Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Update from Mexico

Here we are, 4 days into our Mexico vacation and we're sitting at an American coffee shop using the wireless internet. Something is just so wrong about that..... At the same time, something is so GOOD about it as well. It gives us the opportunity to stay somewhat connected without having the constant "ding" of the blackberry.... Plus we can both do a little work then go enjoy the rest of our day!

Of course I forgot to bring my camera with some of the pics we've taken so far, so I'll have to share those next time.

It's absolutely gorgeous here. A little chilly in the morning, but not a cloud in the sky and it's warming up to about 70 by noon. Can't beat that in December!

After a 2 day escapade of driving ALL over the city to visit the families for the Holiday, Shane & I were VERY much looking forward to our trip down here.... Unfortunately for Shane, I volunteered to be the DD on Christmas, since he has been driving me around from party to party for a couple of weeks. Plus, it was mostly my family's day on Christmas....so I figured it was only fair to let him booze it up!

I think my Dad was a little disappointed I was driving... He had picked up a bottle of Hornitos to do my celebratory birthday shots. I took one for the team, but Shane had to pick up the slack and play "today's your birthday" with my dad. I think we were all secretly wishing we stuck to the plan of being in Mexico on my birthday through New Years... Oh well - we did what we were asked and stayed in town..... Next year will NOT be the same. Just saying.

So, the drive down here an morning packing was a bit rough for Shane. Fortunately for him, he has a very understanding wife (read as.... She's been there MANY MANY times), who picked up the slack... After a few hour later than planned departure, we were on our way. A pitcher of Margaritas later and a quick trip to the beach for the dogs and we were shortly in bed, completely exhausted from the week.

I woke up not feeling all that great. Aches, and tired... We went for a run on the beach and then took it easy the rest of the day. We decided to go into town to our favorite seafood restaurant, The Blue Marlin. Seriously, it is the best, most fresh food you will every get. A mixed green salad with all the fixing, followed by a 4 course meal of ALL fresh seafood. All for the bargain price of $29 TOTAL. Their motto - "Welcome Home." You really do feel like....

The next few days have been just as great. I got Shane to promise me we'd do SOMETHING active every day. A walk or run on the beach, boat ride on the kayak (we haven't done that yet...) and the topper... i decided we should do a pushup challenge. And of course I decided to add some ab work to that.... and some of Daniel's famous million lunges. Let's just say that wasn't one of my better ideas....I’m STILL sore. I guess I will just NEVER learn.

Well, I guess it's time to get back to enjoying the vacation... We have a few errands to run then we're going to try to take the boat out.

I hope you are all enjoying the Holidays - and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ending the year in style...

I can't believe where this year has gone. I would be lying if I said I wasn't ready for it to be over. While I've had some fantastic things happen, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying it's just been a tough one. Ups and Downs one right after the next... I have every hope and belief in the world that next year will be so much better for all of us!

Over the past couple of weeks we've been celebrating. Party after Party. And yes, I am the absolute worst person at bringing a camera with me - so I have no fun pictures. Have no fear though, I am good at drunk "snapping" so I'm sure I'll have plenty o' fun pictures to share when we get back from Mexico. (p.s. the picture of the shoe doesn't do it justice! It's too cute, and actually very comfortable!)

Last night Shane & I went to a restaurant called Elements. It's nestled up against Camelback Mountain in the Sanctuary Resort. It's one of those places you hear about, and heck - I even ride my bike past it all the time. But, I've never actually been there!

Well, the food the ambiance and the service was everything you'd expect from a top notch resort, yet at the same time it was very comfortable. We were seated in a small little both directly in front of a wall long glass window overlooking the infinity pool, with views of the city. It was gorgeous.

The food was just as great. So great I have to actually share the descriptions from their sample menu.

We started with this:
tartare of tuna herb salad, pine nuts & crisp cucumbers

it was just the right flavor - sweet tuna with a hint of spice that went amazing with the wine choice...

We actually had the 2007 Foley Pinot Noir. For such a young wine it was full of flavor. Slight fruit forward but with a fantastic spicy finish. I would absolutely drink this wine again...and again :-)

Next was our salad. I chose:
organic spinach squash, golden raisins, ricotta salada & pumpkinseed pesto vinaigrette

Shane chose:
butter lettuce spiced walnuts, bacon, granny smith apples & blue cheese , Minus the bacon.

Shane made the better choice on this one. Although my salad was good - the blue cheese dressing on his was amazing!

