Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Snow!

We got out today and shoveled off the driveway. Then we decided to get out and drive around our neighborhood. Here are some of the pics.

But first, here are the pics of Beth taking one for the team and going out and getting the newspaper for me this morning.







Here are the pics of shoveling and the rest of our neighborhood:















Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow!





Snow Day

It has been a weird week of weather here in Tulsa. We had a nice few days of upper 50's and even 60 on Wednesday. Then we had a nice winter storm roll in yesterday. The temperature was below freezing, but all we got yesterday was the crappy freezing rain which led to a layer of ice by this morning. We have icicles hanging all around our house. Now for the last hour or so it's been snowing pretty hard and starting to put a layer on everything. Obviously we didn't have school today, but I'm glad we went yesterday. The rain wasn't too bad and didn't start until around 2, so at least they didn't waste a school day off on that. I know, I sound like a real teacher not wanting days off. But, I have to say it's more about my own selfish reasons than feeling like I'm going to be behind or whatever. They don't do this in Texas, but in Oklahoma we have 5 snow days built into the school year, so right now we are scheduled to be done on May 26th (Wednesday) with the 5 days included. Well, we decided to buy plane tickets to Australia for Friday night on the 28th! Not leaving much room to go over the 5 weather days! Right now, we've used 3 of the days and we still have to get through February and March. Tony doesn't remember any bad weather during those months last year, but other teachers talk like it's not a surprise to get snow into March. I just hope we don't have to use more than the 2 days! Makes me nervous about what I would have to do...because we can't really cancel our trip but I can't imagine that they will be very happy about me trying to miss out on the last days of school. I don't even know if that's an option. So let's just hope for no more days off! It kind of stresses me out just thinking about it because it's just an unknown. Can't plan the weather!

Luckily this doesn't put a dent in our running. We were able to go to the gym and run our 5 miles yesterday. We're off today, and tomorrow is only 5 miles. It's a recovery week where we don't have a long run. So thank goodness we don't have to do a long run on the treadmill or outside on Sunday or something. We'll just go to the gym and run on the boring treadmill. Not our favorite, but it's at least do able.

Also, this snow has affected my certification test that I was supposed to take tomorrow. It's a long story, but there's been some issues transfering my teaching certificate from Texas to Oklahoma and I found out that I have to take one more test to be able to teach Pre-Algebra, which I'm already teaching, but I'm on a "plan" that I have registered for the test and whatnot. So, now I have to wait until next week to find out when it's going to be rescheduled. This was the perfect weekend to take it...no long run, nothing else going on, but now I'm worried it's going to get rescheduled for a day that we already have something going on. Guess we'll wait and see. I spent a couple of hours studying this morning, but not any more.

Tony went into work for a few hours today. He should be coming home soon. He said his group was the only one in the office. They must be dedicated. :) The plan for the rest of the day, is to hang around the house, maybe do some cleaning?, and stay out of this weather.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Running is Our Life

I feel like running has officially taken over our blog! Which is fine because it's not like we have a whole lot else going on right now. Yesterday was our 14 mile run. It was the furthest I've run since I ran 15 with Tony on Thanksgiving in 2005 and was out of commission for a few weeks after that because my knees weren't ready for it. Our 14 went really well though. It didn't seem that much longer than the 12 we did the week before. We also held a faster pace (8:23 per mile) than the 12 mile run (8:30 per mile). This time we started at an area called Turkey Mountain.

It's part of the Riverside trails that we normally do our long runs on, but it's more hilly and it starts off of on the west side of the river which makes it more quite and scenic to start and end. Minus is that it's hilly at the end.

We tried a different kind of gel this time. It's called Hammer Gel, raspberry flavor. I liked this a lot better than the GU I had last time. It just seemed not quite so runny or something. We also brought along the iPod shuffles so we had some music to listen to when we didn't feel like talking. So we'd do a few miles with music, few without. So it kind of broke up the run. We were smarter about hiding our water bottle and it was there when we ran back by...plus there weren't that many people out on the trails yesterday, so that helped too. No one saw us hide it! Here's a picture of me after our run. Looking good with the red, sweaty face, but happy to be done!

After the run, we came home and crashed for the rest of the day. We made a home-made pizza for dinner, with the Sofo's pizza sauce we got in Ohio, and some breadsticks. Then to reward ourselves even more, we went to Braums and got frozen yogurt mixes (with Heath bar pieces and Reese's)...yum! Braums has the best frozen yogurt! We were pretty worn out though and went to bed around 10 last night.

