cold fronts was really intense! All I could do was concentrate on the white line on the side of the road to see that I was still on the road. No workout Thursday. Friday evening I was just too late getting home from work to do anything.

Saturday October 31, I was out the door for a walk at about 7:51am. It was rather cool out, and my intention was to take the same route as I had on Wednesday afternoon. I was surprised to see the peewee football game going on in the wet grass as I walked toward the little league park. There was a lot more water laying in the low spots, so my shoes quickly filled with water. No problem, my feet just stayed cool. I had another good walk, about 6.5 miles with about 1.3 miles of running mixed in. I returned home, stretched, showered and went to work.

Now, it's Sunday. I plan to go out for a semi-long distance walk... somewhere between 12 and 15 miles after I get a little housework done. I have an armoire to empty in my bedroom so that I can finally put a larger tv in it. To date, it has held all of my workout STUFF. I think I finally have a system worked out so that I can store all that STUFF in a centralized location. My leg is still aching when I stand for any length of time. It also hurts when I stroll, such as a person does when shopping. As long as I am moving at a reasonably fast pace, I don't have any problems... Hopefully, I can get in to see my old doc this week. I know he is retired, but he is the only person who can get that leg back in place so that it will stay there for a while. If only I could find a chiropractor who would do the same, instead, they want you to come in 3 times a week for the rest of your life. Fine, if you are independantly wealthy. I am not blessed with unlimited funds.

Now, all the camping gear is airing out on the back porch in preperation for the weekend at Huntsville State Park. (Huntsville Texas) I am meeting up with some friends for the Rocky Raccoon 25k/50k trail race. I am walking (maybe doing some running on the down hills) the 50k, then spending an extra night to have more time on the trails on Sunday before I pack up and return home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Q50 USA

I just wanted to share the finish line photo from the Q50 USA 50k race. That's me and my new friend Shannon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Q50 USA - Mandeville Louisiana

October 18, 2009

Now let’s begin the next blog entry. Here is the really funny thing about this race. I have been drinking Q50 coffee since I bought my first pound the day before my first 50k race, which was the final running of the Sunmart 50k/50 mile trail race on December 5, 2008. None of us knew it was the final race until months later. The girls who sold me the coffee assured me it was much better than any I had ever tasted. Well, they were right.

Q50 Coffee - Q50 Ultras… they direct ultra races all over the world. I would dearly love to travel to Nicaragua (the source of the wonderful coffee beans) or Patagonia or some exotic location to participate in one of the ultras they organize, but it just never seemed likely that I would be able to afford the travel. I was so excited when they informed me that they were planning to host a race near New Orleans. Wow, that is driving distance for me. It took a while for their plans to come together, and by the time the date for the race was announced (October 18), I had already signed up for Dave McGovern’s World Class Racewalking Clinic on October 9-11. So far, I have never signed up for a race or clinic that I did not show up for. I even did a marathon on the same weekend as my first racewalking clinic. Ok, so I am a little crazy. That fact has already been established.

I wavered back and forth many times, trying to decide whether or not to send in the registration for the Q50 50k. I finally wrote the check and mailed it on October 15, just 2 weeks before the race. Then I started thinking… and I even posted it on facebook: What makes me so arrogant that I sign up for a 50k trail race with an 8 hour time limit that I have not even trained specifically for??? My friends, racing friends that is, well, some of my racing friends encourage my madness and tell me, you can do it!!! Alejandra Bazzi from Uruguay, who works with Q50 coffee, is one special lady! I was so eager to meet her that I just never worried about the race again.

Friday night I got home from work late, packed the car and tried to get some sleep. My son, Jonny was going to go with me since I was headed out to camp at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville Louisiana, the location for the race. We started out a little too early because I wanted to stop at Luke’s Locker on West Gray near downtown Houston on the way to Louisiana, so we drove over to Katz’s Deli on Westheimer for a quick breakfast. The food was fantastic as always. Luke’s Locker did not have what I was looking for, so it was kind of a wasted trip.

Then we headed out for the long drive to Mandeville, on the north shore of Lake Ponchertrain. I won’t go into great detail about the drive except to say that the bridge over the Atchafalaya basin in daylight and on a clear day was awesome, and that once we arrived in Mandeville, my worries were over. It is a beautiful town! It had been raining all week, so I had no idea what to expect at the park. When we drove up to the park entrance, I was very surprised! The entrance was all brick and very upscale.

I had already made my camping reservations, so I entered the park office to check in. I told the park ranger that I was there for the race the next day and that my son would be watching out for the campsite while I was racing. The park ranger inquired as to my son’s age and seemed worried that I would be leaving him at the campsite alone until I told him my son is 30. The ranger says THIRTY??? That really cracked me up… I told the ranger yes, I am a lot older than you seem to think I am. Brownie points for Louisiana Park Rangers.

We drove over to Franco’s Athletic Club for the pre race dinner and informational meeting. As soon as I saw Alejandra, I knew that my decision to come to the race was a good one. She is one of the nicest, most encouraging people I have ever met! As a matter of fact, I have never run into anyone at a trail race that was not nice. Sometimes folks are having bad days, or are nervous about racing, but no one has EVER been rude to me at an ultra race of any kind. These things are nothing like road races. Alejandra introduced me to Cesar Torres, the owner of Q50 Coffee, and Amanda McIntosh from Hammer Nutrition.

The health club was very impressive, and the staff there welcomed us! We ate our pasta outdoors, and were supposed to have the runner’s meeting out by the pool also, but a cold front had blown in and we were freezing so they moved us indoors. And then they started talking about the wildlife in the area, especially the pit vipers. I asked someone today which kind of pit vipers there are in that area… and they told me Cotton Mouth, which I believe translates to Water Moccasin. Ok, the snakes are in the water, and the water on the trail cannot be avoided. We are going straight through it. I met a couple more nice people that I would see again on race day. Jonny and I went back to the park and I set up my tent in the dark. The air mattress provided just the comfort I needed and I slept great. I slept great until the raccoon opened the lid of my cooler and stole my bread at about 4:30 am. Jonny chose not to set up his tent and slept in the car. Not too comfortable, so when I woke up at 5:30, go dressed inside my tent and tried to wake him up a little later, he was not too cooperative. I made it to the starting line and we talked about snakes again. Amanda (from Hammer) is a wilderness first responder, and she tells us how serious a snake bite from a pit viper can be if you don’t follow instructions, so we should all really pay attention. If you get bitten, please just immobilize the limb and blow the whistle we were instructed was a mandatory piece of gear. Ok, NOW I know what the whistle is for: to summon help. She told us, look, I know you are all ultra runners and your first reaction to getting hurt of sick on the trail is just to make it to the next aid station. DO NOT proceed to the next aid station if you get bitten by a snake.

Then the race started. We headed away from the lake and into a really nice wide grassy trail through the park. It is really flat in that area, with no tree roots to speak of, so I was almost able to racewalk the trails. Nice! One of the race volunteers even commented: “Look at that, a 50k racewalker” as I exited one section of the woods to change trails. Awesome! I think the first muddy water hole I had to go through was about 4 or 5 miles into the race. I really thought most of the mud and water were towards the end of each loop (two loops for 50k), but obviously I was wrong. Oh well, I just forged through it. I didn’t see any snakes, thank goodness. The course exited the woods and crossed through a baseball complex and back onto trails on the other side of the complex. We then went through a trail that had some hardwoods so there were lots of tree roots to reach up and grab a foot to trip you. Luckily, I stayed upright. When we exited the woods onto the Tammany Trace, I was a little disappointed that this section of the race was all asphalt. Though we went through a very nice part of Mandeville and out onto the lake front, I was wearing trail shoes and paved surfaces require a little more flexible shoe than that to be easy on the feet. It was an out and back section that totaled a little over 4.5 miles. My feet were hurting a little and then luckily, we went back onto the trails, immediately encountering some of that nice cool muddy water. It was a welcome relief to my feet! The last puddle was more like a pond and was almost knee deep in places. Then we were back at the end of the first loop where I had dry shoes and socks to change into. I had worn my fuel belt for the first loop because I was planning to try Hammer Heed, but if it did not agree with my stomach; I had Gatorade in the fuel belt bottles. Luckily, nothing makes me sick, so I was able to ditch the fuel belt and just carry the hand held water bottle and drink Heed at the aid stations. I ate the home made fig cookies my wonderful mother makes for me during the race, drank Hammer gel from my flask, took a few Endurolyte tablets, and ate bananas and oranges at the aid stations. I saw that Amanda had some Hammer Gel for taste testing and I asked her if I could top off my flask with some espresso gel, then I wondered where I would put the flask since I was leaving my fuel belt behind. Aha, I just stuffed it down inside my sports bra. It actually warmed the gel and made it come out of the flask easier. It was cold and the gel stayed thick while I was carrying it in the fuel belt pouch.

