Monday, January 28, 2013

Marathon Book

Awhile ago I saw this post on one of the blogs I read about how she organizes her race bibs each year.  I loved the idea and always see coupon codes for free or discounted photo books online.  I wanted to do a race book myself, but it was in October that I decided to make a book and I hadn’t taken photos at each race I had done.   Then I thought about doing a “Journey to my first marathon” photo book off all the races I had completed since I started training for my marathon in June.

I had played around with what I wanted as the front of the book, originally not having a picture at all, but then I fell in love with my finishers medal and I had to feature it.  I added the quote from my marathon t-shirt “Don’t Limit Your Challenges, Challenge Your Limits” to the top, and added wrote ‘Journey to My First Marathon’ at the bottom along with my name.

When you open the front cover I added a picture of my medal rack with all my medals hanging on it, along with the name and date of each race that I had done since getting accepted to the marathon.

I hadn’t taken pictures of all my races so I had to get creative with pictures of those races, but otherwise I just chose a few pictures from each race.  I basically copied the Meals and Miles photo book that she had created for herself to create my own book.  On one side of the book I had the race logo and some pictures from the race, then on the other side I had left it blank so I could tape my bib in it.  I made sure to rotate the race photos to the opposite side so when I taped the bib to the page, it wouldn’t get the other side of the page all crinkly and mess up the pictures.  Each page either had front and back of photos or front and back of bibs.  At the bottom of each photo page I wrote the date, name of the event, and my finish time for the race so I would always remember how I did.

The last page had a group picture of all the people I trained with in my marathon training group, Gotta Run Katy, along with a 26.2 sticker that we were all supposed to get (which I still have not gotten!).

The back cover was the marathon route that I endured for 5 hours, 45 minutes.  I thought it deserved its own page!

My Publisher
I ordered the photo book through My Publisher since I got a $10 coupon through Living Social.  I don’t know that I will use My Publisher again because it really didn’t give me too many options for page layouts.  They had backgrounds, but a lot of them didn’t really apply to what I was doing so I didn’t have a lot of options besides plain colored backgrounds.  I heard other companies (like Snapfish) have lots of options and borders you could use.  I really wanted to add a cute box around my text or a cute border but I couldn’t figure out where they had that option.  I had to pay shipping, tax, and I got two extra pages so my $10 book ended up costing me around $30. I do like my book, I just wish I could have had more options to design it.  I need to make one soon for a gift, so I will probably try another company.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Birthday celebration

Each month my work recognizes everyone who has an anniversary or birthday that month.  Usually they give us some sort of dessert like sundaes (with sprinkles!), cobbler and ice cream, strawberry shortcake, etc.  This month was cupcakes from Oh La La in City Centre.  So good!

Before the slideshow they always make announcements that are coming up that month like new programs, new employees, etc.  Then they said they wanted to recognize an employee for doing something great recently.  At this point I was like “Who is it and what did they do?”  Then she started talking about this employee who ran a marathon over the weekend through the wind, rain, and cold.  As soon as she said marathon I knew she was talking about me.  My face got so red and they made me come in front of the room.  I was embarrassed about being in front of the room as the center of attention.  Everyone clapped and said congrats.

They gave me a gift card to Academy as congratulations for completing my marathon.  It was so sweet!  I have honestly never worked for a company that cared so much for their employees.  They do so much for us, it is unreal.  I didn’t know such a Christian company existed.  God knew what he was doing when he brought me here.  God’s timing is perfect.

After the announcements, they have a birthday slideshow telling you about each birthday employee and then say the name of the person who’s anniversary it was (my 1 year anniversary is this month). 

Just thought I would share!  Now, I need help deciding what to buy!  I was thinking of a bike trainer so I can ride my bike inside!  What would you suggest?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One week