The good thing is, I feel like I'm adjusting to running these longer distances much better than I thought I would. It's nice to have a plan and know what's coming, so I can mentally prepare! I hope I still feel the same way when we get into the 16, 18, 20 mile long runs in two weeks. Our fourth week doesn't have a long run or speed workout. It's supposed to be like a recovery week. We'll be 25% done with training after next week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time For New Shoes

You would think that running would be a cheap sport. I mean seriously, how much does it cost to grab some shoes and go run? A lot more than I originally thought. The first year I started running(which was 10 years ago), I just wore whatever shoes I could find with no regard to how worn out they were. This actually continued for about two or three more years until I moved to Texas and started running even more. At first I just ordered shoes online that looked good. Then a specialty running store opened near my house and I got my first pair of real running shoes. That was about 6 years ago and I’ve never looked back.

The general rule for running shoes is run in them for 300 miles. This isn’t an exact science, but it’s a good general rule. I’ve worn shoes for 350 miles before switching them out and I’ve also switched out at 250 miles. It’s all about how they feel. When you run 1200+ mile a years, the cost adds up quick. That combined with shorts, socks, and cold weather gear, running starts to get pretty expensive.

I no longer shop at specialty running stores because they just can’t compete with online stores when it comes to price. I can save about 25% per pair of shoes online and usually a minimum of 10% on gear. Holabirdsports.com is a great website for all things running related and I highly recommend it. I just ordered our new shoes this morning and look forward to getting them next week.

Beth and I both run in Asics and if you were to look closely around our house, you’d be shocked at how many pairs of running shoes we have. In fact, at one point after we moved to Tulsa, I had 4 pairs of the exact same shoe in the exact same color. The shoe I was running in at the time hadn’t come out with a newer model or a different color so I just kept getting the same thing. Luckily for me(or unluckily), I mow the lawn so I at least wear my worn out shoes for that. Beth on the other hand, doesn’t have a ton of use for her old shoes. I’ve looked around for an organization that sends used shoes to other countries, but can’t seem to find anything legit. So if anyone reading this knows of a place, please let me know. In the meantime, I’m gonna go wait by the door for my new shoes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GU

Yesterday's run included GU Energy Gel six and a half miles into our run.




Since we didn't have any water to drink with the gels(since our water was taken), it was a little bit harder going down. I chose the Espresso flavor and Beth went with Lemon Sublime. This was the first time either one of us had tried energy gels and I would say that we had mixed reviews.

The gels were easier to open than the Clif Shotbloks and definitely easier going down since no chewing was required. The downside was that the gels coated our mouths and I wish we had water to drink with them. Beth liked the flavor of her gel and I thought that the Espresso flavor was just okay. Beth said that eating the gel reminded her of snot. I don't think I would go that far. The gels have 100 calories per shot and cost about a dollar fifty a piece.

Overall, we'll probably try some more gels. There are a lot of companies that make them and a lot of different flavors to try. Surprisingly, I actually liked chewing the Clif Shotbloks as opposed to just swallowing the gels because I felt like I was getting more substance. More reviews to come as our long runs progress.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gels, Shot Bloks, and Everything In Between

Since we've started our marathon training, we've decided to start using running products during our runs to help us get a boost. There are tons of options for runners. You can get gels, jelly beans, shot bloks, drinks, mini bars, etc. Last week Beth and I tried Clif Shot Bloks.

Because this was our first time trying these, we didn't know what to expect. We tried the Black Cherry flavor because we thought it would be an easy flavor to eat. Because there are six bloks in a package, we just took one package to split between the two of us during our 10 mile run. Six miles into the run, we decided it was time to give them a try. After a few seconds trying to get the package open midrun, I finally got to the gooey bloks. These bloks have a ton of substance to them. You can tell that you're actually eating something of value. Beth and I both chewed for quite a while to get them down and although this was tough to do while trying to breath, it wasn't too bad. The flavor was pretty good and the bloks definitely gave us a boost. One package costs between a buck fifty and two dollars. Overall, I would eat Clif Shotbloks again during a run. They gave both of us a great boost while not making us feel full or just sitting in our stomach.

During our 12 mile run today, we tried GU Gels and I will write about them tomorrow.

Marathon Training Week 2

Our second week of marathon training is done. And although we didn't exactly stick to our training plan, we did complete all of the scheduled mileage. We ran on the treadmill while in Ohio as well as one morning outside in the snow. Fortunately for us, the people up north know how to clear off the snow which made our run just like normal(although a little colder!).

Today we ran our long run for the week even though it was technically for last week since our long runs are supposed to be on Saturday and we were unable to do it. The 12 miles today weren't easy, but we did it and are making great progress in our training.

