HITS Endurance Is Headed to Austin

HITS Endurance (hitsendurance.com) is headed to Austin, TX on December 14, 2013 and will call the famed Circuit of the Americas home. Join the masses as HITS offers runners a Friends & Family Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon, as well as a Sprint Duathlon at this premier venue. For beginners and multi-sport veterans alike, HITS Endurance presents a unique experience for athletes to race on the same roads as some of the world's most famed motor-sport drivers.

Over the next eight weeks HITS Race Director, Mark H. Wilson, will be training five lucky participants with dreams of crossing the finish line at HITS Austin, TX. Not only will these five beginners have 24/7 access to a highly accomplished coach, but they will also be outfitted with race day swag by the hottest running shop in the country, Texas Running Company. Follow their journey exclusively on AustinChronicle.com and see if they have what it takes to race HITS!

Click on participants to read their profiles and follow their progress!

Angela Specht, 5K

My name is Angela Specht , I am 31 years old and training for the HITS Endurance Austin 5k. I joined this contest because the opportunity presented itself and it sounded like a hell of a good time, I love a challenge.

I am absolutely NOT a runner but I am one heck of a wogger (as I call it)! I'm looking forward to the challenge of upgrading my wog (walk/jog) to a run in the next 5 weeks. Let's see if we can train this 13ish minute miler into a 9-10 minute miler. That sounds like a legit goal, right...

Currently I am moderately active, I usually work out 3-5 days a week but nothing to write home about. I love weight lifting, yoga, paddle boarding and trail wogs. I'm super pumped to have the opportunity to get advice from an amazing running coach on how to improve my fitness level.

Fun facts about me: I'm from North Dakota but consider myself a Texan through and through! I rep for the Austin Chronicle. I have a serious Starbucks addiction. I'm totally obsessed with becoming my best self ever, but still have no idea what that really means.

Sunday, December 15, 2013: Kicking back with a glass of wine, celebrating my victory! I'm not sure what my official time was for the race, my husband put me around 35 minutes. I'm hoping I can get my official time online. Whatever my time, I ran the entire thing and that course was wicked!

I don't know that there was any training I could have done in 5 weeks to prepare me for those hills. My mind is still blown I managed to run them all. I am so thankful I had Mark coaching me along the way and that I never looked at the course map before the race.

The race itself was brutal but awesome. It was cold with 20mph winds, I was sick, oh and did I mention the hills! I managed to get my friend, Elizabeth who I had done some of my training with to do the race with me, thank you so much friend!  She has been racing for years so she was able to keep a peppy attitude and keep me going. I also had my husband, two friends and Mark (who I saw at the end) there to support me. Shout out to Jeff Carlyon who came to support us and then did the duathlon and placed 1st in his age group! All the support made the race the best experience for me.

I'm so thankful I was given this opportunity! The training was so fun and I really feel like I kicked my fitness up a level. I was able to challenge my body in a whole new way. It's made me feel very body confident (aka SEXY). I am amazed at how a mile run nearly killed me at the start of this journey and now I can about do it in my sleep. It's still hard for me to do 3.1 without wanting to walk a little but I know that I can do it, which is killer.

When I was running the race I was just so focused on not walking any of it. I kept telling myself, you never have to do this course again. Now a day later, I plan to do it again next year when HITS returns to Austin. And I will kick those hills in the ass!

Thank you again everyone who made this possible: Hits Endurance, Texas Running Company and Mark! Elizabeth Nitz for running the race with me, Jeff Carlyon, Jerod Cykoski and my wonderful husband for coming out to support me and Elizabeth.

Sunday, December 8, 2013: Training this week was a repeat of last week. A mile run, four 1/4 mile sprints, three 30 minute jogs and a timed 5k. I chose to take the one optional 30 minute jog as a day off.

This week was a tough one time wise. I had company in town for a few days and it was harder to make time to get everything done. It was also hard to convince myself that my family could wait one more hour for me while I worked out. I'm guessing some people feel that pull on their time regularly. I love that this race training has helped me to find an even stronger dedication to myself and my health. It's so easy to tell yourself, it's just one workout I'm missing, no big deal. To save myself from using my visitors as an excuse I moved workouts around to ensure I had the bulk of my time consuming workouts done before my family arrived. I also arranged ahead of time with my gym to get my sister a day pass so I could bring her to workout with me.

As for the workouts, the jogs are getting easier. I'm feeling more fit and it's only been 4 weeks. I no longer want to stop running at the 3 minute mark, ha. I have managed to get a little faster, not as fast as I had imagined I would get (but that was before I had actually tried running). I still HATE sprints and may very well never do another in my life after this race. I have begun to see myself as a runner. I will continue to make running part of my workout schedule moving forward. I am looking forward to adding weight training back though. I did some this weekend with my sister and I just really enjoy it. There really was no reason I couldn't have weight trained through all this running training. However, I wanted to focus on learning to run and learning to like running. All I'm waiting on now is the ever elusive runners high...

Sunday, December 1, 2013: With only a couple weeks until race day I knew Mark wasn't going to let me off easy just because it was a holiday and my anniversary. Six workouts this week! Three 30 minute jogs, a mile run, my normal sprints and a timed 5k.

When Mark gave me direction this week he said "easy" 30 minute jogs. Ha, jog...easy, I don't comprehend! I did what any person in my shoes would do. He gave an inch and I took a mile! I took it very easy on two of my 3 jogs. Mixing in A LOT of speed walking. Quite frankly all my workouts this week were somewhat slower. The only exception being my 5k which I finished in 36:26. It seems my jogs are better outside and with a friend.

This week no doubt had its ups and downs. I did manage all 6 workouts.  However, I'm a little disappointed in my less than zealous performances. I'm getting quite anxious about the upcoming race. I need to run those nerves out and preferably at a much faster pace.

Sunday, November 24, 2013: There is the old saying, "youth is wasted on the young". That has never felt more true to me. This week consisted of 5 workouts. Two 30 minute jogs, a mile run, four 1/4 mile sprints and a 5k. I am no doubt feeling less than youthful. I'm quite achy, all over! It's become apparent this week that the part of youth that allows you to fall and bounce back like a rubber ball is fading. Although I was never a runner in my youth I did do a lot of water skiing. No matter how hard I crashed I would always bounce right back and the pain never lasted. You would think the aches would make me dislike running and this training. On the contrary, I'm loving it!

As promised by Mark, I did increase my speed on all of my workouts. I ran 30 minutes for the first time in probably my entire life. Wowza that was quite a bit harder than I had imagined. It took me two hours to get over the feeling that I was going to puke. Physically I feel beat but mentally I'm feeling very accomplished. Frankly, I feel like a bad ass!

This week also brought gifts from Texas Running Company.  I got some much needed new kicks, check em'. They make me look so fast, right?! (Sorry for the blurry picture). I also got a new Tee which is so soft it may be made out of babies. (That is a joke; it's clearly made from cotton). Not to sound like an infomercial here but seriously I cannot say enough great things about this store. The staff is amazing! The selection is incredible. They take video of you running and measure your feet to make sure you are getting the best shoes for you. If you are new to running like me, this place has got to be your first stop!

