Monday, January 27, 2014

The Start of Something Grand

Today was my final post as the Blogger of the Month at Arkansas Women Bloggers.

Hop on over to the site to check out why I'm going to have a GRAND year in 2014!

I'll leave you with this little hint...

Photo Credit: Grand Canyon National Park Service

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 One Hour Postal Swim

It's nearing the end of January but on Friday my friends and I still managed to sneak in our annual One Hour Postal Swim.  The Postal Swim is a national swim meet that you hold at a location and time of your choosing.  Once complete, then you mail in your results and that is how the meet becomes Postal! There are various postal meet events through out the year with US Masters Swimming but January is known for the One Hour Postal Swim.

This year, we gathered again on a Friday evening to hold the swim.  Our pool has lanes in use after work for one of the local swim club teams.  We managed to get the final two lanes in the pool except we had five swimmers.  Luckily the next lane over was a pro-triathlete who was willing to split the lane with us.  There isn't much fanfare to the one hour swim.  Our timers sit in chairs at the end of the lane.  They each have a stop watch/ iPhone to time with and a split sheet to track the splits for each swimmer.  The splits are kept per each 50 yard lap of the pool.
Lori, Jeff, Me, Brent, and Jeff

We select a time to start and then with a jump into the pool everyone is off and swimming.  Once again, Lori and I shared a lane this year.  I think Lori and I have shared a lane for almost every year that I have done the one hour postal swim.  She is much faster than me and that provides me with mental entertainment during the swim as I try to calculate how many laps it takes her to lap me or other silly things.

This year I made the decision to count laps for every 500 yards.  It helped me gauge the amount of time that I had been swimming and stay mentally focused.  I went into the event without a goal and very fearful that my distance was going to be much lower than I wanted.  My swimming this fall has been hit and miss as work has sometimes overtaken my life.  Counting the laps led to me doing some math to try and calculate out what distance a 50 sec 50 yard pace would cover which was equal to 3600 yards.

I had asked Jon, Lori's husband, who was timing for the two of us to give us a 10 minute warning.  His warning came and I definitely felt like I had to pick up the pace to try and get my remaining laps in and try to hit 3600 yards.  I ended up with 3560 yards in the one hour time.  This equates out to a pace of 1:41 per 100 yard which I was happy with for the most part.  My distance in 2013 was 3580 yards so it was a little disappointing to miss that distance by 20 yards or less than one length.  That equates out to 1/3 yard per minute which is so negligible in the long haul.

Below is my distance history for this event.  Every year I am so happy when it is over! With that...12 months until I have to do a solid hour swim again! The best part of this event is definitely the dinner and social time afterwards with my buds.

2014 - 3560 yards
2013 - 3580 yards
2012 - 3440 yards
2011 - 3295 yards
2010 - 2935 yards

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's new this January?

I feel bad that a few weeks have passed by this month and I haven't shared some exciting news with you all.  I have the great honor of serving this month as the Blogger of the Month for the Arkansas Women Bloggers.  I have belonged to this group for several years and really enjoyed getting to know other local bloggers through the organization.

Arkansas Women Bloggers is one of several state blogging groups founded by The Park Wife.  Some of the other states represented are:


The motto for all of the state blog groups is Gather, Grow, Connect.  One of the big ways that the Arkansas group has accomplished this is through the annual conference.  Some of last year's conference highlights for me were the sessions on building your brand, incorporating travel into your blog, and some foodie options like learning about a pressure cooker!

Here are some links to my guest posts for this month.  I hope you enjoy and if you live in one of the states mentioned please consider joining.

The Starting Line - my approach to New Year's's all about race planning!
Birthday Beginnings - the impact of turning 35 on my personal style!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 1 P90X3 Completed

Yesterday completed my first week of P90X3! My sisters and I are doing the 90 day program with their husbands and some other friends.  Since we all live in different spots we have a virtual group to support each other.  Here are a few of my week 1 observations...

The Workouts - There has been a lot more variety than I expected.  I don't know why I expected the workouts to be all pull-ups but surprisingly we have had a lot of variety.  Agility X is probably the workout that left me the sorest of them all this week.  My tush hurt after that one and even swimming which normally soothes my aching muscle didn't provide any relief.

The Pull-ups - The Challenge is a workout where you select a number at the beginning of the workout for two exercises - push-ups and pull-ups. The workout alternates between these two exercises for the entire 30 minutes.  Intimidating! I completed the workout using the modification of band pull downs for all of the pull-up exercises.   I have a pull-up bar and pull-up assist band but even with it felt like I couldn't do anything more than shrug my shoulders.  Fast forward to the following day and my sister kindly explained how to use my pull-up assist band.  I had the foot hold near mid-calf height and she explained that until I build up my strength I should put the foot hold at the highest spot possible.  I made the change and was very surprised at the result.

The Bed Time - For this program, I made the personal commitment to do the workouts before work.  I know that evening workouts are hard for me to remain committed to as I get home from work and just want to relax.  I try to leave for work by 6:45 AM so that has meant getting my workouts started by 5:15 AM.  To maintain this rhythm I am trying to force myself to bed around 9:00 PM.

