Mission: Accomplished!

ImageThree years ago this month, Celeste, Letty, and I sat on the grounds of the state capitol and dreamed of the day we’d all do a 5K together.  We were in Austin for a 4-day training and had strolled up Congress Avenue after the day’s work was done.

Today was the day that dream came true!  This photo was taken after we had crossed the finish line at the Culinaria Wine & Beer Run. Celeste & I have entered several races since that afternoon conversation.  This was Letty’s very first race and she did great!  It was awesome to experience this with my friends and colleagues.

Here’s to many more dreams that become reality!

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100 Days of Fitness

I started a personal challenge on July 2, 2012. I challenged myself to do something workout-related every day for the next 100 days.

I’m easily distracted and knew I needed to use just about every trick in my hat to stay motivated. I’m honest when I say that now, on Day 32, I’m having a tough time staying motivated. If you’re interested in following my daily workouts, you can check in on me on dailymile.com .

My workouts were also showing up on Facebook, but I’ve opted to unlink the two programs for the remainder of my challenge.

Why, you ask, did I decide to do a 100 day personal challenge? I give full credit to John “the Penguin” Bingham and his wife, Coach Jenny Hadfield. John had a series of injuries in 2010 which prevented him from running for several months. He and Jenny came up with the idea of the 100 Days challenge to kick off 2011. They opened the challenge up to anyone & everyone to “move intentionally for at least 30 minutes every day.” I participated & completed the challenge … although I didn’t do the challenge the way they had designed it. So when they announced they would be starting a new challenge on January 1, 2012, I was determined to complete the challenge the way they had designed it to be done … daily.

I was trucking along and made it to Day 47 before a muscle pull in my calf sidelined me. I sadly ended my streak in order to let my muscles heal. What I failed to realize is I could have continued my streak by shifting my concentration off of roadwork to doing other things like working on my core fitness. Lesson learned!

I heard one personal trainer say the best way to getting in shape is to vary the workouts. So I do. I’ve downloaded a half marathon training program that has 4 days of road work per week which allows me 3 days of active rest & cross training.

One activity I do enjoy, and it’s actually a great motivator for me, is to chunk my days into groups of 10. (remember, I’m easily distracted) Days 10, 20, 30, … , are designated Wine Days. I treat myself to a glass of wine after my workout. In order to keep me honest on my days, I bought a giant 100s chart and a packet of large shiny star stickers from our local education shoppe. I finish a workout, I slap a star on the chart. Yes, I am one of those odd ducks that will work for stickers.

So what happens when I come to the end of my 100 Days of Fitness? Well, two things. First I’ll treat myself to something really special. I haven’t decided on this yet, but it will be workout related (most likely clothes or shoes). Second, I’ll start a new challenge: 100 Days of Cardio. 🙂

The Riverwalk runs through it

Charles Barkley once called the San Antonio Riverwalk a “stinky little canal.”  Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban never has anything nice to say about the Riverwalk, either.  I think Charles Barkley, like Mark Cuban, are jealous.

If there is one place in San Antonio that I like to shoot, it’s along the Riverwalk.  There are so many different facets to it’s personality.  From the river taxi turn-around point at the Pearl Brewery to the Espada Aqueduct, the River is an amazing geological and engineering gem.

Tourists don’t typically experience all parts of the Riverwalk and truthfully, I haven’t either.  The difference is I, and other like-minded locals, know there are many parts of the River that don’t get shown on TV in the Visit San Antonio promotional spots.  And honestly, that’s about how we like it.

I was introduced to some of the lesser-known areas of the River earlier this year and since then have become an ambassador for exploring the hidden gems the River has to offer.  I don’t recommend exploring the southern reaches alone.  As beautiful as it is, there is always a possibility of harm.  As my alma mater ingrained into us: “Just 2 It!”

I’ve invited folks to come with me to walk, run, and cycle along the River.  Each one has come away with a new appreciation of what the River, and San Antonio, has to offer.

So, as it is now a typical thing I do, I invited the Writer to head out to Blue Star with me yesterday.  She ran & I rode along side her as we travelled along the newest phase of the Mission Reach.  The phase had just opened in September and we both commented about looking forward to spring on that part of the river once the flora has come out of dormancy.  The developers are creating a natural habitat with native grasses and other vegetation from the area just south of the Blue Star brewery on down to the Mission Espada dam and aqueduct.  Once the final phases are complete, a person will be able to walk/run/cycle continuously from the Pearl Brewery to the Espada aqueduct along the River trails and walks for a round trip of approximately 26 miles.

