So, yeah, the Woodland's Half Marathon, let's just say it wasn't my favorite race ever. Not because the race itself wasn't fun, but because of my lack of training. I did not train for this race AT ALL and I paid for it that hot and muggy Saturday morning.
My day started at 4 am when I woke up and ate breakfast (PB toast) and drove to the race site. I didn't know what the traffic and parking would be like, so I made sure to leave no later than 5:15 am. Luckily, I found parking easily and walked over to the finish line to check my bag. It was sprinkling a bit at this point, so I stayed under a canopy and stretched until it was almost time to go.
The race started with the National Anthem and we were off! I ran for about a mile straight before I stopped to walk, it actually probably wasn't that long (I didn't have my watch). I was struggling already and I knew that I had a looooong way to go before I could finish this thing and I was seriously thinking about calling it quits right then. I saw my friend Sarah at mile 2 and she had a huge smile of her face and encouraged me not to quit. Around this time I also met a group of women that were doing a 1 minute walk and 1 minute run the entire way, and I asked if I could stay with them and they said sure. I am so thankful for them because without them, I would have not finished. They were running for a little girl at their school who has spinal bifida, and I believe their entire team won an award for the most money raised.
I had my hand-held water bottle with me the entire time, but I still took cups of water/gatorade at some of the stations. My stomach started to feel like I was going to throw up multiple times on the course, I think it was the humidity and the lack of training that almost did me in. Luckily, my new friends wouldn't let me stop and encouraged me to keep going. When I was training for my marathon or even other half's, I never realized how long a half marathon is. LOL. That distance is a monster without training. Note to self: Do not attempt a half marathon without training ever again. I have a half marathon coming up in April, I need to actually train for that one.
The finish line was a small portion on the water way, but not as much as I would have liked. There were a lot of people at the finish line (being close to the mall in all), but the course it self was lacking people. I finished, got my medal, took a group photo with my new spinal bifida friends, and then headed to the food line. The food selection was great in my opinion (but I heard they were running low for the marathon finishers that finished after 4 hours), you had the choice of either 2 breakfast tacos or a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, and also they had cookies, fruit, muffins, and drinks (I got chocolate milk).
While in line for food, I saw my blog friend Tabitha! We have been blog friends since last year, but this is the first time we have met in person. I went with her to her team's tent and we chatted for a bit, then I said good bye and headed to my sisters house to shower and nap before we went to a wedding that night. I showed my medal to my nephews and they were unimpressed. Thanks kids. :/ LOL.
Cons of this race:
Overall, I think it was a well organized race, but it did have its down sides. A few things that I didn't like (and that I saw others complaining about on the race FB page) were packet pick up was only on Thursday and Friday before the race, and no race day pickup. For those of you who do not know where the Woodland's is, it is about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Houston and on a Friday afternoon after work, it is about 1.5 hours. I understand with 7,000 people running a race and trying to pick up their packet the morning of the race, it might be difficult to have it on race day morning, but if the race wasn't forever far away, then it wouldn't be too bad. I usually look at that before I register, but this time I didn't notice that.
Also, the 1st water stop on the 1/2 course wasn't well stocked, they seemed to be very unprepared for this race. Luckily, I had my water bottle with me, but others had to stop and wait until they could pour them a cup. Crowd support on the course was lacking and the course itself was a bit boring and not much to see.
Finishers Medal to add to my collection:
I noticed right after I crossed the finish line that it had a ding in the black part of the medal, but I didn't want to turn it in because it gave it character and a little black sharpie will fix it right up. Plus, it sort of summarizes how the race went and how I felt afterwards--beat up!
Now, before you see my time for this event, realize that my PR is 2:25 and when I train I can be much better, but there is no excuses for my lack of training. I should have done better and it is 100% my fault that I did so poorly.
Overall finish time: 3:09.25
Age group rank: #377 out of 417
Last Friday I went to Space Center Houston with my friend Trish and her son, Trey.
They are down from Washington to attend cancer treatments at MD Anderson. Tre has a form of cancer in his muscles that he had when he was a toddler and they just found out it came back again. He is having surgery on Friday, so please pray for him!