Before our run today, we went and strategically placed two small sealed bottles of water behind a rock so that when we got to the halfway point, we would be able to have water. During our run when we got to that point, the water was gone. Yes, the water WAS gone. In the 50 or so minutes between us placing this water and us reaching that point, someone walked by, saw the water, and decided that even though it wasn't theirs, they would take it. Are you serious? I wish I wasn't. There was a trash can nearby and when I looked, I saw our empty bottles of water. It was really disappointing to say the least. So we ran our 12 miles with no water. I don't understand people. How could someone take someone else's water that they obviously placed out there for a reason?

Needless to say, this how we finished our run today: NOT COOL

The Last 10 Days

The last ten days have been pretty busy. Sadly, a majority of the busyness was due to Beth's Grandma passing away on Wednesday morning in Toledo, OH. After finding out, we all hurried to get things together before leaving on Thursday night. Stacy met us in Tulsa and flew with us to Chicago before heading on to Detroit and meeting Beth's Mom and Janet.

The past few days have been emotional to say the least. And although there were a lot of sad moments, there was also a lot of happiness remembering her. Beth's Grandma was a great lady and she will be missed dearly. Fortunately for those who believe, we know that she is at peace and without pain. And we will see her again someday.

Over the past 4 years, we have gone up to Toledo in July for the Jamie Farr LPGA golf tournament. It was a little strange going up there in January with snow all over the ground and the weather being so gloomy. We got to spend a lot of great time with all of Beth's family including her aunts and uncles and six cousins. We also got to meet a lot of people who had great things to say about Beth's Grandma. Beth's Aunt Kathy did an unbelievable job coordinating meals and along with Aunt Gigi made some of the best breakfast food I think I've ever had. It was fun to share meals with everyone and spend time with Beth's great extended family. And we look forward to seeing everyone again in July for the LPGA tournament.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Marathon Training Update

We have almost completed our first week of marathon training. Only the long run to go this weekend. After our first run outside in the freezing cold on Monday, we rested on Tuesday and Wednesday was our speed work run. Since the temps have been in the 20s or lower and there's still ice on a lot of the roads and paths in our neighborhood, we broke down and decided we needed to look for a gym to join for days like this. Good thing we did because yesterday, today, and tomorrow have wind chills in the negatives! In fact, it's so cold they actually canceled school for today and yesterday because the kids could not be in the cold waiting for the bus or walking to school. So, we went back for 3 days and now have had 2 more days off. Kind of weird because roads are drive-able, so it's not like we are stuck at home or anything.

Anyways, back to the speed workout. We joined a gym not too far from our house and ran our 5 mile run with 3 miles at 7:39 pace on a treadmill. We don't love running on the treadmill. We really prefer the outside air and freedom to run wherever we want that you don't get from a treadmill. But, there was no way we were going to make it running a pace run with those temps and ice to navigate. The speed work is definitely going to be one of the harder workouts for me. I can run that fast, but it obviously requires more work than just trucking along at an easier pace. I know it will be good for my aerobic levels which will help on race day.

Thursday, another cold day, had us running our 5 miles on the treadmill again. It was just an average pace run...9:08 pace, but I ended up being under 9:00 because I was trying to figure out the right speed on the treadmill. Tony and I ran separately because I was off work and had pilates last night, so I went during the day and Tony went after work. Wind chill's yesterday were -4 to -5! Yikes!

Today is a rest day, but we may go to the gym to ride the bike or do some light running. We are supposed to do our long run (10 miles) tomorrow, but since the high is like 18 degrees, we are going to wait and do it on Sunday when the high is supposed to be in the 30s. We definitely want to run this outside so we don't die of boredom on the treadmill.

Week 1 is almost complete...15 more weeks to go!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Year In Review

Since it is the beginning of 2010, I figured it was time for our annual year in review. I’m not sure that 2009 was quite as exciting as 2008 for Beth and I, but overall it was a pretty good year.

We rang in 2009 sleeping. I was working shift work at the time and had to be up for work at 3:15 a.m. on New Year’s Day. This meant that we were in bed sleeping by about 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Boring I know. Two days later we were on a plane for Miami. Stacy bought Beth and I plane tickets to Miami as well as tickets to the BCS National Championship game for Christmas. Although OU didn’t win, we had a great time in Miami. And it was in Miami, that I got a phone call from my current boss offering me a job in Tulsa. After some thought and discussion, Beth and I decided that it would be best for us to accept the job and move to Tulsa.



Moving to Tulsa was a big step for both of us, but especially Beth. It would mean she would have to find another teaching job and teach at her third school in three years. It would mean moving away from Texas and her parents which she has lived with or near since being out of college. And it would also mean Beth living in Houston and me living in Tulsa for about 4 months. Needless to say, that was pretty hard. The timing also ended up being a little strange because we got a contract on our house in Houston exactly one year to the day from when we closed on the house in 2008. And two days later, the offer on our house in Tulsa got accepted.

We went from this:



To this:



And when we moved, we went from this house in Houston:



To this house in Tulsa:



All of the house stuff happened right before Spring Break and our trip to France to see my sister along with a stopover in Belgium. It was our first time to Belgium and we had a great time. We got to tour the Stella Artois brewery(one of my favorite beers) and eat lots of chocolate and waffles covered in chocolate.

Baby Alice






A week after getting back from Europe, the movers were there and our house in Houston was being packed up. Since we hadn’t closed on our house in Tulsa yet, our stuff was moved into storage. Three weeks later, Beth was up in Tulsa and we were closing on our second house in 13 months. It’s weird because you always think about your first house being a big deal and we thought it was. At least until we moved out of our house after only a year and bought our second house.

Two days after we closed on our new house, we flew to Augusta, GA for a wedding.





In June, Beth finally moved to Tulsa. Two weeks later we were back in Houston for our good friends Romi and Rian’s wedding. We got back from Houston and the next week flew to Toledo, OH to watch Stacy play in the Jamie Farr LPGA tournament. It was our third time in four years to go to Ohio for the tournament and we are already looking forward to going back this summer.

Us with Romi and Rian






Two weeks after returning from Ohio, we were back on a plane. This time we were headed to Portland, Oregon where I was the Best Man in my good friend Jacob’s wedding. It was a mini reunion for me and some of my longtime friends and we all had a great time. Beth was the only girl, but she fit in great and had some good laughs. We got to go white water rafting, see the Oregon coast, and even got in some scenic runs thru some of the tree covered trails of Portland. And because I’m a great husband, I took Beth out to T.G.I. Friday’s at the Minneapolis airport for our one year anniversary. Okay, we really celebrated a day earlier in Portland at a great restaurant called Toro Bravo, but our actually anniversary dinner was spent in the Minneapolis airport.










After getting back from Portland, it was almost time for Beth to start teaching again. Another summer had flown by and she was starting again as the new teacher. Luckily for Beth, she was able to get a job in a school district that most closely resembled where she was teaching in Houston. She also had a chance to help out at a few things before school started and got to meet some teachers.

In September, we went to Fayetteville, AR to watch Stacy play in the NW Arkansas LPGA tournament. It was our second year to go to that tournament and once again we had a great time. We even got to have dinner with Lee Scott, the former CEO of Wal-Mart.




Lee Scott

October was pretty quiet although October 2009 will always be the month that Beth became a professional runner. You read that correctly, professional. Beth got third in the Annual Woolaroc 8k run and in the process collected a cool $25 thus ending her career as an amateur runner. Okay, who knows if that really makes her a professional, but I like to tell her that it does. Two weeks later we ran the Tulsa Run 15k. We finished better than last year and in the process had a great run.

Woolaroc Run


Tulsa Run Before


Tulsa Run After


BETH'S RESULTS(based on chip time):
Time 1:07:26
7:15 minutes per mile
248th place overall(out of 3793 runners)
33rd place for women(out of 1798 runners)
9th place in age group(out of 288 runners)

TONY'S RESULTS
Time 1:06:05
7:06 minutes per mile
200th place overall(out of 3793 runners)
180th place for men(out of 1991 runners)
26th place in age group(out of 231 runners)


We started off November by running in an unplanned half marathon in Jenks. I found out about it on Tuesday, signed us up for it on Wednesday, and Saturday morning we were running. The race really wasn’t that much fun. In fact, organizationally it was probably the worst race we’ve ever run in. Oh well. We did it and it was our first half marathon since the beginning of 2008. Next half-marathon we'll actually train for.



The end of November was fun because Beth’s family was kind enough to come to Tulsa for Thanksgiving. It was fun because our house was actually big enough to accommodate everyone.






Christmas was spent in Houston and here we are back in Tulsa for 2010. Some upcoming events for 2010:

My sister and baby Alice come from Paris to visit in February

Santa Fe, NM in March for a relaxing long weekend

Our first Marathon in Monterey, CA in April(Big Sur International)

Australia at the end of May(Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Great Barrier Reef)

Beth’s friend Alyssa getting married in Houston in June

Toledo, Ohio in July(Jamie Farr LPGA)

And possibly another trip sometime in July or August

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