Know your limits...

Effective 30 seconds ago I changed from the Houston Marathon to the Half Marathon.

It was not an easy decision and I am really down on myself on not reaching my goal, With 35 days out and my training where it is at I know I will not be able to successfully complete the marathon. My definition of a successful completion is actually finishing the race and still have knees. Where I am at today I know I won't finish healthy.

I have let work, life and my metal state get in the way of training. I am still trying to reach my fundraising goal of $2,500 for YTAC but believe I will complete the half. As promised I will tackle the full marathon sometime in the not to distant future but 2012 is not my year for the Houston Marathon.

Half Marathon. Get ready. You are going down!



I am in the middle of a move which is why I have not been posting. Not to worry though I am still working out and trying to improve on running. My new location has some great treadmills so I plan on taking full advantage of those. Post move in I will give a better update.


Stay Strong

It is fitting that this is posted on October 9th.

Today, would have been JJ's 20th birthday. I never met him but ended up donating white blood cells (WBC) to him on five separate occasions. I thought when the email request came through my firm for WBC donations it would only be a onetime event. I thought he would get better, get his transplant and get to go home.

This is a story with a sad ending. It blindsided me but I want you to be warned. Not many people outside of my family and close friends know this story. This story, against a background of a life peppered with family and close friends fighting cancer is why I feel like I should participate in Run for a Reason and raise funds for Young Texans Against Cancer (YTAC).

It is not an easy story for me to share. I don't even feel like it is truly even my story to tell. To be affected this much by someone you have never met and will never meet is.... well I don't even have a word for it. I have sat here almost all night and have had pieces of this story sitting on my laptop, iPad, notepads and random scraps of paper. For the past three months I’ve been debating on how or if I should even share. Ultimately this is what has led me to the decision of raising funds for YTAC and I want to share that with you.

I never met JJ but his struggle was the closest I've come to cancer on my own. As a kid, your parents, or at least mine did, protect you from grandparents, family friends and classmates battle with cancer. Things aren't sugar coated entirely but there is a buffer from the highs and lows of the battles. A kind of reality check to prepare you for the bad news and not allow you to pin all your hope on the good. As an adult actively trying to do something to help someone in their fight, there is no buffer.

From September 2010 to December 2010 I donated white blood cells to a young man I never met. There was no buffer and my primary interaction with JJ and his family was via CaringBridge, a blog, and text message requests for WBC donations. There were no lows on the blog and I pinned my hope to the highs. It probably is a bit messed up that I got so emotionally invested but when donating takes upwards of four hours at a time you kind of have some time to think about the person on the receiving end.

Going into my fifth donation, I had no idea it would be my last. That donation took FOR-EV-ER. After trying to establish the line five times the nurses actually wanted me to quit. My veins from the previous donations were scarred, collapsed and just in general were not behaving. The nurses actually referred to the veins in my right arm as shot. Their words, not mine. The nurses debated calling it off and getting a Dr. to say “Enough. Go home. It is over.” but I already had the medicine and no one else could substitute in so we went through with it. 

Bruised, worn out from the medicine and emotional from the nurses telling me that I could no longer donate and I would have to share that news with JJ and his family at a time when they could not get enough donors; I had no idea I would actually meet JJ’s parents and have to tell them face to face I could no longer help. It was actually a fluke I even met them. The stick for my right arm took so long to get in and set up that when JJ's parents came to get the medicine so JJ's Dad could donate the next day I was still there giving WBC.

I have never met kinder, more salt of the earth people in my life. I probably came off as flippant but it is a testimony to how well his Mom and family kept the blog positive and didn't let on to the lows of the fight and how sick JJ actually was. The blog and interactions were so positive that a near stranger, me, was like "Oh, so do you think JJ will get to see the beach?" and passing along a hairstylist in town for his Mom. The nurses told them I could no longer donate and JJ’s parents were so kind about it - I was a hot mess.

Man, I was a hot mess. I wanted to do more.  If I could no longer donate WBC I wanted to do something. Little did I know three days later, JJ would lose his fight. There would no longer be updates to the blog, text messages from his Mom coordinating donors, or positive little messages and drawings attached to the WBC donations.  I was so shocked when I read the updated blog sharing the news of his passing. I thought the update would be calling for more donors because they were down by at least one. I had pinned all my hope to the positive news on blog I never allowed myself to truly realize how dire the situation was. I had no idea that I would read that JJ lost his fight and the details of the arrangements of the funeral and synopsis of a life that was too short. With that news my drive to do more only intensified.

In June, six months after JJ's death and one week after passing my final CPA exam, I decided to enter the lottery to run the Houston Marathon. I NEVER thought I would be picked but I knew if I did I would want to Run for Reason and make this bigger than just me. Ultimately I believe that if I can no longer donate blood cells to this fight I might as well get some sweat and dollars involved.