It has been officially one week (well, technically over one week) since my marathon and I think it is time to regroup and figure out my new fitness plan.  After this past week I am itching to get back out there again to set new goals, for me, 1 week has been plenty of time to recover from a marathon. 
I have to have big goals that scare me to pieces for me to get my butt off the couch.  First, it was my half marathon and then it was my marathon.  Those two races where so huge to me at the time (and still are!) that I worked my booty off to make sure I completed them.  Honestly, it wasn’t the distance that scared me; it was stating my goal out loud for all too hear.  What if I failed and everyone was watching?  Just so you know, I am not really big on failing, but who is right?  They say that if you haven’t set a goal and missed a goal, then you’re not setting goals that are big enough.  Slowly, but surely, I am learning to accept that phrase.
My goal for the marathon was to just finish, because if you finish within 6 hours (or whatever the time limit is for the race) you are considered a marathoner.   However, my double super secret goal was to finish at 5 hours.  I knew that 5 hours was pushing it for me, but I thought I could hold my half marathon PR pace for 26.2 miles.  Pshhhh.  Apparently not!  I had missed my goal time by A LOT!  I finished at 5:45, which was super close to the 6 hour cut off timeline.  I didn’t tell people that my goal was 5 hours though. I had said that based on my ½ marathon time I could finish at 5 hours. (BUT I will complete that goal one day…and soon!).  Maybe if I had told people that my goal was 5 hours, I would have made sure I came in closer to that time?  I didn’t though because it was my double super secret goal.
Which brings me to my next big goal, a goal that I am shouting from the rooftops.  What is my next big hairy scary outrageous goal?  A half Ironman. Yep.  Gulp! Originally, on my bucket list I had added the item 'Complete an Ironman', and then I did the Bridgeland Triathlon and completely nixed that idea!  I was not a fan of triathlons at all, but backing down from a challenge drives me nuts.  So, as Bill Murray says in What about Bob, we will take ‘baby steps’ to get to that Ironman…In 2013 I will be training for a Half Ironman 70.3 which is 1.2 Miles of Swimming, 56 Miles of Biking, 13.1 Miles of Running.

That is nuts! Let’s break these down:

1.2 miles of swimming-some people cannot even run 1.2 miles without stopping much less swim it.  I am scared of the open water so I will have to work on this one a lot.  I will have to spend hours in the gym pool to completely train for this. Hours.  I need to find a gym pool.  In the Spring I will look for a gym or facility that has pool access.  My last gym’s pool was so gross that I never got in it.

56 Miles on the bike-Ok, TMI alert…My lady bits were hurting after 12 miles on the bike during my first triathlon, I can only imagine what they will be like after 56 miles!  I didn’t train on the bike that often though so I will have to do that a lot more this training cycle. Maybe I should get one of those bike trainers that you attach your bike too and just spin at your house? I am afraid of getting hit by a car when I ride near my  house and it’s a pain in the booty to take the wheel off your bike.

13.1 miles running-I think I got this one down, but it doesn’t hurt to improve.  I will have to work on getting faster at running and I will also have to do more brick workouts so I can be prepared.  The transition of getting off my bike and then running seriously kicked my booty during Bridgeland.  I was not prepared!

I am telling everyone so it will happen!  I am still working out the details, logistics, and training plans, but I need all of you to keep me accountable.  If I don’t say it out loud (er, type it outloud?) then I will let the year slip by and not complete the goal.

So, what do you guys think about my big scary 2013 goal? 

Friday, January 18, 2013


I have a confession to make.  Those of you who know me, know that I have been addicted to something for a year now and I just cannot let it go.  It’s tough to say it publically, but, here it goes. 

I AM ADDICTED TO RACE BLING.  I know, I know.  Some people say that the tech t-shirts you get at the end of a race are better, but I disagree, it’s all bling for me. 

Shiny ones 

Big ones 

Small ones 

Nature Ones 

Triple ones and Movable part ones. 

Functional Ones 

Character ones

Glow in the dark ones

Hard to get ones 

They are all beautiful and I can’t get enough!  What is a girl to do with such an addiction?  Rehab?  I think Amy Winehouse said it best when she said “They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said NO, NO, NO!”
I did what any person would do, I signed up for more races!!!  I even have been contemplating signing up for another marathon (YIKES!) and may or may not have already decided which one that will be. 

I feel so much better about confessing that I do it for the race bling.  All for the bling.
And yes, you did just waste time reading this pointless post. LOL. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Painting with Grandmother

The Friday night before my marathon me, my sister Laura, my stepbrother Brandon, and our cousin Leigh Ann all took my grandmother to a painting party as her Christmas present.  We found a Groupon  for Vino Artino in Spring for a three hour class that we each bought, and also one for Grandmother.  This was my third time painting and Laura’s second time, but everyone else’s first time.

Grandmother isn’t a very crafty person, but we figured she would have lots of fun spending time with us and a painting would just be bonus.  I think she was worried about how the painting would turn out, but the painting was just some trees, so how bad could they turn out?  Hmmm.  Keep reading!