For our entrees Shane picked the feature of the day, a tempura shrimp trio. It was very sweet, but perfectly cooked.
I chose:
grilled wild salmon udon noodles, shiitake mushrooms, snap peas, sesame & ginger

The entree was great, and satisfied a fish craving I've been having!

HOWEVER - the best item we chose was our side dish. It was interesting enough that we just had to get it.

Truffle Mac & Cheese.
It was absolutely amazing. The pasta was so soft and tasty, it almost seemed like a gnocchi. The cheese was a combination of possibly Asiago, Romano or Parmesan. There were mushrooms and the Truffle Oil made it just melt in your mouth. Honestly, I don't think I could ever go back to Regular Mac & Cheese after that.

Of course the meal wasn't complete without desert. While they had an item called "chocolate peanut butter decadence " - our waiter (who was obviously tipped off) brought over a complimentary liquid center chocolate torte peppermint milk shake with a candle and chocolate written "Happy Birthday"

It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday before all of the Holiday chaos starts. Just the two of us, all dressed up, perfect food - then home to share some more wine and cuddle with the dogs.

Really, does it get any better?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tis the season?

Here we are, that time of year again. For some reason I just CAN NOT seem to get into it this year.

The last two years Shane, the dogs and I have put aside all family obligations (yes, I said obligations because we felt like we were constantly being guilted into going all over the city for all the celebrations, regardless of what we actually wanted to do.) We tried the one year here, one year there thing, but still it seemed like someone was always mad at us..... We decided we wanted to make our own tradition - go to Mexico!

On top of all that my birthday is on the 24th. So, usually on my birthday we were celebrating Christmas somewhere, and having someone else mad at us that we weren't participating in the celebrations elsewhere....

Bah Humbug. I know.....

Truth be told I used to ABSOLUTELY love Christmas. I have a very small immediate family. My parents & grandparents always spoiled us rotten as kids, and even when we couldn't afford stuff, somehow Santa always arrived with more than enough. PLENTY MORE. But, it was fun. Good food, stockings filled Christmas morning (my FAVORITE) and no fighting over where we were going to go. One year it would be my grandparents, the next year at our house.

Sometimes my parents had to work on Christmas, so somehow, Santa would always find his way to our house before they left. Always.... funny how he just knows, huh?

Back to the Mexico thing. So the last two years we've gone to Mexico. The first year my family came, the second year it was just us. Honestly, it was quite nice. There was no crazy gift giving, just a birthday celebration on the 24th and yummy food, followed by a lazy day on the 25th. Oh and a too cute charlie brown Christmas tree to boot. Santa brought stockings for the dogs, and we shared mimosas on the beach.

After last year however my family started the guilting again. Some family were going to be coming into town this year, and it was made clear that I was to be HERE, not in Mexico. Apparently my tolerance for guilt has been diminished, because sure enough we are going to be here until the 26th.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know I should feel more than blessed to have my family close and here, and in many ways I do. We all have family problems and issues we go through, I know I'm no different than anyone else, but this year, let's just say my family has had it's fair share of drama.....

The meaning of gift giving has changed, sometimes it seems more about how much you spend, vs the thought at all. That's what I hate the most. It's more stressful and not at all what I felt like when I was growing up. Honestly, there is nothing more that I would rather being doing next week then heading south and celebrating with my little family, friends... away from the commercial like holiday atmosphere. A Charlie Brown tree, bottle of tequila and blue ocean.

But, in a way I am "sucking it up buttercup." I can only hope that things make a turn for the better. That the time we spend with our families will be even an ounce closer to what it used to be like. I'll do my best to put all negative feelings aside, I just hope that the rest of my family can do the same...

Unfortunately, this year not only have Shane & I not put up our Christmas tree, but we also lost our creativity for our most famous Christmas cards featuring the "kids." We will come up with something, but time is closing in on us so I don't think it will be anything like before, and will most likely come as a New Year's card this year..... I guess that only means next year will have to be Bigger and Better!!!

On a more uplifting note, it IS the season for Holiday Parties!!! This is something I DO love :-) Now that Shane & I no longer have any big corporate connections, there are no fancy dress up parties to attend, however..... I did find myself needing something nice to wear for a couple of things!

Holiday attire for me usually means a nice top or sweater, jeans and some cute shoes! But, this year we are going here for my birthday dinner, so I really wanted to have something nice to wear.. And, later in January is my partner in crime's big day, and I think there might be some dress up involved in that, after the big RUN of course....