So, it has taken me nearly six months to figure out what doing more means to me and another three months to write this post. I don't feel entirely like it is my story to share but it was such a big part of my life and without mentioning WBC and JJ I cannot explain why YTAC and why the marathon. I was an infinitesimal part of JJ’s story but he has been such a monumental part of mine.

I am trying to raise $2,500 for Young Texans Against Cancer by January 15th, 2012. I will do my absolutely best to complete this race and I swear if I do not get it done 2012 I will tackle it again. It is my first marathon and I know I have a long way to go in order to get to that finish line but I would appreciate if you would donate to this cause. Also, from now until the marathon 25% of whatever money I earn from babysitting, dog sitting, house-sitting etc will be donated to YTAC.

You can help me reach my fundraising goal at the link here or there is always a link on the upper right side of my blog. If donating money is not a possibility for you at this time please consider subscribing to the blog, sharing it with a friend or just leaving a comment. All of those things are extremely motivating and will help me cross that finish line.

Stay Strong.


Decisions, decisions.

I just got back from a three mile run/walk with Slade Runner where we were focusing on form and training different muscles. The mileage was not high but my knees and ankles are singing.

There are some big decisions to be made and hopefully by this time next week things will shake out. I am blessed and grateful for good people around me that are willing to lend an ear, give advice and allow me to bounce ideas around. Very fortunate for that in my life.

Just wanted to share.


For those about to study I salute you...

This run is for you!

#twudygroup,  everyone studying for the CPA exam, family, friends and loved ones of those studying, anyone who finds themselves in front of a computer for more hours of a day than you are away from the screen, I run this run for you! Especially those canadiates getting ready to sit their first exam in the October and November testing window.
I know a post-CPA candidate blogging about training for a marathon and raising money for YTAC is a very small niche blog but I hope you all realize there is a life afterwards. Even if you are just starting your journey there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In a strange way preparing for this marathon has been like the marathon of studying. One was just more studious than physical. However, I think the lessons that I have learned from my marathon of studying for the CPA apply to my training and vise versa.

I recently met up with a friend of a friend who is just starting on her CPA journey. My friend JG (not her real name) mentioned Asper (also, not her real name) was struggling with this process and asked if I would just talk with her. I think you will find anyone you meet who has past the CPA exams in the last 12 months will jump at the opportunity to talk about the exams. We have just finished studying and sitting 4 grueling exams (or more if you failed, I sat 5, thanks FAR) what else do we have to share?
Anyways, I met with Asper and the more tips I provided her the more I noticed how preparing for the CPA exam is like preparing for a race, a 10k, a half marathon or even a full marathon.

Here are some of the tips I shared with Asper, if you are a runner or a CPA candidate or a CPA please feel free to add your own!

  • Set and pay for your race date or CPA exam sit date first thing.
I have found this to be the most motivating tool out there. Write your exam or race down on a calendar, I prefer paper but electronic is good too. Write it big, maybe bust out some crayons but get it where you can see it. For the Houston Marathon I have a race count down on this blog and I have a huge calendar with the race date on it. By getting the date down you have a goal and a time frame to accomplish that goal.
  • Count back from your date and set your schedule.
       Admittedly, I was much better at this for my CPA than I have been for the marathon. What I mean with this for the CPA exam is, you know what you need to cover and how long you have to cover it. So break it up and write it down. Check each day and make sure you are on track. You know what you need to do and how long you have to do it in. I can only speak to Becker but I was spoiled on this task with them because everything is already broken down; FAR 9 chapters I took 2 months each time; REG 7 chapters about 7 weeks; BEC 5 chapters 4 weeks (before the writing portion was added); and AUD 5 chapters 4 weeks. For the marathon I am still struggling. I posted a plan a while back but struggled to keep up with it and fit it in to work. Now I am trying to run 4 times a week. I should take my own advice on this step and get a plan and stick to it.
  • Get some accountabilibuddies
        Tell your family, boyfriend, girlfriend,  friends, coworkers, dog, mail carrier, everyone and anyone what you are doing. Don't let telling them hinder studying but telling people your goals enpowers you to achieve them. Don't let your buddies get in the way of studying for the CPA but explain what you are doing and why they shouldn't call with a movie invite (we all have our weaknesses). This letter from another71.com is a great resource: An open letter to all of my friends and family while I take the CPA exam for informing loved ones what you are getting ready to embark on.  For me, this blog and fundraising aspect is really holding me accountable. Do I really want my second mother calling me and asking why I ditched my long run? No!