To get their mind off of the surgery, we went to Space Center Houston and Kemah for the afternoon. I have been to Nasa multiple times, but they have never gone. We got there late and only had time to do the tour and walk around for a bit. The tram tour is interesting and you make three stops. One is the actual mission control used when the USA first went to the moon. Can you believe that the first computer was the size of a huge room (think bigger than an average size bedroom) and only had enough memory to power a cell phone ringtone? Not a cell phone, but the ringtone on your cell phone. Crazy!
At this stop, they also mentioned that even though we aren't currently sending anyone to space or the moon, they are working on a manned mission to Mars. It takes us about 3 days to get to the Moon, but it will take about 6 months to get to Mars! Crazy!
The next stop was a huge building where they practice in-flight situations and new features. I thought I got a picture, but there is even a Ironman like robot that is so precise, he can type perfectly on an iPhone keyboard! I can't even do that. :/
The final stop was a warehouse where an actual rocket was housed in a mini museum.
Can you tell how big it is? No? Well look at this one and see the people on the left. Now can you tell? It's huge!
After the tour, we went to the main building to walk around. There is a part where there are special articifacts that were taken to space. Here is a chess set that was used to play "Earth vs. Space" against a set of championship
winning third graders...Earth and the third graders won! :)
This is a pair of shoes that was taken on board a ship, and to date the other shoe has never been found! What? An alien has his shoe! Maybe the shoe is part of an alien collection like Ariel in the Little Mermaid?
Just before we left we went to the gift shop and I saw this cute shirt! It made me think of the Big Bang Theory. Too Cute.
We had a fun time at the Space Center and afterwards we went to Kemah for dinner on the Boardwalk. We ate at Landry's and it was WONDERFUL!!! So yummy. I had their Habanero Margarita and it was sooooo good, check it out!
I got to babysit this cutie the other day while my sister ran some errands.
We spent the day making tons of play-doh figures including snowmen and looooooong caterpillars. He would come up with a figurine to make and I was 'forced' to make them. We even made a dragon, but I am not sure you can tell it is a dragon, can you?
Maybe? I never said I was an artist! :)
The rest of the day we spent playing outside and taking walks. Cole loves to race and I did a lot of running while I was over there. I thought it would wear him out to where he would fall asleep, but NOOOOO. Of course not. LOL.
I got a snack from my car and he stole it from me, apparently he loves Nutella. After eating all of it, he took a bath; I think he got more on him than he did in his mouth.
My sister got home just as my Mom came to pick him up for the night. We had tons of fun and the next morning Cole's words were "Where's Aunt Steppy" as soon as he woke up! :)
This past Saturday was the HLSR's Top Hands Horse Show and I was lucky enough to volunteer for it! I am on the Special Children's Committee and we help put on the event for the kids.
The Top Hand Hands Horse Show is for mentally and physically handicapped kids/adults, where they get to participate in rodeo events. As part of their therapy, many children go to horse camps and ride horses. Once a year, they participate in the Top Hands Horse Show to win awards. They go at their own pace, with helpers walking along side of them.
My scheduled volunteer time was from 7 am - 1 pm, but I ended up staying all day and left around 8:30 pm. I stayed in the hospitality suite most of the time helping to ensure all snacks and drinks were stocked and also helping to serve lunch and dinner. I got to wear my new badge holder! It's is pretty, so full of bling! :)
The kids would come in to get drinks and show us their awards, it was so cute! They were very proud of their awards, and for many of them it was their first award ever! The first place winners got a cool belt buckle and the other winners either got this cool trophy (below) or a ribbon.
It was a great day and I am glad I was able to be a part of it. I have several other nights I have to volunteer and I cannot wait til they come! We have a day tour scheduled and three concerts that I will be working. More to come!
A few weekends ago I traveled to Nacogdoches to meet some friends for a fun night and also work on some Driving Jacks 5K stuff. I hadn't seen some of my best friends in so long, I needed a friends weekend!
I got to Nacogdoches right at 11 am with the worst headache! I stopped at CVS to purchase some migraine medicine and then headed to the DJ office to meet with some 5K committee members. After our meeting we headed to Cotton Patch (which I LOVE!!!) for lunch. I try to go to CP every time I travel to Nac, but it doesn't always happen. I love me some Cotton Patch.