Starting out on the second loop, I knew where I was going as it was a repeat of the first. I was still feeling great and never really had any problems out there except for the paved sections where I was using some racewalking technique in order to have a better finish time than my last 50k. This race was also my chance at moving up a level to silver in Marathon Maniacs (I am Maniac #1780), and take a lot of pressure off of me for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race I am signed up for in February. All I had to do was finish Q50 in less than 8 hours. It seemed doable, and it was. The only time I was really worried about my finish time was after the Garmin crapped out in the second loop of the race. I really wish those things had a longer battery life. Once it quit tracking pace for me, I just turned it on once in a while to see that my HR was not too high. I did not want to push myself too hard and crap out personally like the Garmin had earlier.

So, here I was with a new friend who was finishing her first 50k, approaching the finish line. I was so excited to finish within the time limit that I forgot to look at the race clock. It took a couple of days to find out that my finish time was 7:41:46 for a 7min 33sec pr at this distance!


I milled around at the finish line for a little while, had my picture taken with Alejandra and talked to Andy from MO, Andrew from FL and Shannon from LA. Then I went to use the park facilities for a shower. By the time I was done with my shower, I was really hungry because all I had eaten all day was a Clif bar and the assorted stuff during the race. Jonny and I had talked about going across the causeway bridge to New Orleans and said we were NOT going to do it, and if we did, we were NOT going to the French Quarter. So, we found ourselves on the causeway bridge headed to New Orleans and I called Cesar from Q50 Coffee on the phone to ask him where I could get the best cheeseburger in New Orleans. There was no way in hell we were going to some silly chain restaurant like Chili’s after what I had accomplished… Cesar’s friend Scott told me we should go to Port of Call on Esplanade. Yes, the restaurant was in the French Quarter, 1 block from Bourbon Street. We were lucky to find a place to park. There were four police cars with lights flashing out front, but we went inside anyway. It was about a 45 minute wait for a table, but well worth it. The cheeseburger was all meat, on a tiny little bun and the beef was delicious! They serve baked potatoes instead of French fries and that was fine with me! The potato was just what my internal doctor had ordered!

I was exhausted, but don’t sleep well when someone else is driving my car… we finally made it home at around 2:30 am and I had to go to work at noon. But that’s ok; because another adventure is complete. Now, on to the next round: Rocky Raccoon 50k in Huntsville Texas on November 7 followed by the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon on November 15.

Crazy does not even begin to describe it. BTW - MALVS2WALK!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dave’s World Class Race Walking Clinic

October 9-11, 2009
The drive to Dallas proved to be very interesting. There was a cold front on the way, and I was not sure when or where I would drive into the leading edge, where cool air meets warm and humid air. Turned out, I met the storm while driving on a two lane Farm to Market road with no shoulders. Texas Farm to Market roads usually have a speed limit of 70 mph even where there are no shoulders. I drive a 2dr Honda Accord Coupe, and cars like this usually don’t do so well in severe weather. I had to pull over to the shoulder once in the recent past during a severe thunderstorm with high winds. So, back to the trip… I was headed north from Roans Prairie (taking the back road) to connect with I45 in Madisonville. That’s where the wind started gusting and the rain was coming at me in sheets. Some lovely person in a large SUV was right on my tail, I guess expecting me to drive 70mph. That was not going to happen. When I hit standing water on the highway in this car, I am usually pulled all over the road. 50mph was really pushing the envelope of safety, so that @$$4073 behind me was just going to have to wait. Then random trees started breaking apart on either side of the road. The tree damaging winds were short lived, but that scared the hell out of me. Finally made it to Madisonville and was able to get out of the car for a few minutes. I got back on the road, I45 this time, and drove in intermittent heavy rain all the way to Dallas. Funny, though, the rain stopped when I was about 10 miles south of Linda’s house.

Linda is a wonderful new friend. She invited Kim (my friend from Arkansas) and I to stay at her lovely home for the weekend! Linda has a beautiful water garden and lovely well placed plants and walking paths in her back yard that seemed to emanate peace and tranquility!

I helped Linda, who was co-hosting the racewalking clinic together with Jerry Kerr, get a few things ready around the house, then Kim arrived. I was really happy to see her again. The last time we met, it was very brief. We both did the Bass Pro race in 2008. Kim did the half marathon and I did the full. She was really speedy and her husband missed her at the finish line. They were so kind to stick around and wait for me to finish the full! I was very surprised to see Kim and David with my Mom and my Aunt Fran. Anyway, we certainly got to spend a lot more time together during the racewalking clinic, and we had a blast.

Kim and I had planned to go to the Oak Lawn Luke's Locker when she arrived, so we headed out. It is always a challenge to get the right pair of shoes for racewalking. Salespeople hear 'walk' and they always bring out some huge, heavy, clunky pair of shoes. Well, then you have to go into a discussion of what racewalking is. I finally gave up letting the salesperson decide. I just go in and ask for racing flats... Running racing flats. Apparently, we found the right salesman and he brought out several pair of shoes for Kim to try, I was initially worried about them having any to choose from because Kim has really small feet and most racing flats are unisex sizing (men's sizes). Anyway, she ended up with a great pair of shoes.

I also made a fantastic purchase. I have been talking about trying CW-X compression tights for a long time. I just could not find a store anywhere where I could try on the men's small in either the pro or expert model of the tights. I buy men's running shoes because my feet are wide, and I buy men's tights because I have a wide waist. Men's shorts are also a usual choice for me because they are not so darn short like women's running shorts usually are. Anyway, the tights were expensive, but they fit like a glove. I am happy to have them!

We stopped to eat lunch, and then headed back to Linda's house to help her prepare the dinner for everyone who was participating in the racewalking clinic. We had baked ziti, one vegetarian and one with organic fresh ground beef that Kim had brought from her farm. My mom made home made french bread for us and all we had to do was heat that up, make a salad, and bake some brownies for dessert.

Jerry picked Dave McGovern up at the airport and brought him to Linda's house. Patty and Jean-Maria, friends of mine from the Dallas area, and lots of others showed up for the dinner and informational meeting that followed. Everyone just loved mom's home made bread! Especially the beer, jalapeno and cheese loaf! They all asked for the recipe! I still have to get that from mom and pass it along!

Saturday morning was cold and damp, but thankfully the rain held off, or simply stayed south of us. We went over to the track for our first workout, and Dave was going to try and film us individually, but he was having a problem with his camera. It was filming, but did not have a view finder and the lcd screen was black. I really should have been wearing tights because it was rather cold and I may have done too much standing around and then sprinting and pulled a calf muscle. We all finished our workouts, and then it was time for lunch and a trip to the Lukes Locker on Legacy in Plano. We descended on that running store like ants. Dave found the location manager and we all learned a lot more about shoes for racewalking.

The next stop was a quick bite for lunch. Rose, Dave and I stopped at a little pizza by the slice place across the street from Luke’s. The pizza was very tasty, and the slices were huge. Our next mission was to find Best Buy so Dave could try and replace his video camera. He had no luck at the Best Buy we were closest to and decided to try another location where we might actually find someone who knew a little about what they were selling. Back at Linda’s house we all sat down and watched the video that Dave was able to tape while we were working out on the track. We watched video of Olympic class athletes and then compared what we are doing to what they are doing. Of course, we have lots of miles of practice ahead of us. While we were watching film, I worked on the calf… found the irritated spot, and dug in. Whatever was going on there… I was able to work it out.

Now, it has been almost 2 whole weeks since the clinic, so forgive me when I ramble around a little. I think we went back to the track to work with the ladders for quick step drills, did some skipping, etc. Dave said I was a dainty skipper. I think it was due to the fact I was wearing a running skirt. One thing I have never been accused of is being dainty. We also learned several drills to help us with flexibility and then Dave showed us some very effective stretches, etc.