  • Stock up on frozen meals, toilet paper and toothpaste.
         This is more for the CPA exam than for the racing but it was important enough to post. Don't ask, just do it.
  • Find a mentor and tap the resources around you.
          For the CPA I would not have finished as fast as I did if it was not for AQ/AC and LR. Those girls got me on the right track and paced me as I went. For my running if it wasn't for Slade I'd still be in old shoes and if it wasn't for C-Bear I probably wouldn't have picked the Houston Marathon. People are open to sharing knowledge and experiences and while you should take advice with a grain salt it helps to stay motivated by people who are passionate. Both running and getting through the CPA are things I love talking about and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there.
  • Rely on your training/studying
         Your goal for test day/race day is to walk into Prometeric or toe that line knowing you have done everything possible to get you ready. On my first exam I was actually eager to get to the exam because I had really followed my studying schedule and put the leg work into the lectures, homework and simulations and I wanted to take the test and prove I worked my butt off and wanted to see the result. Same goes for race day the miles you put in now are what will get you through.
If you have more tips or any questions please don't hesitate to comment below. I'll talk anyone's ear off about studying for the CPA exam.


Ice baths and chocolate milk

I blogged a while ago about my first ice bath and the cool down it provided after a long run with Slade Runner. I wanted to update you all on a blurb  I read by Liz Applegate, PH.D in the October 2011 "Runner's World" magazine:


According to a study released by the University of Montana this year participants who rode an exercise bike for 90 minutes to deplete their glycogen levels then over the next four hours intermittently soaked one leg in an ice bath while sipping a carbohydrate recovery drink researchers found that the iced leg re lodged only half as much glycogen as the leg that was not iced. 

I may continue to ice as a treat after my runs in death valley like heat but now I know according to this study I am hindering my recovery time. 

Good news from the same article for me and anyone else who uses chocolate milk as a post workout recovery drink "CHOCOLATE MILK HELPS YOU LOSE BODY FAT". Score!

In other news I have recovered from the flu and in the past two days I have done 2 classes and made it to a post happy hour 4 mile run with Slade. Really proud of myself the last two days. Also pst flu really focusing on eating healthy, mostly vegan with some vegetarian moments and one night of chinese that included meat.

Hope everyone else is reaching for their goals and pushing to attain them!



Not quiet so speedy.
4 pounds lighter and a healthy ego brusing experience later, I've recovered from the terrible disgusting flu that infected me last week. I bought a new pair of shoes (finally- details later) and Slade Runner challenged me to a speed work out. With new shoes itching for a run and enthusastic pit crew, Kai (not his real name), my 10 year old Anime charater brother trying to delay his bed time I headed out to the local elementary school for a track work out.
LESSONS LEARNED (and there were many).
* Do recon.
The entire drive to the school I'm explaining to Kai, 4 laps equal a mile and how to work a stop watch and what to do etc. We arrive and this is not a standard track. I have no idea how long it is, there is a weird jog in the straight away and it is hard cracked asphalt. BAD!
* Come prepared
Two words: Bug Spray
The bugs and the frustration over the weird track was enough to kill me after two laps but after looking at the times it is probably close enough to a standard length to use. I'm going to try again tonight on my own if it is too close to Kai's bed time. The goal is to warm up, run 1 mile at 12-13 minutes pace then rest 4 minutes and then run 1 mile as fast but as consistent as I can to give me a base for determining pace. I still need to work on my base which is freaking me out.
What are you waiting for? Get out there too.


Call off the search parties....

RB75 is back. My focus might still be wavering but I am back. I took a bit more than a week off as I had family duties and a mini vacation. I had full intentions of running but was not disciplined enough to follow through. Hats off to all Moms and Dads out there who can find time after or before or even during to get out there and workout while with the kiddie 24-7 I couldn't get it figured out. Maybe next time? 

Also, hats off to all who can travel and get runs in. I was able to get some amazing runs while on a West coast vacation to a new place last year. I actually consider some of those runs a highlight of my trip. You will be surprise the things you find when you just lace your shoes up and head out of a hotel door. Anyways, I was not able to accomplish the same feat with my East coast trip this time. I think it had to do with my guilt about wanting to see everyone I could for as long as possible so going for runs didn't seem fair especially when my amazing friends drove 4 hours to see me for 3. Something for me to think about the next time I travel and maybe my experience will make you think about your trips. Do you exercise or take "you time" on trips? If not, why? 

So back to the grind and a race fast approaching on Saturday. I'll post details afterwards. I am nervous about my performance even sitting 30,000 feet in the air I think I am going to be in for a ruder awakening than my conservative self is prepared for. 

I wrote this post over a week ago on the flight back from my second hometown. The race was a rude awakening(I blame the sand) but gave me the kick in the pants to buy new shoes, set a bar for time and get re motivated to get out there.