Krista and Clarissa were traveling from Beaumont and Dallas and I met them at the hotel we stayed at. After we got dressed to go out, we headed over to Brittany's house to make some thank you cards for people/companies that donated to the Driving Jacks 5K and raffle. We headed to dinner at Casa Tomas and we had so much fun! We talked and talked. I missed my girls! All three of those ladies were friends from my Driving Jacks days, Driving Jacks honestly is were 80% of my best friends came from. :)
After dinner we headed to the Driving Jacks office to hang out with the members that were working that night. We played games with them and just talked about the olden days. We had meant to pep them up for the 5K and raffle sales, but I think we sort of preached and 'mom-ed' them instead of giving a pep rally. OOPS! It's just that all of us were Presidents and Vice Presidents of the organization at one time, and we care so much about it. We just wanted to instill that passion in them too. Later that night though, when we were dropped off, the people who took us home said it was a good talk and they glad they heard it, so I didn't feel to bad. :)
We went out to a local bar after that and then crashed a fraternity party (Theta Chi) after the bar closed. Before we went out, we were all saing that we didn't think we would make it past midnight, but here we were closing down a bar! LOL. We drove around and found a fraternity house that had beer and we just hung out there and made friends. Clarissa and Brittany played beer pong, but Krista and I just hung out and talked to some guy who was in the military.
After a while I was feeling light headed (I hadn't felt very well for a few days prior, hence the head ache earlier) so I headed to my car while they finished their partying. They came to check on me to make sure I didn't want to leave, but I didn't want them to not have fun. I was fine in my car, just playing with my phone. I'm a weirdo! LOL.
About 2:30 I called Driving Jacks to have them pick us up since we had all been driving. They close at 3 am, so I wanted to be sure they would pick us up. They got there around 2:45 am and we headed out. The entire time we were talking to the members (they new who we were since they met us earlier) and telling old stories. I'm always glad when I can hang out with other DJ members and alumni, just seeing Amy's vision come to life.
The entire time we were there we were using hash tag speak #twomomsandtwosingleladiestakeonNac and #toooldforthis. We thought we would be home and in bed by midnight, but we made it to 4 am! What is up with that? Who am I? That NEVER happens!
The next morning we went to our continental breakfast and then lunch before heading home. I had so much fun and I really needed to see my friends. I miss them so much!
Last year running the Houston Marathon was great, but this year I knew I wouldn't be running in it, so I decided to volunteer! I had several friends doing both the marathon and half marathon, but more on the half marathon. I felt more led to volunteer on the marathon course though, since the volunteers really helped me last year when I was at the end of my rope on mile 20.
I was able to sign up early (I think back in November) for the mile 21.5 water station. We had to be there at 7 am to set up the station, but I ended up being there at 6:45 am since I didn't know what the traffic and road closures would be like.
At first I thought I would be the only person (besides the captain's) over 21, but then some mom's came and we became friends! There were two groups of students that were volunteering with us for volunteer hours. I would say there were about 40-50 of us.
They gave us all free t-shirts to wear on the course and if you signed up early enough, you could get a free rain jacket as well (didn't get a pic of it).
We set up the water stations with cups of water that were stacked 4 deep. Would would fill up the water on the table, add a piece of cardboard, and then add more cups.
We were ready to go by the time the top finishers came by. The men seemed like they were waaaaay ahead of the women, but it was probably about 5-10 minutes. I didn't count the time difference though. Both the top men and women groups had a police escort and video escort filming the race. It was pretty cool!
Then the masses came! We were handing out tons of water, I think the captain said over 20,000 gallons! What's funny/gross is that the water they were giving out came straight out of the fire hydrant! Yep! We lined trash cans with restaurant trash bags and filled them up with fire hydrant water. We were handing the cups out when I realized that they were having to walk a long way to get them so I stayed behind the table to manage the layers of cups. Once a layer of water cups were almost all gone, I would move them down and remove the cardboard. Everyone was thanking me for looking ahead and doing that so they could focus on handing out the water, otherwise they would have to do that plus hand out the water and it was too much with the large crowds. I know it sounds kind of dumb (typing it does, LOL), but they honestly were so happy that they could be more efficient. There were also a few cups that weren't filled all the way, and I would fill them to the correct level so they wouldn't have to do it.
