Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First Guest Post

I am proud to be a part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers group and the mixture of diverse bloggers that also belong to the group. 
Arkansas Women Bloggers

The group covers a very diverse range of topics on their blogs and it was fun to meet some of these ladies in person last June at a blogging retreat.  The ARWB just relaunched the website a few months ago and with that started a monthly topic for guest posts.  January was right up my aisle with the topic of New Year, New You. 

Here's a link to my guest post...What Choice Are You Going To Make?

Thanks for checking it out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

11 Things!

I was tagged this weekend for the 11 Random Things post by AJH at Age Groups Rock and Shannon at Tough Chik.  So here goes:

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me
1) I don't drink caffeine. I quit my senior year of college after becoming a Diet Coke addict.  I never really liked coffee or tea so I don't miss out on much.

2) Growing up I got teased and called Whitney Houston.

3) I was actually born in Houston.

4) I used to rotate between bedrooms in my house since it's just me and I like each of the beds.  I haven't switched in a while since my yellow room bed is usually covered with laundry!

5) I hate washing dishes and wish that my little kitchen included a dishwasher.

6) Some of my most prized possessions are black and white pictures of my grandparents and parents that I have framed on one wall of my living room. My favorite is a picture of my grandmother that she signed "With all my love, Maxine" for my grandfather. 

7) I do my own taxes and have since I was a teenager. (Just saw a TurboTax commercial which prompted this one!)

8) I majored in Spanish in college and haven't really spoken Spanish since.

9) I am super messy and tend to make piles.  I always have and can remember as a kid making piles and hiding stuff under the bed when I was supposed to be cleaning my room. 

10) I don't eat fish...I'll try it sometimes but just am not a huge fan. 

11) I am horrible about washing my face at night.  Now that I'm starting to see little lines, I'm trying to get better about washing my face and putting on moisturizer at night.  I'm pretty minimal in my entire face and makeup routine.

Here are the questions from AJH:
1) What tv series do you recommend? I love Justified which just started the 3rd season.  I also like The New Girl and like Whitney. 

2) What is a book you couldn't put down? I just read The Hunger Games and finished it in a day.  I've got the 2nd and 3rd book in the series to read next.

3) Serious movies or chick flicks? Chick Flicks

4) What is a race you would recommend hands down? If you love race swag, then I would recommend the NWA Race for the Cure.  We live in the home of Walmart and suppliers usually have a ton of giveaways after the race, as in some people fill multiple tote bags with goodies.

5) What grade did your favorite teacher ever teach? Growing up my favorite teacher was probably a junior high math teacher.  In college, my favorite teacher was my marketing professor.  In grad school, almost all of my professors were favorites.  I think as I got older I recognized the spark that each brought to their subjects and could more easily see how the material related to my life. 

6) If you could live anywhere where would you live? Hawaii, I'm fascinated with Hawaii lately and really want to visit there.  Anyone up for a trip?!?!

7) What was one of the best days of your life aside from marriage and childbirth? Hmm, I think I've had a bunch of best days.  I tend to love days that I spend with my nieces and nephews especially when I get my nephew going in a giggle fit. 

8) What food could you never give up? Chocolate!

9) What is a place you would NEVER want to live? Somewhere without easy travel connections to see my family.

10) What famous person do you admire?  Chrissie Wellington really impressed me with her decision and reasons for taking some time off from Ironman this year.  That takes guts and courage.

Here are the questions from Shannon:

1. What is your favorite TV show? Hawaii 50, Justified, and Grey's Anatomy are my favorites.

2. If you had to eat the same meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes with chocolate for dessert.

3. Do you cry at sad movies? Yes, so I try to save the super sad movies to watch at home.

4. Do you have any pre-race rituals? If so, what are they?  Probably my only pre-race ritual is just going to the bathroom 100 times.  Seriously I get super nervous before races.

5. Mac or PC?  I'm a PC.

6. If you could pick the color of the new Tough Chik running singlet. what color would you pick? Magenta pink...kind of that deep raspberry pink color. 

7. How did you find out about Tough Chik?  I can't remember...probably another blogger.  I've been a Facebook fan for a while and decided to join the Team this year. 

8. What is you favorite song?  Ave Maria

9. Any Superbowl plans? No, I'm not a big sports fan.

10. How do you take your coffee, if you don’t drink coffee, what is your morning beverage of choice? I'm not a coffee drinker so I start off the morning with water.

11. What is the worst job you have ever had? I haven't had any horrible jobs just a job working in a horrible situation.  I loved my job but hated the environment and lack of morale in the office.   

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some New Duds

I don't know what got into me but tonight I did a little online shopping. It all started when Tough Chik posted a pic on Facebook of their new hoodie.  It was pretty cute and as a Team Tough Chik member I decided to take advantage of my team member discount.  I started looking on the site and decided to treat myself to a new bike jersey too.  After that I decided to order a fun swim cap for a friend as a birthday present.  I should never have looked at the sale section as I seem to be putting together quite the suit collection lately.  Lastly, I was super excited to see that SkinnyRunner had new shirts available.  She had the Flock of Seagulls design in her original shirt sale but only in smaller sizes.  I'm really hoping that the size I need is available this go around.  As with anytime I order online, I'm crossing my fingers that everything fits and arrives super quick!

Tough Chik Saints & Sinners Jersey

Burnout Hoodie
Tough Chik Burnout Hoodie...it reads This is What Tough Looks Like

SkinnyRunner's Flock of Seagulls t-shirt.  I'm hoping she still has my size available!

Sporti Sparkler Swim suit from SwimOutlet

Let's hope the mail is speedy and everything turns out great!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Could you hear me too?!?!

Ever have a run where you feel like the whole world can hear your feet plodding along! Tonight I did and I was sure that people blocks away could hear me coming.  I don't know why but I felt like I was so loud while running.  My legs just wouldn't warm up and my feet weren't happy either.  I could tell from the start of my warmup that it wasn't going to be a good night for me. 

Instead of doing the group speed workout, I took a little run walk from the track to our downtown square.  It was a nice night with perfect temps in the mid-40's.  The workout that I missed was a doozy...I think it involved a mile time trial followed by fast repeats and plyos.  When I got back to the track, I could tell how hard the workout had been. 

I did a few more laps on the track to finish up my distance.  I talked my friend AJ into running the last one with me and it was probably my fastest and best section of the run all night.  AJ is quite a bit faster than me and she just naturally got me to pick up my pace and the conversation distracted me from the discomfort my legs had been feeling.  I only hope that my next run doesn't take 4 miles for me to get warmed up and that I'm a little quieter as I run!!! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 One Hour Postal Swim Meet

Every year in January, US Masters Swimming hosts a One Hour Postal Swim Meet.  The objective of the meet is to swim as far as you can in one hour.  It is a national event in that anyone can compete from wherever they want.  You have the entire month of January to swim and submit your results. 

I'm really lucky that our Masters club get together to swim the One Hour swim together.  This year the meet was on Saturday and it kicked off bright and early at 5:30 AM with registration.  I'm not a morning person so this is always one of the most challenging aspects of the meet.  We hold two heats and most people swim a heat and count a heat.  Each swimmer should have a counter and that person is responsible for keeping track of the swimmer's lap splits and distance. 
3rd from the left and I'm getting some last minute coaching from Carie.

My friend Carie offered to count for me again this year.  She is a great friend and she always coaches our Sunday Funday workouts.  My friend Lori and I shared a lane and lined up in the lane next to our friend Brent.  This year was the first time that we filled the pool and had to send people to the 2nd pool.  Pretty impressive turnout with 50 swimmers!!!
Our awesome club President Jeff Spencer kicking off the meet

The first heat of swimmers got started at 6 AM.  Carie and I had agreed that she would tell me when I hit the half way point and also when I had 10 minutes remaining.  My goal this year was to hit the 2 mile mark.  As we got the one minute warming for the start time I slowly lowered myself into the water...it was soooo cold. 
Ready, Set, Go!

As we got started it took me a few laps to feel like I was settled into a pace.  I decided to count laps by counting up to 10 (500yds) and then starting over.  I thought this would help me stay focused and see if I was on pace at the halfway point.  It also helped me to keep track of just how much time I had left after passing the halfway point.  Swimming for an hour non-stop can get a little boring so anything to keep your mind off of it is great. 

At the 30 minute mark I had already made it past the one mile mark and figured I had a cushion of about 50-100 yds.  I couldn't give up my focus or pace.  At the 10 minute warning, I knew that I could easily swim 500yds in the time remaining and that I was going to make my goal.  In the midst of this time, I came upon Lori stopped in our lane.  Right as I passed it she started swimming again.  Turns out someone decided to blow a 5 minute warning whistle and she thought it meant our hour was up.  She wasn't happy about it because it cost her 10-15 yds while she tried to figure out if it was over or not. 
Lori and I after we finished. 

The final minute went by quickly and when the whistle went off I was in the middle of the pool.  My official distance was 3440 yds.  The first thing I did when we were finished was swim down to the bottom of the pool and retrieve a dive toy that had been resting on our lane line the entire swim.  Then I confirmed with Carie that I hit my goal and had a celebratory cooldown.  It was so awesome to do some back and breast stroke since all I swam for the hour was freestyle.  My muscles were ready for something different. 
Arkansas Masters 2012 One Hour Swim

After the cooldown, all the participants gathered together for a group picture and then it was time for the 2nd heat to get started.  Carie had a friend counting for her that is just getting into swimming.  She was curious about the meet but a little scared so counting was a good introduction into what the meet is all about.  Brent, Lori, and I took over the hot tub and enjoyed a nice soak before cheering on our friends during their heat. 

I think the top distance swam was 4800 yds and there were quite a few in the 4000+ range including Lori and Brent.  This was my third year to do the one hour swim and in that time I have added 500 yds to my hour distance.  As one friend said, I can now report that I swim at 2 mph!

Photos taken by Daniel McGurk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Random Updates

I've been a little lacking in blog updates for the last week so here are some random updates on what I've been up to.

Swimming: I got some quick lunch time swims in the last week.  I usually managed just under a mile during my lunch hour.  The gym is pretty busy at lunch time but most of the people are taking classes and so the pool isn't too crowded.  On Monday, I struggled to find an open locker it was that crowded! This past weekend our Sunday Funday swim included a main set of 2 sets of 6 x 75 and then 4 x 150.  The 75's were done in the following order: free, 25 fly 50 free, 25 free 25 back 25 free, 50 free 25 breast on the 1:30 (with the 25 stroke fast) then 25 fly, back, breast, and 75 all free ALL fast on the 2:00.  The extra rest on the 2:00 was well enjoyed and needed! The 150's were done on a 2:45 interval and we all did something different.  I alternated doing all free and pull. 

Biking: Whoops, I didn't do any bike trainer workouts last week. 

Running:  I got a couple good runs in last week but struggled to go out this weekend for a run.  I have to work one Saturday a month for my new job.  It's usually just a few hours in the morning but it meant that by the time I left work I was hungry and not feeling motivated.  I really had no excuse for being so lazy but I enjoyed the shopping time that I took instead of running.  I suffered the consequences on Monday when I just couldn't get into the speed workout.  Our speed workout was a really tough Prefontaine classic called 30/40's.  Pre used to run 200m repeats in 30 sec then 40 sec and he would continue alternating between those 2 paces until he hit a 10K distance.  Of course, very few people are as talented as Pre so for the rest of us you just match the concept with alternating 200's that are hard/easy.  Our goal was to do 2 miles of alternating 200's then 2 x 800m.  I skipped out on the final 2 x 800m's and opted to begin my cooldown instead.  It's important to push yourself in a safe manner when rebuilding your fitness and this is a workout that is tough if your fitness isn't quite where it should be.  It is a great workout and one of my favorites that Mike gives us.  I made up for the shortened workout by doing plyometrics after the workout.  I love plyos and noticed this morning that it has been awhile since I've done plyos due to some lingering soreness. 

I'm hoping to be better this week about getting my runs in and blogging!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's Cho Awesome!

Several weeks ago I participated in a Chobani hosted Twitter Party and I was the winner of a year's membership to the Chobani of the Month club.  I've been a big fan of Chobani for the last 2 years.  I tried some other Greek yogurts but loved the smoothness of Chobani and the fruit on the bottom, especially the Pineapple.  I was really excited to win the prize and even more so when this arrived in the mail...

What a big box!
Inside was a cooler with ice packs to keep it cold!
Discovering this month's flavor!
One well stocked fridge!
My first shipment is a case of the new Apple Cinnamon flavor.  I've been mixing it with Vanilla Almond granola for breakfasts this week.  Super yummy! Thanks Chobani!

If you haven't checked them out, Twitter parties like the Chobani one I attended can be fun and informative.  I've found some new blogs to follow and even won a few prizes. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Unplanned Progression!

Tonight I headed to the Downtown Activity Center to meet up with the Rush group for the Wednesday night fun run.  I wanted to get in 5 miles for the night but didn't really care about my pace or effort.  I just wanted to get the time in on my feet as I am working on building my base back up.

I managed to get there a little early so I headed out to do a mile warmup on my own.  I took it easy and even took a walk break since my legs were feeling a little tired to start out.  I got back to the DAC and met up with the rest of the group.  There were a couple of newbies who were hoping to do 3 miles.  I talked them into going the 4 miles I had remaining with me. 

We all headed out with the different pace and distance groups quickly separating out.  My plan was to take the newbies out on a 2 mile out and back course.  That way if there were issues it would be easy for them to know where we were.  (Bad experience a few years ago when someone got upset that I didn't stay with them the entire run and they got lost on their way back!)

Anyway, we didn't talk much as they were both listening to headphones.  They just tucked in behind me on the run and I definitely felt the pressure to be a good pace leader! Because I was not worrying about the pace I really didn't watch my mile splits.  I knew the general route and distance and just kept it as casual as I could with an easy start.  We hit our turnaround at the Roundabout in Memorial Park and everyone was doing good. 

On the way back in, we had a long gradual hill that always wears me out around the 3 mi mark.  Right near the mile marker there is a little section of stairs that connect a neighborhood with the street we were running.  Normally I walk up the stairs and a few steps after...well tonight my running partners took the stairs and then started back up running.  I missed that little bit of recovery that I am so used to! From there we had a nice downhill and flat section for about 1/2 mile and then we had a short hill to get back into the downtown area.

Around the base of the hill we caught up with the always awesome Ali Rush.  Ali is a superstar runner and the wife of our coach Mike Rush.  It's rare that I get to run with Ali but when I do she always manages to get me to push the pace and be a calming influence.  Ali is recovering from being sick and had to cut her run short since she was coughing and struggling.  Even with that, she paced us in for the last 1/2 mile and it was a great finish. 

I got home and reviewed my splits and was surprised to discover that I had executed a near perfect progression run.  I had no intentions when I set out to run a specific pace or effort so I was pretty happy to see the results. 

Mile 1 - 11:46
Mile 2 - 11:37
Mile 3 - 10:55
Mile 4 - 10:51
Mile 5 - 10:28
Mile .20 - 9:59
Avg: 11:05 vs 11:30 last week for a pretty similar route/distance.

Another improvement over last week...I didn't run into the Magnolia tree branch on 2nd! Gotta take every win you can right!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I'm Going the Distance in 2012!

My good friend Carie posted a link today about the US Masters Swimming's Go The Distance event sponsored by Nike.  It is the most popular USMS event each year and she had me on board with the mention of FREE PRIZES!

How it works is that you track your distance swam for the whole year.  You can log your distance daily or monthly, whatever works best for you! Once you surpass certain milestones, you get a free prize.  All of this and it is a free program.  Here are the stats from last year's participants: In 2011, more than 2,000 swimmers swam more than 50 miles; 547 swam 365 miles and two swimmers made it to 1,500 miles.

I set my goal at 150 miles for the year.  I've never tracked my swim distance on a yearly basis so I really have no clue if this is an achievable distance but I thought it sounded like something good to shoot for.  Below are the prize levels:
MilestoneNike Swim Award
50 milesGTD Nike Swim swim cap
100 miles
150 miles
200 miles
250 milesNike draw string bag
300 miles
365.25 miles
(average mile a day)
400 miles
500 milesNike Swim suit
750 miles
1000 miles
1250 miles
1500 miles

Here's where I am at so far in the challenge.  I have logged in 3 swims of various distances.  It will be fun to track my distance over the coming year. 

 If you want to join in, visit United States Masters Swimming to sign up. There are some other fun programs you can do including the One hour Postal Swim that takes places this month. My Masters club is hosting our postal swim on the 21st and I'll be trying to get to the 2 mile mark this year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Uffda, this is going to hurt!

A few weeks ago I started a new job and one of the perks is an awesome corporate gym.  I have been going to this gym for a while and paying the guest fee in order to swim with my friends and training partners so I was really excited to get the job so that I could officially join the gym!

A few of my friends have always loved a Bootcamp class at the gym and encouraged me to join them when the new session started today.  I was told to show up early because the class can get full and they actually will cut people off from entering if it's too full.  I met up with my friend Cathy as I was heading into the locker room to change.  I told Cathy I was a little scared for the workout!

The class started out with a series of ab moves then moved onto circuit training.  As Jason the trainer walked through the stations I got even more scared! The stations covered a full, total body workout.  Some of the stations included exercise bands, dumb bells, stability balls, and even the TRX bands.  I had never tried the TRX bands before and by the end of each station could definitely feel the burn. I also struggled with doing the mountain climbers and had to take some pauses during those stops on the circuit. For the most part, I was fatigued by the time the trainer hollered to switch to the next station and I'm fairly certain I will feel the workout tomorrow. 

As we finished up the class, I asked one of my friend's in the group how come I was sweating and they weren't! His remark was that they have had more practice and know how to cheat better!