Friday, December 29, 2006

New Years Resolutions / Goals

I'm not really big on New Years Resolutions, but I do have two goals for 2007.

1) Yes, this is totally cliche' for chicks. I get it. But my goal for 2007 is to be able to run comfortably wearing running shorts and a sports bra. This means that my stomach will be exposed to the world. Just writing this kind of sends my stomach into knots, but I am putting this out there for everyone to see. And for you, as my friends, to hold me accountable. (I almost feel like Kristi Alley going on Oprah!) I haven't decided a "reveal" date, but I'm thinking that the Rogue Women's Tri looks promising.

2) I want to help each one of my friends accomplish something in 2007. The caveat - they have to ask, and it has to be something I really can help with. My first project: help Mike (Ostrich) swim one mile in Barton Springs. I am very excited about this. There is little that makes me as happy as helping others. I know Mike really wants this, so I can't wait to help him.

So, if you want some help this year - let me know!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Enough with Christmas!!

That's it... I've HAD IT WITH CHRISTMAS!!!

Okay, that may be a bit overdramatic. More accurately, I've had it with the excess holiday gifts laying around my office. I have bags and bags of lovely, tempting, delicious yogurt covered pretzels in the shape of Christmas trees.

Today, I ate well... I had my typical Panera bagel for breakfast, half of a garden burger plus broccoli at Trudy's for lunch (I didn't even fall victim to the delicious wedge french fries!), and the rest of my garden burger as my afternoon snack. But, it's 4:45. I'm hungry again. And the trees are everywhere.

Damn it. I can't resist anymore.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Running in the Moment...

I was planning on joining some friends for a quality run this evening, but I was advised instead to go for a 7 mile easy run. I called a number of people to see if anyone wanted to join me, but after about 30 minutes I was resigned to the fact that I would be going it alone.

I then thought about the beautiful Ipod Shuffles that I bought my marketing staff for christmas. "Seven miles - I need some distraction!!" But, unfortunately my mp3 player is useless since I lost the charger two years ago.

So, now I was going to run alone, and run without tunes.

When I pulled up to the trail, I decided that this was going to be a great run. I would get to think on some things and enjoy the beautiful day. So... I did. I don't think I've ever run the 7 mile loop, without walking, without friends, without distraction. But it was amazing. I got to observe all the people (and dogs) on the trail. I noticed the out of towners who were taking in the views. I noticed the kids with their new Christmas bikes. I noticed the young college couple holding hands looking very much in love. I noticed the elderly ladies taking an afternoon stroll. I heard many interesting conversations. I heard the wind blowing leaves on the trail. I heard the lake lap against the bridge columns. I heard my own heart beating. I heard my breath.

Today I didn't need company, or music, or distraction. What I needed was to be "in the moment" and be present to what a glorious afternoon run can be.

Morning Routine

Yeah! It's no longer a holiday... things are back to normal!!!

I thought I'd share my typical weekday morning routine.

  • If I have swim class, I set the alarm to 5:00am, and snooze until 5:20am, get dressed and make my way to the pool by 5:45am.
  • If I run, I set my alarm to 5:30am, snooze until 5:50, get dressed and head to the trail by 6:00am.
  • If I'm sleeping in, I don't set the alarm and usually wake up around 7:00am.
  • It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to get dressed before I head downstairs to greet my dogs.
  • For breakfast, I usually have cereal + soy milk + banana, or more likely, a bagel from Panera. (chocolate chip hazelnut is my favorite)


  • Usually, I talk to Tim on my way in to work. Lately we seem to talk about how I spill coffee on myself every morning.
  • Speaking of coffee, I've gotten in to the habit of stopping at the Exxon on Ben White/S. Congress and taking advantage of $.64 coffee at TigerMart. Recent flavors have included: Pumpkin Spice, French Vanilla, Hazelnut... this morning was French Toast. Surprisingly tasty!


  • I usually arrive at work an hour before my staff, so I have a few minutes to get my bearings and check email, websites, etc...
  • First I check my work email to see what's on the calendar for the day and see if there is anything pressing. Then I check my personal email.
  • Next, I go through my website "favorites" list, which includes the following blogs: Lulu, Ostrich, Wiley, Joey, Glenda, Rob, Katie, Rabbit, Greg, and Team Pain Train. If I have time, I'll look at the Yahoo "Most Popular," the Rogue forum and (thanks to Wiley's suggestion.)
  • This all takes about 10-15 minutes, and I feel it is a vital routine for me if I want to focus on work for the rest of the day.
  • Lastly, if my boss is done with it, I read the Statesman and get the crossword puzzle/sudoko/jumble ready for later. If I have the chance, I'll try to quickly do the word jumble in under a minute. (Yes, I am a huge dork. I know this already.)