The Gear - After the Agility X workout on Tuesday I made the decision to invest in a high impact flooring mat.  The jumping around on my tile floor wasn't very kind to my legs and feet.  The mat made a huge difference and I'm very happy with my purchase.  For other gear, I have dumbbells in a range of weights from 3-15 lbs.  I haven't worked my way up to the 15 lbs quite yet but I'm sure that will come.  I also have the pull-up bar and pull-up assist band as well as a variety of resistance bands.

For week 2, we will repeat the same workout schedule.  I'm looking forward to trying each workout again as the cues aren't always clear in some of the sequences.  I have already made veggie snack packs and am laying out my lunch and work snack plan so that I can make healthier eating choices during the week.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Commitment Day Race Recap

When I first began running while living in Virginia, one of my favorite races was the Rotary Resolution Run on New Year's Day.  There is something about kicking off the year with a race that just cements your commitment to health and happiness in the new year.  Northwest Arkansas has lacked a New Year's Day race for many of the years that I have lived here...until now.  I was excited that 2014 got to be kicked off with the Commitment Day 5K in Bentonville.

You know I love a good theme run so I went shopping for some fun headwear.  Unfortunately I couldn't find anything ideal with lights and sparkle.  Sadly there were a lot of options but very few had the year 2014 on them.  I wanted something that had the year on it so I got crafty.  My original plan was to attach a table decoration to one of my fleece hats but once I tried it out I realized it wouldn't work.  Thankfully from various races in 2013 I had a good stash of safety pins and I put them to use by taking apart the decoration and attaching the pieces to the hat. crafty creation!  The danglers were fun but quite noisy!

Race morning arrived and it was cool but sunny.  I got to hang with my friend Mandy before hand while staying warm in her car next to the start line.  About 15 minutes before race start, I made the trip to the real bathrooms located at the park.  It was great to have real bathrooms even if there was a line for the 3 stalls. Then I joined my friend Jody for a short warmup run before the race.
My buddy Jody - she topped off 2013 with her first 100 mile run! 
The race course was great and very easy to follow.  We began with a quick visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art with a run down their grand driveway.  After heading around the circle drive we began the slight uphill climb to return to Orchards Park.  We ran past the park and then continued to go past one of my favorite summer haunts...the Memorial Park pool! We got onto the Memorial Park running trail and did one loop and then returned to Orchards Park for the finish.

I joined up with two great running girls, Jenni and Jennifer, for the race.  Our paces naturally aligned so we stuck together and chatted along the run.  The time flew by and we held a steady pace throughout...until we neared the finish! Mike Rush was hanging out at the final turn to the finish chute and he provided the inspiration for us to pick up the pace and actually race to the finish!
Jenni, Me, and Jennifer with Mike yelling us on in the background! 

It was a close call but Jenni beat us to the line!  Jennifer got the ultimate win with the fastest chip time for the race.  Great job ladies and thanks for pushing me to a strong finish!

After the race, I enjoyed a relaxing day until it was time for dinner.  I joined my sister and her family for a traditional New Year's meal which included black-eyed peas and cabbage.  Between the fun race and the lucky meal, 2014 is bound to be a great year!!!

Thanks to my bud Chuck Cates and PodiumImages for the great pics!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thanks 2013!

I am sorta sad to see 2013 come to a close since it was such a great year for me.

A few highlights:

1) I created some art using my Swimmer magazine! There's a Little Swimmer in Mona Lisa

2) I went to some great concerts...Maroon 5, Elton John, Lee Brice/Luke Bryan!

3) I sat on the sidelines for 10 weeks nursing a foot injury.  It was no fun, but luckily the rest was just the ticket and I came back with a rainy triathlon for my comeback race.  Neohso Sprint Triathlon Race Recap

4) Got a new running buddy and a new fave for gels! Sidney belonged to my sister but came to live with me in the spring.  She loves running and I hope to take her on more runs in 2014! Have you tried Huma gel yet?  It's so tasty!

5) Had a tornado interrupt my favorite triathlon weekend.  It was a bummer but the team at TriOKC did a great job in handling the weekend and they were able to reschedule for 6 weeks later.  Unfortunately, mother nature decided to rain out the 2nd day of races on that weekend too.  Rough weather year for the Route 66 triathlon races!

6) Got in lots of outdoor swims whether at the pool or the lake.  Ahh, the joy of sunshine on your back during a swim!

7) Had lots of fun on my bike.  It's hard not to have fun when you do a ride called the Tour de Fun! It was a great summer full of bike rides with friends.

8) Cheered on my niece at two different kids triathlons.  She did awesome and it was so fun to be her cheerleader.

9) Had some amazing races including an awesome half ironman at Redman in Oklahoma City in September.  Whoa...I'm not sure how I can top some of these races...not only did I have fun doing them but my performance was pretty awesome this year.

10) All the rest! Seriously, it was a great year!!! I'm excited for what's in store in 2014.

Some goals that I'm going to work on in the new year can be found below.  I'll be forming more solid goals attached to these as I move through the year.

1) Race and celebrate each finish - every finish is worthy of a celebration!
2) Try out a new race distance!
3) Improve eating habits and reduce mindless snacking.

Cheers to a great 2014 for all of us!