I'm looking forward to the week ahead (mostly for wine and turkey). I'm really hoping I'll be less sore. Right now my calves feel like little torture balls strapped to my bones. Even so, I'm ready to get out and do it all again. Happy running people.


Sunday, November 17, 2013: Due to my less than 5 hours sleep Thursday night, I knew my workout Friday would be somewhat of a crap shoot. So when the mood struck, I'll be damned if I wasn't going to take advantage... towel schmowel! I hit the treadmill ready to give running a mile my all. Although an 11:45 mile may seem like nothing to some people, I felt great about it. I got off the treadmill pleased I managed to run the full mile.

I was sweating like a stuck pig so I was definitely going to need a rinse. That "towel schmowel" attitude from earlier had just caught up to me as I stood drying my body under the hand dryer at the gym just hoping like hell no one would walk into the locker room. I was able to get out unseen and keep my dignity for yet another day. It was a nice lesson in being prepared. You just never know when the mood will strike and I promise you, you want a towel. The "shower of shame" is not for any self-respecting grown woman.

Last workout for the week was my 5k at my normal work pace. It was a little warmer out than I was expecting at 85 degrees, a beautiful day none the less to hit the lake trail. But seriously November, you confuse me! It was somewhere around mile 2 though that I started thinking about how I was kind of dragging. I was able to keep my normal pace finishing at 39:29 but it felt harder than usual. I can only attribute that to eating pasta last night. I eat low carb most of the time because it makes me feel better and carbs make my body break out in fat. Lesson 2 for this week, don't eat crap.

Overall week 1 was great! I'm feeling focused and driven. I am a little nervous about what to expect for next week. I feel like I got off easy with only 3 workouts from Mark this week. It was by no means difficult to find the time and energy for that. I'm scared it's going to be balls to the wall for the rest of my training, trying to condition me into a real runner in 4 weeks. I suppose that is the point, yet I remain somewhat skeptical of my ability to do so.

Thursday, November 14, 2013: Got my marching orders from Mark. Three workouts: a 5k, a set of four ¼ mile runs, and a one mile run to which my initial reaction was to revert to a North Dakota accent and reply with a semi sarcastic, “ya, sure you betch”. Likely because it's literally been since my ND (high school) days that I have intentionally RUN a mile. It may seem silly that running a mile feels like more of a challenge than doing 3.1 of them, which I do on the regular at my comfortable, breathable, no pain inducing pace of around 13-14 mins per mile. I'm a big believer in "it's not how fast you are going but rather that you are going". Which makes the idea that I am training to go faster a bit foreign.

One thing that is by no means foreign to me is the desire to feel like the best damn pupil my coach has ever trained. First on my agenda, try and find a workout headband to cover my ears for this very chilly 55 degree weather. My cheapness leads me to a Marshall’s, which leaves me walking out empty handed. New plan, workout one will be on a treadmill. I didn't ask Mark if my training schedule needed be done in any order so I will start off with the four ¼ mile sprints since that will be quick and painless...or so I thought.

Holy hell, I feel immediately terrified after I did my first ¼ mile running. It took me 2:18 and I am nearly gasping for air and thinking there is just no way THIS week I will be stringing 4 of these together to run a mile without walking at all. I finished the assignment, each ¼ mile slightly slower than the last. When it was over I sat drinking an iced coffee in the dressing room at the gym just trying to catch my breath and reflecting on the work I have ahead. Like I said before, I love a good challenge...I just didn't realize how much of a challenge this was really going to be. I'm really looking forward to gaining some confidence in the running department and soon!

Cortney Smith, 10K

Hello! My name is Cortney Smith. I am turning 32 this weekend, and I am training for the HITS Austin, TX 10K.

I signed up for this contest because I needed something to get me back on track. Four years ago I was 283 lbs. and started training for a half marathon to get in shape. I went on to lose over 45 lbs., finished 7 half marathons and 5 triathlons. Last year I signed up for a Half distance triathlon and was only able to complete the 1.2 mile swim and 50 miles on the bike before I had stomach troubles and had to quit. After that race I got into a workout slump and did a lot of nothing and gained a lot of weight back. I signed up for this adventure to get myself motivated again, remember how good it feels to work out and work towards a goal, and to help motivate anyone (at any size) to get active again!

I am really looking forward to working with Mark, keeping myself accountable to his workout and nutrition plan, and being proud of myself as I cross the 10K finish line. I am a personal assistant for busy families and a nanny so I am on the go all day. That is great for staying moving but not great for my food choices, which usually are pretty poor. I'm excited to challenge myself to eat healthy (even on the go) over the next 8 weeks and to help other busy people find quick, healthy meal ideas. This challenge is exactly what I need to get back on track and help me be my best when I start to train for next year's Half distance triathlon (I have to go back and finish it!).

A fun fact about me is that I love to talk my friends into doing races with me, so hopefully I will have a lot of my favorite faces starting next to me on race day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013: We did it! It seems like the last six weeks was really six months. There have been holidays, birthdays, illnesses, losses all in this short amount of time. I guess in life we are going to face all these challenges and we can either let them get the best of us or we can push through them, keep our eyes on the goal and let them make us stronger.

Friday's weather was terrible! It was drizzly and cold and miserable. Saturday morning I got up and headed out to the Circuit of The Americas. One of the first people I saw was Coach Mark directing marathon and half marathon runners. It was fun to finally meet him in person.

I went to pick up my packet and chatted with some people from an organization I volunteer for, Team RWB. They connect veterans with physical and social activities to help enrich their life after serving our country.

I went back to where Mark was and got to cheer on half marathoners who were making their last turn and marathoners who still had a long way to go. Kristy (duathlon) arrived and we got to cheer Caryl on as she finished her half marathon.

Did I mention it was so COLD and windy Saturday morning!?!?

I got to talk and take some pictures with Caryl and Kristy who had been a great source of support and encouragement through Facebook as we took this journey together.

Finally it was almost time for the 10k/5k start. My friend Endi and I headed to the start line and some clouds appeared and it got even colder. You could see goose bumps on everyone's skin. The pistol sounded, I high fived Mark and was off.

The course starts with a hill...straight up! It was tough! Pretty quickly the 5kers were caught up with me and I kept a steady pace. My first mile was right around 15 minutes and I felt good. Mile 1.5-2.5 was my favorite! It was an out and back course so all the much faster 10kers were heading back and I got to cheer each one of them on. I got a lot of smiles and high fives. I was feeling pretty good to the half-way point and then it got really lonely. I was in dead last and at times I couldn't see another person anywhere. I was cold and sore but knew I could do this. The last half was slow and quiet but I kept pushing, one turn after another. I had about a mile to go and was ready to be done! There was one big hill left to climb and I did it slowly but surely. The best part of an uphill is a downhill and it was a nice relief. I could see the finish line and two of my friends waiting near it. I kicked it in for the last stretch and crossed and received my medal.

The best word I can think of for this race was brutal but I did it. It was a good kick in the pants to get focused on training more and getting in better shape.