By the way, speaking of blogs - there are a few people who I really wish had blogs. These people include: Maggie, Tim, Kenny, Lara, Rachel B., Rob S., Leslie, Laura and Soll. Can you people please get on it??

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Merry $%^#ing Christmas To You!"

It's fun to be a Jew on Christmas. Free vacation time with nothing to do!?! Well, kinda... if you aren't the type of person who goes stir crazy with the slightest bit of downtime.

Christmas Vacation 2006 has been, well, boring! I suppose that's not a bad thing, but I have been incredibly stir crazy the past few days. Had it not been dreary and raining outside, things might have been better. I really wanted to take my bike out for a ride - but the weather prevented it. So, instead, I stayed in bed almost all day and pigged out on homemade peanut brittle and fudge.

That doesn't sound so bad, right? Taking a break from working out... Playing around online... Watching a movie I've wanted to watch for the past year... Well, it was!! I was going completely stir crazy. What is it about me that I can't stay still for more than a few hours?!

Thankfully, there were some welcome distractions this weekend. A great run on Saturday morning and breakfast with my girlfriends. Getting to catch up on everyone's blogs. Finishing all the crossword puzzles from the past week. Playing Scrabble online against Ostrich. Finally watching RENT, which I've wanted to see since it came out. Going to the gym. Teaching my parents to use Skype so we can video chat with each other. But honestly, by Sunday at 10:30pm - I was going crazy!

Luckily, at that point, Phil & I left to meet up with our friends Terry & Pat, who were taking down Terry's art at the Armadillo Christmas Bizarre. The four of us headed to Katz's Deli for a late dinner. It was so nice to get out of the house and DO SOMETHING. I really enjoyed getting to see them and well, just being out. Even if it was at 12:30am on Christmas morning.

By the way, when the bill came, Terry grabbed it. When we tried to help pay, he griped at us in his biggest smile and said, "Merry $%^#ing Christmas to You!"

Today, I slept in until 10:00am. When I woke up, the sun was shining and it was gorgeous outside (albeit really windy.) I got on my bike trainer for an hour and then and ran 3 miles on the trail. Just beautiful! Then Phil & I had a Christmas lunch at our neighbor's house. My day has been jammed pack, and I am much happier.

Anyway, this Christmas break was a reminder of the fact that I must be constantly entertained and/or busy. Left with just half a day of free time (let alone 2 whole days), I go completely stir crazy. I'm actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

By the way, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Red Dress... a look back

It's Christmas Eve. I'm incredibly bored. So... I bring you... memories of the red dress! Honestly, these dates are true. (Even though I look exactly the same!) Enjoy. :)

July 1997: Posing with my boyfriends in Tulsa. (Kidding about the bf thing, of course!)

Spring 1998: Posing with my mock trial teammate in the law room of R.H.S. on Senior Day.

May 1998: Hanging out with my friends the morning of my high school graduation

May 1998: High School Graduation, posing with my parents.

August 25, 1998: Bid Day - Jenna & I strike the Charlie's Angels pose for the first time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thank you, Coach

This morning, there was no scheduled group Rogue run, so I met some friends (Leslie, Stephanie & Amy) and ran 10 miles with them. They are all part of another coach's group, and it was interesting to run with them and talk about our training.

First, we talked about the marathon. All three of them are training for AT&T in February. I reflected on the fact that after the Disney Marathon, I said, "This is it for me and marathons for a long while." I am really glad that I have stayed true to that. I honestly have no desire to do another marathon for a long time.

Second, we talked about what we are all doing after the marathon training is over. I told them about my homework assignment from Panther, and how I was really happy with my decision to narrow my focus and train to be an olympic distance triathlete. I think Leslie was impressed that I have my whole race schedule planned out for 2007. It really does feel good to know what I want to be, and what exactly I am training for. It also feels good to know what I am not. (For instance: a marathoner, an ironman, a sprinter, etc.)

Third, when it was just Leslie & I running back to Runtex, we talked about our coaches and what it takes to be a great coach. Someone (to remain nameless) had suggested that if I am going to be a triathlete, perhaps I should join Texas Iron and be coached by triathletes. Though this is somewhat a valid point, I honestly cannot imagine being coached by anyone other than Panther. I usually mock Panther's coaching, and instead focus on his tidbits of advice like, "Well, Erin, just don't fall off your bike." Or... "Ah, what the hell, just finish so we can have a beer." But, as I look back at my athletic accomplishments of 2006, I thought it was time to really pay him some respect.