Because she needed a little more mileage upon returning to the Blue Star complex, we elected to head north along the River past the Guenther House.  I hadn’t traveled along that part of the River and was so blessed with the trip!  We were, at one point, traveling along the River below water level.  I wish I had my camera out at that point because the perspective was very cool!  Definitely heading back over to that part of the River to explore & shoot.

I invite Charles & Mark to come and explore the River with me.

Perhaps they’ll change their minds and see our River for the gem it truly is.

The Rambler

Weather forecasters are saying we’re in for another 9 years of drought.  Nine years!  Yowzers!  I was talking to Hub about our yard and how we really need to explore xeroscaping because there just isn’t going to be any water to spare for water-thirsty grass.  As long as we can get rid of the nasty Hackberry trees in the back yard, I’ll be happy.

Speaking of the nasty Hackberries … I spent the better part of the early afternoon sawing away at this past week’s storm damage.  One of the trees split in half and so I wanted to be sure to get the loose branches cleared from the tree.  Next up: hack the branches into smaller pieces so the trash guys will take them.  Hub wasn’t too happy with me when he saw all the branches stacked in the back yard.  His concern was I could have been hurt by falling branches.  A reasonable concern, but I did take precautions and stayed out of the way of everything that could possibly fall on me.

The weather is cooler today than it’s been over the past several months and so I definitely enjoyed spending time outside during the day and not breaking a sweat … even with all the sawing and hauling I did.  Nice!

Headed upstairs to pull out my NYIP lessons after I finished clearing the storm damage.  It’s been several months since I’ve even pulled the books & CDs out and so rather than picking up where I left off, I thought it best to refresh my brain and start from the beginning.  I can’t believe how much I’d forgotten!  So, while the facilitators were discussing the photos in the lessons, I popped open my photo folders and started evaluating my work since I started my classes.  I can definitely see improvement in my shots.  With regard to the 3 questions, I can honestly say I have several that have nailed them.  This makes me feel better about what I’ve been producing than I did before I restarted my unit.  I’m eager to complete the first unit and submit my project for evaluation.  Shouldn’t be too much longer before I can do that.

Hub & I have a freelance job to work on.  It’s an outside assignment for his sister.  She wants a portfolio of photos of the missions in the area.  It’s been so smokey and hot lately.  Hope the air will start to clear once the “cold” front blows through.  I’m kind of excited to start it but want to make sure we’ve got everything in place so I can get the shots I really want.

We headed over to Gruene a couple of weeks ago and I headed out to Landa Park last weekend by myself.  I got some good stuff from both outings, but that’s not what my sister-in-law asked for, so I’m not even going to show it to her.

Have the Florida-Alabama game on.  It’s not going the way I hoped it would.  Always sad when the Gators lose in the Swamp. 😦

I’ve been thinking about next month’s half marathon and my very sore & blistered toe and how I’m going to crank out 9 miles tomorrow.  I’m taking Tuesday off to take Carl to the doctor and so I’m seriously thinking I’m going to move my long day back two days and swim tomorrow.  But the weather’s turned so lovely and cool and I don’t want to pass up a chance to run tomorrow morning.  Maybe I’ll do 3 and then head to the pool.  I plan to ride on Monday.  The hard part for me is the discipline in following through on my plan.  I can do it.  The question really is … WILL I do it?  I’ll have to let you know on Wednesday.

I’ve got a triathlon in February to also train for and I haven’t been in the pool or on my bike in a long time.  Time to crank my training into gear to incorporate both races.  I have an 8k at the end of this month.  Wrote a question on the race director’s wall asking to verify the location.  Was pretty disappointed when I went back to see if there was an answer and saw that my question had been deleted.  If the race fee was refundable, I’d pull out of the race because of their rudeness.  Unfortunately, race fees are rarely refundable.  So I’ll show up, have fun with my friends, head home, and really think long & hard before signing up for a race again produced by that krewe.

It’s going to be a tough week next week at work.  I set a pretty ambitious schedule for myself.  I’m sure I can get everything done that I’ve planned.  The reward will be sleeping in next Saturday.

I mean, hey Saturday’s going to be a special day and I want to enjoy my reward.  After all, you only turn 48 once.

Blisters, blisters, blisters

Blisters have been my worst enemy this year.

Just when I think I’ve got the right “mix” of bodyglide, socks, & shoes, a blister’ll rear it’s ugly head in the worst place(s) on my feet.  I told Hub over breakfast this morning that I’m starting to really freak out because I’m at the point in my training plan where my long days are increasing in mileage.  If I don’t get this blister issue under control, it’s going to be a really miserable training season for November’s half marathon.

I headed out for a quick 2 miles the other night and felt a blister forming a mere .75 miles out.  Seriously?  Blister confirmed when I pulled my socks off.  Dang!

It used to be the blisters wouldn’t form until mile 4.  What the?  Long short, I’ll head out tomorrow morning and knock out my 4.

Praying for no more blisters.

Proud of Me

I like to “toot my own horn” every now & again.  Reminds me of the good stuff I’m doing, especially on the days when there’s just so much going on that I can’t even stop long enough to take a breath, much less a bite to eat.

It’s nice to work for a school district that’s located in a city that shuts down once a year to party.  Today is that day.  I celebrated by sleeping in and then having the worst, junky breakfast (that wasn’t part of the celebration … oh, alright, yes it was) and topping it off with a couple of very good workouts.

I wouldn’t have done this a couple of years ago.  I did head out for a few miles and snap lots of pictures last year on the Battle of Flowers but I didn’t workout with near the intensity I did today.  Or lately.

Some folks might look at my current training as pretty light-weight but for me at my present fitness level, it is intense.  And I enjoy it!  Besides, unless they’re working out, who are they to judge?

I’m not “married” to a particular sport (running, swimming, cycling) and I’m happy exploring all three, trying other different workouts, and just plain having fun.

Bonus: the scale is finally becoming my friend.  It’s been a very hard three months watching my weight only drop by an ounce or half a pound each week but the accumulation of these ounces and half pounds is finally starting to build into something significant and I am seeing that progress.  Total weight loss since the Cobweb Chaser on January 1st – 10 pounds.  Trust me.  I worked for every pound I lost.

It would be nice, though, to start seeing more substantial loss.  Hence my stepping up my workouts and varying the stuff that I do.  Just walking wasn’t cutting it.  As long as I continue to heal from my injury and be wise about what I do, I’m confident I’ll continue to see progress.

Life is good these days, despite the lousy last couple of reports from my doctors.  I’m not letting their dire reports get me down, though.  They have a plan to help me and I have a plan, too.  Together, we’re gonna whip this body into shape.

This is me tooting my own horn:  TOOT, TOOT!

Wearing down the brakepads

I posted a note on dailymile on March 11th that my bike kinda scares me.  I wrote that statement a few days after my foot injury.  I knew I’d have to stay off my foot for the next few weeks and that the only way I’d really be able to work out would be to log workouts on my bicycle.

I’m not sure where the fear came from.  Actually, I do know where the fear comes from and ain’t comin’ from God.

I’m in the middle of Max Lucado’s book, Fearless, and I had a real come to Jesus moment the other day on my way to work: up to that point, I had let fear prevent me from doing a lot of things.

It started out fairly harmless: not wanting to ride the roller coasters at Fiesta Texas several years back.  But that initial fear metamorphosed into really irrational fears of driving over bridges … heck, just driving on the highway was starting to become an ordeal because I was afraid of getting into a car accident.  So all of this boiled down to the fear I had about getting on my bike and riding it.  Anywhere.

In addition to Lucado’s book, I have the plantar faciitis to thank for getting me on my bike.

I have, in a matter of a few weeks, come from the point of I can’t do it to I CAN and I WILL.  I don’t need no stinkin’ fear!

I do, however, need brake pads.

I got to wondering the other night on my ride if it were possible to wear down the brake pads on my bike by riding my brakes too much.  I pondered this for a couple of miles as I reasoned that car brake pads wear out if you ride them, so bike brake pads might as well.

That’s when I really and truly stopped riding my brakes on the downhills and started enjoying the journey.  It’s taken me several miles and quite a few trips alone to get to this point.  Do I guard my brakes?  Heck yeah!  Especially since my solo rides are in my neighborhood.  Just never know when a car will back out (happens all the time), a soccer ball will come flying at me (happened last week), or a pet will run from their owner or yard into the street (not yet, but I’m sure it will).  There’s a difference between fear and being safe.  Guarding the brakes is something taught in Driver’s Ed.  Guarding means I’m ready to use them if needed.  Fear means I’m gonna use them all the time, regardless of whether or not they’re needed.

I found a trail close to home that I want to do this weekend.  It’s almost 30 miles round trip and the guy who plotted the trail said it’s fairly flat and good for the new cyclist.  I told Hub and he got a little worried because of the location of the trail.  Will he ride it with me?  I’m not sure.  I told him I want to drive the trail first, so maybe if he rides along with me, he’ll feel more comfortable with repeating it all in the saddle.

A dailymile friend posted a link to a cycling challenge.  I’m passing it along to you in case you’re interested.  It’s a 30-day cycling challenge:  Ride every day of April.  Doesn’t matter the distance, just that you get out there and ride.  What could be easier?  Here’s the link to sign up:  http://30daysofbiking.com/register/index.html

 

Still not convinced?  Check out this video!