The best part of all this was the people I met! The three ladies who faced the challenge with me, Coach Mark, and the very helpful HITS staff. I am very grateful for the experience and the shoes from Texas Running Company!

My next goal is to complete a Half Triathlon in April. When life gets busy and weather sucks and I just want to stay in bed, I will remember pushing through those lonely, cold last miles of HITS Austin 10k and know that I can do accomplish anything I set out to do!

Sunday, December 1, 2013: The holidays won. They beat people out of working out and eating right all the time and I let them beat me this week. I got in some of my workouts but between 700 miles of driving and being sick over the weekend, I have to say this wasn't my best week. I also let the holiday treats get the best of me.

I think it's something so many people struggle with this time of year. I let one week beat me but I won't let the whole holiday season. In 12 days I will be at the starting line for HITS Austin 10k and I will be ready and I will give it my all.

These next 12 days are my chance to be my very best and to make choices that will allow me to feel my best.

Last week Mark suggested I line up friends to do each of my workouts with me. I will definitely be doing that for the next two weeks and having some friends keep me accountable to eating right.

It's also nice to know that the other ladies in the challenge are pushing through this and fighting alongside me. In just 12 days we will all push ourselves to do something great and we will all be proud of ourselves when it is over. I am keeping them in my thoughts this week during each workout; knowing they are right there fighting with me.

I want to encourage anyone who has started the holiday season off and already slipped from being healthy that it's never too late to do better. Don't let January get here and you've put on 15 pounds and feel bad about yourself. Start now. Go for a walk in the evenings. Maybe have some of your favorite treats but in small portions. Stay active and feel good about yourself over the next few months instead of constantly full and lazy. Anyone can do this. 12 days and I will be ready!

Sunday, November 24, 2013: It was a really good week! My runs felt good and for the first time in almost a year I went for a run because I really wanted to and not only because I was supposed to!

But seriously, it was cold for the last half of the week! Friday night I made it about two miles before the cold and wet did me in. Saturday I was a total cold whimp and opted for a swim indoors at the YMCA instead of a run. Sunday I did a short run but it was COOOOLD!

I love that I woke up early on Sunday with a crazy, busy day ahead but really wanted to run, so I did.

I took my roommate's dog, Elvis, out with me Sunday. He might be my new favorite running buddy.

The highlight of this week was Saturday morning when I got to meet Caryl (marathon) and Angela (5k) at Texas Running Company to pick out a new pair of running shoes and a shirt. It was great to meet some of the ladies going through this journey with me in person and to get such great new swag! The staff at the store was AMAZING and picked out the perfect pair of new Brooks for me on the first try. I think they are going to make me really fast (or does that only work when you are five years old?).

Also, I have lost a little over six pounds and feel good about my progress. We are in the home stretch! This week, I am going to work on staying on track with workouts over the holiday and to try to eat sensibly.

Sunday, November 17, 2013: This week brought some nicer, cooler weather and some great workouts. I am down about four pounds since this all began and it feels good. I am excited to see results. My two favorite workouts this week were Tuesday and Saturday.

Tuesday I rode 30 minutes on a spin bike and then ran for 25 minutes while on a break from work. The temperature had just dropped and it felt good to run!

Saturday I ran for two hours while my boyfriend skateboarded at the skate park. My first two miles were fast...like less than 13 minutes each (I'm usually at 15-17 minutes per mile) then it got windy and hot! I slowed down some but it felt good to know I could go that fast. I was headed back in at four miles and it would have been about six miles but I ran into my friend Joey on the trail and went out with her and ended up doing 7.1 total.

I didn't make it to the pool this past week but I am looking forward to a few swims coming up. I love seeing improvements in my swim the more I do it and burning calories at the same time.

I have been bad about following the no carb diet because I am always on the go but I am going to try to make as many good food choices this week as I can and drink only water. I think the difference will show up on the scale and in how I feel in my workouts. I plan to make some more soup, pack my lunches and snacks, and drink lots and lots of water.

We are getting close to race day and I am really excited to do this and to hopefully meet the other ladies in the challenge. They have all been working so hard and making great progress. We can do this!

Sunday, November 10, 2013: This week was tough! I have to say that the time change is the dumbest thing ever! Earlier this week, I received a really encouraging Facebook message from one of the other ladies in the challenge and it helped me make it through.

My plan for next week is to prep a lot of healthy food on Monday, my rest day, and to enlist the help of some friends and my boyfriend to join me in some of the workouts. Everything is a lot more fun with a friend by your side!

Tuesday, October 22 through Sunday, November 3, 2013: Week 2 was tough because life happened. After week one I had lost 6 lbs after cutting out carbs and my call with Mark got me pumped upfront for Week 2. Tuesday evening I found out that a friend had died while cycling in Austin. It was a tough week from then on. Morgan was an inspiration to me: she out ran all the boys in sprints at our Camp Gladiator boot camps, she rocked at running races and triathlons, she ran stairs at Mt Bonnell, did 40 mile bike rides just for fun, and she was a huge encouragement to me last year when I was attempting my first Half triathlon. All of a sudden she was gone and it happened while working out. I did a spin class and run on Wednesday but my heart was sad. Thursday I swam a mile at the YMCA and it felt great. Her memorial service was Saturday and I decided then that I needed to change up the plan a little bit this week. My birthday was during week one and my original plan was to do a 3.1 mile swim to celebrate my last day being 31. Morgan was so excited about it and was going to swim with me (probably in half the time). I got an ear infection earlier in the month and cancelled the event.

Sunday afternoon, with my boyfriend by my side, I did the 5k swim that she was so excited to do with me. It was tough and it took almost 3.5 hours but it was how I could best honor her memory. It felt great and my last mile was even my fastest. I passed out at 7:45 Sunday night!

With the stress of the week, I strayed from Mark's eating plan but I'm excited to get the workouts and diet on track this week. I did lose 1.2 more lbs. this week for a total of 7.2 thus far. Onward to Week 3!

Monday, October 28, 2013: I had my call with Mark this afternoon and he encouraged me to keep going with my workouts even though I didn't get them all in last week. I'm going to put them into my phone calendar and try to do them earlier in the day before I talk myself out of working out.

We are adding some more sprints to my speed workout and cutting dairy (along with carbs -other than from fruits and veggies) from my diet this week. Healthier choices here I come!

Here is to week two bringing more weight loss, a healthier and faster me, and new challenges. I got this!

Monday, October 21 through Sunday, October 27, 2013: I am so excited about this new adventure! On Monday afternoon I spoke to Coach Mark and that really got me pumped up for the next week. Since I love to do triathlons, he included swimming and biking into my running workouts.

He wanted me to do one week without carbs (other than from fruits and vegetables). I woke up Tuesday morning ready to go! After a spin class and treadmill run I hit the grocery store to stock up on healthy foods and ingredients for vegetable beef soup (which turned out amazing!).

A week without carbs is hard! I did great Tuesday-Thursday but cheated some over the weekend because it was my birthday and people kept offering me treats.

I did trade a lot of my normal fast food meals for salads and didn't have a soda all week!

Grapes became my favorite bed time snack and tasted so sweet without other sugar in my diet.

I didn't hit 100% of my workouts this week but felt like it was a good start.