I am currently sidelined with flu like symptoms which as of thirty minutes ago have turned into hives all over my face. But I now have a new most embarrassing story which ends with an amazing friend literally giving me the shirt off her back. I will get back out there ASAP until then run on readers I will join you soon.



MISSING: Runningbear75's Focus
Last Seen: 10 mile run

Description: General a fairly good disposition often spiced with witty sarcasm. Sometime's answers to Bob.

Reward!!! (in the form of cookies) for any tips leading to the whereabouts.


Seriously be Jealous

I just got back from one of AMtheYogini's classes and it was a treat. A delight. A little piece of joy in the middle of this week.

She is basically at the intern stage of her training where now she is practicing teaching her own class and gaining confidence (she's got it) and experience with the flow of a class and how to run it. I was invited along and I jumped at the opportunity.

I've posted a little about AMtY and the style of Yoga she practices here but a brief recap. The style of Yoga is Vinyasa which literally translated means: "to place in a special way".  This kind of practice really links The Breath to the movement. 

Anyways class was fantastic. 8 of AMtY's friends in a room at her apartment all gathered for the practice of Vinyasa and supporting AMtY. What could be better? 

We kind of jumped right into it. I think after reflecting on the class the only thing I would suggest would be AMtY we all know you but introduce yourself and the class. Hi I'm AMtY and this is a ____ hr class in the practice of ______. We are going to focus on _______. Anyways that is the only suggestion I have.
The Breath Should be like this feeling in the back of your
 throat only with your mouth closed. Image Source

I LOVED the explanation of The Breath. it made sense! I've been to 4-5 of S's classes at my normal studio but this is the first time The Breath has been explained so I get it. And so simple. Feel it at the back of your throat just like you are breathing out Haaaaa to fog up a mirror. That is it! Only do it with you mouth close. 

I knew it was going to be a great class (practice?) after AMtheYogini explained this. What is great about this was it was in a room of 8 people all gathered to support AMtY and go through the class. Amazing energy. Very friendly and open. A great practice but still informal enough so you can ask those questions while in the position (like Should I feel this in my butt?) rather than waiting to the end of class in studio class. The people gathered were at totally different levels (hello beginner here) but it was great to see what the positions I have been practicing for the past few weeks can transition into with some more practice. 

AMtY has a way of simplifying what can be difficult to picture into a way that anyone can get it. For example I've been having a hard time keeping my shoulders down and back on warrior 2. Down and back. Sounds vague. Or at least I've found it vague for 5 classes but standing in warrior 2 with palms down AMtY just says "flip you palms up to the sky pretend you are holding heavy platters then lightly turn your palms back down." Instantly my shoulders fell down and back into the proper alignment. I really  love her imagery. Something as simple as an explanation linked to such an easy image just makes it click.
Triangle Pose Image Source
Oh oh oh the second HUGE adjustment for me was in triangle pose. Shoot your hip back and lengthen along you arm. Watching and matching those movements was key. It clicked. This was the first class I got triangle. Before I think I was just crunching my hips and back.  I loved it.

This was also my first class where The Breath was linked to rapid movement. Inhale move, exhale move, inhale move exhale move. The beginner class I've been taking is definitely. Inhale Move exhale inhale hang out in the pose for a while inhale move. Which is perfectly fine and for a beginner's class it works well but it was eye opening to just watch AM flow (perfect word flow) through the movement. Total awe struck. In beginner's class you hear about The Breath but to see it, again, just clicked.

Oh and when AMtY just 'flips' legs you expect there to be a fairy tinkling sound in the air as she literally floats her fight leg from between her hands back to a lunge as SIMULTANEOUSLY she brings her left to between her hands. Seriously. Where is the fairy twinkle music? 

This was also the first class where I had hands on adjustments which changes the practice and I think is another thing that is different from beginner's to a more advance class. Not sure how I feel about it yet. 

Definitely learned in class what I consider the bright line test on what is the difference between beginners to advance class is whether you work with gravity or against gravity? In the beginners class going into something like the T? (tree?) pose we have been using gravity to help us "fall" into place where as with AMtY's class we were trying (strike that I WAS TRYING and most of everyone else were succeeding) to go from a high lunge with crescent moon (AMtY help me out on the poses names please) to a standing tree. HA! My legs are the strongest part of my body but they aren't that strong. (yet). Also the length of poses during the explanation for the next pose was longer than I was use to which I think is just another difference between the beginner's class I've been taking and AMtY's. 

I am so grateful and blessed to be a part of this class. It is wonderful to see someone you know realize a dream and reach to achieve it. The energy and joy the pursuit of a passion creates is inspiring. AMtY has a blog here and I encourage you all to check it out. If you are ever in the area take one of her classes. This is an instructor who is only going to continue to grow into her own. Her confidence is great and if this class, as one of her first 'post' training classes is any indication, anyone who studies the practice under her is going to be better for it. 


