Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun with Nana and Grandpa

How come play dough is so much work for ME?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Easter Fun

Easter Sunday we attended mass and returned home to find the Easter Bunny and Aunt Jenna had hidden eggs all over the yard.  The kids were bursting to collect their eggs.  All day they opened up their loot and ate candy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter Fun

My parents came into town a few days before Easter and we had a busy 10 days with them.  Saturday before Easter we attended our church's Easter egg hunt and went to lunch.  Jack and Maddy were scared of the adult human sized Easter Bunnies walking around at church so they didn't get any eggs, but we had fun anyway. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What to Pack for a 2 Day Relay

Last TIR related post for awhile.  This is for posterity IF I ever need it again, which I surely will.  Tuesday after TIR I found myself making a list of all the things we packed and what we should have packed.  This is the list I will use next time compiled from the TIR recommendations and our own experience.

At least 2 flashlights or headlamps.
At least 2 reflective vests or belts.
LED blinking lights
Vehicles (not to exceed 22 feet in length)
IDs for team members.
Stop watches, clipboard, pens
Coolers (2/van)
Cell phones
Trash bags
Hand sanitizer
Markers for decorating van

First Aid Kit (per van) includes:
    sunscreen, bug spray, after bite, ibuprofen/advil, tylenol, various bandaids, neosporin, Tums, ziploc bags for ice packs,
    Baby wipes, spray bottles, or some other creative washing method
    team toilet paper
    Picnic blanket, tarp, and maybe even club tent for finish line area.

Information Binder (per van)
    Maps (course maps, Houston, and Texas road maps)
    Leg assignment sheet (with approximate start/finish times, relay exchange points)
    Team member phone numbers of both vans
    Emergency contact list for all team members

Water guns?
Van Decorations

    Extras of the required items an individual may want to bring
        reflective vest, blinkies, flashlight, headlamp, etc.
    Phone & car charger
    Watch or GPS watch (and charger if necessary)
Running Stuff   
    Cap or visor
    An extra pair of running shoes
    3-4 sets of running clothes (1/leg + 1): socks/shorts/bra/shirt/hat
    Plastic bags for damp clothing
    Water bottle (2)
    Cell phone carrier/waist pouch?
Other Clothes   
    Sleeping clothes & dry clothes for between runs
    Sandals or flip flops for between runs
    Sleeping bag/blanket, pillow
    Towels (2 to dry off & sit on after running, 1 after showering)
Misc    Toiletries: tooth brush, tooth paste, deodarant, BODY GLIDE, soap, shampoo
    Money for meals, etc.
    Frogg Togg (ice wrap for neck)
    ipod/head phones (not for running)
    sleep mask
    Ear plugs
    Anything special that you HAVE to have on trips or runs. Epi pen? Meds? Inhaler?

Food list for the team
    Ice (2-3 bags per van to start)
    cooler of ice/van
    cooler for food/van
    Bins/boxes for food (to keep from sliding around and for easy access)
    Plastic utensils
    Big plastic cups for ice/water dumping on runners
    1-2 gallons of water per person
    White bread
    peanut butter
    turkey lunch meat
    sliced cheese
    pickles (for salt!)
    fruit: clementine oranges, pears, apples, bananas
    Energy bars/granola bars
    Pasta salad (bowls/forks)
    Candy (non-melty)

1st Birthday Party for Ryland

This weekend we helped my dear friend Christina celebrate Ryland's first birthday.  We all had fun at the 'Hungry Caterpillar' themed party.


Making caterpillars

Balloons and tables are fun
Ryland was pretty mad when this started

But then he tasted this frosting

and begrudgingly ate a little cake

and got a little messy

And finally stuffed himself full

Monday, April 9, 2012

Texas Independence Relay Part 2

We're run 2 rounds now, is 3am - ish?

We head to a local high school and pay $5 for showers - well worth it!  I crashed out in the back of the van to attempt sleep before the NEXT round.  Monica and Ian got stuck driving to Katy.  They found the parking lot where our next exchange would be.  Bad part, was at 4:30am a local DJ decided to get this party started!!!   Gah!  At 5am I got up to pee and then I was pretty much up.  Even with almost no sleep my body was up.  I felt hung over.  Both hungry and nauseous, tired and awake.  Vblah!

Leg 32 was through the Hershey Trail in Houston.  I started at 8am, the mosquitoes were out in full force.  I felt pretty shitty and was just hoping to make it through my 6 mile leg.  Joe came charging to the exchange point racing another runner.  I took the baton and turned to start.  Then Red Shirt guy passes me and says "Road Kill #1!"  What. The. Fuck?  I get counting runners you pass, we did that too.  I would never count out loud.  Everybody is slower or faster than somebody else on any given day.  This pisses me off.  Red Shirt takes off down the path.  Another runner sprints past me.  (Side note: this is part of the starting strategy, faster teams start later and catch up to slower teams, so we all finish closer to the same time).  A third guy passes me, but was very friendly.  Slowly, I gain on Red Shirt.  2 miles in I am closing the gap.  I try to wait, biding my time but this guy is dragging ass now that his team isn't around.  I pass, on the right, "who's road kill now?"  BITCH!  I didn't say bitch, but I could have.  Now I'm feeling hot, enjoying the run and the scenery.  I pass the same speedy guy walking who passed me at the start.  I come into the exchange point screaming "CHUPACABRA!" catching Heather waiting in line at the porta potties, ruining her last break. It was not my fastest 6 miler ever, but I did better than I thought I could do after 2 previous runs and no sleep.

Race Name Date Distance Time Pace
Texas Independence Relay Leg 8: Chicken Coup 3/31/2012  5.86 0:52:35 08:58.4
Texas Independence Relay Leg 20: Eagle Lake 3/31/2012 4.71 37:06 7:52
Texas Independence Relay Leg 32 (Hershey Trail) 4/1/2012 6.68 56:21 8:26

Now I'm done running, but no where near close to being done with the day.  We are now in Houston so the scenery is much different.  I cool down while we bring Heather water 1/2 way through her run.  Then Jennifer starts her last leg and we bring her water, too.  It's starting to get hot and humid.  Jennifer finishes her run in a park, a park full of bicyclists and families.  Monica kicks off the Captain's leg now.  I was getting changed and by the time I got back to the van we thought we would be too late to catch Monica at the one point in her run we could get to her.  So we planned to go to the end of her leg and get Ian ready.

But here is where the 'be ready for anything' with a relay happens.  We drive through this park in busy traffic, Heather is navigating and I'm mostly watching the cars.  Suddenly Jennifer spots Monica on the side of the road waving.  We panic and pull over a half a mile down the road when we find a spot to safely stop.  Heather, Jennifer, Ian and I look at each other... who is going to run?  Ian doesn't miss a beat and says "I'll go!"  Heather jumps out and goes for Monica.  Jennifer and I prepare ice, ibuprofen and clear a seat in the van.  Unfortunately Monica is down for the count with a sprained ankle. 

Now, there are 2 legs left to run for our van before Van 1 gets back.  Jennifer and I meet Ian at the next exchange point.  He says he's ok to keep going.  It's probably 85 degrees now so we decide to meet Ian every 2 miles with water and ice.  After about 6 miles he asks Jennifer to step in and do 2 miles for him.  She is super awesome and cranks out 2 miles (after eating a shit load of candy, chips and soda).  Ian finishes up the last 2 miles and passes the baton to Van 1.

Van 1 has 4 legs left and it is 90 degrees now.  I get my running clothes on just in case they need help.  Fortunately they are an awesome crew and the most I have to do is drive our van and then help run water out to our last runner.
Me in yellow, bringing Shellie water and ice

 It's 2:30 or 3:00 when we meet at the finish and run the ceremonial last lap together up to the monument.  WE take a bunch of pictures and get our medals.  We take our pizza back to Monica, who is resting in the van.

The Running Chupacabras 162 Austin / Corpus Christi, TX Open Mixed

  • 9m:10s Mile Pace
  • 30h:47m Overall Time
  • 54/101 Open Mixed
  • 82/146 Overall
I. Am. So. Done.  So now we make the trip back to Austin.  Jennifer takes another one for the team and drives the whole way back in record time.  We vacuum and wash the van, unpack all the crap and trash.  I think it was about 8/8:30 before Jennifer and I pile back into her car to Pflugerville, where I unpack all my own stuff and wash my disgusting clothes and shoes.

So, what's the final verdict?  I feel like this relay was harder than a marathon.  The amount of time I was physically UP was an extra challenge.  I'm pretty good about nutrition before running, but having to think about it all day to eat at the right time after and before running was different.  The heat and running during the day I was not at all used to yet.  I'm glad it didn't rain - that would have been a huge beating.  Sunday and Monday I said I wasn't sure I would ever do it again.  But Tuesday I found myself thinking about what I would have done different (more sleep), what I should have packed (paper towels & pasta salad), and how we should have gamed the system (provided slower than planned pace times to start earlier).  So would I do it again?  Yes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Texas Independence Day Relay - Part 1

The Texas Independence Relay is a 203 mile relay event from Bastrop to Houston TX.  The Running Chupacabras ran 40 relay legs with 11 team members and 2 vans.  It was a challenge, harder than I imagined, hotter than I expected, just as smelly as I thought it would be and much more exhausting than I anticipated.

I will do my best to describe my experience here, but will certainly miss a few things so bear with me.

Friday: stop at REI for last minute GU for the team, reflective vest and head lamp.  Meet up with Monica at Costco to buy food for the team.  We stood there amidst the hordes of bulk buyers (like me normally) debating what 11 adults running adults will eat over 2 days.  We decide on sandwich fixins, bagels, chips, breakfast bars, bananas, oranges, pears and apples, nuts, gallons of water and Gatorade.  Friday night I spent a lot of time deciding what to pack and organizing my bags.  My biggest concern was bringing too MUCH stuff.  In the end I think I did pretty good and used almost everything I brought (I will post my packing list later).

Saturday: up at the usual 5:10am to shower, make coffee and eat a little breakfast.  Jennifer picked me up at 6 and we headed to Monica's.  There we met our other van mates Heather and Ian.  Heather was super awesome nice, and a genius navigator.  Ian was just about the nicest guy that could get stuck with 4 girls in a van.  Monica is our Running Chupacabra team captain and fearless leader.  We packed up the van with all our food and crap and headed to Bastrop to meet up with the rest of our Chupacabras.  We got to the starting area just in time for our 8:32am start time.  Teams have a staggered start times based on approximate finish times.  The 11 Running Chupacabras posed for a picture with a cannon (really) and did a ceremonial lap together before Logan and van 1 took off.

Ceremonial first leg, cow patty makes it authentic Texas

 Van 2 headed to Smithville TX to hang out before our first round.  We milled about and had some lunch.  We also finished decorating our van and tagged other vans with the 'Chupacabra'.
Smitty in Smithville, TX

not so great picture of the van

As we are hanging out we realize it's getting hot.  Balls hot y'll.  I am up to run leg 8 at about 1pm (?).  As we head out to the exchange point I realize I'm not going to do the sub 8 min miles I thought I was capable of.  Shellie and Jennifer W in Van 1 warn us to GO SLOW and be careful, and they are serious runners.  Joe hands off the baton (slap bracelet) to me and I take off.  Well trudge off is more like it.  The temps are at 88+ degrees and humid.  Leg 8 is a country road with little shade.  There are only a few runners and vans passing me by.  I pass 5 other runners on this leg and I am not going that fast, everyone is dialing down the pace.  Lucky for me, my race crew stops twice to toss water on me.  Later we figure out ice in the hat and bra are the key to staying cool (remember that tip!).  The scenery was pleasant, fields, flowers and a freaking ginormous chicken farm.
Leg 8: ~5.86 miles, ~51:35 minutes, 8:58/mile average.  I forgot to turn on my Garmin until after I started, so I'm estimating.  
It's Hot!

After my leg I cooled down and then joined in to support the rest of the team, running water and ice out, driving along the country roads of Texas and screaming "CHUPACABRAS!"   Here is where I find my real niche - driving a huge ass van.  I can't back my minivan out of a two car garage, but I can drive a 12 person van like no body's business, I kick ass!
Crew support for Heather
Jennifer passing the baton to Monica

Monica whipping ass

Ian killing 2 legs in the blistering heat

We finish our round of legs (8-13) and find a place to eat for dinner and clean up a little.  Then we drive toward the next exchange point before our round of night legs.  Lucky for us the girls find a nearby parking lot where we can rest or sleep for a while.

I kick off leg 20 around 10:45 pm, running some country road and through Eagle Lake.  I run the first mile and feel better than this morning so decide to pick up the pace, finishing 4.71 miles in 37:06, average 7:52/mile pace.  Whew!   Back to driving, checking in on our runners in the dark.  I don't know when we finished our round of night runs, 2am/3am?

Part 2 and Sunday's events to come...