Dinner time… we went to a place called Uncle Julio’s and the food was very good. The big joke of the evening was that my reading glasses were left at Linda’s house, so I was planning to pretend I was illiterate. Maybe not so funny, so I just made fun of my old age eyesight and asked the bartender to stand across the bar and hold the menu for me so I could read it. I ordered a mixed platter of shrimp, beef and chicken fajitas. After dinner, we stopped off at another Best Buy for Dave to purchase a new video camera. I think he finally got what he was after and I, of course, bought another CD… Anvil.

Kim and Dave have both traveled much more than I have, so the after dinner conversation at Linda’s house was very interesting.

Sunday morning, it was cold again, and I decided to wear my tights and that was a good thing. We did our lactate threshold test after warming up, doing the drills and stretching well. The test consists of 3 - 8 minute intervals of walking as fast as possible with good technique and taking the HR every two minutes, our partner gave the Hr info to Dave. There is a two minute rest between the intervals where we check out recovery HR. I was in the first group and was able to get my HR up to 177 at the end of the last repeat. So, I was the apparent winner of the HR test… My max HR is 193 and if you subscribe to the 220 -age =BS formula, I am 27! WOO HOO!!! When the next group did their test, there was a soccer game on the football field; so, I had to do lots of running in order to be able to get some good photos of the folks on the track while reporting my partner’s HR to Dave for her test. More stretching before leaving the track to eat lunch and then wrap up the clinic with a lecture on training schedules for specific distance races, and more discussion on HR based training. Dave commented that my recovery HR was still kind of high… He did suggest that I refrain from drinking 4 cups of coffee right before an interval workout. Typically, I wait until after my workouts to drink coffee, or I do my workouts late in the evening, after the coffee has worn off… LOL

So, the workshop was wrapping up, and everyone was saying their goodbyes. Jerry and I helped Linda put some things back in place, and I packed up my things to return home. I bought one of the Chrons and Colitis Foundation Team in Training shirts from Dave… “The Best Craps in Vegas”, said my goodbyes and headed south. I was about 5 miles south of Linda’s and the rain started. What should have taken 4 hours at most to drive, took me almost 6 hours, including one stop for restroom and to gas up the car. I got a message from Dave… “It never rains at a World Class Racewalking Clinic… that is until after the last guest leaves”. I told him that my only consolation was that he was getting wet, too. Dave was leaving for a workout when I was driving away. LOL

The drive home was not as treacherous as the drive to Dallas, with the exception of the people who choose to drive 80+ mph, no matter how hard it is raining. A funny thing happened to me when I stopped for restroom and gas in Madisonville Texas. I went in to use the restroom before pumping my gas because I had been on the road for a while. There were 4 or 5 women just standing around in the restroom, so I kind of bent down to see if anyone was in the stalls. They were empty and as I started to enter one, some woman says: “Hey, did you just pick up two dollars off the floor?” I go, “WHAT???”, because I was kind of hypnotized from the long drive in bad weather. So, she asks me again and if I had been on the ball, I would have asked her if I really looked like I needed her two dollars. Anyway, I just told her I was merely looking under the stall door to see if it was occupied. TWO DOLLARS… would I be driving a rocket ship if I was in serious need of two dollars?

Anyway, I made it home safely and had a great weekend. The major thing I learned about myself:
I may not actually be cut out for racewalking because of my physical limitations which include degenerative disc disease in my lower back and a left hip that is perpetually out of place.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

back to the training log again

Wednesday, September 23

This was kind of a strange day. I had to work for a little while in the morning. Then I picked up my Mom and we went shopping in west Houston. She needed a few things from the fabric store and we had a nice lunch at Jason's Deli.
After I got home, I got ready and went out for an 8 mile walk at the little league park. It was cool, in the low 60's and windy. It started to rain when I first started my walk, then it stopped after a couple of miles. The rain would have been ok with me...

Friday, September 25
Got over to the track for bleachers and drills. 1 mile walk to the track... So, there are 14 bleachers... I planned to do them all 3 times each. Forgot to re-start the timer after stretching and missed counting 8 1/2 of them, so I did those over. All total... 50.5 runs up the bleachers - 50.5 times walks down the bleachers. 6 x 100m sprints; 2 x 100m skipping; 2 x 100m side slides; 2 x 100m crossover drills; 2 x 100m racewalk sprints; 1 mile racewalk. Walked the curves between all the above; 200m jog back to the starting point to pick up the water bottle, then 1 mile walk home. That was SOME workout... a total of 6.2 miles in 1:40 with average pace of 16:08. That's fast enough to get me throuhg 100 miles with lots of climbing.

Saturday, September 26
Sorry, just copying and pasting this from my Running Ahead entry on facebook. Kara Goucher might like these Nike Lunar Trainers... but, I have tried them for short and long distance. I don't like them, and I am really glad they were an outlet store purchase. The right shoe eats my heel for breakfast. I had planned to walk 8 or 10 miles this morning and decided to stop at 5 miles before the blister on my right heel became unbearable. This really sucks because I had a good acceleration workout going. Oh well. I have to get to work on time today, so I'll get over it.
5.09 Mi; 1:08:07; 13:23mpm; Heart Rate: Average: 139 / Max: 184
Weather: 72° F, Humid
Then I had to go to work. I chose to wear dress slacks and sandals with heels (low heels) and the store was really busy. I ran back and forth, sold lots of furniture and mattresses and before I knew it, I had a headache. I went to warm up my lunch, thinking it was about 3pm and when I saw it was actually 5... I knew I was in trouble. LUNCH at FIVE??? I am supposed to be doing a 15 mile LSD walk Sunday. I finally made it home from work at 9:30 pm and didn't feel like eating a big meal. So, I ate 3 of the little blueberry pancakes and went to bed. I decided to set the alarm for 7am to see if I could get up to walk in the morning. Went shopping instead and planned to walk the 15 miles in the afternoon.

Sunday, September 27
So, now I know what happens when you try to do a LSD walk in the heat of the day when you have not fueled properly the day before. (I checked the weather and the heat index was 103 when I left the house to start the walk). I was feeling ok, so I started out too fast. I am still not too upset over the final numbers because it is almost equal to my 50k trail pr pace. I did the whole walk except for the first and last mile in the tall grass, gravel and dirt. There is not much elevation gain and loss (1250 feet over 15 miles).
I feel like someone beat me with a big stick so I am going to soak in a tub of ice (someone made me think of ice... Pam, maybe?). That should help. 15 Mi; 3:47:16.32; 15:10mpm
I am a little better after soaking in ice water. I probably will not walk tomorrow. I am going to ask Raymond to get my bike out for me in the morning and go for a recovery ride instead of a recovery walk.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Catching up again.

I just cannot seem to keep all my internet stuff up to date. The whole purpose of the blog, the facebook account and the Running Ahead log is to keep me honest about the workouts I do.

Saturday, September 12
It was raining softly when I walked out the door at 5:54 am. Not cold, or windy, just softly misting rain. I was not planning to let that stop me. I chose to wear the trail shoes and go to the little league park where I have been doing many of my walks. I always have company… even on this rainy morning. An elderly woman was walking her tiny dog and I spoke to her. The dog wanted to follow me, so I greeted her every time we passed.
This was not a good walk for me. I was feeling sluggish so chose to stop before my planned 12 miles. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Monday, September 14
I guess a walk on Sunday was just out of the question. The first 6 miles averaged 13:35mpm. Not fast enough, but I am training for a 100-mile race, so too fast is not good either. I walked a total of 8 miles, the last two progressively slower until cooled down so I could stretch fully when I got home. Found out why the walk was not so good today… when I took off my shoes, there was the prettiest dime-sized blood blister on the ball of my right foot… should have used the body glide after giving myself a pedicure last night.

Tuesday, September 15
Started the morning workout somewhat late, but I did not really think running the stadium bleachers in the dark was such a good idea anyway. I am not going to report my time, only what I did over a 4-mile distance.
1.25-mile walk to the track, 28 bleachers, 4 x 100m sprints, 2x 100m skipping, 2x 100m side slides, walked all the curves, then lots of stretching before the .6 mile walk home.
I will call this cross training, which included strength and flexibility training. Btw, I ran up the bleacher stairs and walked down.

Wednesday, September 16
mile 1 - 13:16mpm (warm up walk to the track)
miles 2-5 avg pace 12:28mpm (racewalk at the track)
mile 6 - 14:07mpm cool down walk home
.2 mile - 15:37mpm
6.2 miles; 1:20:18.62; HR Average: 76% / Max: 84%
It was a cool, clear and beautiful morning, even though still humid. Junior high boys’ football team was taking pictures this morning, so I had an audience for about 2 miles. I was glad when it was time to head for home. I just need to get my arse out the door earlier!