Thursday is my swimming day and having been out of the pool for a few months it was a little rough but Mark encouraged me to keep at it. He said that it will get better as my fitness improves.

Having made it through the first week, I know what I need to do better this week. I need to plan my workouts into my week and stick with them. It will help that I don't have a birthday next week and can stick to healthier eating and a more normal routine.

One big win this week was that I felt more comfortable in clothes that had been feeling tight. I'm excited to weigh myself tomorrow and see the number. I know that I felt good and that is what matters most.


Reagan Aylmer, Half Marathon

My name is Reagan Aylmer, and I am 23 years old. I am training for the half marathon! I signed up for this contest because after running cross country throughout high school and college, I began to really miss the motivation and accountability that comes with coaching. I am looking forward to challenging myself with a solidified training strategy!

I run 5 to 6 days a week, averaging around 35-45 miles a week. I love to cross train at Black Swan yoga or a bike ride downtown. This year, I am running the Austin Distance Challenge- which gives me a competitive race to look forward to every month or so until February!

I am very excited about this challenge, especially now that the weather is FINALLY cooling down in Austin and my long runs have become enjoyable again. I am eager to see how far I can push myself (especially with the added incentive of being held accountable for all my training!)

I recently won an all-expense paid trip to Morocco.  Part of the challenge will be training in the Sahara Desert. I hear the sand dunes are great for hill repeats.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013: Track workout day! After months of non-timed, rambling long runs, I was nervous to how on-pace my splits would be. With 25x400 repeats, my challenge was to make sure I didn't burn out too early. The first lap was a surprise when I hit my split of 1:40 exact, and the next 12 followed in suit. Fortunately, my boyfriend joined me for the last half of the workout to help cope with the monotony.  I picked up the pace as it started to rain, and happily crossed the finish line at 1:24 for the final rep. We managed to jog home just before the storm hit!

Caryl Dimmare, Half Marathon

My name is Caryl Dimmare and I am 53 years old (or young as I prefer it!). I am going to train for the full marathon because it is the biggest challenge for me. I signed up for this contest because I have found my passion in running. The feeling you get crossing that finish line is unlike any other experience. It changes you by letting you know you can step outside your comfort zone and truly accomplish whatever goal you want. I have pretty much only trained on my own by relying on information from books and the internet. I'm looking forward to working with a professional coach to know I am training optimally for what I want to do.

I try to run as often as I can to stay active and in shape since my job keeps me on my feet. I'm excited about this challenge and I'm up to it, as I had put races lower on my priority list since moving to the Austin area about 3 1/2 years ago from Southern California. I need to get back some of my endurance and speed and I'm ready to dedicate myself again.

I appreciate not only the opportunity to do this, but if I can inspire just one person my age to get out there and run it will make my heart soar. It's never too late to start, you just have to be willing to put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time!

Saturday, December 14, 2013: I'm sitting here at home in my nice warm flannel pajamas after a fun and challenging half marathon. It's hard to get sleep the night before a race as the adrenaline is already flowing, but I managed to get a few hours. This was my first visit to the COTA track and getting there at 5:30 in the morning it is an amazing site to see.

I found Mark to say hi and left him to do all the running around a race director must do before the start. I overdressed a bit more than normal as I'm still a bit under the weather, but it was pretty cold this morning. I got off to a decent start considering the big hill on the track was right at the beginning. I have to say this course pretty challenging especially as you leave the track to follow the service road to the parking lot turnaround. I had some trouble breathing in the first couple of miles with the cold air and being stuffed up, but found a rhythm and settled in deciding that I'd walk when my breathing was labored and then run again. This strategy worked well for me.

Kudos to the volunteers who were wonderful and the fresh orange slices and bananas. I wouldn't have made it without them. My stomach did not want the GU packets after the second one so I opted for that instead.

Coming back into the track at the end is a welcome downhill as the wind picked up on my last 3 miles and I decided to speed up and use everything I had left in me to sprint to the finish. What really got me was hearing Mark shout "Go Caryl" as I passed him and then Kristy who was there to see me finish.

A great medal and a great time were the best way to end this adventure. Every race I've done has made a change in me. It reaffirms that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything. Thank you to HITS for a great inaugural race. I hope to be back and well for the next one. Thank you Mark for a great and challenging training program and support, thanks to Emily for allowing me to share my journey with all of you, and thank you to Texas Running Company both for the shoes and a new career opportunity that has come out of all this. Now with a little rest to get better, it's on to the next race and next adventure.

Hoping to see that some of you will join a race soon, and look for the redhead with the wild shoes! Come and say hi!

Best wishes to all and happy running,
Caryl Dimmare

Wednesday, December 11, 2013: So, I made a very difficult decision this morning as I woke up sick yesterday. I made a phone call and am backing down to the half marathon instead of the full. My training is there but my body won't be 100% and a full 26.2 miles will more than likely be too much and risk me feeling sick for a longer period of time. I am disappointed, as I have never not done a race I've signed up for and in my head I know it's the right thing. I will take it at an easy pace for the half and just enjoy that and as Coach Mark said, there will be other marathons. I will be out there and I will stay positive and do my best. Hoping you come out to run with or cheer me on!

Monday, December 9, 2013: Well, I'm into the final week of training. I’m winding down with an easier week to taper for the HITS Austin Marathon on Saturday and I’m glad to see the temps will be back to normal for this! All in all it's been a great training even with the issue with my IT band. I love my new Asics from Texas Running Company - they are broken in and ready.

I've been on my treadmill with the weather being what it is and glad not to have to go out in the freezing temps we've been having. I got back to eating well and feeling good about all this and I’m happy to have had all of you along for the ride on this journey. It feels so good that I have signed up for the 3M Half Marathon in January. Signing up for this race will keep me going like that carrot dangling in front of me.

So what have I gotten out of all the hours of running and training? I'm 15 pounds lighter, my mood is positive almost all of the time, my determination is stronger than ever, and I've made some new friends along the way. All I can say now is see you on Saturday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013: Well this has not been my most productive week. I work in retail and we are in full swing for the holidays. Between crazy hours, and family, I have not given my all this week. It didn't help either that one of my favorite places from California opened in Round Rock this week. Yes had to have that double double animal style from In N Out. Additionally, I have not slept much this week. I had to go to work at 6am on Monday and Tuesday and could not get to sleep early which meant coming home and passing out instead of doing anything else.

I'm hoping the weather for race day will be cool but not as freezing as it's supposed to get this weekend. I don't mind cold but this Texas weather is crazy! Hoping to get back on track and just counting down the days till the 14th I hope to see some of you out there. Just look for the redhead with the wild Asics shoes on - come and say hi!

Thursday, November 28, 2013:Happy Thanksgiving to all! I got up early this morning and got my turkey in the oven, then made the most of it by running on the treadmill and getting off to baste it every so often. This helped to control my appetite and also made me feel like I could enjoy my Thanksgiving meal without the guilt as long as I ate slowly and didn't overdo. I had a little of everything including a small slice of pumpkin cheesecake. I’m not stuffed and actually feeling pretty good. The hard part is trying to get a little rest before heading off to work the dreaded Black Friday from 10pm to 7am!