I only saw one friend (way to go Debra for your Boston qualification!!) on the course, but I missed about 4 others! :/ That's ok because I was able to encourage lots of people by saying their name and cheering for them!! I even gave two hugs to random strangers that looked like they needed it. I said, "You look like you need a hug" and they both said yes. LOL. I'm glad I could encourage them and everyone else! :)
At the end of the race, the trucks came by to pick up stuff and let us know we could clean up. They made people get off the course and walk along the side walk since they wouldn't be finishing in time. It was so sad!! These poor people made it to mile 21.5 and were forced to get off the course, they walked with their heads down and looked so defeated. I felt so bad for them.
After we were free to go, I went out to lunch with Krista and her mom Ginger. Who celebrated their 4th and 3rd half marathon finishes!! Krista's aunt Terry was supposed to run too, but she opted out because she was sick. It was a fun lunch and a fun day. I had a sunburn over the next few days on my face. Ooops!
I have actually had this DVD for a while now, but I haven’t
written a review on it yet. Much like its predecessor, Strong BodyAgeless Body, this one is great! This DVD for sure if for those
people who want to get in a good workout, but aren’t hardcore
workout freaks. I have several DVD’s at home that I can’t even
get through the warm up (cough, P90X, cough) and I feel defeated.
Erin O’Brien’s DVD’s are for anyone, at any fitness level. I
believe the DVD was released in 2010, so Mrs. O’Brien, if you are
out there…your fans want/need another one! :)
I especially liked this DVD because it included more cardio and
weight training than her first DVD. I love how she does each move
with you the entire time, instead of just doing a few reps and
talking you through it. It’s like she knows what you are going
through and feels your pain! Plus, it’s just her, in her home (I’m
assuming it’s her home), not a studio with a bunch of skinny girls
doing the routine breathlessly while painting their nails. I am
always sweaty and red faced at the end of the DVD, so I know that I
got a good workout in. At one point I have to stop and breath after
the set so I won’t get sick or pass out-ONLY because I get light
headed and motion sick when I stand up and sit down too many times in
a row. The first set has you getting down to do pushups and tricep
kickbacks, and then jumping in the air. I always have to sit down
and breath for a few minutes after that set in order not to get
stick. I am just weird like that though! Normal people aren’t like
The DVD is set up as a warm-up, set 1, set 2, set 3, set 4 review,
abs, and then stretching. She teaches you step by step each move,
making sure you do it correctly with proper form, and then you go
onto the next move. After you have learned the moves, you go through
each one from the top. That concludes each of the 3 sets. The 4th
set is all of the first three sets, in order, and at tempo pace. I
have done the DVD multiple times and know when she will say certain
things like ‘tip-toes’ or ‘tricep kickbacks’. I have it
memorized. I really think Erin is a great trainer with a cute
personality. You feel like she really cares about you, like she is
your own personal trainer. I feel like in other trainers videos they
try and make themselves look the best or sell as many DVD’s as
possible, I don’t get that vibe from Erin O’Brien at all. I
think she genuinely wants everyone to have a strong body and do the
Since she is doing the moves alongside you, she includes
motivation sayings like ‘today is the today you will get through
it’ or ‘don’t panic’ when she knows that there is a move
coming up that might be challenging to her audience, but she knows
you can get through it if you push through.
I highly recommend this DVD as a workout!
The #1 Bucket list item that is being checked off for 2014 is "Go strawberry picking" Whoo hoo!!
On Saturday I went with my friend Savannah to Froberg's Farm in Alvin, TX to go strawberry picking. I have always wanted to go strawberry picking and once I saw that Froberg's strawberry picking was open, I made sure to tell my friends. A few other people were supposed to come with me, but things happen and only one person was able to go. We got there around 2:30 pm and headed out to the field. You buy a reusable bucket for $1 and then pay $2.50 per pound after that. I think I bought $12 worth of strawberries at the end of my strawberry picking.
They told us to head to the back left of the field since no one had been to that part that day. We each picked a lane and got to picking! There were so many berries everywhere! I thought they would have been damaged in the freeze from the day before, but they weren't! My bucket was full in no time.
Savanna and I hadn't seen each other in awhile, so we just spent the time catching up.
It's early in the season, but the strawberries are wonderful! I have been eating strawberries at literally EVERY meal since I got home on Saturday. I have made strawberry waffles, strawberry salads, strawberry smoothies, and strawberry cereal. I need to try to freeze them before they go bad.