What is this? Yoga?

Not on a Sunday!

Its like having Breakfast for dinner.

Be jealous :)


I have a plan

And I am sticking to it.

Even if my feet hurt.

Even if it is hot out.

Even if I don't want to.

I posted my plan and I am sticking to it.

Now where are my stickers?


My Plan.

I need a plan. I am a person who must plan. I like to make lists and cross things off and I even give my self stickers When I accomplish something big. Yes stickers. Not any sticker either mind you, shinny, glittery, happy face stickers.

Yes. That is right. So I am posting my plan. As I've mentioned before I'm approaching running marathon much like approaching the CPA exam. Hard work, determination, setting your calendar, have the test (*cough* race *cough*) scheduled and hold yourself to it. Ask for advice from those who have been there but take note with the area you know you are weak in and find what works best for you. Tell everyone you are doing it so they serve as constant reminders. RB75 how is studying going? RB75 we were going to invite you the movies but you have to study.  It is a little extreme and I know only a small percentage of the population can relate to taking the CPA exam and wanting to run a marathon. But for those of you out there I tip my hat to you.

So my plan:
As of 7/31/2011 I have 23 weeks until the Chevron Houston Marathon I have been perusing the internet for running plans that will:
* work for a beginners
* does not ramp up the mileage too fast
* has a sufficient tapper period
* long runs are after a day of rest

I found one close to what I was after here with the Houston Chronicle's Beginner: 26-week marathon training schedule. I've modified it slightly moving runs around to better work with my schedule and shift the rest day to before the long run. I've found I've done better if I have a slight break before heading out for what is now a 7-8 mile run.

So here is my plan for the month of August:

August 2011

Cross-train or walk 30 minutes
3-4 miles (including 3x880 yards at RPE-H, 440 recovery

Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
4-5 miles at RPE-L
3-4 miles at RPE-L (including 1 mile speed play)

7-9 miles L.S.D.
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
3-4 miles (including 2x5 minutes at RPE-M, 5 minute recovery)
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
4-5 miles at RPE-L
3-4 miles at RPE-L (including 4x100 yard strides)
8-9 miles L.S.D
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
3-4 miles (including 2-miles at RPE-M)
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles (including 4x440yds at RPE-H, 440 recovery).
3-4 miles at RPE-L
8-9 miles L.S.D
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
3-4 miles (including 2x6-minutes at RPE-M, 5-minutes recovery)
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles at RPE-L (including 1-mile speed play).
3-4 miles at RPE-L
8-9 miles L.S.D
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles (including 4x880 yards at RPE-H, 440 yard recovery).
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L


Midweek Run Report

7/24/2011 Yoga
Another great class. I am amazed at how much how after each class I am enjoying it more and more. I find myself telling random people about it (you, the cashier at the department store, coworkers, coworker's friends). Dear, Yoga Studio, the word of mouth has been spreading and ya'll are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up.

The points that I normally share:

  • I go to the same weekly class. I love the instructor and how she encourages it is our hour, our practice and she just strings together suggestions. 
  • It is not about outward appearance but keeping your breath with the movement and feeling it. So what I can't get my heels on the ground in downward dog. I'm a heck of a lot closer than when I started. 
  • No mirrors. No judgement. Everyone is welcome and everyone shows up.
If you are thinking about it I encourage you to try it.

7/25/2011 Run
Some small debate on the exact mileage but upwards of 7 with a max of 10. 2 hours 10 minutes. The grade was similar to the first hill run I did on the 15th just a longer distance. The first part of the run was great I kind of felt like an eager puppy (is that weird?) next to Slade pushing him to go out harder but I paid for it on the back end more walking than I wanted but I'll get there.

Lessons learned:
For me I do better when I am running in a friend's territory especially in a neighborhood I don't know. Does that sound sketchy? Let me explain. If you are out for a long run and you aren't setting the route other than making a suggestion at the beginning or strenuously suggestion a stretch break all you have to do is run.

Yep that's right I write out notes on my lessons learned.
If ya'll are nice I'll show you  what motivates me.
You are probably thinking well, R.B75 that is all you do. And I must say nein! If you are out on your own it is a constant chatter:  "do I want to push it and go out another mile which adds two to my run? Ugh last time I ran this route I was at a 8 minute mile (ha one day) and this time I'm at a 14? I might as well give up now. What is going on with my stomach? Ohhh look puppies! Ouch blister/knee/ flux capacitor"

Okay at least that is what is going through my head on some solo longer runs. It is easy to settle into a pattern and not push yourself as hard as you can, at least it is for me. However, if you are in an area you aren't as familiar with you just follow your friends lead. Slade goes right. I go right. Last time we did two hills this time we are changing it up with a loop. Awesome lets do this! There is no pattern, no serious thought.You can tune into your body and tune out of the mind chatter while you listen to your friends take on different topics eg theology(amazingly this is a great running topic and really gives you some food for thought).  Again, I recommend, find a friend to run with especially in the beginning of your training.

Now don't get me wrong I'm all for developing you mental endurance on some solo runs and I will focus on this later in my training but for me right now this is helping. I'm building my base, my confidence and I'm able to run at night without my parents getting as worried about me. All bonuses in my book.

In terms of hardware on the run I was pretty happy with Adidas performance socks I picked up on Saturday. I still got some hot spots but they developed at a further mileage point (6 rather than 3) than when I was in the C9s. I am still aiming to get out of cotton tops before my next run. Absolutely need new running shoes.

I've saved a small chocolate milk plastic container to carry with me on the next run to see if that helps with hydration. Though it was kind of cool to get a drink out of a sprinkler.

Oh! I meet an Iron Man finisher too! Hello inspiration. Just Slade's neighbour. No big deal. Advice from the Iron Man: "Just put one foot in front of the other." A retro take on the little engine that could? Me thinks so.

Can't wait to get out again. I'm trying to get three in today or Thursday at the latest. Silly life is getting in the way. (post on that later).

Mileage total: 7-10
Effort: 8-9
Pros: Felt really great going into it.
Cons: Need to figure out my body's hydration requirements and efforts on hills.
Weather: We might as well have been swimming. Humidity at 100%.


A run for F.L.

I am getting ready to meet up with Slade for a run but wanted to do a quick run dedication to F.L and her family. We lost touch after our first move overseas but we still make her fajatis twice a year or more. Last night was the first time we have had them in awhile which got me thinking how I miss her and her family. I mean how can you not think of the woman who taught me and Big Little Brother (BLB) how to burp our alphabets. So I don't think she will see this but if she does. F.L this run is for you and your family. I think of you often.


F.L.'s Fajitas (her original recipe)

Yummy blurry homemade fajitas.

3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
ground pepper
dash season-all
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sherry or 1/8 cup reduced vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup salad oil*

Combine all ingredients and marinade beef overnight. For the beef use round, flank or strip steak.

Slice very thin. I marinade several packages of meat at once then divide marinade and meat into zip-lock bags and freeze for later use. Then grill, broil or fry meat.

My notes: * my mom uses less but in the spirit of a post about F.L. I am writing out the original recipe as it appears in my little composition notebook. If you are going to fry the meat in a skillet slice it before you apply the heat. However, if you are going to grill it I think it is easier to leave the piece of beef whole and then slice after it is cooked.

The beef is shown in a tortilla with rice, beans, jicama, avocado, tomato, mango and cilantro.

It also goes great in quesdillas the next day or on top of a salad. Have fun with it, it is your food and F.L has always encouraged fun.

Or the veggie version for my vegan friends (C-bear!).


Work Out Catch Up 7/17/2011- 7/23/2011

Yoga and 3 miles.

It was great to run into A.M. who is currently going through training to become a yoga instructor. Stealing her words here:

"We practice a style of yoga called Vinyasa which literally means "to place in a special way". While there are many different styles of Hatha Yoga (which refers to the type of yoga which includes the movement of the body, or what we typically think of yoga as in the western world) Vinyasa focuses on the movement of the body in connection with the breath. This connection between the breath and the body brings us inside during our physical practice uniting our mind, body and spirit. It is a great workout and it simultaneously brings a sense of inner peace and calm."

Check out her blog here:  The Yoga and Surfing Adventures of a Wine Loving Foodie very happy she is fulfilling her dream and I cannot wait to take one of her classes.

Every yoga class has been better than the last and I cannot wait for the next one.

The run in the evening was so-so. Nothing to write about.


Six miles.

I did it. Furthest yet and I definitely struggled at the end. Just ask Slade Runner. Okay end and middle and a little at the start. It is *shocking* how much you notice a tiny change in grade when you are running. It is kind of a far drive to get up to where we run but the change in grade and company/motivation is worth it.

Lessons learned:
  • Do not eat the chia easy oatmeal before a 'longer' run. Peanut butter on toast works well. I now know what the stomach issues people talk about.
  • Start carrying a small bottle of water on a run. 
  • Head up, knees up, think light, think smooth.
My mileage was low this week and there is much room for improvement. 

Lets see how this coming week goes.


Ch-ch-ch chia....seeds

I first heard about Chia seeds in Christopher McDougall's Born to Run (see post here) and ended up ordering a bag after continuing to run across them in Angela Liddon's blog/reciepes at Oh She Glows.

These little seeds pack a healthy punch. I have been having a tbsp each morning as part of my Chia Easy Oatmeal and they are not bad.

Chia Easy Oatmeal
lightly adapted from Oh She Glows

1/2 cup overnight oatmeal
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon raw chia seeds

Optional morning add ins
Peanut Butter
Maple Syrup

Before you go to sleep:
Add the oatmeal, almond milk and chia seeds in a bowl. Mix up the ingredients and place in the fridge overnight. Stir one more time after brushing your teeth, wandering around your house/apartment right before you get in bed.

What is happening while you snooze: The chia seeds are hydrating and thickening the mixture overnight so when you wake up you are greeted with oatmeal consistency but without the heat. Perfect for this heat wave we are going through.

In the morning:
Stir and add in whatever you feel like. I've been adding Maple Syrup most mornings and I've experimented with banana and peanut butter but not a huge fan of that. Add what you like subtract what you don't. Make your breakfast your own.

The other recipe I've tried was chia fresca, written about in Born to Run but the actual recipe I used was from the No Meat Athlete. (cold water, chia, honey and lime; mix and wait) The key with this one was cold water and let it gel before you drink it. Chia seeds can hold A LOT of water, if you drink the mix before the seeds have hydrated fully it can cause some discomfort as they expand in your stomach.

I still have not figured out the seeds are actually helping my runs but the placebo effect is working for me.

5 mile run tomorrow. Rest well legs.

Yoga and new socks

No better way to spend a Sunday.


Ice Ice Baby

Literally I am sitting in my first ever ice bath shivering trying to compose this post on my iTouch while shaking. Ahhhhh cold!!! 20 lb of ice.... Thank you Slade Runner (not his real name).

But let's go back we are going to Tarantino this and go back to the beginning of why is RunningBear75 turning blue and shivering? Well let's go back...

So workout in hotel gym (7/13) not that good. I did an hour on the elliptical (not a fan of that machine) I tried the treadmill but when the whole machine is shaking and ever foot fall is amplified THUMP! Thump! THUMP! And you are in a room the size of a shoe box kind of makes you a little self conscience so elliptical for an hour. Check.

Get back Thursday face time and great dinner with the family heavy dinner so no run. I practiced my corpus pose for Yoga but that was it.

Now today. Back to the HQ at work got in early, left late. No plans for tonight except I want to get
a good solid run in. Which made it perfect when Slade Runner texted me:
"Hey, you wanna do a hills run tonight? I need to get out but I have been way short on motivation."

Perfect!!! Now the last time I was out running with Slade was precrazy studying. He was also breaking into barefoot running so we were closer in pace than I know we are now.  I said yes anyways taking it as a challenge and I always learn something new or get some pointers or an amazing book recommendation(Born to Run (there is your shout out Slade!)) etc. Well I didn't think the man was going to kill me but it felt at one point he was going to succeed.

I challenge everyone reading to find a running friend who is a few levels ahead of you and on a light/rest day for them join them on a run. It is a great challenge. Especially on the uphills when you are sucking wind but have a friend on your side talking/storytelling cause they know where your energy is going but recognize that if they go quiet that little evil voice will be easier to hear. You know that voice. The voice that says: Ouch. My knee, it is too far, just start walking, come on just walk. You have been sitting for the last 9 months you are too out of practice.....EVIL little voice. So while you might not be able to fully focus on their story because mentally you are trying to convince your legs to keep churning a friend talking at your side is invaluable. Better than music in my opinion. 

I met Slade at his house and we jogged to the park to drop our water bottles and then started the hill loop. Oh man I was sucking wind. I don't think I walked any of the first loop other than a stretch break at the top of the second hill. Smaller strides, quicker turn over. Knees up. Head up. Breathe deep. Mentally, I was going okay one loop I'm good. I'm good. Okay one and done fine..... Nope we are doing two. 

Second loop, run up first hill, practice walking downhill landing on the balls of the foot then lightly running the flat, walking again. A quick stretch then we sprinted up the next. It was amazing. I would have soared over the top but had to wait for the cross traffic. I got goosebumps sprinting. Awesome. 

The jog back to the park not so hot. My back on the lower left spazzed once and we walked a bit but it was a good feeling to go out and get some hills in. You are able to do more than you think you are capable of doing. 

Map of the run.

So ice bath. A recommendation and why not. Sweating my behind off and its 100 degrees out so ice bath sounds ...refreshing. I told the guy at the gas station that my trainer recommended. White lie? Not really. But the look on his face definitely said "Wait, you have a trainer?". I have some ways to go.

Twenty pounds of ice and some cold water. That is how RunningBear75 ended up in an ice bath. Hopefully it helps in the morning. Cause it was freezing during.

Quick Lessons learned:
I need new socks.
Yeah that is for real.