Looks like it going to be a long night and coffee will definitely be involved! I’m hoping to come home in the morning and get some rest as I have a 2 hour run on my training schedule for tomorrow. I decided I'm not going to sweat it and see how I feel. It won't hurt to do it one day late if I have to. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to go with the flow.

I'm reminded today to be thankful for my family, friends and the fact that I am still able to get out there and run. I am thankful to be a part of this wonderful experience, to those others I have gotten to know through their blogs and to all of you who read this hoping I have inspired at least one person to get off the couch and run. Make your News Years resolution now! The holidays are upon us and the New Year is coming fast. Let this be the year for a new you, one step at a time!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013: I had a great time yesterday at Texas Running Company where I got to meet Angela and Cortney who are doing the 5 and 10k runs. Beth took some pics of us in our new shoes and shirts. She even took a picture of my new tattoo on my ankle! Going to hit up the treadmill today again as it is close to freezing again and glad tomorrow is a rest day since we are expecting a light snow.

I'm beginning to wonder if I lived somewhere colder would I still be a runner? I would hope so, as I wouldn't want to think Mother Nature would be the determining factor in doing what I truly love doing. I'm hoping the weather won't be like this come race day though I expect it would make me run faster just to get warm and done...

Happy to say I am about a pound and a half away from my first weight loss goal. My final goal is 5 more pounds. I know it doesn't seem like much but those few pounds are hated than anything to get rid of, especially as we get older. The difference running makes in losing weight for me is instrumental. When I wasn't running, it seemed no matter what I did my weight staying the same. Running keeps my metabolism up and the weight comes off, be it slowly without any drastic dieting. Not that I can eat anything and everything, but I have found just eating healthy and still letting myself have a little something sweet (did I mention I have a terrible sweet tooth -- especially dark chocolate and ice cream) keeps me on track.

I make sure I am not hungry when I go shopping. I make a list of what I need and try to stick to it! When I get home, I cut all the veggies, I freeze all my bananas and berries for my protein shakes and I try to cook meals that I can separate and freeze or put in the fridge for the week. It makes it easy to grab for my lunches and dinners. I have a container for my Luna bars on the counter and I even will take the small candy I might buy out of the package and put in snack size baggies. Prepping like this for the week makes all the difference for me. I have the portions all done so no grabbing extra or overindulging. The most I have to do every morning is throw my protein smoothie together and cut up a frozen banana or throw frozen berries in the small blender I have. It even has a sport bottle you blend it in to take with you.

My new trick when I eat out now is to ask for a to go box when my meal arrives. I immediately put half in there and eat only half of what I order. And I have a second meal to eat later! It feels so good to be back on track. My clothes are fitting better and I just put on a pair of pants I'd been avoiding because they were very tight. I'm confident that even with Thanksgiving upon us, I'm not putting on any weight this holiday season. Yes, there will be Turkey and stuffing, but I'm also making a healthy sweet potato dish and green beans... and of course a small piece of Pumpkin pie!

So if I can make this a daily lifestyle choice, so can you! It's pretty easy, especially if you take one day out of the week to do a little prep work.

Friday, November 22, 2013:Just finished a 2 hour run. I had to do it on the treadmill like I thought. Ran the first hour and let my machine cool down then I went back on ten minutes later and finished. Got my new shoes today and have to say that Texas Running Company rocks! Going back tomorrow for some photos before I have to work, so I will hopefully get to meet some of the other contest winners. It's been quite a day. I decided to finally get the tattoo on my ankle which I had been wanting for so long. It came out great but I left my car lights on and when I came out the car was dead. Luckily for me on this freezing cold day, there was a mini mart and they had jumper cables. The guy that did my tattoo gave me a jump (no extra charge, LOL!)

I must say these past few weeks have been quite an adventure. Been so busy, I haven't eaten much today so I am making sure to refuel after my run. I'm better at running in the mornings, but I had too much to take care of since I work tomorrow. The next few days will be a test for me. I really want to get out there and run, but I do not like this cold weather. I'm a little nervous that it will be like this come race day, and that means I need to get out and run in the cold. Getting out that door is one of the hardest things for me and if it wasn't for the treadmill I'd probably not do my runs. I guess I'd have to join a gym. Don’t know if any of the others got out there today, but if they did they have my utmost respect! Tomorrow morning is my easy run but I have to do it early.

Goodnight treadmill, I will see you in the morning.

Sunday, November 17, 2013: I’m sitting here relaxing, ready for a day off tomorrow. Just got through reading Kristy's latest blog entry and decided to write tonight. I hope she knows we are reading this and support her all the way. It takes courage to make the kind of changes she is making in her life. We can't grow if we don't take chances and make the right choices, one day at a time. I have done the same in my life. Running has been a great thing for me; something if someone asked me about six years ago, I would have laughed at. I took that first step. I got five blocks. I cried I can't do this. Then I got angry.... I had been so athletic when I was younger. It would not beat me. I could do this. I got out there almost every day, huffing and puffing and pushing myself a little farther every day. I ate better. I had bad days and I had good days. I kept track and soon the good days began to outnumber the bad. That's when I knew I could do this. All you need to do is start and take it day by day. Every new day gives you a new chance. You get up and you choose. You do whatever it takes to get out of that bed and get out there. I set my alarm where I had to get up to turn it off. I would either wear my workout clothes to bed or lay them out the night before. I got some inexpensive weights, a map and looked up all the info I could on the Internet. Training, diet, how to get faster, run longer. And it worked!!!

I moved to Austin 3 1/2 years ago to join my family who all moved out here. I gave up a career and a bit of myself. Running took a back seat and I found myself unhappy and a bit lost. I made myself sign up for a race and train. Then when I got home, I found the email for this race and knew I was back! This has been the greatest thing that has happened to me since I moved here. Mark's training plan has inspired me to push myself again and knowing he will call every week gives me the incentive to do well so I can tell him I did it. It's never too late to start but you have to do it, not just talk about doing it. Life is short, make the most of today!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013: I did my 20 mile run today in a new pair of shoes. Think I am on the right track as my leg issue didn't bother me like it has been. The weather, however, was not the most cooperative today. Back to heat and humidity which is bad enough, but the headwinds were about the worst I've run in. Took it easy and tried not to fight it. Just relaxed and even walked a bit when it was blowing in my face. Mark had me up the times I take my energy gels to a 1/2 hour from the normal 45 minutes and all went well till about mile 16 when my stomach was getting a bit upset. Ran another mile home and took some water with Nuun tablets which contain electrolytes and felt good enough to do the final miles on my treadmill. Now I'm relaxing with my feet up after post run stretching (which is VERY important) especially after long runs. I have my protein shake in hand. This is actually one of the things I enjoy the most about running.

There is something that feels so good about being physically and mentally exhausted. You feel no stress, just totally relaxed and calm. I have earned 2 rest days now though I will do my strength training on the 2nd day. I am excited to be free of the leg and knee issues and be able to concentrate on the last 2 weeks of training. We will be getting shoes from Texas Running Company soon and I have to say there's nothing I like better than a new pair of shoes!