So... what, for me, makes a great coach? And how does Panther fair?
1. Dedication to your athlete(s)
2. Focus
3. Knowledge/Skill
4. Drive
5. Fun

Let me explain.
1. Dedication to your athlete(s). I have been training with Panther since September 2005. I have been an Olive, a Rat, an Angel, Team Punishment, Team Pain Train, and now Camp Punishment. The funny thing is that I stay in his groups even though I am never training for the particular race that my group is training for. (more on that later) But, he is extremely dedicated to his athletes, regardless of what they are training for. He completely modified my marathon training schedule when I wanted to run the Goofy Challenge instead of Freescale. He modified my schedule when I wanted to do a half ironman instead of a duathlon. He is creating an entirely new and catered training program for my races next year. He wrote a workout for me for when I go to the gym. He actually carries around a notebook on all of his athletes that monitors their progress towards their goals. That is some dedication. How can someone NOT try their hardest when your coach is that dedicated to your success? And, the icing on the cake for me: before every race - he calls to wish me good luck. And, after every race, he calls to celebrate my accomplishments.

2. Focus. By this, I mean that he has helped steer me away from my FOMO nature and start narrowing down my focus of what I want to be. No one else has actually asked me, "What do you want to be?" It sounds like a simple question, but it took a lot of thought - and he helped walk me through that thought process to come up with an answer that I am very happy with and very excited about.

3. Knowledge/Skill. Of course, a coach must be knowledgeable and skilled. While I had experienced Panther's coaching based on someone else's schedule, this summer I got to experience his coaching from a schedule that he had written. Based on following his own workouts, I started running and cycling faster. I actually looked forward to going to our quality workouts in the 100+ degree afternoons because I knew that the workouts were going to make me a better athlete. He's also not satisfied with what he knows - he keeps seeking more training and certification so he can coach better. It's obvious that he knows what he is doing because our group has some of the best athletes in Rogue, and perhaps Austin. Not to mention that he's one of them - he has the skill (and experience) to justify everything that he coaches. It's hard to question your coach when he's the State Champion of an event you are training for.

4. Drive. Once I started training with Panther, giving up has never been an option for me. In other training groups, if I was tired- I would stop. Now, I complete every workout I show up to. And, not showing up is no longer an option. Giving up, not pushing myself, etc... are also not options anymore. He has instilled a drive in me that I never had experienced (athletically) before. He cares so much about my success that I don't want to let him down. This has transferred to something equally (actually moreso) important - not letting myself down. He has instilled in me the knowledge that I can actually be a good athlete, and to not push myself or try my hardest just isn't fair.

5. Fun. So, what's the point of all this? Ultimately, I probably will never win any races. I probably won't qualify for the Boston Marathon or the Hawaii Ironman. But, I feel that working out is an essential part of my overall wellness. So, if I'm going to do it, I better have fun doing it. I must say that being a part of Panther's groups has been some of the most fun experiences of my life. He strives to make the workouts fun, whether by holding trivia contests or doing "funny run" drills or hosting a sing-a-long after our workouts. And, of course, there is always a group happy hour after our quality workouts that gives our group a chance to relax and hang out with each other. Thanks to the emphasis of fun and socializing, I have met some of my closest friends. I look forward to my workouts because I know that however painful it might be, it will ultimately be a good time and I will never regret showing up.

So, let's take a look at my achievements in 2006:
1) The Disney Goofy Challenge - a half marathon on Saturday followed by a marathon on Sunday. I PR'ed my marathon by almost 50 minutes.
2) The Texas Roundup 10K - I finally broke the hour mark!
3) The Fantastic X Triathlon. Though not a sanctioned triathlon, I still WON with a field of about 20 other women. (I have the trophy to prove it!)
4) The Rogue Women's Tri. Since this was the first year of the race, I had nothing to compare my times too - but this was the first triathlon that I ran the entire run course and was very pleased with my times.
5) The Katy Flatlands Ride. I completed my longest brick ever - a 60 mile bike ride plus 4 mile run, and felt fabulous.
6) The Marble Falls Olympic Distance Tri. My first Olympic. My super secret goal was to break 2:30, which I did. I also ran even faster during the run portion than previous triathlons.
7) The Darnds't Du. PRed the first 5K. While I crashed hard during the bike course, I still managed to finish the second 5K and faired pretty well!
8) The Prarieman Half Ironman. I did a half ironman. Enough said there!
9) The IBM 10K. Took over 90 seconds off my previous 10K PR! First running only race that I didn't stop and walk at all.
10) The Race for the Cure 5K. Huge PR for me. Ran it in 25:28!!
11) The Turkey Trot 5 Miler. Ran this one fairly easy, and still finished with an 8:55 mile pace.

Now, I realize that ultimately I am responsible for my own accomplishments. But I can guarantee that there is no way I would have achieved what I did this year without him.