First we all went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mia Bella off Louetta.  I had been carb loading all week in preparation for my marathon, and since it was right before I needed to continue to carb load so we opted for Italian food.  Leigh Ann and I live near each other so we drove over together.  Brandon came straight from work and Laura and Grandmother rode together also.  The restaurant was good and they gave us tons of bread!  Score.

We had a reservation for the class so we had our seats set out for us and didn’t have to worry about saving seats for everyone or getting there super early.  We each got a blank canvas , two brushes, paint, and a mixing tray to start out with.  

The instructor guided us step by step so we wouldn’t get lost.  However, if you know me, you know how much I like to talk, my family is no different!  We kept cracking jokes and laughing amongst ourselves and our two other table mates that we had just met so we kept getting lost and not hearing the directions completely.

Vino Artino is a BYOB wine and art class, but since we were with Grandmother and Leigh Ann was pregnant, we didn’t BYOB.  We did BYOC though with cupcakes from Treat Cupcakes!!

As the paintings went along we each decided that we didn’t like them and we must have lost a direction or two somewhere along the way.  I really don't know how it was so difficult to paint trees!  SMH.

The original.




Leigh Anne’s

For some reason, I don’t think I got a picture of Grandmothers!  Oops!  Just look at the group pic.

We had a blast though and I am so glad we got to go!  On the way home that night Laura asked Grandmother if she had fun and if she would go again, Grandmother said “Yes, but not too soon.”  I guess it was a hit but I think she had more fun with us than actually painting a picture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Boy Your Momma Warned You About

This post has actually been one of the most difficult posts to write because I am still trying to wrap my head around that I am a member of the 1% Club!!!  (Only 1% of the world has ever completed a marathon, once you complete one, you are a member of the 1% club) I have all these feelings and thoughts to write down and they are so sporadic that it’s hard to put into words.  I did my best though so enjoy my recap of the Chevron Houston Marathon 2013.

Chevron Houston Marathon 2013 Recap
I have always heard that a marathon is a different type of beast and it’s in a whole different category, but until I ran one I didn’t know exactly what they were talking about.  Marathons are like the boy you momma warned you about, but you didn’t listen. Haha. 

For more pics go here.
As you know, I was a bundle of nerves this entire week (well, the past 6 months!) and my friends all tried to calm me down via encouraging messages, movies, and even flowers!!  My friend Hector brought me flowers to my work to cheer me up.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Tulips are my favorite flowers of course!

I went to the expo on Saturday morning around lunch time to pick up my packet and walk around the expo.  There were all kinds of vendors set up ranging from clothing to hydration.  There were also several different races set up so you could sign up for them.  I just walked around looking at everything but I didn’t end up buying anything.

There was this big wall that you could write why you were running and of course I had to write why I was running (you can go here to see what I wrote).

Official bib!!

After the expo I went to my parents house to chill out and also give my dad/stepmom my special needs bag in case I needed anything when they saw me on the course.  It had an extra pair of shoes, socks, Tylenol, hat, running fuel, bandaids, and a PB&J sandwich.  I got home around 8:30 and fell asleep by 9:15 pm for my 3:30 am wakeup call.

My running shirt that I had made on Etsy!  It's silver glitter paper!!  I highly recommend using VA shirt shop on Etsy, they are awesome to work with and I got my shirt back within a week.  If you look closely in the shoe it actually says 26.2.  Go to the picture page (link at the top) to view a close up of the shoe.  Super cool.
The next morning I woke up at 3:30 am having not slept very well that night.  I don’t remember what my dreams exactly were, but I remember having a lot of them.  I ate a bagel with peanut butter and a banana, which I could barely finish but I choked it down.  I am not used to eating at 3 am so my body didn’t want it.  I got dressed, double checked my lists to make sure I didn’t forget anything and waited for my friend Tonya to pick me up.  Tonya had offered to drop me off at the race, along with our friend Aly so we wouldn’t have to drive and worry about parking. My parents would take us home later since we would be too tired later (smart decision!!).  We were dropped off around 5:30 am and met our group in the area to take pictures and to stretch.  

At 6:45 we headed to our separate corrals to start the race at 7 am.  I was in the open corral so we were the last group to cross the start line.  The faster runner you were, the earlier corral you were in (A, B, or open), but I am not super speedy so I was just in the average people corral.  I crossed the start line about 13 minutes after the gun went off and I started my Garmin GPS watch.  The 6 hour time limit didn’t start until the last corral crossed the start line, which gave everyone a fair advantage.  I said a prayer to God to keep me safe and help me finish this goal.  I knew that there would be obstacles for me to finish, but that it would make it that much sweeter when I did finish.