Thursday, November 14, 2013: Ah the dreaded treadmill or dread-mill as some call it. I however, find it invaluable to my running. Not only does it make it more convenient at times depending on weather or how much time I have, it gives me no excuses not to run since it's always there in my house. I also find I can concentrate more on my running form when I can just set the speed and not worry about traffic or other distractions. Such was the case yesterday. I got on and was able to feel that my left leg, which has been giving me trouble, is not comfortable in my left shoe. I can feel that the arch is in the wrong spot. It's slightly too far back and on the inside of my foot. I believe this is what is causing my discomfort as my left leg struggles to compensate for my foot strike.

I’m going to a local running store on my way to work to see what they have to say considering the most important piece of equipment is my shoe. I have a long run coming up tomorrow and cannot do 20 miles in shoes that are causing my leg discomfort. Hoping maybe an insert will help as I really do like the shoes I'm in.

Aside from that, training is back on track. It's warming up again so I will be running outside as long as the weather lasts. Only using my treadmill for the speed drills because it works better for me and reduces the pounding that asphalt and pavement provide. I have some obstacles ahead as I try to fix this foot issue, but there is always a way around and I will get past this issue shortly. We have a month left before the big day and I'm so looking forward to the race. Hoping I will get to meet some of those reading this out there. I have met a lot of people where I work who are in town for the formula one races this weekend and every one of them gets excited when they hear I will be running a marathon on the course next month!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: So today is 11/12/13! I am sitting here awaiting the techs arrival to fix my treadmill-- yay! I've not had the best training week so far since. After my long run on Friday, I had a familiar ache in my left hip down to my knee. I think it is my IT band as I had a similar issue when I first started running. Though it's very hard for me I did not do my runs the past couple of days. I did however do my strength exercises and stretched my hip. I also used a foam roller and took some Aleve. It's feeling better today so after work I hope to get on the treadmill for an easy run to see how it is.

Spoke with my trainer Mark this morning who said I did the right thing. I am going to send him a video of me running so he can take a look at my form and make sure that it’s not what's causing this. Usually it is an overuse issue and my gut tells me that since I am used to doing at least half my workouts on a treadmill, having to run outside 100% of the time may be the cause. My treadmill has a great cushioning system that is easier on the body than the streets. It’s so hard not to run, but I know I caught it before it got very painful so I'm thankful for that. There are some pains you can run through; this is not one of them. When you start running, you need to build up mileage slowly.

Taking a few days off will not affect my progress, so instead I have kept up my other training. I can get a bit grumpy when I haven't run in a few days, just ask my family! No matter what, I am going to be at the starting line, ready to rock this race. It's a little over a month away and plenty of time to finish the training I've done. I plan on doing my longest run before the race this Saturday – 20 miles! Luckily I do not have to work that day and after running for 4 hours I'd probably fall over!

I'll report more on how I'm doing after my treadmill is up and running. The weather here is getting cold anyway so it's perfect timing to do a little indoor running.

Sunday, November 10, 2013: This has been a hectic couple of days at work, so not much time to write. I had a long run in beautiful weather on Friday, however, I did not do my easy run yesterday. I felt my hip and outer left knee aching and I know the pain. It is my IT band. I know not to push through this and since it is not bad, I took the day off so it would not have the chance to progress. This has been a pretty aggressive running plan for me and I may have upped things just a little too quickly.

I don't want to take the chance that it will get worse so backing off for the day, ice, mild pain medicine, and rest, then back to work. I know that I need to concentrate more on my hip flexors with some extra strength exercises. Later today, I will test out things with my run. It’s a beautiful cool cloudy day to get out there. Except for the speed runs, I'm enjoying the fact that my treadmill has been down for a while. Will be up and running Tuesday so I will alternate the treadmill with outside runs. Meanwhile, no excuses, get out there, put one foot in front of the other and make it happen!

Thursday, November 7, 2013: I’m beginning to love writing and documenting my running journey. It really has inspired me to get out there and get my training done so I can write and share my daily adventures.

It was much cooler for my easy run this morning. I did not need to bundle up but did dress a little warmer to keep my muscles warm for a short 30 minute run. The thermometer read 46 degrees but you warm up quickly when running so no need to overdress. It was a pleasant run but still the colder air makes it a little harder on breathing. I take my easy runs as tours, no timing to see how fast or slow. Just measure it by the easiness on my body. My body felt good on the run and I could have easily gone twice as far but today is a short run in preparation for my long 2 hour run tomorrow. Also, I got my strength training in and found that I am getting stronger and am added repetitions.

I set up an appointment for the treadmill tech to come out Tuesday morning. I'm so glad to be getting it fixed! I love reading the other Training Program participant blogs to get me inspired each day. I love to talk, can you tell? So this blog is a great thing for me. I may have to keep going with something like this even after the race is done.

Well my mood is set for the day and it's going to be a great one. Get out there, walk, run, bike, anything. Just get moving, you won't regret it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013: Today was a good and a bad day. The good news, I was able to get outside to do my run this morning between rain storms. The track was muddy so I did impromptu speed drills up and down my street. It was a little short on the distance but still got a good workout in so I'm happy with that. I have learned not to stress if things don't go perfectly according to your training plan. Just don't give up and at least get out there.

I bought some warmer weather running clothes and looks like I will get to try them out tomorrow morning. It’s going to get cold overnight. I’ve been in Austin for 3 1/2 years now after relocating from Southern California and I'm still not used to this crazy weather! Apparently I left my car headlights on this morning at work so I came out to a dead battery, yup that's the bad news. Lucky for me, I have auto on my insurance and called them to meet me at my car when I got off work.

One more bit of good news is that the parts should arrive for my treadmill tomorrow so I can call the tech to come and fix it. I find that doing the speed work on a treadmill may be less exciting, but it allows me to concentrate on hitting the right speeds for the right distance without having to think about it so much. I have definitely upped my core and strength training with the program that Mark gave me and I think it's beginning to show. I forgot how important that is in addition to putting in all the miles when you are going to do distance running. Strengthen your core and your muscles work better together as a whole to help you run better, faster and more efficiently.

Tomorrow will be an easy run day for me. I love these though…it’s tempting to speed up. I try to focus on my surroundings and make sure I'm breathing easy and staying relaxed. I love to look at the houses in the neighborhood and some of them have begun their holiday decorating already. Happy hump day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013: I had a nice easy run this morning with overcast skies but no rain. Looks like rain for tomorrow again for my speed drills, but as long as there's no lightening, I'm getting out there! I researched good hip strengthening exercises and think I found what I was looking for. Enjoying the rest of my day off work today and trying to sort out and throw away old running clothes.

Hoping to get in a little strength training later and then it's off to bed. Need my rest for my work out tomorrow...

Monday, November 4, 2013: Today was a rest day, but I did have to work. Great start to the day as I got a call from my niece who ran the NYC marathon Sunday. It was her first race and she did great even though she's battling ITB syndrome in her left leg. I am so proud of her and she invited me to an all-women half marathon in NY in May. Can't wait to run with her!