So, in my restless, post race recovery mode I headed to the MALL and fell in love with a couple of things. Mind you, the closest thing to a dress I've bought in the last 5 years (other than my wedding dress) is a running skirt. NO joke...

But, in the next month or so I will be wearing THIS.....

and THIS....

Crazy no? I'm pretty excited! Usually this time of year I'm injured or full recovery mode, wanting to hide the extra lbs away under warm fuzzy cloths. This year, I'm feeling pretty good. I've managed to keep my Ironman race weight, minus even lb or 2 so I'm happy to be playing dress up I guess! I am a little worried about the birthday bash, it is a few weeks after the Mexico trip... Guess I'll have to work my butt off when I get back!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tucson Half Marathon

I'll try to make this short and sweet, but in typical Krista fashion, I'm sure I will just go on and on babbling...

We all know I signed up for this race after my disappointing DNF at the Soma Half IM. I was so prepared for that race. So ready. But, my body seems to have a mind of it's own these days and this time my perseverance (stubbornness) would not have the last word.

So, after only a day or 2 of wallowing, I set up my new Plan B. A 1.2mile swim race, a 109mile bike race & a half marathon. Unfortunately, those races were keep my training for another 5 weeks... and I was mentally and physically ready to be done. I had been training for the better part of a year and we all know we can not just keep on going without starting to see diminishing returns.

That said, I asked for some help to get me through the next few weeks and formulated a good plan. With part 1 & 2 done pretty successfully the half marathon was my last goal. I needed a PR... and with the way I have been running it was theoretically a sure thing.

Key word - Theoretically!

My first half Marathon was in 2002 (I realized this when I saw the year on the "throw away" shirt I wore on race day). It was the Arizona Desert Classic. The venue has since moved, but it used to start at Scottsdale Community College and run out into the Indian Reservation making a loop and finishing back at the college. IT was ugly, flat and boring...but it was my PR to date. In 2002, my first "long run" after my first marathon - I ran a 2:01:40 (I just looked up the results).

A few months after that race I also set my 10K PR (50:29).... I also ran my second marathon cutting off 25mins (4:31)... That's where everything went down hill. My initial onset of ITBS started and I was on a 4 year injury/recovery battle...

I completed a few more half marathons throughout the time, some pre-surgery, some post surgery. It's been a long battle trying to get back to where I was when I first started running. 8:15 tempo runs, 9min long runs... Training for back to back Ironman probably didn't help. Long, slow and steady. I had actually began thinking slow is just what I was going to be. I was ok with it - I had my "faster" days... I was just happy to be able to run again. I looked at my race medals on Sunday - I've done 8 half marathons. Only one of them came close to my 2:01 time... It was 2:05:12 at the Arizona Distance Classic in Oro Valley. The others hovered around 2:06-2:15 mark...

However, over the past several months my runs have been faster, and faster and faster.... I've seen speeds I never dreamed of having again. And, on speedwork - even better than before. The girls & I did one downhill training run about 6 weeks ago... We pushed it a little, but my HR was still in the mid zone 2 range. It was a 90min run at a 8:28 pace. I used that as a baseline for what I COULD do in Tucson (slight downhill course - ~750ft loss).

I did 5 weeks of 4x7min repeats. Those hurt. I ranged from a 7:10 pace to a 7:30 pace for all of them, depending on the route I took (slight up or slight down). As much as I hated them, I was hoping they would give me that extra push I needed.

Finally, the race report - I told you I would end up babbling!!! I guess it's just that when I finally sat down and to write about the race, I realized how big of an accomplishment this was for me. An actual goal reached, and how I had almost given up on it.

We drove down with Natalie & Jeff on Saturday... Jeff was doing his first full marathon and Natalie her first post 2 babies race! They are some of the busiest people I know, so the fact they were able to still train for this still amazes me!

I set up a group dinner for some of us doing the race... There were 11 of us at the table (2 sherpas) - 4 that were trying to BQ. Here I am all giddy and feeling great and the table was just QUIET. No confidence whatsoever! I tried to perk it up a bit...but it just seemed like no one was feeling it. So, I kept quiet about my own confidence. I was more than ready to get this on, and overwith!

I did my normal routine. Stretch, foam roll and icing of the knee..... In bed fairly early, I just didn't sleep much. I wasn't tired. I had rested pretty well the whole week. So, when the alarm went off at 4:30 I was up and atom.