Right when I was crossing the start line it started to pour down rain.  I had a poncho on, a light weight jacket , and gloves, in addition to my other race gear but I got immediately soaking wet.  I kept trying to avoid puddles so I wouldn’t get my feet wet, but the rain was coming down so hard and people were splashing, it was inevitable that my shoes and socks were soaked by mile 2.  I knew that my family were going to be at around Mile 5 so I could get new shoes then if I needed them.  I crossed mile 3.1 and an automatic alert was sent to my friends and family via text and also FB updating them on my progress.  At this point I was on pace to hit my goal of 5 hours!

At mile 5 I started to look for my family hoping to see a familiar face, but I couldn’t find them. The crowd of runners were so thick that I didn’t think they could find me easily so I was looking really hard to find them.  Every mile after I scanned the crowd looking for them, but I couldn’t see them.  At Mile 8 I knew that they would be at Niko Niko’s so I knew I could give them my soaked jacket and Garmin watch to hold so it wouldn’t get wet anymore, but still no family or friends.  I just knew at any time I would see them.  I crossed the 15K and Half marathon marks and automatic texts/FB messages were sent out and people on FB were cheering me on (I LOVED reading the comments later when I was done).  Right around the 1/2 marathon mark, a group was sprinkling "holy water" on people...of course I got some!  I am Baptist, so we don't have holy water but I still believe in it!  I guess a preacher blessed it or something?  IDK, but I loved it!!  Each mile after 15 my pace got slower and slower.  I really wanted to see my friends and family, but I couldn’t find anyone.  I ditched my poncho at Mile 15 because the rain had stopped.

At Mile 16 we entered the Galleria area and I was still feeling great, and then finally at Mile 17 I saw my friend Leslie!!  Halleluiah!  I was so happy to see someone I knew.  She ran with me for a few minutes asking if I needed anything.  I had ditched my gloves around Mile 7 so my hands were so cold they wouldn’t close.  She offered me her gloves and I felt bad for putting them on, but she assured me that she wanted me to have them (Leslie, I will wash them and bring them to you!).  At the 30K (18.6 miles) marker I realized that this is the farthest I had ever run, which sort of messed with my head a little bit.  Could I keep going? Yes!  My pace began to slow waaaaay down at this point because my head was playing games with my resolve.  Where was my family? 

(photo courtesy of Leslie)

Finally we crossed 610 and made it to the Memorial Park area and the dreaded 20 mile ‘wall’ area of the course.  Right before Mile 21 I saw my Dad and stepmom Pie.  I saw them before they saw me and waved my hands so they would see me.  They said I looked great and had been to four different spots trying to find me.  I needed Tylenol and I was starving so I ate a quarter of my PB&J (it was all I could stomach even though I was starving).  My shoes were dry by this point so I didn’t change my shoes.  I don’t know if it was the socks that were amazing or if God knew I wouldn’t be able to handle blisters, but I ended the race without blisters (I think it was God who helped me out!).

Krista was waiting for me at Mile 22 and took pictures of me running.  She is so awesome!  Krista was my inspiration to start running in the first place and came to cheer me on for the marathon and her also to cheer her mom Ginger and friend Katie to the half (who both did awesome btw!).  Krista didn’t run this year because she is carrying Baby Dabel #1 due in May. :)  She said I was looking good and that she would see me at the finish line.

(photo courtesy of Krista)

Mile 23-26.2 were pretty bad, I’m not going to lie.  I don’t think I ever hit ‘the wall’ but I did have a hard time.  I only had a 5K to go, but that 5K was brutal.  You could see downtown and knew that the GRB/Finish line was just behind those skyscrapers, but you couldn’t get there fast enough.  I absolutely did a walk/run combo in those last three miles.  Brutal. 

At Mile 25 I could see the GRB and I just kept focusing on the big red things on top of the building, willing myself to go faster so I could be done.  I kept praying to God that he would give me strength to finish this thing (I really had been praying that since Mile 18) and I felt that my grandfather was up there watching me the entire time.  My Grandfather loved baseball hats so I wore one of his hats (Texans) so he was with me the entire time.  Every time the wind blew I felt he was there with me.  When I wanted to give up, I would just think how he was up there watching me and how he would be so proud of me. 