Skies are rainy again, but barring thunder and lightning I will be out there tomorrow for my easy run, after all I won't shrink and I actually enjoy running in the rain if the wind isn’t blowing too bad. I need to get a better water belt for my long runs as the 2 small bottles on my current belt are not enough to hydrate with. I have left a bottle of water and looped back to my house but it's more convenient to have it on me. I’ve learned that keeping hydrated is very important. I read that to determine if you are drinking enough weigh yourself before you work out and then after. If you aren't getting enough fluids, your weight will show it. I take GU with me too and use them every 5 miles to keep my energy up. I have tried other gels and chews but this seems to work best for me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013: Just finished my easy run. The weather is beautiful today and although I wasn't really in the mood for a run today after yesterday's 2 hour long run with hills, I knew I had to make myself get out that door. My legs were tired from the run. I am not used to including hills in a long run so it was a bit of a challenge, especially since there is really only one hill near me. I looped around the area in a few different directions and kept circling around to hit that hill. I also had to go to work and was on my feet for another 8 hours. When I tell you my body was screaming from the hips down by the end of the day, I mean it!

Got myself out the door this morning, walked a bit to warm up and then began to run slowly. My legs felt a bit heavy but warmed up after a bit and it turned out to be a nice run. I have been trying to turn down different streets to make it different and get to see more of my neighborhood. I do have to be careful though as I am what I like to call "directionally challenged" and am always getting lost if I don't know where I am. Austin is not helpful. I'm from Southern California where if you miss a turn you just take the next one to get back to where you need to be. Not here!

Saw a great saying today and thought I would share on this beautiful weekend. Hoping you all get out there and enjoy it! Remember whether you run or walk, you burn the same calories in a mile so get started and get out the door...

Friday, November 1, 2013: Happy November! I will be heading out the door in a little while for my 2 hour run. The weather has cleared and it is cooler which should make for a good run. I had a pretty good week so far in spite of being rained out for a day.

I can't wait to turn the clocks back this weekend! I don't enjoy running in the dark and can always use an extra hour of sleep. If you are reading this I hope you will get out there and run. You don't have to do a 2 hour run, but get out there! It all starts with getting out that door...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013:  Looks like Mother Nature didn't want me to run today. Wet track, thunder and lightning are not conducive to speed intervals and apparently I killed my treadmill doing a long run a few weeks back. Who knew I could kill a treadmill, LOL! So now I’m doing my strength training just to keep me moving and improving my core.

The rain is supposed to let up by the time I get out of work tomorrow so I’m hoping for a run then. I already did my abs and worked on my hips which tend to be on the weak side. I find planks are a really good exercise as well as clams for the hips. My home gym is growing as I recently bought a step, stability ball and a heavier weight ball. I also have a kettle-bell and resistance bands. Hoping to add incline benches to the mix but those are too expensive right now!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013: Today was a 30 minute easy run day for me. The only obstacles were that I worked today and had to take the grandkids to school, so what to do? I made it fun and walked my grandkids the half mile there as a warm up and then did my run.

I also decided to take my run coach with me... No not Mark, my other run coach...Bentley. He loves his dog stroller and loves to come along for the ride. It's a good way to make sure I don't run too fast and gives me a bit of a strength workout pushing him. He's too little to go very far but he loves to look around while I push him. I have a portable water bowl so he and I both stay hydrated. Nothing says you can't have fun on a training run!

Saturday, October 26, 2013: I have just completed my second day of training on the program that Mark set up for me. It was a 30 minute easy run. Funny, it doesn't matter how much I have run or how far, I always feel like I am starting back at square one when I start a training program. I am mentally ready for this challenge though my legs are feeling heavy right now since I ran a long distance last Sunday and have taken a few days off to recover. Never fails to bring a smile to my face when I have completed a run though.

Every run is one step closer to that goal and this was a challenging day for me. I had to go to my grandson's birthday party so I did not run early, which always is better for me. It is still fairly hot and very humid here in Austin so I knew I had to change into my running clothes the minute I got home or I would not get out the door. The clouds were nice but the minute the sun came out I felt drained. I tell myself to keep going and it seems like there is a breeze or cloud just in the nick of time. I have to say I do love the time to myself on these easy run days. I think about everything or nothing and it gives me a sense of peace and well-being as I look at the trees, the parks I pass, and the other people running or walking their dogs.

I think it is as much what running does for me emotionally as physically that makes me love it so much. I often think back to my first run – I made it 5 blocks before huffing and puffing – I have come a long way. Tomorrow I have speed work to do, 6 x 1 mile repeats. Don't know if I will be up to the challenging speed set for me, but that won't stop me! You have to walk before you can run and you have to run before you can sprint.

A reminder to those out there reading this, I did not begin to run until I was 46. If you don't run, start now! If you do run, don't stop! The rewards are wonderful. I am off now to have my favorite post run drink. Unsweetened almond milk, Vega vanilla protein powder blended with a frozen banana and frozen blueberries.

Sunday, October 27, 2013: I’m sitting at home enjoying my almond milk protein smoothie after my run today. Must say it was cooler and a bit drizzly out today which made for a much more pleasant run. The drawback was the wind which definitely slowed down my speed. Today’s workout called for 6 x 1 miles with a minute of rest plus a warm up and cool down. Miles were to be at about 8:00 minute pace. The first 2 miles I did 8:15 and 8:13, 3rd mile 8:29, 4th did 8:32, 5th and 6th mile were at about 9:00 min. I didn't hit the goal, but my legs are still not quite there from my race last Sunday. Did it get me down or upset me that I wasn't up to speed? No, because I still got my mileage in and pushed myself to what I could do without getting injured or not being able to finish.

I know the training plan Mark has given me is a pretty aggressive one, and it actually gives me something to push for even if I don't quite make it. The point is to get out there and run my best. I have had days where I go faster than expected or where the runs feel easy. Then there are the off days where I feel sluggish and can't seem to get in the groove. Yet still, when I'm done I feel a sense of accomplishment – I went out there even if I didn't feel like lacing up and going for a run. Sometimes the hardest part of it all is getting out the door. Personally, it helps to lay out my running clothes the night before so they are there in front of me. I concentrate on that one day; I don't look at the next run. It reminds me of a saying I see all the time, “I regret that run, said no one ever!"

Tomorrow is a day of rest for me although I will probably do some strength training. I will also get my phone call from Mark and go over this week’s training schedule.

To all those out there, don't overthink it, just get out there and run!

Sunday, October 27, 2013: Today is my rest day. I spoke with Mark on the phone this morning and my training is going well. My legs feel good. It’s hard to take a rest day when you feel good so I will be doing some strength training today to get my core in shape. In the meantime, here is my Monday inspiration...

Kristy Witek, Sprint Duathlon

Hi! My name is Kristy Witek. I am 36 years old and training for the HITS Austin, TX Sprint Dualthon (2.25 mile run; 14 mile bike; 2.25 mile run). I signed up for the contest because I have found when I am committed to a race, I am much more successful and will train much harder than if I am not in a race. Throughout my life I have struggled to remain at a healthy weight. That is why I started doing triathlons, bike races, and 5ks in the first place. I am now investing in myself and am convinced that if I continue to do races I will be much more successful at losing weight and being healthy.

