Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Changing of the Seasons... Delayed

This is the time of year when I feel homesick for Boston.  Even though I haven't called Boston home for three-and-a-half years, Labor Day weekend is usually when I start expecting the weather to turn cooler.  Labor Day is really the start of Autumn in Boston and Autumn activities kick in, like apple picking and of course, college football.  Unfortunately, in Texas, that doesn't really happen until around Columbus Day weekend, so I have to wait a little over a month.  Of course I'll get college football this coming weekend, but the weather forecast shows one last punch of summer weather :-/  I love Autumn, but I do get a little depressed since I'm still wired to expect cooler weather coming in now.  12 years in Boston will do that.

Monday, August 27, 2012

God Speed, Neil Armstrong

"Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed."

Even though the moon landing happened 16 years before I was born, I wanted to have my own post about the death of Neil Armstrong.  My dad is such an admirer of the astronauts that participated in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions and it has somewhat carried over to me.  I grew up on the Right Stuff and Apollo 13, and made sure to see the moon rocks one trip to the Smithsonian.  Armstrong's funeral is on Friday, and a White House proclamation has been issued that US flags be lowered.  God speed, Neil Armstrong.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random Sunday Musings

One thing I've tried to incorporate now that I'm running a lot was Greek yogurt.  I thought with the amount of protein it would be a perfect recovery snack, whether it was after a long run or a good weight lifting session.  The verdict?  No can do :-/  I had tried plain and found it to be too tart, but thought I could try other flavors and find one that worked.  It wasn't the flavors that I didn't like, but the texture.  Oh well, at least I tried something new, right?

Yesterday was indeed a rest day for me.  I took the opportunity to get some stuff done that I needed to, and I had a rather relaxing day.  I'll be back for a long run next Saturday, but a mental health day was much needed.  Today was a simple 30 minutes on the bike and no weight lifting.  I'll be back to my normal routine on Tuesday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More Relaxed This Time Around

I've found I'm more relaxed with training this round.  When I was training for the Princess, I was absolutely rigid in my schedule and freaked when I missed a workout.  This time, not so much.  Mentally I know I can do it, and I've built faster this time than last time.  I did 8 miles two Saturdays ago, and yet I'm 15-and-half weeks away from my next half.  I realized I started training too soon, but I also skipped the half mile add-ons and opted for a full additional mile during a couple of the workouts because my legs and brain could handle the extra time running.  With such a buffer, I now see I can take some rest days if I feel I need them.  Mentally I can recharge as well.  I'm 3 miles away from my targeted longest run of 11.  Tomorrow would have been 8.5 miles if I stuck to my original workout schedule, but I'm going to deviate.  I may take a full rest day and enjoy a slow morning to treat myself.

Live English Premier League matches on TV tomorrow are:

Swansea and West Ham
Manchester United and Fulham
Chelsea and Newcastle

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Playlist

It seems like we are done with 100-degree days!  At least that's what's being reported.  I've enjoyed my summer playlist but I now may start using my Halloween playlist.  For those interested, here's my summer list:

(1) Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (2) Jump in the Line (3) Summerzcool (4) Boys of Summer (5) Smooth (6) Chicken Fried (7) License to Chill (8) He Mele No Lilo (9) Fun, Fun, Fun (10) Where the Boat Leaves From (11) Summertime (12) Girls In Their Summer Clothes (13) Hot Hot Hot (14) Toes (15) Take It Easy (16) Beer in Mexico (17) Runnin' Down a Dream (18) Jamaica Farewell (19) Day-O (20) Under the Sea (21) Knee Deep (22) Summertime Blues (23) Sunshine and Summertime (24) Under the Boardwalk (25) Volcano

I don't really know of any Autumn specific songs, so I do straight from summer to Halloween.  As always, I'm looking for new songs so if anyone has suggestions, send them on through :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building a Home Gym