Thursday, September 17
I overslept this morning. Not too critical, I did not have to be at work until after lunch today. So, I still got a workout done this morning. It is still very difficult for me to adjust to getting up really early when I have never (NEVER) been a morning person.
Walked 8 miles mostly in the dirt paths at the little league park.

Sunday, September 20
This was the fun walk! I drove the 100 miles to Huntsville State Park to test out the 20-mile loop from Rocky Raccoon. That’s the name of the 100-mile race I will be doing on February 7. I had my Gatorade mixed, my peanut butter and jelly sandwich made, my orange sliced up and my fritos and fig cookies bagged up and packed in the fuel belt. I was also wearing my camel back to make sure I had enough water for the whole 20 miles. It was about 84 degrees when I started walking.
The trails were in good shape, it appeared as if the park staff had dumped fresh sand in many places on the trails. The bridges have all been repaired, and fallen trees had been dragged off the trails. As I walked across the first bridge in the swampy area near the lake, I saw a beautiful lizard. It had lengthwise stripes and was a beautiful iridescent dark blue. I have never seen a lizard that color before. I only lost my sense of direction once in the first part of the walk where the service roads intersect with the Dogwood trail more than once.
The walk went very well, and as I made my way onto parts of the park I had not previously seen, I was really enjoying the scenery. I was eating and drinking enough to keep my energy levels up and only had to stop once to work on my feet. My socks had a hard spot on the inside and I was in danger of developing a blister. I stopped, cleaned my feet, re-applied body glide and put my socks back on, but wrong side out. I did not have any more problems with my feet. Raymond called me once on the cell to see if I was alright, and as soon as I hung up the phone, a large red and black ring striped snake crossed the path in front of me. When I had walked a few miles further a large deer came crashing through the woods and across the trail about 50 yards ahead of me.
It took me about 5 ½ hours to walk the 20 miles, and I am very happy with that result. Driving back to Sealy, I stopped at my Mom’s house. She had homemade cabbage rolls for dinner and they were the best cabbage rolls I had ever tasted. In case you have not heard of cabbage rolls… hers are made of browned Italian sausage and ground beef with brown rice, rolled up in a cabbage leaf and baked to perfection in home made marinara sauce!

More later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Thursday!

Missed my workout on Monday, and that was ok with me. I tried to get up early on Tuesday, but my body was having none of that. So, the planned early morning walk turned into a plan for an afternoon walk. Then I got the call right before lunch that I was needed at work in Rosenberg for the afternoon. I did not leave the store until 7:45 pm for the 30 minute drive home and needed to stop at the store for a few things on the way home. So, no afternoon walk either.

Wednesday, I still got up a little later than I wanted to, but got dressed and went to the park for the weekly walk/jog. This time I only jogged the half-mile section 3 times for a total of 2.85 miles walking and 1.5 miles jogging. The workout took just as long as if I had walked the whole thing, so jogging does nothing for my pace during a shorter workout. And, that's ok with me. I am not really jogging to increase overall speed, but to balance things out... using different muscles when jogging to give the ones who feel used and abused a little less stress. The workout totaled 1 hour and a 13:47 minute per mile pace.
That evening, I went out for coffee with a friend and the talk we had made me realize how much I have been slacking in a lot of areas in my life. so...

Today, Thursday when the alarm went off at 5 am, I only laid in bed for 5 minutes and thought to myself, you SLACKER, get your @$$ out of bed. I walked my 6 miles this morning in 1:19:39. The average pace through the first 5 miles was 13:26, which was great because I was walking in the wet grass and gravel and working seriously on the pushoff at the rear of my stride. My shins got a great workout and it seems that this will also help with my racewalking. Mile number 6 - 12:29. Lots of stretching when I got home, then a shower and off to work. This evening, I am going to work on my legs with the stick, and treat myself to a nice hot foot soak!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, September 6

so... 2 mile warm up, stretching, then a 10k race.

The warm up went well, I was able to get some real speed going in the second mile, then I had time to stretch and do some flexibility drills before the race started.

We got a little late start... remember I said I was not going to do the judged race because I am still not sure of my racewalking form. Well, I should have thrown caution to the wind and let them judge me. Both judges said my form was looking much better and neither would have dq'd me. Anyhow, it was still a great race. 10k in 1:13:06.54 with an average pace of 11:46. Average hr was 167bpm, max hr achieved was in the neighborhood of 190. I have my max set at 194 right now, that may need to be adjusted a little higher. So, this was 2:35 better than my best for the distance. I'll take it! A new PR!

one thing to add... I was so happy to see a good turnout at the race. There were several youngsters who are being coached by AC Jaime from South Texas Racewalkers... and two of them came in first and second place. It was an awesome thing to watch those youngsters with a love for the sport that is so often misunderstood and made fun of!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday, September 3 - Training Update

Gosh, it has been a while since I posted an update. I have just been so busy.

8/25/09 - another early morning walk. I was out of the house at 5:39 am and walked 4.43 miles, according to my Garmin Forerunner. My main concern walking this early in the morning when it is still dark is getting specific types of training done. How are you supposed to do intervals (speed training) when it is dark out without tripping, falling, and/or breaking an arm or leg??? I just don’t know.

8/26/09 - Great afternoon bike ride! Almost 11 miles and no worse for the wear.

8/27/09 - I got a little later start this morning (6:10 am). I had an 8 mile walk on the schedule and it went very well. I was able to complete the walk at an average pace of 12:59 minutes per mile, which is a little faster than marathon pr pace. My average heart rate was only 75%, which means that I should have been able to walk faster. Heart rate should be 80% or a little over for a good tempo walk. I just don’t think my racewalking technique is good enough for me to walk any faster. I am really looking forward to the racewalking clinic in Dallas this October!

8/29/09 - Saturday morning, I left the house at 6:17 am, still a later than I should be leaving for my long walks, but it is better than 9 or 10 ;-). It was a great walk, marathon pace LSD. The average pace was 13:09 minutes per mile and average heart rate was 76%. There it is again; that mid 70’s % maximum heart rate. If I continue to do all my training walks in that same range, that is all I will ever be able to do. I have to find some way to increase my heart rate during training if I am to increase my level of endurance.

9/1/09 - Tuesday morning got kind of a late start at 6:31 am, but did go out for an interval workout at the track, wearing the new Adidas Adizero RC. I warmed up a little over a mile walking to the track, stretched, and then did 5 x 400 with 200 meter rests. All the 400's were in the low 11's (pace) with the last one at 10:59. I followed the interval workout with a little over a mile walk home, stretched, showered and went to work.

9/2/09 - Wednesday morning at 5:42 am 10k at marathon pace (13:10); average HR 74% Max HR 78%. It was a nice cool morning, probably in the high 60's when I started and 71 when I finished.

9/3/09 - Thursday morning at 5:58 am 4.46 miles this morning this included almost 2 miles of jogging. I have not been very successful at getting my heart rate high enough while racewalking because the technique just isn't there, so I have been tossing the idea of doing some jogging around for a while now... I feel like I need to get some workouts in at a higher HR in order to increase my level of endurance while training for the 100 mile race in February. I was very surprised that I could run a half mile without stopping to walk. And now that I looked at my Garmin data, I was successful in getting my heart rate up into the high 80%, even breaking 90% at one point. When I stopped to stretch, the sweat faucet turned on full force. I had driven to the little league park because I was walking/jogging in the dirt and don't like wearing my trail shoes on the pavement. My car has leather seats and of course, I forgot to bring along my old beach towel. Thank goodness there was some newspaper in my trunk.

Post Script
There, now the training blog is up to date. I don’t know where this jogging thing is going to take me. I still have the goal of walking 100 miles within the time limit of 30 hours at Rocky Raccoon February 7 in Huntsville Texas. The goal of becoming an American Centurion continues to be my ultimate goal. I would be so proud to have my name on this list together with such amazing company.