I started to cry at Mile 25 because I knew I was about to become a marathoner!!!  Wow!  Who would have believed that a girl who started running a year and a half ago, that was 40 lbs heavier, would be running a marathon today?  Me?  What?  But I was about to do the ‘impossible’. I was crying pretty hard and I couldn’t breathe so I had to calm myself down. LOL.  Nerd! :)

I finally turned the corner and tried to sprint to the end, but I honestly had nothing left to give.  I jogged it in as fast as I could, but I left everything I had on that course.  I saw Aly and Matt who were cheering me on, then I saw my Dad and Pie, Krista was there also but I didn’t see her.  I crossed the finish line at 5:45:30, 45 minutes past my goal of 5 hours.  It was a tough, brutal day but I gave it my all and didn’t give up.  I was very proud of myself.  

If you go to this website and search by my last name you will find a video of me crossing the finish line.

 Picture with my Dad and Stepmom Pie!  

KRISTA!!  She made a sign for me that said Margaritas at the finish Steph 26.2.  She actually bought me a margarita and brought it with her!!  I haven't drank it yet, but I will soon!!!  

Finishers goodies!  Once I crossed the finish line I got a medal immediately and then went inside the expo center to pick up my mug and shirt.  This is the back of the shirt.
 Finishers medal up close!  I worked super hard for this thing.  It was EARNED, not GIVEN!

My parents drove me home and after they left I immediately took a bath. I couldn't stand up in the tub so I just sat there washing my hair.  Finally, I realized this was really lazy so I tried to stand up, 5 minutes later I finally did and then got out.  I fell asleep around 3:30 and didn't wake up until 8 am the next day (well, I did for a few minutes at a time to feed Jabba and stuff but it wasn't for long stretches).

What did I put in my finishers mug?  Nuun Hydration of course!  I needed to make sure I was hydrated so I could recover properly, so Nuun it was!  Plus, I am not a fan of beer.

Thank you's:
Thank you's also go out to my Dad, Pie, Krista, and Leslie for encouraging me on the course and at the finish line.  You guys are awesome and I am so glad you were there to share it with me.

I checked my phone on the way home and I had so many notifications at the top it was unreal!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone out there who encouraged me along the way.  You have no idea how much you words, prayers, and positive thoughts meant to me along this journey.  I am truely blessed to have all of you in my life!  My FB wall and automatic posts that were sent each time I crossed certain mile markers had positive words that I keep going back to read.  You guys are awesome!  I have never felt so loved!!

My family (and some friends) tracked me the entire time via the app or text messages and I received many calls and texts of congratulations when I crossed the finish line.

What's next?
Will I do it again?  Ask me again in a few weeks/months and I will let you know.   I will say that I am very competitive with myself and I am already itching to beat my time, so it will probably happen, just not right now.  I don't even want to think about it at this point.  If you asked me either Sunday or yesterday, the answer was probably a NO, but today I am actually considering it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Marathon...the Day After

Spoiler Alert: I FINISHED A MARATHON!!!!!!

I am still in the process of writing my recap post and processing the fact that I actually finished a MARATHON, but I will update soon. I took off of work today to go get a massage and relax so that is where I will be if you need me!

Thank you's go out to everyone who gave me encouragement in person, via emails, texts or Facebook.  You guys rock!!  Without your encouragement I do not know if I would have had the guts to attempt it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Congrats to all my friends who finished either the full or half marathons this weekend!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's Here-Marathon Time

Tomorrow is my first marathon!  Oh my good I am soooooo nervous.  It doesn't seem possible that I have been training for over 6 months!  Yikes.  I have been carbo-loading for the past week, trying to get to bed early tonight, and have my stuff all laid out and ready to go for my 4:15 am wakeup call tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck!!!! :)  See you on the flip side as a marathoner.

Here are some running related posts from the past 6 months that I have prepared me for tomorrows race.

How I started running
18.6 miles-Sugarland 30K
16 Miles
15 Miles
14 miles
13.1-Santa Hustle Half Marathon
13.1-LaPorte by the Bay Half Marathon
13.1-Houston Half Marathon
9.3 Miles-Monster Mash 15K
6.2-Toughest 10K-Galveston
6.2-Toughest 10K-Kemah


Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Adopt-iversary Jabba!

Two years ago, on January 11, 2011 I adopted the cutest cat in the world, Jabba the Hutt.  Jabba has been there with me through thick and thin and I can't imagine not having him around me.

Even though he is a nosey, spoiled, lazy, crazy cat I love him!  Everyone be sure to tell Jabba Happy Adopt-iversary!!!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of him: