Thursday, March 28, 2013

TIR Relay Recap

Last weekend I ran the Texas Independence Relay from Gonzales, TX to the San Jacinto Monument.  We were team “Dude, Where’s My Van” and we finished in an impressive last place. :)  We were having fun and we didn’t care about where we placed on the score board. 

TIR by the numbers
12 people
2 vans
6 cases of No Limit Brewery Beer (one of our sponsors)
34 hours
3 pizzas
40 legs

We had two total teams (24 people) with four vans. Not everyone could leave at the same time so we had each van leaving about an hour apart; I was in the 5:30 van.  We got there and semi-decorated the van before leaving.  After we were on the road for awhile, everyone had started to get hungry.  We stopped at a BBQ place and everyone got dinner to eat on the road.  We arrived in Gonzales about 8:30 pm and the rest of our team was at a bar called Runners having dinner or drinks. 

 We stayed there for awhile and then headed to the junior high so we could get a good spot in the gym.  We were afraid that the gym would be packed by then, but we got there and were the first team to arrive.  The showers were freezing in the locker rooms!  I found a spot on the floor and set up camp.  I don’t have a sleeping bag so I just brought the quilt that I made a few years ago and my pillow.  The next morning I was able to dress quickly and pack up before our 1 mile epilogue run.

We started at 6:34 am with our co-team, Because 201 Miles Would Just Be Crazy.  The start was right in front of a museum in the town square.  We all took pictures and headed to the start line.  Each team starts off with a ‘canon’ going off (firecracker I think).  We ran around the 1 square and then our first teammate, Whitney, continued on for his leg.  Our van was the ‘off’ van so we were able to take our time getting to our next exchange.  We packed our stuff from the night before, had breakfast at McDonald’s  and headed to our exchange.

Leg 1
Leg one started at a really HOT part of the day.  The morning had been freezing and I was worried about what I was going to wear since I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or jacket.  Unfortunately my leg was super hot and hilly.  One of my team members, Jenn, wanted to run my portion with me so we headed out on my four miles together.  I was super nervous about this relay and having her there with me really helped calm my nerves.  We took longer than we would have liked because we kept having to stop to walk and she was also having stomach issues.  We finally made it to the end though and I was so relieved! I had my one and only beer of the trip at the end of that leg because it was so hot.

(photo courtesy of Scott)

One of our sponsors was No Label Brewery out of Katy.  They have given us 6 cases of beer to share between the two teams.  I only tried the Jalapeno beer, but it was good.  I am not really a fan of beer but I will say that the jalapeno beer was good.  It has a kick to it that you wouldn’t expect, if you like spicy jalapeno things, try it!

Leg 2
Leg two started at night and I was nervous about running in the middle of no where in the middle of the night, but honestly it was peaceful!  Towards the end of the run though I started to get bored so I sang “99 bottles of beer on the wall”, I got all the way to 30 something bottles before I finished my leg.  I couldn’t find my van and walked around for a good 5 minutes before I found it.  After my leg I found a comfortable seat in the back and fell asleep until we finished all of our vans legs.  We made it to the Luke’s Locker Katy exchange, ate breakfast tacos, and then dropped people off so we could all sleep.

At around 4:45 am we dropped off Tom and Robert  at their cars and all agreed to meet back at my apartment at 9:30 am so we could make it to our next leg (Memorial Park) by 10 am.  Me, Aly, Matt, and Jenny all went to my house to sleep for a few hours on the couch instead of in the vans.  I woke up around 7:45 to take a shower and get dressed again before everyone else got up.  Jabba was quite talkative that morning so I opened the window in the room so he could sit and watch the birds through the screen and be distracted!   Everyone met up with us and we were on the road again headed to Memorial Park for Jenny’s next leg.  After Jenny started her leg, we went to Starbucks for much needed caffeine!

(photo courtesy of Scott)

Leg 3
My final leg was actually two- three mile legs put together (37 and 38) through a sketchy part of town, luckily it was daylight so I didn’t feel too unsafe. These last two legs felt like I was turning every few minutes, luckily Aly had given us some bracelets with the directions on them so we wouldn’t have to rely on the traffic cones to direct us.  Every time I got to an intersection a cop would stop traffic for me.  At one intersection two cops were on a very busy road and as soon as I got to the intersection they turned their lights on and pulled out onto the street.  I felt like royalty! LOL.  Sweaty, smelly, and tired royalty, but still a queen.  It was super cool.  My final leg was awesome compared to the other two.

I just kept trucking along until I got to my halfway point and I texted the team telling them I was done with the first leg.  I almost didn’t text them, but something told me I should.  Luckily I did because we actually had a “Dude, Where’s My Van” moment at the end of my final leg.  The entire time I was running I was thinking that they had not passed me yet and that they must have just figured out where the exchange was and went straight there instead of driving the course.  They had all stopped to get something to eat after Whitney finished his leg, since my legs would take about an hour and 20 minutes.  I came around the corner half expecting them to be there and half not since I had not seen them, but alas, they were not there.  I got out my phone and started calling but they didn’t answer.  I was about to call Aly when they came around the corner really fast.  Chris, our next leg runner came flying out the van and didn’t look too prepared. Haha.  Poor thing, at least I had just gotten there though.  Once we got going again Aly handed me a frosty from Wendy’s (it was sooo delicious!  Thanks Aly!).  Apparently Chris had a triple cheeseburger, fries, and a frosty 15 minutes before running his final leg. Yikes! 

After Carberry started the final leg we drove to the finish line and met with the other part of our team.  We all changed into our bright yellow team shirts and waited for Matt to finish.  We found out that we were one of two teams left to finish so  when Carberry came around the corner and was neck and neck with the girl from the other team, we were all cheering really loud.  Matt passed her and the finish was hilarious.  As soon as he passed her, her shoulders slumped a bit and there was defeat in her eyes (haha).  We all created a tunnel for her and Carberry to pass through and then we raced to the finish line for our .1 mile prologue run.  The other team was full of really young kids (they looked no more htan 18) so they kicked our booty crossing the finish line together.  That’s ok though because we were finished!

After party
Since we were the last team to finish there wasn’t much of a party going on.  They started taking down all of the decorations as we were taking our pictures and signing the banner.  They gave us three pizzas from Papa John’s and sodas/water to drink.  We all got our stuff together and headed back towards our side of town.  We also ran into a few Gotta Run team members as they got to the monument to wait for Alain to finish his journey. 

On the way back we decided to look for our running coachAlain along the course.  Alain ran the entire 200 miles by himself!  I was tired just doing the 17ish miles that I did, I cannot imagine doing the entire thing by myself.  We kept checking FB to see where he was and heard that he was around exchange 36, which was the leg right before mine.  We found the end of the leg and worked our way backwards until we found him.  Alain had quite the entourage going on, two SUV’s for support, the Houston Chronicle doing a story on him, and also one of our running team members running alongside him.  Alain started his run on Thursday around 4 pm and then finished Sunday night (or Monday morning technically) at around 3 am.  Read about him here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon Weekend Recap

Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon Weekend (SLTM) is several running events in one weekend organized by Running Alliance Sports.  RAS also puts on the best events, with the best swag, and I have wanted to do the SLTM for two years now, luckily this year I was able to do it! At the SLTM they have green beer as a swag item at the finish.

As the name suggests, it is a entire weekend of running events.  Saturday has a half marathon option or a half marathon relay (6.5 miles each), Sunday has a full marathon, full marathon four person relay, full marathon two person relay, or a half marathon.  If you complete a half marathon on both days, or a half on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday, you get a third medal.  If you know me at all, you know that I love race BLING and I was all about these medals.  Each year the SLTM has GLITTER on their medals, so I was all about this race!!!!!!!!!

Saturday’s Half Marathon
Saturday’s half started with me waking up at 4:30 to get dressed, eat, feed the monster, and stretch a bit before Aly came to my house.  I drove Saturday and Aly drove on Sunday since Seabrook was so far and we didn’t want to drive out separately for both days.  We got their early and hung out while waiting for the start.  I taped up my knee and foot, and also had some breakfast.

They sang the National Anthem and then the gun went off for our start promptly at 7:15 am.  The course was two 6.5 mile loops around the Lucky Trails in Seabrook.  At the 4.5 mile area there was a short turn around with a water stop and a bathroom. I stopped to stretch and use the restroom, plus ate some sports beans.  The rest of the first leg was pretty much uneventful, but the second one it had started to get hot and miserable.  I had already not been prepared to run 13.1 miles since I had been injured and had not been training, so I was prepared not to do very well.  On the second loop I got to see my friend Marney from the 30K I did in December.  After I finished the race, I found Marney in the food section and we took a picture.  I was so good seeing her!  After the race I waited for Aly to finish while I was stuffing my face with a hamburger and ice cream!  Running Alliance Sport has the best food and race swag!

I finished at a disappointing time of 2:51:59, which is even slower than my very first half marathon. Boo.  

Sunday’s Four Person Full Marathon Relay
Back in November we registered for the Sunday four person relay with me, Aly, my friend Debra, and my friend Kennisha as the four person team.  It would have been Debra’s first running event ever and she was really nervous about it.  I had given her a training plan starting at the beginning of December, but about two weeks  away from the race she backed out saying that she wasn’t ready.  We had to scramble to find a replacement, and luckily our friend Claudia was able to run with us.  Then, the morning of the race, at 4:45 am (the race started at 7:15) Kennisha backed out because she had a headache. :/  Luckily, Carberry (Aly’s BF) was coming to watch Aly run anyway, so he was our last minute stand in.  I was NOT up for running a second leg, so I was super glad that he was able to fill in.

Aly and Claudia came to my house and we drove to Seabrook together.  We stopped at McDonald’s for coffee and breakfast on the way and this group of guys (dads and sons on a fishing trip) commented on our matching outfits.

We got there about 15 minutes before the start and Claudia was our first leg.  We had set up a camp by the finish line and hung out there until everyone was done with their leg.  We all knew about what time we wanted to be finished with our 6.5 miles so about the time we started looking across the field for them, once they came around the corner the next person went to the exchange section for their leg.

My leg of the race went ok, but I really wasn’t feeling the run.  Some days are just not good running days and this was one of those days for me.  I had run a half marathon the day before and was still tired from that, in addition to still being burned out.

We finished at 5:22:52 for our 26.2 mile race of four loops.


Overall, it was not my weekend for running.  I can blame it on my foot, my knee, the trails, or the heat, but really it was that I was just unprepared and not on my racing game.  Racing burnout has gotten to me and I am going to take a step back for awhile, especially while I am in Kenya.  No more races until AT LEAST May, if not the end of the summer. (Minus the TIR race recap I need to write and upload)

For more pics of my St. Patrick's Day weekend, plus more pics of the races go here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Supplies Needed for Kenya

You may or may not know that I am going on a mission trip to Africa in less than a month.  I am very fortunate to work for a Christian company that pays for half of my mission trip and also gives me an extra week of vacation to go.  I will be in Kenya for 15 days helping at an orphanage (I will name the orphanage when I get back in the US for safety reasons).  While there we will be participating in the King’s Feast, which is a feast that draws around 300 Kenyans, an abstinence seminar for teens (AIDS and teen pregnancy are prevalent there), a two day safari, and also National Geographic will be there making a documentary. 

As I am getting stuff together and lists of what to pack I asked the orphanage what they needed for supplies that maybe I could get donated.  If you feel like God is calling you to donate something to my trip, these are the supplies that are needed.   Thank you for your support. I will be sure to post lots of pictures and write about my trip when I get back (or maybe while I am there, depending on the internet access I can find).  These children have nothing and a pack of socks would mean the world to them.

-Toothbrushes (my friend Krista and her husband Tyler are donating these, but more are always welcome!)
-Barrettes and other hair items
-Dark color non athletic socks (boys and girls, all ages)
-Hats and gloves
-Ziplock bags
-Swimsuits (boys and girls)
-Outdoor activities (balls, games, etc)
-School Supplies (Backpacks, pencils, blue or black pens, large erasers, rulers, manual pencil sharpeners, sharpies, children’s scissors)
-Children’s Shoes (Ages range from 1 year to 9 years)
-Twin Sheets
-Pillow Cases
-Towels and Wash clothes
-Omega 3 Chewable vitamins for children
-Knitting needles and colored yarn
-Sewing items (zippers, buttons, needles, thread, etc)
-Kids clothes (shirts, sweaters, underwear, jackets, dresses, girls knee socks, swimsuits)

Email me at steph53282 @ yahoo  dot come or tweet me at steph53282 for more info!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

So this picture is a day late, but  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Stephanie and Jabba

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rodeo Continued

Last night I went back to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) for another concert, which makes it 3 times in one week!  I am draggggggggging at work today, so tired.  My works has two sets of four tickets that they use to take clients out.  A few weeks ago they offered a raffle for four different shows that were free, one of them was Pitbull.  I didn't win the tickets from that drawing, but yesterday morning the person who did win them wasn't going to use two of them, so he sent an email out saying whoever was the first one to respond would get the tickets.  I responded first and was no the happy owner of two Pitbull tickets.

I wasn't a huge fan of Pitbull, but the seats were great (club level) and I wanted to go!  I posted on FB that I had an extra ticket, and my friend/old neighbor Stephanie said she wanted to go if I could pick her up.  I got off a bit early and headed home to change clothes and feed the monster.  We got to the carnival and went shopping for a while.  I am looking for a small everyday ring that I can bring with me to Kenya next month, but I couldn't find one!  I talked for a while with one lady from a broken china jewelry store and found a ring that was a .5 size to big. :/  I really wanted it. No such luck.  After shopping (well, browsing) we headed inside to our seats.

The club level of Reliant Stadium (at least during the HSLR) has $5 drink tickets where you can buy well drinks, instead of just beer.  I got a margarita (of course), but my new favorite drink is a dirty martini (they didn't have them), I think Stephanie got a crown and coke.  We also got nachos and a funnel cake that we shared. After our bellies were full, we headed to our seats to watch the finale of the rodeo and the start of the concert.

My favorite part of the rodeo is the calf scramble, then the wagon races, and then the mutton bustin'.  The mutton bustin' is when a group of 5 and 6 year olds hang on to a sheet and ride it until they fall off.  Whoever has the most points (not sure how they calculate that though) wins a belt buckle.  Last night, this little boy got a score of 95, which was the highest of the entire rodeo so far.  Once he was done riding the sheep (mutton?) he put his hands in the air like he was the boss. After he won, they did a mini interview of him and he wants to be a professional bull rider and that he and his dad always practice riding on sheep.  So cute! 

Back to the concert...Pitbull came out and from the very beginning he was FULL of energy.  Most concerts at the rodeo have everyone sitting down, but halfway through the concerts everyone were all their feet dancing!  So. Much. Fun.  Like I said, previously I wasn't a fan and didn't even know what he sang, but as he was singing I realized that I have at least two songs of his downloaded to my iPod.  LOL.  Interesting.

As his set went on he kept getting sweatier and sweatier, it was gross!  :) Finally he got a towel and wiped off the sweat, but then things got all sorts of real when he took of his jacket! Some of his opening songs were classics songs that we were all jammin' too, then one of the chorus' in a song was the "baby" song from Dirty Dancing.  Loved it, jammed to it!  Awesome, awesome show.

Pitbull was honestly my favorite entertainer I have ever seen live.  Previously, my favorite was KISS when I saw them in concert a few years ago at the Woodlands Pavillion when they came with Aerosmith, but they have been nudged out of first place by Pitbull since he was so awesome!

We left about 10-15 before it ended and headed back to our car.  I dropped Stephanie back home in the Hobby area and I got home about 11:30 pm.  So tired this morning, but it was worth it.

Thanks go out to my co-worker Bob who gave me the tickets, my friend Stephanie for going with me, HLSR for hosting the concert, and PITBULL for putting on an awesome show!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Rodeo Time!

On Monday afternoon around 4 pm my sister Laura calls me and asks if I wanted to go to the HLSR carnival that night with my nephew Hunter and her.  I said yes of course and left work a few minutes early so I could go home to change clothes and get a jacket. 

I met my sister at the Meyerland Shopping Center so we could save on parking (up to $20 to park!) around 6:00 pm and the traffic was horrendous getting to the event.  We didn't end up getting inside the carnival until around 7:15 but we made the most of our time!  We had tickets to the actual rodeo and performance (Jason Aldean) but Hunter was having so much fun at the carnival, we just stayed there instead of going inside.

The entire way there Hunter kept asking about going on the ferris wheel.  Laura went to meet someone to bring them a ticket, and Hunter and I went to the ferris wheel.  As soon as we got in line, Hunter looked up at the ferris wheel and decided it looked too tall and scary so he didn't want to ride it.  Really kid?!
We went into two fun houses and met back up with my sister to eat dinner. After we had dinner Laura and Hunter went on tons of roller coasters and random games, I took picture.  I am not a fan of carnival fast rides, I will stick to the slow moving stuff!  Give me a Six Flags theme park over a carnival any day!.

We also had a coupon that was buy two fried dessert items and get one free.  When you are at a carnival, especially the HLSR, you have to get the incredibly bad for you but incredibly delicious fried food!  Fried twinkie, fried snickers, and fried oreos.

After each ride Hunter would exclaim "That was the best ride ever!" and then the next ride would be his favorite.  At the end of the night though, he did say it was a tie between the giant slide and the roller coaster.  Right before we were leaving I asked him again if he wanted to go to the ferris wheel, and this time he was brave enough to try it.  We got in line and rode the ferris wheel. I'm not going to lie, I was kinda scared myself, but we got through it (with a prayer to God, asking to keep us safe)!  Laura does not like ferris wheels so Hunter and I went up by ourselves.  He started on one side of the ferris wheel, but when we started moving he quickly came to sit next to me and held on to me. :)


The next night (Tuesday) my friend invited me to go see Kenny Chesney with him.  Hector had gotten tickets from work so he invited me to come with him.  We got there and walked around the carnival and also inside Reliant Center where the shopping was (I was so close to buying a really pretty emerald ring!).  After walking around we headed to the stadium to watch some of the actual rodeo before the concert started.  Bull riders have their contests then wagon races, my favorite though is the calf scramble.  The calf scramble is when a group of high schoolers race to catch a calf, rope it, and then drag it into this big white box for a scholarship.  The entire HLSR is a non profit that pays scholarships for high schoolers to go on to college.  A lot of performers donate their performance fee back to the rodeo for added $$ in the scholarship pool.  To date, the HLSR has given of $330 million in scholarships.

Kenny Chesney!  It was a great concert and he played new and old songs, it was a good mix.  Hector got his tickets through work so the people we sat by were the ones who took us out. They were talking with Hector about work, trying to get more business (sales people) and they bought us drinks and peanuts. They were super sweet.  We sat in section 123, which were great seats!

Hector is my friend from college that I met through Driving Jacks.  One night at a party (TKE) I was volunteering for Driving Jacks and he came up to me to ask about DJ.  The next few weeks he stalked me all over campus until I told him go to new member orientation.  The next year (after I had graduated) he became the VP of DJ and then later the President (2 years).