Get out of cotton shirts and invest in some fabric that wicks the sweat away.

Chocolate Milk after a run is delicious!

Running with other people is a great way to push yourself.


Getting off my behind...



Okay really right now. The hotel has an itty bitty gym and I am going to go hog the treadmill for 3 miles. Or at least sit on the bike through an episode of Dexter.

I'm going I'm going.




A wreck.

Worse run yet. I took my sister out in her stroller last night to try and get her to wind down but it was a terrible run. Pushing a stroller changes your gait and puts more focus on shoulders. It did not help it was 85 degrees and I am still in pants from yoga class that morning.

Good news is I got out there and there will be plenty more cruddy runs but also so really great ones.

I'll have to dedicate a full post soon about the motivating capabilities of a two year old. I am back on the road, this time for business so updating isn't as easy as I would like. Especially now I have gotten some pictures up.

Hope your runs are going well. Just get out there.


What are you waiting for?



No more no less but it is delicious.
Bread, bananas and peanut butter (B^3 breakfast)

To be barefoot or not to be barefoot

Okay, so this is a late post but I got in a few barefoot beach runs in on vacation. I also discovered a lot of muscles and new places that could get sore. I have the most sensitive feet in the world but the beaches of Destin, FL were so soft, sandy and free of jagged shells. I was able to run without fear impaling my feet. It was a blast. Most of my running was done on walks with Dad and the littlies which developed into a game of "sibling suicides" - 2 year to 9 year old dawdling behind back to the 2 year old surging ahead. Wash, rinse, repeat.

This is what running should look like.
After a week of that I am now back to the real world and find myself contemplating to run barefoot or not to run barefoot. I went for a shoed run on my second day back from vacation and I was fairly miserable. I can chalk part of that up to being back in a city that is rejecting me like a bad organ transplant, confusion over my job, a lack of bug spray and just general post vacation blues (1st world problem I know) but whirling among all of that was grumpiness about having to shove my feet into shoes. After running barefoot for a week even with lighter running shoes my feet felt heavy. My gait felt restricted and my normal problem of hot spots on the inside arch came back.

Before you all comment: Yes, I have read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" 3 times. I have a copy on audiobook and subjected J-bird to 9 hours on the drive back. It could not have been too bad for him, between picking up dinner and a five minute drive to his house he made sure he turned it back on. It probably has more to do with the three F-bombs and less about the Tarahumar and Caballo Blanco. Though after a particular detailed description of Leadville100: as “running the Boston Marathon two times in a row with a sock stuffed in your mouth”—then hiking “to the top of Pike’s Peak”—and then doing it all over again, “this time with your eyes closed.”

J-bird looked at me, eyes wide "is this a true story?" Me: Yep. This is also coming from the kid who, on the day I entered the lottery to run the marathon was quizzing me on the probabilities of me winning the Houston marathon. After ten minutes of trying to explain you win by competing and finishing is an accomplishment and you are really just racing yourself he looks at me and goes: "yeah but is it like 1 in 1000 or like 1 in a million?" To him unless you are going to win there is not a point in taking part. We are working on this though it does shorten our family monopoly games.

I digress. All of this has been going through my head and I am contemplating the investment in a pair of vibram 5 fingers. My feet are too sensitive to run truly barefoot and I wNt to try the minimalist approach but the $80 cost is holding me back. "Born to Run" makes a strong argument but I do not want to invest in something that will just gather dust in two months. I need to get a new pair of running shoes so how about it? Barefoot? Or not barefoot? That is the question.


Second Race

Another Warrior Dash but this time I incorporated the lessons learned from my first Warrior Dash. My friend C-Bear (not his real name) and I arrived, bladders empty, in costume and ready for a muddy good time. Armed with the loose change found in the couches that C-Bear was surfing while figuring out his living situation he came up with the following marvelous outfits:


My time was worst than the first race as a result of busy season and the hardest (for me) of my exam sections. That terrible combination lead to 18-20+ work/study weekdays and long hours of class and studying on the weekends. I gave myself no room for running or a social life but when WarriorDash came less than 30 minutes away from H-Town and a few weeks after my exam I had to talk C-Bear into flying down for a weekend  and running with me.

With the goal of having a good time it was a blast. Had I set any pace/time goals other than beating C-Bear I would have been disappointed. I did not beat C-Bear but we had a blasty.

The weather was a heck of a lot warmer and the crowd wasn't quite as rabucious as the Austin group (yeah that is right Conroe I'm calling you out) but the logistics of the race was spot on (parking and buses to the race course was a breeze) and the beer was just as cold as the first race. All in all a lot of fun and will still reccomend this race to friends looking for a good time.

It helps when you convince a friend from out of state to fly down, run with you, give you their beer tokens and be your DD. C-Bear, you're my hero.