I ordered 12-lb dumbbells to use at home, and they were delivered last week.  I've already used them once for biceps, triceps, and shoulder exercises, and this week I'll be able to do more exercises with them like squats and lunges.  The dumbbell area at my gym tends to be quite crowded and I can never find the 12-lb weights, even though I know they exist.  I think the personal trainers hide them... Having these weights will let me get stuff done at home when I'm crunched for time.  I do want to get 15-lb weights at some point, but I am starting to build up a little weight area at home since I also have 10-lb ankle weights that I use for strengthening my hip flexors, and I have the Stick to help roll muscles.  I might add a core exercise ball to my Christmas list so I can use that as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Random Musings

This weekend was tax-free shopping weekend in Texas.  Massachusetts had theirs last weekend and with considerably less restrictions.  Massachusetts has a price limit, I think $2,500, but anything under the price limit is fair game.  Texas has a lot more restrictions because they want to use it for school supplies, and the limit is $100.  Lucky for me, athletic gear falls into "school supplies."  I went back to Dick's to get another UA Victory tank top and also bought a pair of simple black UA shorts.

My teams did OK yesterday.  2 out of 3 ain't bad.. Fulham won 5-0, FC Dallas won 2-1 with a late stoppage time goal, and Liverpool lost 3-0.

We also had a cold front move in yesterday, and it was fun listening to the thunder as the storms rolled through.  It meant this morning was running weather!  When I woke up, it was 67, albeit with 90% humidity.  I didn't care.  I hadn't run outside since April or May, and I was going to take advantage of it.  After a quick breakfast, I applied the sun screen, grabbed my key, and ran the 5K loop in my neighborhood.  It felt great.  I have no idea how long the cooler weather will stick around but I've learned to take advantage of it whenever I can.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stress Release

I think I mentioned before August can be a stressful month.  I get cranky with the heat, but August is also my work's fiscal year end.  Even though my group isn't directly involved with year-end activities, we still have to deal with it indirectly.  All I have to say is I'm so happy my stress release is working out.  I work less than two miles from my gym, and it's on my way home.  Without being able to workout during this time, I think I'd go insane.  I use all that pent up stress and let it go on the treadmill or bike.  I try not to get too intense, but when I'm angry at stuff, I need to get that energy out and clear my head while listening to music.  I've never been able to find a better way to unwind after a stressful day, ever.  I become a nicer person if I'm able to do this.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Football vs Futbol

August can be a rough month in Texas.  We're in the 4 month of hot weather and everyone starts getting rather cranky.  I make it a point to get out of state at least once each summer, and my trip to Colorado the first week of July was very much needed.  It served as a way to break up the summer between half of May and all of June and then between July through September.  The heat does get old, and around Aug. 1 I am ready for Fall.  Throw in year-end excitement at work, and August is definitely the month I might skimp a bit on training.  I make sure to add some buffer zones into my workout schedule just in case.

University of Colorado at Boulder
The upside to August is European football starts as well as American football.  Until I moved to Texas, these two events signaled the start of Fall, and psychologically still are.  We've had our first week of pre-season football, and the EPL's Community Shield game between Manchester City and Chelsea was this past weekend as well.  College football is beginning to dominate the sports headlines, but those games won't start until Labor Day weekend.  So who are my teams?  I've mentioned FC Dallas, but MLS goes from March to October.  It's a good start for Spring, but Fall is different.  American football wise, I supported the San Francisco 49ers first, then after moving to Boston and the AFC, starting following the Patriots.  So I have both the NFC and AFC taken care of.  College football is CU-Boulder.  It's my dad's alma mater and they've got the best mascot out there, Ralphie.  Ralphie is a she (yes a she - maybe some TV commentators should learn that tidbit!) and she is a live buffalo who makes an appearance at the beginning of each half, every home game, with her student handlers.  She even has her own Facebook page.

Walking to Craven Cottage
For futbol, or European football, I predominately watch the English Premier league.  The EPL is a little tricky this year.  I've been following Liverpool FC since 2005, but the past few years have been a challenge.  They finished second in the league during the 2008-2009 season, but ever since then they've finished outside the top 4 in the league, and it hasn't been close.  One of my favorite players left for Turkey during this offseason, and I'm rather skeptical over the new coach.  My other team has been Fulham, but it looks like they will be trading their last American, Clint Demspey, but the transfer saga hasn't been completed.  I even attended a game in 2008 at Craven Cottage, and the below picture was taken during the walk from the tube station to the stadium.  I'm not sure what to expect from either team this season, but they are my teams.  No one said following sports team would be easy.  Nevertheless, I am very excited that the season is starting on the 18th.  Liverpool opens their season against West Brom and Fulham opens with Norwich City.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Random Musings

This weekend has been a busy one so far.  I skipped the gym on Thursday and didn't want to go on Friday, so this weekend has kind of been making up for that.  Thursday was very trying emotionally and I was dealing with the carryover on Friday.  I figured the best way to tackle this was to jump into my long run and pounded out 8 miles yesterday morning.  As mentioned before, I'm consider myself part of the Dawn Patrol on the weekends since the 2 days give me time to do a long run and then recovery cardio, weight lifting, and yoga stretching.  I was at the gym at 7:15, ready to go.  With the way I was feeling, I decided to use Jimmy Buffett's Live in Anguilla concert to get me through the 2 hours I expected it would take, and the time did go by pretty quickly.  This CD/DVD combo has gotten me through many things, including 4 straight ice days in 2011 leading up to the Super Bowl in Dallas.  Cabin fever hit me pretty badly.  Anyone know that scene in Muppet Treasure Island?  I was really close to that.

Normal weekends mean errands after the gym, but I diverted a little yesterday, stopping at Dick's Sporting Goods to see if they had any Under Armour I couldn't live without.  I found something that I think is new.  I haven't seen these shirts before but I was willing to take a chance.  They are the Under Armour Women's Victory Tank and I bought one in Tropic Pink.  It's semi-fitted and long in the body, but it worked quite nicely today during my biking and lifting.  I very tempted to go get a couple more.

The rest of the day was splitting time between the Olympics, napping, and watching 3 episodes of Band of Brothers before heading up to Frisco for the FC Dallas game against Colorado.  The team's been having a rough season, but it was good to be with friends for the evening and have a few laughs.  They did get a win last night, but the playoffs are still a long shot.  They've dropped too many points, and the season is wrapping up quickly.  I can't believe how fast the summer has gone by, which is good and bad.  I'm starting to get cranky with the heat, but the English Premier League season kicks off next weekend.  I feel like Man City just won the title, but that was back in May.
This morning I woke up in time to see the finish of the men's marathon.  After 35 minutes on the bike and weight lifting, I'm back home, continuing to watch Band of Brothers.  At some point I'll do a 30-minute session of yoga stretching.  Sundays are usually lazy after game days, so I've decided to incorporate yoga stretching every Sunday afternoon.  It's a good way to pass some time and focus on muscle recovery.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another Music Post

As most of my friends know, I'm a huge Disney and Pixar fan.  So much so that I have a Disney workout playlist currently comprised of 22 songs.  I've got tons of songs from most of the classics and thought it'd be fun to have a list I could use while working out.  I used this one for my 6-mile run and had a blast :)  Here is the current shuffled list - I have to work on the shuffle spreading out songs from the same movies:

I've Got a Dream - Tangled
I Just Can't Wait to be King - the Lion King
the Bare Necessities - the Jungle Book
Pink Elephants on Parade - Dumbo
Circle of Life - the Lion King
I Won't Say - Hercules
Be Prepared - the Lion King
Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat - the AristoCats
Almost There - the Princess and the Frog
Dig a Little Deeper - the Princess and the Frog
Little April Shower - Bambi
When We're Human - the Princess and the Frog
Zero to Hero - Hercules
When Will My Life Begin - Tangled
Belle - Beauty and the Beast
The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room - Sherman Brothers
I'll Make a Man Out of You - Mulan
 a Spoonful of Sugar - Mary Poppins
Poor Unfortunate Souls - the Little Mermaid
Why Should I Worry? - Oliver and Co.
Step in Time - Marry Poppins
Ever Ever After - Enchanted

Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Disneyland

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2013 schedule

I've done a bit of thinking about next year.  I don't have any races lined up during the first half of the year and that is mostly due to my half in December.  I didn't take enough time off immediately after the Princess half and ended up feeling burned out while trying to keep my cardio going.  At least I will have Christmas break to be absolutely lazy and not do a thing.  I work for a state university and the entire system shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Years.  Last year I was worried my cardio would suffer, but this year I am determined to eat and drink what I want during that week and not feel any guilt about my fitness.  But what about 2013?

If it's held again, there's a 5K in April that goes around FC Dallas Stadium.  By that time I should be completely rested and back in the swing of things.  I will use this as motivation to start training again.  If it isn't held next year, I'll chose another 5K to keep with my goal.

With the spring season basically out of the question, I'm looking at what's available in the Fall.  A couple races have piqued my interest: the Marine Corps 10K that's held the same time as their marathon, and the Jazz half in New Orleans.  I think races would be a good excuse to see cities I haven't been to before or haven't been to in years.  Both these races qualify - the last I was in DC I was 15 and I've never been to New Orleans.

I know more ideas will pop into my head as I look at other options, but I feel those are two solid choices.  I just have to chose which one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Girl Power Music

For lack of a better term, I created a "girl power" workout playlist last month.  As always with my playlists, I threw it together, then listened to it during a workout and updated it when some songs didn't work.  I'm always looking for new music and new ways to keep my workouts fun.

Love Story - Taylor Swift
Barracuda - Fergie
Good Girl - Carrie Underwood
Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks
Mississippi Girl - Faith Hill
Walk Like an Egyptian - the Bangles
Baggage Claim - Miranda Lambert
Real Gone - Sheryl Crow
Independence Day - Martina McBride
19 and Crazy - Bomshel
Magic Man - Heart
Ballroom Blitz - Tia Carrere
Giddy On Up - Laura Bell Bundy

If anybody has suggestions for songs I could add, please send them along.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dawn Patrol

I filled out some fun polls yesterday during a down time at work, and found a new term for people like me.  Dawn Patrol.  At this point I have Colonel Hathi in my head:
"Oh, the aim of our patrol,  
Is a question rather droll,  
For to march and drill over field and hill, 
Is a military goal!"  

By this I mean I like to get my workouts in early.  Not necessarily during the week right now, but on the weekends.  The Texas heat does dictate some of my schedule, and if I have a significant long run to do, I'd rather do it when it's 80 in the morning at not 100 in the afternoon.  My workouts during the week are shorter in duration, so I can handle the heat for under an hour, but not for miles on end.  

I think being part of the Dawn Patrol also helps when it comes to races.  Most races are in the morning, and if anyone has done a WDW Disney race, you know those start real early.  As in 5:30am early.  They used to start at 5:45am, and I'm sure that was pushed back from 6am, but the fields are getting bigger and bigger.  DL Disney races are still at 5:45am.  I'm pretty sure the city of Anaheim keeps the race fields smaller since both race courses are mostly off Disney property.  Thankfully I won't have to get up that early for my half in December since it starts at 8am.  Not that it matters too much.  I'm wired to wake up around 6am every day, but at least I'll have to some time eat breakfast and ease my way to the starting line.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012 Olympic Women's Marathon

As stated before, I'm not a huge Olympics fan, but there are certain sports I do watch, no matter what.  Soccer is one of them, and track and field is the other.  Also stated before, a looping route is not my favorite as a runner, but seeing the landmarks in London is fun.  The past couple of days I did wonder what kind of weather the women would get.  I've been in London in the summer and the weather does swing.  You gotta prepare for anything.

the Tower of London
I had set the DVR to record, but this past week I've been waking up at 5:30-ish each morning.  Why, oh why?  Yesterday I managed to go back to sleep for an hour before I did speed work, but this morning I was wide awake.  I blame it on the water bug that was in my bathroom last night.  For those who don't know, water bug is Southern for bigass cockroach that can fly.  In Massachusetts, we had to deal with mice, which wasn't a problem when you have two cats in the house, one of which is a natural mouser.  I'm sure if they were with me and not my parents, they'd run from these bugs, just like I do.  At this point I don't know where it is.