Here is my race schedule for the next several months…
9/6/09 - bear creek 10k Houston - 10k
10/9/09 - racewalking clinic Dallas
11/7/09 - rocky raccoon 50k Huntsville TX
11/15/09 - San Antonio R&R full marathon
12/5/09 - RD Sealy 5k Jingle Bell Fun Run
1/1/10 - texas full marathon Kingwood TX
2/6/10 - rocky raccoon 100m Huntsville TX
3/7/10 - Little Rock full Marathon
4/24/10 - Nashville Country Music full marathon

I am sure to add shorter distance races as they come up, they are just not as important to me as marathons and ultra distance races.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Shoes

In preperation for Dave McGovern's World Class Racewalking Clinic October 9-11 in Dallas... I read the new shoe reviews he linked on his website. I am a huge fan of Adidas Adizero shoes and found the Adidas Adizero RC on his list entitled best of the best. Since I already own 4 of the other shoes on the list, I decided to try these Adidas. They just came in the mail... I found them online for only $50.oo including shipping. They are as light as they can be and from now through October will get little wear from me. I plan to wear them ONLY for track workouts.
I feel like a kid with a new toy!

Monday, August 24

So, Friday is always my day off from working out. I did, however, work most of the day at the mattress store. That's fine with me, because the store is busy and the time goes by quickly. Saturday, more of the same. I had intended to get up early and walk before going to work, but as I have said, I am not so much a morning person. I told myself I would walk when I got home from work Saturday. That was not in the cards either because we are starting to get into an afternoon thunderstorm pattern. I am not talking about some rain with a little thunder and lightning. This was maybe the first time I have ever pulled over while driving in a storm. I could not see even one inch in front of my car and the wind was blowing from all directions at the same time. Then it started to hail. Well, I was on a stretch of road with no shoulder and had to drive for about a mile or so, not able to see anything. It was like a white out that you experience in a blizzard. When I was able to pull over, I sat there for about 10 minutes wondering if the tornado was coming. It finally slacked off enough for me to drive home. So, the Saturday evening workout was scrapped.

Sunday, I just did not feel like walking. I am reading Lawrence Block's book Step by Step, A Pedestrian Memoir, and really enjoying it. So, Sunday I read until Raymond was ready to go grocery shopping. When we got home, I made an enchilada casserole with chicken and green chili for dinner. It was really good.

I am determined to get my training walks done, no matter the weather. I am going to turn myself into a morning person, if it is the last thing I do. So, I dressed in my workout clothes and set the clock for 5 am. I was in bed by 10 and pretty much ready to go out for a walk, all I had to do was put on my socks, shoes and hr monitor, fill the water bottle and go. Good for me! Out the door at 5:25 am and finished a 10k walk this morning! After a quick shower and some cheerios with a banana for breakfast, I actually made it to work on time. This evening, I still have a strength training routine to complete, but that should be no problem as I don't have to go anywhere to do it. I have all the exercise equipment I need at home. I will ride my bike to warm up if it is not raining. If it is raining, maybe the jump rope will do for a warm up.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009

So, I ended yet another walk at the cemetery, wishing I could just check in. It's kind of funny that these crummy feeling walks always seem to near their end as I am walking through the cemetery.

I just came in from what I thought was a waste of time 6 miles. It was 99 when I walked out the door. My HR seemed high from the start, so I thought I slowed down. But every time I looked at my HR, it was still high. I felt like my legs were dead. Turns out the pace was not so bad; and the walk ended up being more like tempo than LSD, so a 4 mile tempo walk with an extra mile for warm up and an extra mile for cool down for a total of 6 miles in 1:23:51. I was under the impression that the walk was a lot slower than it ended up being and I am sure the 99 degree temp had something to do with that! I had to stop once and soak my cap to cool off a little.

I also need to remind myself that the workouts I do during the couple of weeks post marathon will be kind of tough. I need to be taking it easy, and it is difficult for me to do that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

back to the grind

So, I was able to get in several miles of active recovery walking in Las Vegas before coming home to go immediately back to work. I had one rest day in my office, then had to work several days in a row at the mattress store. I don't know if I can count these days as miles walked, but they are certainly ACTIVE recovery with some strength training thrown in. Sunday, I stayed at home, did some laundry and nothing else.

Monday, back to work at the mattress store. Since I like to work out in the evening, I was hoping to get off of work at 5 so I could get home in time to ride my bike for a little while, then do a strength training workout. No such luck. I was finally on my way home at around 7pm.

5pm rolls around on Tuesday and the boss wants to take care of some business late in the day. When I called him back with the info he requested, he offers to call me right back and I tell him, NO, just hang up, then don't answer when I call you back, I will leave the info you requested in a voice message because I am leaving work at 5 today, no ifs ands or butts about it. So, he got his pen and wrote down the info right then.

When I got home, I was still a little irritated, so I went rushing to change into workout clothes in a big hurry. I really felt that if I didn't get a walk done, it was all over but the getting fat again. I had not done a timed walk since the marathon, and I was disappointed in that finish time. So, I set the Garmin and took off down the street, fast. The route I took is exactly a mile from the track and I made it there in 12:33! That was a great warm-up, so I stopped the timer and stretched everything and did some of the flexibility drills. Then I got on the track and accelerated for a mile and a half. My last lap was at an 11:30 pace. It was so hot and humid that it took an entire 30 minutes for me to stop sweating after I got home...

I thought I had lost something out there in the desert near area 51, but I found it at the track. Thank goodness. I know it will take some time to get the pace down where I would like it to be... somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minute miles, and I may NEVER get there, but I will have fun trying.

My next BIG thing on the schedule is Dave's World Class Racewalking Clinic in Dallas October 9-11. I screwed up my first chance to really learn something from Dave in Mesa last January by walking a marathon the same weekend as the clinic. Well, I don't have anything on the schedule with the exception of a 10k fun walk in Houston on September 6. And, the Dallas weekend will be devoted exclusively to the clinic. It will be nice to see my two Dallas friends and one from Arkansas who will all be attending the clinic as well.

50k in November, marathon in January, 100 miles in February.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Las Vegas

So, I promised a little about the Las Vegas trip... I met Jean-Maria and Mellody out there for the ET midnight marathon. We had fun doing the marathon and would probably do it again if it wasn't for the 2.5 hour bus ride to and from the marathon start. Everything else about the marathon was great (read my previous blog post)! Donny from the walkingsite was also there, he did the half marathon.

When the three of us (the ladies) returned to the hotel after the bus trip, each of us had our turn in the shower. I was starving, but exhausted, so I just bought a turkey sandwich in the hotel lobby and took an hour or so nap. We were planning to go downtown to Fremont Street and feed at the trough (Golden Nugget Buffet) for our marathon celebration dinner. The food there is usually very good and did not disappoint! The waitress was some sort of a medium??? The four of us wore our medals and I was still sporting my alien tattoos, so the conversation quickly turned to aliens and auras and strange stuff like alien encounter healings. Whoah.

Mellody and I were by no means ready to go back to the hotel after dinner. We came to Las Vegas to have some fun! They are having a summer of '69 celebration at Fremont Street with the psychadelic hippy bus, a Beatles tribute band, classic cars and great light shows featuring lots of different types of music. The Beatles tribute band were 4 young men wearing wigs... they were really channeling the fab four until they bowed and one of them nearly lost his wig. Hilarious. We moved on and found an interesting casino that was full of antiques around the corner. We spent a little time looking at the display cases with antique slot machines, beautiful hand carved bars with marble counter tops and etc. When we walked back to the action on Fremont street, there was an awesome band playing medlies of all the great 60's rock tunes that everyone knows all the words to. Of course, I can't remember which ones they were right now, but we had a great time! People watching is the best! I don't have the pictures yet, but when I get them from Mellody, I will edit this post and add them.

We finally got tired and started looking for the taxi stand at the Golden Nugget so we could get a ride back to our hotel. The guy out front was being a real asshole and would only seat customers in a particular brand of taxi. I am sure after the ride went around a few extra blocks that he was getting something extra for his attitude. Oh well, lesson learned, although I'm not so sure there would have been anything we could have done to avoid getting taken for the proverbial ride. Except for what we did. NOT. Tip.

I won't tell you the reason, but I am going to be really careful about where I wear a particular yellow shirt in the future. It's a secret. Anyway, we got back to our hotel and decided to walk across the street to the Hard Rock and have a milkshake. There it is. The marathon celebration cocktail. Mellody had chocolate, and I had espresso. It was awesome. So, I was about to fall asleep in the booth at the Hard Rock, and barely made it back across the street to our hotel as I had only slept about 5 hours in the last 65 hours and also walked 26.2 miles in the desert at high altitude (for me).

I slept until 9am Monday and woke up starving only to find that the continental breakfast ended at 9am on weekdays at our hotel. Mellody jumped out of bed, threw on her cap and last night's clothes and brought us some breakfast. Thankfully she made it and was able to grab some food before they got it all put away.

We got ourselves dressed and started for the strip! It was hotter than hell, but we were primed for some fun after finally getting a little sleep! My only real request for the trip was to ride the roller coaster at New York, New York. That was our first stop and we did not want to ride it after lunch. Here is the proof:

So, we had great fun on the roller coaster, then started out to look for a place I could get the one thing I crave sometimes after a marathon. A Blackened Bleu Cheeseburger. We looked at the menus of several establishments before finding it on the menu at the ESPN Zone, and it was heavenly. I even chose to be really good and have a bowl of fresh fruit instead of french fries. Here is another funny thought that goes through my head once in a while... When I was 15, I used to wait tables at a small town family restaurant. I always laughed (under my breath of course) at the older women who ordered hamburgers with coffee to drink. Well, it is true that you become what you laugh about... coffee is my drink of choice, even with hamburgers.

Now back to the hotel to get ready for the show. Mellody had a dinner date with an old friend, so Jean-Maria and I wandered around the Venitian for a little while and stopped at Haagen Daaz for an ice cream. I chose to buy a ticket to see the Phantom of the Opera so Jean-Maria could get some rest as she was still recovering from a broken foot and walked the marathon anyway. Mellody had purchased her ticket a long time ago. We planned to meet up after the show and wander around the strip for a while longer afterwards as it was our last night in Vegas. Surprisingly, the strip was totally crowded, even on Monday evening. You certainly can't tell there is an economic downturn from the numbers of people vacationing in Vegas.

The biggest problem is finding the exit in the casino when you are ready to leave. Those places are so huge, it is easy to make the same wrong turn more than once. They don't allow taxis to stop on the street to pick up fares like they do in other big cities, you have to find the taxi stand which is usually located at the valet entrance to each hotel. It seems that you need to start looking for you exit strategy at least an hour before you plan to leave. Anyway, we got a great taxi this time, and he took us directly to our hotel without going around any blocks. This guy did get it. The Tip.

Back to the room, my stuff was scattered about, so I took the time to organize it somewhat so I would not have to pack it all in the morning just before leaving for the airport. We did get to eat a decent breakfast at the hotel... I would recommend the Hyatt Place in Las Vegas for anyone who likes comfort without all the noise and activity that goes with any of the casino hotels. It is a non-gaming establishment and all the rooms are non-smoking. Also great for a bunch of marathoners.

The flights home were uneventful, and it was great to be home, even though the trip was too short.

Here are two more pictures... the medal and the race shirt from ET. Thought you might want to see them.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ET Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon

I had been anticipating this trip to Las Vegas and the race for a long time. Since I did not do so well at Mohican, but got a lot of hill practice done there, I felt I could do pretty well at this marathon. I had not really considered the effects of higher altitude and dry air to a coastal plains dweller like myself. So, it was a slow marathon, but still a lot of fun and finishing is the goal, after all.

Now I must return to the beginning of the tale. My bags were mostly packed by Thursday because I had to work out of town on Friday and my flight was scheduled to leave Houston at 6:20 am on Saturday. I live about one hour away from the big airport, so that meant getting up at 3:30 am for the drive. I did not get to sleep until after 1am. Remember that this is a midnight marathon. It starts at midnight. Did I say that the race started at midnight Saturday??? I arrived in Las Vegas (after a short layover in Denver) at around 10:30 am Saturday. I called the hotel to see when the free shuttle would be arriving to take me to the hotel. They said, oh, about 10 minutes. There was a couple waiting before I walked outside the airport, and in my usual manner, I was having a conversation with them in no time. I found out that they were staying in the same hotel and had already been waiting at least 10 minuets before I walked outside. The hotel is 5 minutes from the airport and I was finally in the hotel room by noon.

Mellody and Jean-Maria were already in the room the three of us were sharing. I was starving at this point, so the three of us walked across the street to eat at Lucky’s in the Hard Rock Casino. It was nearly 12 hours from race time, so I carb loaded on blueberry pancakes and also ate a little bacon for protein. We walked over to CVS, and I bought a gallon of water to mix my electrolyte drink for the marathon. I finally tried to get a little nap (maybe 90 minutes) and it was time to pick up the race packet. We met another friend at packet pickup, WalkingDonny, who was walking the half marathon. The shirts are awesome, with little aliens and a space shop on the front! We go back upstairs and start getting ready for the race. We boarded the charter buses for a 2.5 hour ride to the starting line at the black mailbox on the Extraterrestrial Highway. It is a good thing it was dark outside. I don’t think it would have made me feel better to actually see the mountain we had to climb before the race. It was bad enough seeing it while riding the bus back from the finish line to Las Vegas. I am really glad I brought the long sleeved race shirt with me in a drop bag because it was cold and windy and I ended up wearing it under my crazy shirt for the whole race. We picked up our glow necklaces and used the dreaded port-a-potties, posed for some pictures and visited with new found friends.

I think the race started on time at midnight, although I can’t be sure because I lost my reading glasses somewhere out there. Everyone was either wearing a headlamp or carrying a flashlight and we were all wearing reflective clothing. We were off, and as usual, I started out too fast. I got stuck with a couple of groups of beeping Galloweenies that I kept trading places with. The worst thing about a group of Galloweenies is the fact that they pass you jogging, then stop to a snails walking pace RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, every time they pass you. It was especially irritating to me during this race because at this point, I am going on 3.5 hours of sleep. So, that made me pick up the pace even more so that I did not see them again until much later in the race when I started to slow down. Anyway, the aid stations at this race were about 3.5 miles apart, so you had to carry a water bottle. Not a problem for me, I always carry at least my fuel belt on shorter walks and both the fuel belt and a hand held on longer walks. I was feeling great, but with the climbing (not so steep in the first few miles, but steadily climbing) and the higher altitude (over 4,500’at the starting line) I thought I was moving much faster than I really was. By the 9 mile mark, I noticed that my breathing was becoming labored and shallow, so I consciously reminded myself to belly breathe like when doing yoga. I was tired, so I had to keep reminding myself to breathe deeply so that my muscles could get the oxygen they needed to keep moving forward. It was so nice to turn off the lamp and walk with the moonlight in the desert. I turned it on only when I saw that a car was approaching in the distance. A few times I looked down at the road surface and saw what appeared to be scorpions scurrying across the road. During this first half of the race, I also saw numerous shooting stars. I kept glancing to the south, into Area 51, looking for signs of the unknown, but sadly I saw no aliens or unidentified objects.

The last part of the climb over Coyote Summit, between mile 9 and mile 13 was progressively steeper, but I kept concentrating on my breathing and pressing forward. It was, however, not the smartest thing I have ever done, because by the time I crested the summit and headed back down the other side; I had run out of steam. Maybe the fact that I finally got to see my time at the half marathon point (3:09:??) also took some of my steam.

I felt something over head and it turned out to be some kind of small bird. I have not seen too many kinds of desert creatures, but when I turned toward the bird as it landed on a rock by the far side of the road, its eyes had a strange orange glow when it looked back at me.

Well, now the hard part was supposed to be over and it was all downhill from here. I passed a young man who had just been passed by another woman. He said “So What, So What!” I thought he was mad because he had been passed by a girl, then he sings another line from the song. Oh, my goodness… how funny! I knew what he was singing along with, and man was it vulgar! I had to turn around and tell him I knew he was singing “So What” from Metallica’s two disc set called Garage, Inc. I thanked him for the laugh and continued on.

Now that I was fully aware that I was going to have a crummy finish time, I planned to just have fun and finish. I ended up walking most of the rest of the race with a lady I offered a sample size body glide to when she said her shorts were wet, and she was surely going to have problems later in the race. We walked and talked and looked at the stars and talked some more. She was very interesting.

I have been studying hydration issues more fully lately because I have begun to have problems with swelling hands, even on shorter walks. It seems like I am starting to get it under control, because my fingers did not swell until much later in this marathon. They also did not swell as much as they have been swelling lately. The next issue is the bathroom issue. We were warned well in advance that there would only be porta potties at the start, then maybe 3 more along the marathon course. I passed the first 2 course potties because I just did not have to go. As I passed the 18 mile marker, I started to feel the need for a potty break. I could have just walked off to the side of the road and pottied in the moonlight, but I just kept telling myself I could wait until mile 20. That is when I had the hallucination. There was more and more traffic on the road as the night went on, so I had to keep the headlamp on most of the time. Everyone who walks at night knows that there is a tunnel vision effect after wearing a headlamp for long periods of time. This is a two lane highway with a very narrow shoulder on each side, so there is really no place to go if cars are zooming past rather quickly. One of the zoomers was a bus. I nearly got blown off the road. We were walking toward traffic and as I looked to my right I could have sworn there was a concrete barrier on the yellow line in the middle of the road. I kept looking over to make sure I was not seeing things. I also needed to get to the potty at the 20 mile mark in a really bad way. The lady I was walking with also needed to get there in a hurry. This was the actual finish line of the race where we had a 10k out and back to do, and then the race is over. As we got closer to the potty, I was still convinced that there was a concrete barrier separating the lanes of the road. The lights of the little town of Rachel started to illuminate the road, and the concrete barrier just kind of disappeared. (My friend Mellody had the same hallucination in about the same location although she was about a mile behind me) Luckily my race companion had relieved herself earlier so she let me go first. What a relief! One of the aid station volunteers was wearing a Sunmart ultra jacket, so I had a short hello, look at my cap moment. I wore my Sunmart cap during the race.

Now the last and toughest part of the race because we had to walk past the finish line and still had 10k to go. I don’t remember when the sun started to come up, but we were finally able to turn off the headlamps and saw lots of jackrabbits! We also saw a dead rattlesnake on the road. Thankfully that was the ONLY rattlesnake we saw. I was able to walk a 14 minute mile one time during the last 10k, but it took all I had to make it across the finish line. I received my medal which is really awesome. It is an alien wearing running shoes, chasing his spaceship on a black background with the Calico Racing emblem on it.

There was a nice breakfast buffet at the Little A’lien Inn that consisted of pancakes, biscuits, eggs, hash browns, gravy, and fresh fruit. Everything was really good and the staff appeared to be genuinely happy to see us! Mellody and Jean-Maria finished in that order and after we had eaten our breakfast and bought a few souvenirs, it was time to board the bus back to Las Vegas. We went back over the mountain we had to climb from the start, and since it was now daylight, we were really able to see the beauty of the countryside we had passed through in the darkness, oh, and the steep climb that we had made during the night.

This was a fantastic race with a great RD and lots of wonderful volunteers who stood out in the desert all night to make sure we were alright. Thanks to everyone involved with putting the race on!

One thing, I had no idea that the altitude would bother me so much. It is for that reason and that reason ONLY that I would not consider repeating this event, though I will highly recommend it to anyone who asks me. From now on, altitude will be one of the factors that come into play when I choose future races.

Thanks for reading! (stories from Las Vegas to follow soon enough)

Oh, and yes… malvs2walk!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ET Extreterrestrial Marathon stuff

So, I will be leaving Saturday morning for Las Vegas and the ET Extraterrestrial marathon... held on the Extraterrestrial Highway north of the Nevada Test Site also known as Area 51. The fun thing about this one is that it starts at midnight. The finish line is at the Little A'lien Inn in Rachel. They have a marathon, half marathon, 51k ultramarathon and a 10k. When someone asked me which race I was doing... I replied, just the marathon. That seems really funny for me to say just a marathon.

We pick up our race materials at the Hyatt in Las Vegas, get our stuff ready and ride a bus to the Black Mailbox, where the race starts. The moon will be just a couple of days past full, so the headlamp will have some help. Forecast temps are in the mid 50's F with possible gusty winds. Race starts at app. 4,500' elevation and climbs to 5,700' or so by mile 12.8 where we cross Coyote Summit. It is all downhill from there. It is going to be real interesting going from 100's in the daytime to 50's at night, but it should make for a pleasant experience. Oh, and it is open range, so there is a chance of getting up close and personal with cattle that most probably rarely have any human contact. Sounds like fun, right???

The other interesting fact is that the only walk I have done this week since Saturday was today after lunch. I walked a whole mile to the bank, then to City Hall and back. Total was about 1 mile. Tomorrow I will be working at the mattress store all day. I'll certainly get a good workout there!

I'll be back in touch after the marathon. That is the only thing about Las Vegas trip I plan to report on, oh, except the roller coaster ride and possibly one of the rides on top of the Stratosphere. I hope the coaster pics turn out good, if so, there will be photo evidence...

workouts July 25 - August 1

Saturday, July 25
20 miles in the bag for me today. The first 16 went well even though I was completely soaked through (sweat) by mile 6 due to the humidity... When the Garmin let me know I was at mile 19... I was walking through the cemetery... I was so crapped out, that I felt like staying a while, you know lying down on one of the graves that had a pleasant looking carpet of pine needles on top of it. I just love to complain about how HOT it is here... 5:30 am - real temp was 74; humidity 92%; heat index 84, 10:30 am at finish: real temp 87; humidity 75%, forecast said heat index was 106??? also, my average pace through the first 16 miles was 14:10mpm, I am almost ashamed to say how slow the last 4 miles were... averaged 16:38. that is just awful for me, but I was still moving forward, so it's all good.

Eating some watermelon and canteloupe, then off to stretch and shower and drive an hour each way to pick up a friend at the airport. Think I will treat myself to a Starbucks on the way. A doubleshot over ice with 5 shots espresso, a little half and half and a couple of pumps of simple syrup. Yum!

Monday, July 27
Monday evening workout done! One hour bicycle ride followed by upper body and core strength routine and stretching. Did not work the legs tonight because that pesky left calf, (shin splint?) is acting up again after the bicycle ride.

HMMM I have been thinking that maybe the last month of a marathon training schedule is not the best time to add new stuff to the routine. But, now that I am 5 weeks into the new routine, starting the 6th week, I don't plan to back off now. I will just adjust the intensity down a little.

Tuesday, July 28
I ended up having to drive to Rosenberg again. I thought I would make it home before 7:30, but it just was not happening. So, dinner, shower, to bed early, walk tomorrow, cycling and weight training Thursday, walk Friday and Saturday again.

Wednesday, July 29
Went to the track, warmed up a little over a mile, stretched, did my drills, and walked as close as I could to a couple of 1 mile repeats. They were actually a little longer than a mile because I started in lane 8 at the track and finished the repeats in lane 5, then walked a cool down lap in lane 4 in between the 2 repeats, followed by 2 cool down laps and lots more stretching. The focus of this whole workout was trying my best to keep the knees straight and legal and on lengthening my stride to the rear. I know I had a few moments when everything felt as it should.

The track is just so packed with people it is nearly impossible to do any speed work.

Thursday, July 30
I wanted to let you all know that I missed my second round of strength training this week. I had a really hectic day at work. Had to work out of town after putting out a bunch of fires at my office... arrived at the mattress store late, received a furniture delivery, then spent the whole afternoon moving mattresses around so that customers could try them out.

On the upside, I made several sales. Selling mattresses is like a low intensity cardio workout with a lot of strength moves thrown in. Upper body and core definitely got a workout!

Friday, July 31
Decided I need a rest day before the weekend.

Saturday, August 1
The last long distance walk pre-marathon. Walked 8 miles this morning. the first and last mile were 13:56 and 13:40, I tried to racewalk the 6 in the middle and the average pace for those 6 miles was 12:40... still not getting that HR high enough. My average HR for the 6 faster miles was only 77%. Now that I have stretched and showered and facebooked. Off to reclaim my title as the mattress chick.
AKA mattress sales person, not what you were thinking...

Sunday, August 2
So, I am kind of a scatterbrain... I finally found my spibelt... I have been looking for it since last weekend.
Didn't get a walk in today because I spent the day with my mom. We did a lot of shopping, then I figured out how to hook up here DVD player so she can watch some of her movie collection.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday July 22 and more

I guess I need to post my strength training workout from Wednesday evening.

First, I rode my bicycle for one hour. I am not riding very fast because I have yet to invest in a good bicycle. Still riding the old Wal-Mart standby.
As soon as I got home, I started the strength training routine:
upper body: (15) seated dumbell triceps extensions, 21's bicep curls, (15) pushups with knees on stability ball, (15) dumbbell lateral raises; 90 second rest...
core: (15) crunches on ball, (15 each side) dumbbell side bends, (15) back extensions face down on floor, (15 each side) oblique crunches on ball; 90 second rest...
lower body: (15) stiff legged dead lifts; (15) wall squats with ball; (15 each side) standing adduction; (15) dumbbell squats; 90 second rest then repeat the whole sequence.

After the weight training, I do a full body stretching routine including some yoga poses.

Thursday July 23
I was supposed to walk 8 miles this evening, but ended up working in the mattress store. I really don't like driving to Rosenberg, and this is no secret to my boss, but if it is necessary for me to work there, then I go. There was a dissatisfied cutsomer at the end of the day, and I really wanted to help her. She left happier than she arrived, so I scored one up for the day!
I was just too tired to do 8 miles by the time I got home, after 7pm, so I ate the wonderful fried chicken that Raymond had cooked for dinner and postponed the walk until Friday.

I woke up this morning at 4 am with the worst charley horse in my left calf muscle. No more shoes with heels for me. The sandals I wore to work only have about 1 1/2" heels, but I was on my feet the whole afternoon. Lesson learned.

I'll check back in later and edit this post to report how my walk goes this evening.

Friday, July 24:
Walked 7.2 miles in trail shoes on mixed surfaces: dirt, grass, asphalt and gravel. I did not carry anything with me because I was walking to the little league park where there are plenty of water fountains. I am at work right now so I can't report the exact time it took. All I know is it was still hot outside. Raymond called me when I was stopped for a second to drink some water at the fountain, and whatever he told me made me angry, so I forgot to restart the garmin when I walked away from the water fountain. I do know that the loop I walked is 9/10 of a mile, so I started the gramin back up at the start of the loop and added that much to the total. I wish there was some way to edit the workout in the training center software. If there is a way, I am sure it is much too technical for me to figure out. The city is still not finished with the new retention pond and walking path they are working on, but I use it anyway, because it is the only place I have to walk that is not asphalt or concrete roads.

Someday I may go to the local state park, but it is too dry right now and the park is right along the Brazos river. There are a lot of snakes there because we are in a severe drought this season. Where there is water, there are snakes. There have been lots of reports of snakes in yards where people are watering...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Again, more workouts, or not.

I didn't walk Sunday afternoon like I thought I would. I guess I will call it the weekend off in what is starting to look like a 4 week cycle. 3 weeks hard workouts, then a weekend off. I saw an ultra racing training schedule (I don't remember where) that suggested such a training schedule and it seems to work for me.

Monday, July 20:
I am back on the bicycle! Yes! I rode for an hour, then came home and did two sets, 15 reps, of 12 strength exercises for upper/lower body and core.
the workout looks like this: upper body: shoulder press; tricep extensions, curls, pushups; 90 second rest; core: crunches, plank, oblique crunches, crunches on ball; 90 second rest; lower body: wall squat with ball, lying abduction, single leg squats with chair, lying adduction; 90 second rest then repeat the whole sequence. I change exercises with every workout so that all muscles get the same attention.
Stretched everything when I was done. Now I am having my favorite post workout snack: partially thawed frozen strawberries topped with yogurt and free cool whip. I was so far out of whack with my eating program this weekend that most of what I ate today was fruit and vegetables.

Tuesday, July 21:
I went to the track fully intending to do a ladder workout. The gates were locked and the track was closed due to pesticide spraying. So, that made me almost as angry as having to fight the children for 1 lane of the track while their parents stroll along talking on their cell phones.
Instead, I fartleked around for 6 miles. The average pace through the first 4 miles was 12:18 with an average HR of 78% (I believe that means I could have gone faster), then a mile at marathon pace 13:08, then one slow mile for cool down.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More workouts... or not.

Skipped the workout on Thursday, I was just too tired after going to the concert Wednesday night... that was a 5 hour workout in itself.

Friday July 17, 7.41 miles... the first 7 at 12:54 mpm. The last 3.41 miles were in the dark with the headlamp on. I really need to get some night walking done for this midnight marathon next month. I don't think walking all night is going to be too much of a problem for me, heck I may even go for another marathon pr. I only need to do the marathon at an average 13mpm pace for a decent pr. The moon will be a few days past the full moon, so it won't be completely dark.

Saturday July 18 - spent the day with mom. We drove to Grapevine Texas (just north of the DFW airport) for the paper show... Not much paper which is really what my mom was looking for. They had tons of rubber stamps and related supplies. She did find some unique stamps... but the only paper they had was card stock. Not at all what she was hoping. So we drove all that way and only spent about an hour at the show.
The best part of the day was our stop in West on the way home. It is an interesting old Texas town with lots of Czech restaurants, bakeries, etc. We ate authentic ethnic food for lunch... stuffed cabbage, sweet sauerkraut, locally made sausage, and fried potatoes with onions. The pickled beets on the salad bar were really good in addition to a cold salad made from sauerkraut. Great stuff!

We finally got some rain on the way home, so a walk was out of the question for me. I only have roads with no shoulders to walk on and since this is our first rain since May... the roads were too slippery for me to feel safe walking. People just drive too carelessly and I don't feel like getting run over.

I plan a little shopping trip in a little while today, then I will get a 12 mile walk done later this afternoon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Clutch Concert Wednesday July 15

Jonny and I had a great time at the Clutch concert at House of Blues in Houston. We started out by checking out the new mall that is being built in that area of downtown Houston. It is multi level with large circular openings above the streets in spans over. Kind of a cool outdoor concept. There are some shops open already with plans for lots more to open soon. Also lots of great restaurants.

We chose to eat dinner at House of Blues, just because. The food was not all that great, but the service was good and the atmosphere was interesting to say the least.

So the show opener was a band called Lionize. They were really good for a show opener. Kind of a reggae/blues mix. Later we found out that the guitar player is also the Clutch guitar player.

Band #2 was horrible. They are called Baroness and hail from Savannah Georgia. I guess it was supposed to be heavy metal. It made no sense... Each musician was playing their own thing and it just did not come together. I absolutely had to turn my back so I was not trying to figure out what was going on. Periodically the singer would scream into the microphone. It made me feel nauseous and dizzy like I would puke and pass out. I was ready to leave. Finally they had mercy on us and finished their set.

Clutch, of course, was fantastic. I don't go to a small venue so I can sit on the sidelines, so Jonny and I were a little right of center in the mosh pit. I was warned that Clutch fans can be a rough crowd. A man brought his +/- 12 year old son down to the front and I warned him that two guys directly to his left were getting ready to get it on. A minute or two into the first song, the beer throwing slugfest started. I got out of there and watched the fight from the sidelines. When things cooled down a couple of minutes later, I went right back to where I had been when the fight started. From that point, I was able to enjoy the show and only got jostled around a few times by the crazy college kids who were slam dancing. Jonny always stands between me and the action and he got shoved into me a couple of times... and I got to help him shove back a couple of times. Anyway, I was able to take a few good pictures with my cell phone.

We got home really late, and of course I had to get up and go to work the next morning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catching up the workouts again

Monday, July 13:
I think this is week 3 of consecutive completed Monday weight training workouts. Upped the sets to 3. So, 3 sets of 15 repeats of 12 exercises for upper/lower body and core. I also did a full stretching routine afterwards including some twisting yoga poses.

Random thoughts:
I am only going to taper 2 weeks for ET. That seems to work best for me when training for a marathon. If I try to taper 3 weeks like I did for Mohican, workouts seem to cease rather than taper off... Besides, I don't need to taper to be crazy... because…"It's better to be crazy than lazy!"
This weekend, I will walk 12 on Saturday after I get back from a scrapbooking and paper convention in Dallas, and then 10 on Sunday. My only 20 miler for ET will be a week from Saturday.
Btw, I might get to go to a rock concert Wednesday night at House of Blues in Houston. I am keeping my fingers crossed. In case anyone is interested, the band is Clutch.

Tuesday, July 14:
I just got home. 6 miles including 42 sets of bleachers. There are 14 full sets of stairs at the stadium, 10 on the home side and 4 on the visitor side. I walked a mile to the track, three laps with all the stairs each followed by a regular lap in lane 8; slow racewalk 1 mile; regular walk 1 mile; walk 1 mile home. I did a full stretching routine concentrating heavily on hamstring and ilio flexibility followed by some twisting yoga poses with slow easy breathing.

Wednesday, July 15:
Going to do my upper body and core exercises at lunch today so I will have the evening open to go to a concert with my son... we might go to see Clutch at the House of Blues in Houston.