So, in the most public way I can think of, thank you Panther. I cannot imagine being coached by anyone but you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Night of the Red Dress

Last night was the much awaited Red Dress 12 Bars of Christmas Run. For me, this was a good old "return to freshman year of college" night. In fact, I used to wear this same red dress back in college (and high school for that matter.)

Phil & I showed up a little late because I was busy getting my bike refit. I wasn't sure what bar everyone was going to, so we parked and just walked towards 6th street. Suddenly, about 40+ people wearing red dresses ran by and it was pretty easy to find the next spot. I most enjoyed hearing the comments of innocent bystanders - gems like "I shouldn't have done the shrooms today!"

The whole group was quite a site to see! Especially the boys, of course. Rob won the "Best Dressed" award during the finals at Club DeVille. Joey was a close second, though.

I was very happy that Glenda & Amy were there! Glenda is no longer a Pub Run virgin. :) Here we are sporting our dresses and running shoes. Quite the fashion trend!

And here are some pictures of Tim & me (Aristrocrat style) and Maggie and me.

At any rate, I'm glad that these are the only pictures that have surfaced (so far.) The rest of the night turned a little crazy. There was the stop at Coyote Ugly where all the girls danced on the bars. There was the photo booth that Lulu, Ostrich, Panther and I somehow squeezed in to just to get a stupid Polaroid picture made. There was a throwback to my old college days with Jenna & Annie when Lulu & I stopped at Exodus for a drink and some dancing. And then there were the free drinks that came when one of the bouncers from Darwins recognized me from earlier and bought beer for Lulu and me.

There was the frank girl bonding that every girl experiences when she and her buddy go to the bathroom together and decide to be best friends. There were friends who were mad at us for not following the route exactly and skipping a bar. There were probably way too many photographs that better never surface. And there were the angry text messages from someone who entirely misconstrued a situation and is now not talking to me.

So, all in all - it was quite the eventful night. I'm not hungover, surprisingly, and even though I only got about 3 hours of sleep - I made it in to work early.

I do have this nice reminder of the evening on my hand, though. (Geez, how college is THIS!?)

The one thing that was missing from the evening was Wiley - we missed you, buddy!

Looking back, all I can say is that I should have known better. Pub Run + Alcohol + Red Dress. Not necessarily a good formula. Last year, I only went on one pub run. I was a good girl. Only mid summer did I start to be a regular at these events. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I somewhat 180'ed on my social scene. While it's been so much fun, I'm thinking that I need to settle back down.

I'm spending the rest of 2006 with Phil. At home. Where I very much belong.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Random Childhood Pictures

I was looking for some pictures on my computer today, and came across these. Enjoy a glimpse into my past!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog Irony (or, Nice to Meet you Gordon!)

I experienced some blog irony today...

I went to Houston for my weekly meetings with my marketing staff. I arrived about 30 minutes before I was to meet with one of my marketing coordinators and had some time to kill. After reading my friends' blogs, I moved on to of some of their friends' blogs.

First I came across Amanda's blog (linked from Wiley) and read all about her Ironman training. (Her training is impressive!)

Then I came to her husband Gordon's blog. I've seen Gordon around the running/tri community before. I've admired his photographs, too. (In fact, we use 2 of them on But for some stupid reason, I've never introduced myself to him. Maybe I didn't want to seem stalkery - you know, where you know someone who doesn't know you.

Well, anyway, I was reading all about his photography and admiring more of his pictures, when I get an email alert that someone had commented on one of my posts. Lo & behold - it's Gordon! I had no idea he even read my blog... and at the same time I was reading his. Craziness!!

So... Gordon - I'm officially (and publicly) introducing myself. I love your photography! You are VERY talented. (see picture below as proof) Next time I see you out, I will introduce myself in person. Thanks for reading my blog, and for actually posting!

It's cool how people can connect online, you know?

Why I love Tim so much...

Thursday is the first Red Dress Run, or the "Twelve Bars of Christmas while wearing a red dress whether you are male or female" run - sponsored by the Austin Duathletes. I'm no stranger to pub runs, but this will be the first one where everyone (both male and female) will be sporting red dresses. I had to share Tim's write-up of his shopping experience. Be prepared for a laugh! I can't wait to post the pictures. :)

Attempt #1 at Buying a Red Dress for the Red Dress Run
There are a few rules that I try to follow to make sure that I’m a man:
1. I always pee standing up
2. Every now and then I ride my bike with loose fitting shorts just to make sure that the boys still have feeling in them
3. I never say the words: “Oooh, this is a pretty dress.” When I’m shopping for a dress for myself.

Unfortunately, today, I broke rule number three.

There had been a rumor going around the group that if you wanted to get a cheap dress, forget Goodwill and go straight to Ross. I, having never shopped for a dress for myself at either place took this rumor as fact and went straight to the Ross by work while I was “working” to get a great deal on a red dress.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the dress isle was the sizes. What the hell does a size 6 mean? I grabbed the first dress I saw, held it up to check the size, and quickly determined that I was much larger than a size 6 (still, I have no idea what this means). I started wandering the isles apparently looking lost because the sales lady asked: “Are you lost?” I said: “No, I’m just looking for a dress and just realized that I have no idea what the sizes mean.” Chuckle, chuckle from the sales lady. “Well that’s why I’m here.” She said. “About what height is she?” “Almost exactly my height.” “And her build?” “Pretty similar to mine.” I replied trying not to spill the beans that yes, in fact, the dress was for me. “Ok, we’re going to need to go to the plus sizes then.” Great, a plus size, why the hell couldn’t I have a 6?

We entered the land of the X’s; oddly enough, there are very few red dresses at Ross, especially in the plus sizes. “Do you know what kind of dress you are looking for?” “Well, SHE really likes red. I thought that I’d get her a red dress.” We searched and searched until I find a nice one that is black, but has red flowers all over it. “Oooh, this is a pretty dress.” I say. “I don’t think that that will fit her, it’s only a 1X,” God this lady was getting on my nerves with all of this plus size bull shit, “but she could always return it if it doesn’t fit.” At that moment I realize that I’m going to have to try this damn thing on. This just keeps getting better. “Well, what if I tried it on, and if it fits, then we know it should fit her.” Blank stare, followed by a quick turn around so I couldn’t see the grin that was obviously encompassing her face. “Alright, the dressing room is this way.”

I lock the door, undress, and try to redress in the dress. This is where I start having problems. I realize that this isn’t your ordinary dress with a zipper or some buttons on it, no, this is some fancy wrap around thing with secret places to button it so that the most cleavage will show. I have no earthly idea how to put this thing on. So I put my shorts and t-shirt back on and go back out to ask for help. I find instead of just the woman that was helping me, most of the cleaning staff, and several of the other sales people waiting to see how I looked in the dress. “Uh, I can’t figure out how to put this on.” Everybody laughs, how funny, I’m sure glad that they’re enjoying this, I thought. The lady goes back and helps me fit it over my clothes. You know what, she was right; there was no way that dress was going to fit me. If I even thought about moving my shoulders the damn thing would have ripped in half (Plus I thought that it hung a little loose around my hips). Back to the old drawing board.

So we go to the 2X and 3X in hopes of finding something that would fit a woman that is similarly built as me. There are plenty of dresses, but not too many red ones. The sales lady finds one and goes: “How about this one?” She was holding up a dress that had a red blazer that went over it, very businessy. I look at it, what if I have to tell the Aristocrat joke; that style dress doesn’t go with that style joke or the overall theme of drinking all night. “Ah, no, I was looking for something a little more whorey, she has to ride a bike.” A little more whorey, she has to ride a bike? I thought. What kind of answer is that? That makes no sense. Pretend your cell phone is ringing, act like it is an emergency and get the hell out of there. I did just that.

So, I’m still without a dress and need recommendations where I can find cheap, whorey, plus size red dresses. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Thoughts...

I have some totally unrelated, random thoughts to share:

1) I went swimming yesterday for the first time in weeks. I LOVED it! It felt amazing to be back in the water and I'm really looking forward to taking classes again. When I swim, sometimes I get songs stuck in my head- yesterday, it was Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash. I felt it was an ironic song being that I was in water.

2) I ran this morning (thanks Joey & Holly for joining me) and felt GREAT! I did a fast 5 mile tempo run and loved it. I really enjoy running in the dark - I wish it was safe to run alone and I didn't have to rely on people meeting me. Then I would run even earlier.

3) I LOVE PANERA. I ate a Panera bagel for breakfast. I had Panera for lunch. And, I had Panera for dinner. I'm not kidding. This may be even more crazy than my obsession for Cafe Brazil, and it doesn't help that I can almost see the restaurant from the front of my house. Ostrich texted me at 1:00 trying to make me jealous that he was at Panera. Little did he know, I had a day full of Panera. No jealousy this time.

4) I have a new workout schedule. I'm supposed to run and bike a lot. And I do mean a lot. My new schedule looks like this:
Monday: am - run (5-10 miles); pm - gym
Tuesday: am - swim (or OFF day)
Wednesday: pm - Quality Run
Thursday am - swim; pm - ride
Friday am: run (5-10 miles); pm - gym
Saturday: am - brick (run ~4 miles, bike ~ 30 miles)
Sunday: am - long ride, pm - swim

And this is just my pre base-building training!! So, do I have any takers?

My First Presidential Award

Last Thursday, I attended the BOMA holiday luncheon. BOMA (Building Owners & Managers Association) is the premier association for commercial property owners and managers. I have been a member for three years now, through work.

It is often said that in life, you only get out of it what you put in. That was true of BOMA too, and since joining I have served on committees, chaired committees, and even won the membership drive. I took that philosophy to heart, and I've not only received lots of business from this organization, I've made a ton of new friends.

So... at holiday lunch, in front of 250+ people, the outgoing president gave out the 2006 Presidential Award for Outstanding Service... and I won!! I am not trying to brag, but I truly did a lot for this organization this year, including chairing a community services committee, serving on a disaster preparedness committee, recruiting new members, talking to the press at events, etc... I worked really hard in this association, and I am so pleased to be recognized.

Also, for the record, I watched someone else receive this award last year - and at that moment, I said, "I am going to win that next year. Just watch." I really meant it when I said that, which makes receiving the award all that more important to me.

So, as far as my work associations go, I fared pretty well in 2006. I was outstanding member for both BOMA and AAFAME. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me in 2007!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The pieces are coming together...

There have been 2 big problems impeding my triathlon training lately. First, I've had a horrible "something" on the ball of my left foot for about 6 months - I've had to wear flip flops to work lately because I can't wear shoes. Running has been really painful for me. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and had it removed. I now have a hole in the bottom of my foot, but I should be able to run (and walk) pain free very soon!

Second, I hated my bike. If you read my last cycling related post, you'll know why. Basically, I needed a new bike. The price of bikes is a lot to swallow, and had been deterring me for a while. But, with the conclusion of my cycling study and a cash prize from a membership contest I won at BOMA - I figured I had earned the right to buy myself something I really wanted.


I would like to announce the arrival of the newest member of my family... my new, beautiful, wonderful Felt S22 triathlon bike! Ain't she a beauty??Amy & Joey joined me in my inaugural ride at the Veloway this afternoon. We rode 12+ miles together and I honestly had so much fun. Really - fun! On the bike! Me!! Wahoo!!!
I'm going to try & run tomorrow morning with Maggie (assuming my foot doesn't hurt too bad), and then we are going on the Rogue bike ride. I can't wait to show off my bike. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

UT Cycling Studies... I'm done!

Yesterday was my last ride for the U.T. Cycling study. Rather than recount how it went, I thought I would post the pictures that I picked up today. Here is what I've been doing every Wednesday morning for the past 5 weeks. Jealous? :)

Before each study, at about 6:45am, Dr. Ivy would stick a catheter in my arm so that they could take blood throughout the ride. Usually this went well, though yesterday I could actually see the stick in my arm. (Yuck!)

Here's Vanessa measuring out one of my million test drinks. (By the way, Accelerade was set up at the White Rock Marathon Expo, and talking about how they were doing this cycling study at U.T. Hmmm!)
Do these tubes make me look sexy or what?! Here they are watching my VO2 & heart rate.
This is what the performance phase looks like. Luckily, the kind folks running this study would cheer me on, taking my attention away from the catheter, VO2Max testing, pain, etc... This was the only picture I have where I don't look like I want to die. Dr. Ivy & me after my last ride. It's over!!! It was kind of an honor to be a participant for Dr. Ivy and Vanessa. In fact, I've already got leads on my next study at U.T.!

So, all in all - this was a fabulous study for me. I learned a ton about myself in these past 5 weeks. Here goes:

  • My resting heart rate is about 43. Not bad, huh? When I'm pushing really hard, my heart rate seemed to stay at about 145 - the highest I saw it go was 165 (I think.)
  • My VO2 max (how efficient my body is at utilizing Oxygen) is 40. The average, non working out woman is 38. I will never be a great athlete based on the way my body is made up - 80% of which is genetic. Though I can work and work at my VO2Max, I will never raise it more than a few points. So... I have to work pretty damn hard to do as well as someone with a better VO2max than me.
  • That being said, I have got a hell of a lot of heart. I can push and push and push myself until I think I'm on the brink of exhuastion, and then I can push more. I am never as fatigued as I think I am - I need to remember that when I train and when I race.

So, my $500 should be in the mail soon. I've got my eye on that new bike...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dysfunction Junction

Tonight was another Pain Train happy hour at Aussie's. I didn't do the night's workout since I had my final cycling study this morning, so I met up with the group after work events.

I really love my friends. Lately, I've grown really close to a lot of them - especially the ones with the nicknames. I find myself spending more and more time with them, whether in person or by countless daily email threads. It's awesome - we are, as Wiley put it, our own lovely dysfunctional family.

That being said, I can't help but wonder why I spend so much time with my "dysfunctional family" when I could be at home with my functional one.

Just a thought for 11:30pm on a Wednesday night. I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Enjoy it while you can.

Tonight, I went to the annual holiday party for my neighborhood. Last year, Phil & I went because we really wanted to see the house of the host couple. This year, we went because we knew there would be lots of free food.

As I stood in line for food, I asked Phil if he thought my new haircut made me look younger, older, or the same. This must have got him thinking about what I may have beeng thinking about at the party. Honestly, I was just curious about my hair. But when we left the party, he said, "you must have felt pretty awkward in there. Being the youngest person at the party and all."

I hadn't really thought about it until we left, but he was right. I did feel awkward. I didn't relate to any of the people there. They were handing out awards for the "best holiday lights" and talking about their children and such. Midway through the party, I got a call saying my buddies were meeting at Aussie's for happy hour. At that point, I basically gobbled down my pieces of fudge and cheesecake and we left. I headed to Aussie's, met my friends (some of whom were the same age as those at the party), and I felt back at home.

This reminds me of something I saw during the marathon relay at mile 16. There were signs that said "At 16, all we want is to be 26. At 26, we wish we were 16. Enjoy it while you can." I certainly don't want to be 16 again, but I am definitely going to enjoy 26 while it lasts.

Can we be any more LAZY?!

Today, I discovered Skype. I was supposed to go to Houston for the day to meet with my marketing staff and attend our weekly sales meeting. But, I thought it seemed kind of pointless to drive to Houston for a 2 hour meeting and then drive back. Upon relaying this to my boss, he decided that I must install Skype on my computer and start videoconferencing. So... our IT manager ran out and bought me a webcam while I installed Skype... and now, I can talk to anyone in the world, for free, while watching them talk back to me. How freaking cool is this? I can't believe I didn't know about it before!!

Now, here comes the lazy part. Rather than video conference with my marketing staff, I video conferenced with my bosses. Who are about 3 offices down from me. Here is a screenshot from my computer - notice me in the bottom left corner. Now, seriously. Can we be any more lazy? Instead of walking down the hall, we have to video conference each other from the comfort of our own offices? Hmm, what would a communication person say about this interaction, or lack there of?
But... you know, if you want to download Skype and talk to me... I'm here!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Recent Pics

I received a "Most Valuable Member" at the AAFAME luncheon last Wednesday! (AAFAME is one of the organizations I am a member of at work - it stands for Austin Association of Facility & Maintenance Engineers.) It's a really fun group, and I was really honored to be recognized.
Here are some of my AAFAME buddies - Amy, Tammy & Charlotte. They are loads of fun, and making friends like them is one of the reasons why my job is so much fun.
Here is dinner at CAFE BRAZIL! (did I mention that I love that place.) I'm eating with Michelle, who was working the expo for the Stick; Matt (the race director for 3M), and Stacy & Diana (Austin Marathon Foundation). Please notice the huge cups of hot chocolate smores in front of them. (Joey had this + cheesecake. Yum!!)
The Running Banana Team!! Tell me, are we adorable or what? By the way, a great side effect of short hair is that you can see the back of my running shirts now. I was pleased to show off my McDirty shirt.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

White Rock Relay 2006

Maggie, Joey & I ran the White Rock Marathon Relay this morning. My dad was our support crew and did the most excellent job of carting us around from point to point.

After dropping Phil off at the start (since he ran the full marathon), we drove to the 20 mile exchange point. This took about an hour, and we were so lost that we weren't sure we'd make it to the first exchange point in time. The course was barely marked so it was hard to tell where things were. Finally, we figured it out and then headed to mile 10. We nearly froze as we waited for Phil to run by and then to meet Joey. I ended up wearing my Freescale jacket over my Running Banana shirt, even though I knew I would get too hot. Joey came and slapped the exchange wristband on my hand (we had practiced all weekend) and I took off.

Of course, I warmed up after a mile. So I wrapped my jacket around my waste and enjoyed getting knocked in the knees by 2 clif shots that weighed my jacket down. Anyway, I was trying to take it easy and break the 10 miles into 2 sections. The first 5 miles felt great and I kept a pace of a little less than 9:30s. I continued to feel great until mile 18 (or 8 for me) when I started questioning my logic of finishing out the marathon with Maggie and Joey instead of stopping at mile 20. Even though I had escaped the wind of the lake by miles 19-20, it was still somewhat uphill and I had to push a bit harder to keep my splits consistent. At the exchange point, I slapped the wristband on Maggie and told her I'd meet up with them in a bit. I met my dad, got some water, and then had him take me to mile 23 to meet up with my crew again.

When I rejoined Maggie & Joey, my legs felt like new. I wanted to run really fast, but I kept it easy so we could finish strong together. We crossed the finish line in about 4:17, fingers hooked together over our heads. What a blast!! We collected our medals and made our way through the finisher's chute. We saw Phil, Dad and Rachel and pretty much bolted from the racesite . It was cold and drizzly by this point and we wanted to get home. And to Cafe Brazil for lunch, of course.

Some highlights of my leg included:
-a relay team comprised of 5 Borats! They were wearing grey suits, black fuzzy wigs, and waved the American flag. Classic, really.
-at mile 19, there are 2 hills called "dolly parton" hills. So, the men working the water stop dressed up as Dolly Partons and looked hilarious.
-passing tons of people throughout the course. it wasn't fair that my legs were more fresh than theirs, but it was still fun to pass them.
-being done at mile 20!! (or at least not HAVING to run the last 6.2 miles)

Seriously, I would like to thank Joey and Maggie for one of the most fun races I've ever run. I really enjoy doing the relay thing.

And I can't forget to thank Rachel, Ruth & Steve too. Of course.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is quite possibly my most favorite restaurant ever. Today, I ate all of my meals there.

Egg white migas with loads of veggies; wheat tortillas; rosemary potatoes
*Don't be fooled - my plate was the size of a hottub.

Veggie Sandwich; cup of fruit
Half a piece of apple pie & a scoop of vanilla icecream
6-7 cups of chocolate cherry flavored coffee
*Again, don't be fooled - this was enough food to feed 100 starving African children

Good god, this place is delicious. But, drinking 7 cups of coffee is not helping me get to sleep. So, Maggie & I are sitting here reading blogs and making elves dance on some silly program Wiley found.

Tomorrow, I will return to the glorious Cafe Brazil for breakfast. Maggie is going to order french toast piled high with fruit and syrup. I am getting 3 pancakes filled with bananas and reeses peanut butter cups. I can't wait. :)

So, for my "healthy" pre-race meals, I plan on gaining about 10 pounds. God bless Cafe Brazil. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Two Minute Crash Diet

Today was the big day... I FINALLY CUT MY HAIR!!!! This was the easiest way I've ever encountered to lose weight fast. :)
First Myra put my hair in two pigtails.
And then she cut! I didn't even have time to freak out.

Holy cow, what a ton of hair! Seriously, these pigtails weigh quite a bit!!

And here is my new do! It just barely fits in a ponytail.
God bless Myra, who not only came in to work on her day off, but she did this out of the goodness of her heart. It was great to see her since she has been my stylist, and friend, since I was 15 years old.

Joey came with me as my moral support (and chief photographer)- I'm so glad he was here.

I really appreciate all the well wishes I've received about doing this. I'm not only excited to have a new style - one that will much better suit my lifestyle - but I'm excited that my hair is going to a good place.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

UT Cycling Study - Experimental Ride #3

This morning was my 4th ride. I only have one more to go, which is actually kind of sad. I've really enjoyed this study.

I don't know if it was because I read Lulu's blog about her 4th ride, or because the drink wasn't very good, but I had a rougher time at this week than I did last week. By the time I made it to the performance phase, I made a mental goal of cycling through 4 songs. I think I ended up making it through 8 or 9, somehow, but it was pretty tough. Dr. Ivy said, "Erin is not smiling today" which pretty much summed up how I felt. I was impressed with myself for pushing through even when I was really tired, though of course I wish I had gone longer. I think the total time this week was about 3:15 minutes.

If I didn't have anywhere to be at 11:30 on Wednesdays, I think I could go a lot longer. I know that the obligation of various luncheons messes with my motivation to keep going. That being said, I do really want to do well and go for a long time, and I entertain the idea of being late to my luncheons.

This morning, we passed the time looking at some of the pictures on my laptop. (I have my laptop there for music.) We looked at pictures from my wedding, pictures from Jenna's wedding, pictures of New Zealand, and pictures of the puppies. It helped pass the time, and it was also fun to look through the pictures. Took my mind off of my legs.

When I finished, I realized that I hadn't packed a hair dryer or a brush. Oops - luckily one of the administrators had a hairdryer that I borrowed, though it was a little pointless without the brush. I managed to put myself together enough to arrive at my AAFAME luncheon not looking completely frumpy and disheveled.

Anyway, I received a great surprise at my luncheon - I was named one of the outstanding members of the year! Pretty darn cool. I'll post pictures when I get them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Run the Rock Marathon Relay

On Sunday, Maggie, Joey & I are going to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon as a relay team. This will be my first long distance race since the Disney Marathon. I'm really excited about it. Joey will run the first 2 legs (10 miles), I will run the 3rd & 4th leg (10 miles), and then Joey & I will join Maggie for the last 6. 2. We've named ourselves, appropriately, the Running Bananas.