I was out of bed at 5:40 and turned on the TV to find out it was raining in London.  I know playing soccer in the rain is fun, but I haven't had the experience of doing a long distance race in rain.  At least it looked cool for the runners, which is the important thing.  They said this was the largest field for a women's Olympic marathon at 116 starting.  50 women started the Olympic marathon in 1984 and it's great to see the field growing.  I wasn't cheering for anyone in particular, but NBC always mentioned Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan.  Desiree Davila dropped out quickly due to a hip flexor injury.  One thing I really liked was the signs telling the runners when they were coming up on water stations, and one even said misting station.  I'm not sure if any of the runners used that station since they were already getting rained on.

Parliament and Big Ben
At a little over 1 hour, 24 minutes, the Kenyans and Ethiopians started pushing the pace and eventually broke away from the lead pack.  This is when races get interesting. The first half is all about running smart and using the energy of the lead pack and the second half is when runners start making their move.  The group that broke away consisted of 3 Kenyans and 3 Ethiopians.  The runners were close to completing the second lap of the 8-mile loop.

It was here when I opted for the internet broadcast because I hate the way NBC covers sports.  I don't need the sap stories and the network was in a pattern of going to commerical every 30 seconds.  I wanted to see the race.  The internet broadcast had a pair of English commentators but they did not talk much.  Excellent.  It was this lap when I found someone to cheer for.  As the runners started moving up the Mall, Petrova Arkhipova turned it up a notch and started contesting with the East Africans for a medal spot.  This was about mile 19.  She pushed past Shalane Flanagan and steadily made ground on the East Africans.  She was almost upon them during their last lap past St. Paul's Cathedral, and she kept pushing to stay with the now considerably smaller lead pack.  She was with them at 1 hour, 54 minutes and did more than hold her own.  They would push their pace but she would be right with them.
Buckingham Palace

When they got back to Buckingham Palace, the pack was down to 3: Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia, Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya and Petrova Arkhipova of Russia.  They had a few hundred yards to go once rounding the Victoria Memorial, and Gelana was determined not to lose the gold.  She was grimacing as she was trying to dig deep in her last push, and she crossed the finish line at 2:23:07, an Olympic record.  Jeptoo was at 2:23:12 and Arkhipova at 2:23:29.  All that was missing was the gospel choir Disney has at their finish lines.  Flanagan was 10th and Goucher was 11th.

It definitely does provide motivation, though I have no idea if I will attempt a full marathon.  So much training is involved, and at this point I'm content with half marathons, not to mention life gets in the way.  But never say never.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Heat Wave... This is My (concrete) Island in the Sun

I can't believe it's already August.  Well, partly can't believe it.  The heat wave we're getting proves it's August, and they keep extending the heat advisory.  I'm not used to the heat at all, but it's something I have to work around.  With the forecast in the 100s, I got it in my head Monday night to go the gym early Tuesday to get intervals done.  No such luck, and not this morning either.  I'm using the flimsy excuse that I don't have shower shoes, but it means I have to put up with the heat in the afternoon at 4:30.  Being inside doesn't make much of a difference when there are so many people working out.

I biked yesterday and was sweating by just doing that.  I don't sweat when I bike, so I know it's hot.  I tried to put together a new interval playlist, but already I'm not sure about it.  I'll have to use something else today and change out some songs when I get home.  I'm also in the slow process of catching up on How I Met Your Mother.  I'm currently on disc one of season two.  It should hold me till tomorrow and I can send it back to get disc two.