Spark check. Race gear on check. Inhalers used check.

We took a bus to the start. Much better than expected. We had about 90mins to kill, but somehow it went by fairly quickly. It was a very very relaxed start. I stripped down to my race outfit - sleeveless top, shorts and throw away gloves.

My plan as simple: Start easy, get HR into high zone 2 for the first 2 miles (160-165). Whatever pace I was at try to hold until mile 11 - then give what I had.

Unfortunately my plan had to be reassessed immediately. Although it was reading before the start, as soon as I started running it was showing 185-195 HR. My breathing totally controlled, pace effortless. I tried fidgeting with it under my bra top. Then, it would read in the 200's.

I think I was focused too much on it and doing something weird, because then immediately I got a side ache. I BAD one. It was all over my stomach and around to my back.... I would hold my stomach for a bit, and the pain would go away. I slowed the pace a bit down to an 8:30 and it seemed ok. I also removed my HR monitor strap and wore it around my waist. FINALLY after about 2 miles it went away.

My knee was also hurting. Hurting somewhat bad. It had been bugging me ALL week, out of know where. It wasn't the typical IT pain I was feeling. It was from the outside, radiating down under the kneecap. If I moved to the side at all to get around someone I would feel some really bad twinges.

So - here I am mile 2 of "my race" with knee pain, no HR monitor, side ache - yet my muscles were on air. My breathing was effortless. I wasn't willing to give it all up. Not now. I was running an 8:15 pace and it felt EASY.

I decided I wasn't going to stop. No water stops, no walking, no stretching. I slowed as much as I could to get water, I ate my gel on the move. I stayed as straight and on the flattest ground I could find. I never once felt fatigue or tired or like I was even out of zone 2 for the first 6-7miles... The knee pain was getting worse, but I figured as long as I didn't stop and it didn't start with the stabbing IT pain, I could manage.

Shane jumped in at about mile 8.5 with me. It was really great to finally have someone to run with. Talk to. I kept my pace. I was able to do my last gel before he left me & had his water to wash it down with so I didn't have to stop at the aid station. That REALLY helped. He told me how great I was doing, how all I had was a 5k left. How my speed work was way harder and longer.

He was so right. As soon as he left me, I slowly started to pick it up. I had slowed a bit after the 10k when we had a little bit of incline on the course. The last big down was around mile 10.5-11 I think. I picked up the speed to sub 8min pace. I knew we had a hill coming around mile 12 and I would most likely slow a bit. I'm glad I gained some time, because when I did hit the last up my quads were toast. They felt like they were seizing up. I needed salt, but of course didn't bring any....

I passed a LOT of people on the up. People walking like crazy. Not me. It wasn't in my plan. Finally, the last turn. Slight up for /.5miles and I could see the end of the tunnel.

My first goal. Break 2 hours. My I think I can goal 1:50. My if everything goes right goal 1:47-1:49.

I crossed the finish line in 1:48:42. A 13minute PR. Huge smile on my face :-)

My quads froze, almost sent me to the ground. But, something was different. Usually when I finish a hard race. I feel sick. Nauseous. Dizzy. It was nothing like that. My endurance was so much more than 13.1 miles.

Of course it makes me wonder what I could have done without the knee problems. But, I'm not thinking about any of that. I had a perfect day. Perfect weather. Perfect race, perfect everything. I was even able to "borrow" this shot - I was kinda smiling at the end!

I was happy to be able to see all of my friends finish their marathon. My friend Sara fought like an animal for her BQ spot finishing in 3:45:35 - 25 seconds to spare. It was SO cool to see!!

I have no idea what is next up for me. Right now I'm trying to recoup the knee and rest up...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Plan B Finale.

Perfect day. Overcast. 45-50degs. Nice.....

12+ min PR - 1:48:42

I'll write a full race report later.... But, I just looked up my results & was kinda giddy. My knee HATES me.... as it did for 12.5 miles... but It never got to the point I had to stop...

Thanks for all your good luck wishes!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photo Game

I decided to join in on the photo posting game.... 4th Folder, 4th photo.... No explanation needed. Except for the fact that when I went into the folder via my computer, my documents.... The order of the photos (images)were different.....Being the non-rule follower that I am, I am posting TWO.
First.... the no explanation needed...

And next, this is what I found when I went to grab the image from blogger..... It's little miss Abby. She was only about 8 weeks when we took this... So, sweet then...... HA!