Monday, July 28, 2014

Junie Lately

Did I ever formally mention that I did in fact join the swank-swank gym?  Well I did and I am LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVING it.  From the steam, sauna, whirlpool, lap pool, THE CLASSES OH THE CLASSES!  Anyway yeah I love it.  Plus the real reason I joined is so that I have big heavy things to pick up and put down over and over.  LOVE MY LIFTING!
Today I have a very quiet day at work which is very unusual for me of late, so I thought I would pop in, write a bit.  I have a couple of other titles drafted out but I didn't feel like writing about any of that today.
I am also loooooooooooooooving my new job here, well its my same job but different company I guess really. 
Know what else I am loving?  Katy.  Cinco Ranch.  Whichever.  I don't live in Katy proper, I live in Cinco Ranch which is about 8 miles S (ish) from actual Katy Katy.  My work address is Katy, my home address is Katy, but neither are Katy proper.  Oy.
I really do just love it out here.  Its not the Katy of yesteryear thats for sure.  Every thing and I mean EVERYTHING you have in Houston, you have here basically.  Same restaurants, even the smaller ones like Black an example.  Walking around LaCenterra Saturday evening after dinner out it was obvious that the popular spots in Houston have branched out to reach Cinco Ranch.  Which is super duper nice for me!
So yeah I kinda love it here.
Ah, also I am indeed joining a running/training group out here as well.  Saturday went very well with them for the 2nd try and I think its gonna work for me.  We'll see anyway.  I have a few goal races and/or times through February so we will see if their approach helps or does nothing for me.  There is a lot about it thats kinda crazy and not what I am used to.  An example would be that my longest long run for a half is 17 miles.  AND its 2 weeks out from whatever date race day is. Oy.  Not so much the 2 weeks out, which is normal I guess, at least for me, but not 17 miles.  LOL.

I am very excited just to be living LIFE again.  I don't want to dwell much anymore on what was so wrong the past 2 years, but dang I am just so happy!

One of the things I have been enjoying is buying some new clothes. I never bought much up there in Nebraska due a lot in part that you had to order everything online too (unless you REALLY like camo), and what I did buy was for the colder and COLD weather, so buying things for Summer and able to wear 9 months out of the year instead of the other way around has been fun!  I just bought a few more items and I am good until next year at least!  However there are some things that now will be going into a box and donated.  There were still a few things I couldn't seem to part with yet again when moving but its time and I made up my mind on that today.  

My goal of living more minimally has to have its rules and one is that if I am going to 'replace' items then I need to just do that.

Its just so much darn fun being able to shop again!!

I/we spend a lot of time at the pool.  Goofing off and visiting mostly.  But racing laps as well which is always a hoot.  The amount of time I am spending with family and friends is good for my heart and my head, whether its at my pool, eating out, getting together at whoever's house it is this time around.  I cannot believe how blessed I am.  I mean I always knew it but until I went away I just didn't truly realize you know??

I am not seeing all of my friends as often as I would like mainly because no one really seems to be willing to compromise and thats OK.  I get it.  I've offered up and invited and suggested and well quite frankly, I'm kinda over that.  For the most part if I am invited to do something, I am going to make the effort unless its just something I cannot do or don't want to do.

Kinda like I don't wanna make the drive into Houston every single Saturday to run with KW, I would love to see my KW friends every weekend but I'm OK with not too.  And I have a lot of friends actually that live in Katy that I never got to see before, that I do get to see now.  So its never gonna be lose/lose! 

One thing I haven't replaced and am definitely ready to, is a man in my life.  Its something I think about often, and I am in fact ready.  I've made so many changes in myself over the past 3 years or so and being in NE, well I wasn't looking to stay there, so a steady man wasn't something I was looking for necessarily.  But now?  Yeah I am definitely open to a REAL relationship.

So I'm meeting and greeting and just keeping myself open to possibilities.  That too is fun you know? 

So if you know anyone....

TaTa for now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

How Or IF I Should Choose A Running/Training Group

I started training for my first half marathon on my own way back in early 2006.  I had done a couple of 5K's, and even a 10K.  I remember my first 10K was that Feb 2006 (Rodeo Run), and I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud.  It was pouring rain and I still remember calling my momma from the car afterwards.
If I remember correctly I ran it somewhere around 1:12.  Those were the beginning days fo sho!  Now my PR for the 10K stands at 58:xx
Anyway...I trained for my first half on my own.  Sure I knew there were other runners out there, I saw them ALL the time as I ran at Memorial park, or up and down Memorial and around the bayou.
Sometimes I of course would see packs of people running together but I had no clue that there was such a thing as a running group let alone a training group!
I don't really remember how I found out about it...I know I was blogging at the time.  And I found a Houston Running Bloggers page/message place.
I still wasn't sure about it all but by the time my first half came around (October 2006), I had met a lot of people in one group and joined.
It was these exact people that convinced me right after that half that since "I was already halfway there I should just sign up for the full in January".
And so I did. 
I continued to train on my own and longer runs with the group; really it was just the last long run before Houston, where everyone meets up and runs the first 20 miles of the course and then you get carted back to your car at GRB.
Then after that first full marathon in January 2007, I wanted to keep going, but I knew I was missing something.
There were quite a few people who read my blog and I think it was through email that I was first told about Kenyan Way.
Anyway, the rest of that KW relationship is history, and everyone knows my love affair with that group!
So yeah moving away for 2  years and losing the group and a LOT of fitness that took me years to get to; kinda ruined me.
But coming back home I was elated to be able to be with KW if only for Saturdays (logistics)!  A lot of my close friends are with KW and I love all the perks.
So for like the first 3 weekends I would drive into town to run with them and it was great.  Even though I feel completely out of shape, it still made me do better than I would on my own, so the competition to keep up and not look as out of running shape than I am...still the getting up at 4:30am, drive 30 min, run 6-7 miles and come home?  Yeah that wasn't making too much sense.
It was suggested that maybe after my runs get longer than 9-10 miles then maybe it would be worth it (I am just SPOILED with the diff routes, and hydration set ups every couple of miles!!)
Anyway, I ran a couple of times on my own at TH: its closer to me and it has water fountains and its shaded.  All pluses, but I could see it getting boring after a while and I miss the group atmosphere (even though I am SO not a social talky talk runner).
Then I met a few runners at work and we started running together at TH.  Better but still not ideal and the same route just ugh.
I do love TH, just not ALL the time :O)
So I began researching for training groups out in the Cinco Ranch area and there are in fact quite a few!  I mean you have Katy, Cinco Ranch and of course Fort Bend county all to service runners of every kind I suppose!
I have reached out to them all now I think...and while some were interesting to where I thought I would 'fit' all were the same in as 'you carry your own fluids'.  Oy.  My one thing over everything else is I HATE CARRYING MY OWN WATER!  Sure I did it when I trained for so long by myself, but once I started with KW ... Well I am just spoiled rotten.
So finally I was down to the one that I thought would probably be the worst fit (its a Galloway training group).  After many emails back and forth with a couple of their directors, communicating my current fitness, past races and fitness and what my goals were going forward and also what exactly was I looking for in a group?
So after seeing their distances/paces/intervals for this past weekend, and me only doing 6 miles (starting next weekend I begin moving towards end of October half so I will be at 8 miles and wanted to cut back from 7 to 6 this week). 
Once they figured where I might be a good fit, I knew what time to show up and where.  I didn't have a lot of hope for this; I am running high min intervals and these guys never go over 3/1's!!! 
But I was SURPRISED when I finished this run FASTER than I would have had I ran my usual Saturday intervals!  What?!
Plus at the end, we did parking garage hill repeats and I actually ended up having a great Saturday morning.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand and know that Galloway runners have BQ'd and are in fact, faster than some 'run all the way' people I know.  Probably me at this point!  And the book along w the philosophies are solid, tried and true.  Really all I have as far as a goal in mind is to get back below 2:15 for the half.  And I KNOW its totally doable.  I just have to put in the work.  And this group also does speed work and hill work a couple of days a week as well (just like KW).  My next half is end of October, and that is not my time goal race, but I have 4 more between now and first weekend in Feb 2015.  ONE of those I have indeed picked for my 'comeback'.  I don't really expect myself or my desire to beat my current half marathon PR (2:06), but I do want that sub 2:15 again!!!!
Of course there are some downsides to this group:  no every 2 mile water stations; carry your own hydration (which didnt seem to bother me this time for some reason).  With such low interval ratios I wouldn't ever get back up to running a half marathon non-stop (which was completely normal and doable for me pre-Nebraska; and I need to decide if thats even a thing for me anymore, if I can meet my time goals with run/walking).  And I am sure this was just because the 2 guys were trying to 'sell' me but dang they talked the ENTIRE time and expected a conversation back.
This will NOT work out for me long term!  Ha!!
So basically I am going to give them another go this next Saturday; run with a different set of folks and we'll see how that goes.  If we have a constant theme here where everyone is chatty chatty, and expect me to be, then that won't work.  I can carry my own water, but don't expect me to be social when I am actually running.
So this is my last resort I guess you could say.  If this last group doesn't work for whatever reason, then I will start driving in to Houston on Saturdays again so that I can have varying routes, and course support.  With higher mileage Saturdays just around the corner, I have to have something to fall back on to help me get through the remainder of the hot summer running/high mileage days.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let Freedom Ring!

Oh goodness what a fantabulous long weekend!
We actually got let go from work around 1ish I guess on Thursday, and I took Monday off as well, so yeah it was such a great great great weekend!
Here is the boring parts; you know the working out highlights :O)
Friday morning I got up and headed into town to run a local 4th of July 5K that I ran once before and HATED.  LOL.  But as I mentioned a while back, I signed up for a couple of races this Summer just to get myself back in the groove of having actual races to attend!
I had run this race once before, gosh it had to have been like 2007 or something and swore to never do it again.  And now, I know I won't ever do it again.  Again.  :O)
It was great to go and see some familiar faces though and they do have great swag afterwards; and the tech race shirt (gender specific) was a nice touch too!
Nothing to write home about.  I was doing OK for a while though.  Except it had to have been about just a mile in and I had to go pee like no ones business.  Like the kind where you KNOW you can't possibly run much further without peeing because its all you are going to think about and 2 miles is going to feel like 10.  So I am not sure where the right hand turn was, but I know there was a turn, I saw a construction porta potty and I made a beeline for it.  I had to pee a LOT more than I originally thought, so there was about 30sec out the window.
But man did I feel better!!!
I had set my watch to do 7/1's which worked out fine only that for the first 1/2 of the race I was running too fast to sustain it later on in the heat.  I was literally soaked through by the end.  So much so that I almost couldnt get my top off (I changed in the parking lot as I was going to meet Ed for breakfast afterwards).
But it was good to get out there even when its uncomfortable.  I am actually surprised at how well I am handling the running here in Texas again after being away for so long.  If I put in some real effort, I might be able to get a bit closer to where I was a little bit faster.  

Eh, I am enjoying all the other activities I have going on to put all my focus on just running ever again.  I love running for the comradirie and the bling/swag now :O)
Saturday morning I was up and out the door to get in 7 miles but it was a solo run since everyone else either drank too much or stayed up too late the night before.  Or both.
I started at 6am out at TH and it was actually nice to just be by myself for a long run as a change.  Had a little 'situation' about 6 miles in but thankfully I was able to take care of that and finish up without incident.  HashtagRunnerProblems
Sunday was an active recovery day (swimming, running around)...the family was over for pool party and grilling out and we had the best time.  Its the 3rd time now we've all gotten together at my new place and its special to me.  I cannot believe how blessed I am with the family I have.  And to be back in Texas?  I don't know how I lasted as long as I did!!!!

My heart!  He will be 5 months old on Friday!  QUIT growing!

Monday, B and I had plans to hit up GB and TH for running and boot camp but she texted early early that she wasn't feeling well and was bailing.  I wasn't upset because duh, I sat around and drank more coffee and watched TV longer :O)
What I ended up doing eventually was swinging by the gym I was thinking about joining to have a tour and talk about $.  I didn't actually talk to anyone till when I came back later in the day to actually work out.  I did 3 miles on the treadmill, followed by a legs workout and finishing off with 10min in the steam room.  WOW.  I miss having all the amenities!!!  The steam room is one of my favs!  I am not too keen on the whole coed thing though because I prefer to be able to go in there in just a towel but umm... yeah probably not allowed :O)
This morning I ended up joining since a promotion started today which the membership counselor had told me about.  So yeah, now I am officially a member.  It comes out to be $12 more a month than I was paying in Sidney and well this place is swank so its totally worth it. This afternoon it was 3 miles plus shoulders/chest and I finished up with 5 min on the stairmill.  Good GAWD that thing is BRUTAL!  How in the HELL do you burn 300 cal in 5 min???  STAIR.  MILL.
Plus I cancelled a monthly subscription service which I figured makes up the difference (being in Houston now, I no longer need NatureBox as my options to purchase healthy snacks is abundant).  I will say that NatureBox was a great thing for me living in a rural area though!
So there is my long weekend of workouts ... managed to stay busy and active, with a lot of fun AND some rest in there as well.