I am most looking forward to setting a goal and accomplishing it. My goal is to push myself further than I ever have before in a race. I want to push past those mental barriers and rather than "just finish" I want to set a personal record.

I am very excited about this challenge. Just a few years ago, I never thought I could accomplish anything. I would always give up before I started, but then I entered the Chicago Triathlon (Olympic distance) with my twin sister and my brother. We all finished. That caused a stirring inside of me and changed my attitude from that day forward. I finally began to believe I could do anything.

Here are some other fun facts about me:

I am from Wisconsin but have lived in Texas for 15 years. I am a Green Bay Packer Fan. I am a youth director at my church. I have two black schnauzers - Chip and Charleigh Anne. I love to laugh.

Saturday, December 14, 2013:

“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it.” ~ Doug Bradbury

Wow!  How true that is, and what an AMAZING journey it has been to be a part of HITS Austin at the Circuit of the Americas.  After 8-weeks of the most intense training I have ever received, I was “off to the races”…literally.  I strapped my “trek lexa” to the back of my car and began my trek to Austin. Finally, my morning began with carbs!  I didn’t want to take the time to make breakfast so I stopped by “Happy Donuts” for some sausage and cheese kolaches, and was a super “happy girl.”  Since I needed to carb up before the race anyway, I didn’t feel guilty.  The road trip to Austin went well, though about half-way there, the rains came.  I arrived at Texas Running Company for packet pickup and had the pleasure of meeting Beth Leibo (from TRC) who was instrumental in gifting me with my sweet Brooks running shoes. Upon completion, I decided to stop by a local Food Truck (since Austin is known for its food trucks) and carbed up AGAIN.  This time I had an awesome entrée Puccia and dessert Puccia.  Who knew that you could go in to a carb coma? I was in a world of hurt. My body hasn’t been used to so many carbs, and I quickly had thoughts of only eating vegetables from now on. LOL!  Next, I reached my destination for the night, curled up on the comfy mattress, rested my body and mind, and set off for a solid night’s sleep.  The next morning, I had intended to be an “early bird” to see my new friend, Caryl (one of the other HITS Austin winners) start her half marathon, but at the last minute I chose to sleep in.  I had one of the most glorious night’s sleeps I have ever had, which was very much needed, as it was a 9-hour day in the “frozen tundra” of the Circuit of the Americas, followed by a 5-hour road-trip back to southeast Texas.

When I arrived at COTA, I immediately ran in to Cortney (another HITS Austin winner) who then introduced me from “afar” to Coach Mark.  Coach Mark was instructing the marathon and half-marathon runners which direction to run, so I was unable to visit with him at that time.  Honestly, I just wanted to hug the man, because 1) I am a hugger and 2) he has been an incredible coach, cheerleader and supporter to me throughout this 8-week journey to COTA.  Shortly after my arrival, I had the pleasure of cheering on Caryl (HITS Austin winner) as she finished her half-marathon!  It was so exciting to meet these amazing women who have supported and encouraged me throughout this “ride,” as well.  Soon after Caryl’s finish I was able to finally hug Coach Mark and meet the man who had advised me weekly and prepared me for this race. Words cannot describe my excitement!  The sheer magnitude of the fabulous facility called the Circuit of the Americas was overwhelming enough, and here I was going to run and bike a track where hundreds upon thousands of race cars have raced in front of thousands of spectators. It was now my turn.  My time between the morning sessions and my race was filled with visits to different venders, conversations with other runners and constant hydration, fueling with food and visits to the restroom, to ensure that I didn’t have to make a potty stop during my race.  Mission accomplished!  Coach Mark called for all “sprint duathlon” racers to get to the starting line!  I was so pumped about this race.  Oh, a side note, there were a lot of native Texans, of which I am not, turning blue due to the “frozen tundra-esque” weather. Many were wearing only a t-shirt and running shorts.  I, however, had on two pair of socks, three pair of pants, three sweatshirts, a new HITS beanie to keep my head warm and my hood was on.  While I came fully prepared in both body and mind, I wasn’t expecting the results that came with this race.  The 2.25 mile run began with a steep uphill climb, which most of us walked, but once I hit the down-hill curve I had an amazing run!!  I set a goal of finishing each leg of the run in 26 minutes, averaging 11.55 per mile.  I would never have imagined that I would enter transition at 22:41 which is an average pace of 10:36 per mile!!!! There were hills on this course, people!  You know, like, “climb every mountain” kind of hills. I couldn’t believe it. Much thanks needs to go out to my running buddy, “B,” who was directly responsible for the success of my runs today. That being said, the “mountain climbing” continued on the bike.  Due to the quick pace of my run, I was sweating like a hog and shed some clothing during transition.  It took me a few minutes to get ready in transition, but I got on my bike and began to ride. There were twists and turns and ups and downs.  One hill in particular is going to be tattooed into my memory forever! Do you remember in one of my earlier blogs when I was discussing my inexperience with my bike shoes clipped in?  My worst nightmare was about to come true.  So, here I am cruising literally down an awesome “cliff” when I realize I am going 31mph!  “Thirty-one miles per hour,” I proudly puff myself up?!?!  “I’m a rock star!  Whooooooooooooo!” The smile on my face was so big that rays of sunshine must have begun coming out from behind the gloomy clouds!  That was until I abruptly, realized I had to change gears to accommodate the climbing of the next “mountain.” May I remind you, I have never had to switch gears while going 31 miles per hour on a downhill slope, which quickly became an uphill climb up a “mountain,” because we don’t have “mountains” in these here parts. So, I found myself in panic mode and while my speed began to suddenly slow, my brain suddenly shouts “mayday, mayday,” but my feet don’t listen.  They can’t get out of the clips fast enough and the next thing I saw was two tires in the bright blue sky and my “pants on the ground.”  It was one of those moments that, in my sick sense of humor, should have been on video, because surely I would have made the highlight reel for the “play of the day” in all of sports television.  Fortunately, I didn’t even loose a tear, I picked myself up by my “boots,” which were literally still strapped to my bike pedals, and walked up that darn hill.  I got myself together and finished the first half of the bike race.  The fortunate or unfortunate part (depending on how you look at it) was that I had to ride that same hill yet another time, because to complete the 14-mile bike, they had us riding the same leg twice. Lucky me!  In true “warrior princess” fashion, I mastered that hill the second time and finished the bike in 1 hour and 17 minutes.  My goal was to complete it in one hour, but I hadn’t expected there to be so many hills and neither did I know I would have a self-fulfilling prophecy of my humpty dumpty moment (see one of my previous blogs).  As soon as the bike was finished I was super psyched to run again.  I mean, I was the gal in cross country that people yelled at, shouting “unhook the plow.” It is absolutely unfathomable that I would be stoked to run, yet, I am now a runner! I am actually not sure what my run time was on the final sprint, but I felt fabulous, and when I got to the downhill finish, there was nothing stopping me!  I finished harder than I ever have!  I crossed the finish line with a time of 02:12:50.313, which includes two transition times.  If I do a little “guess” work in my head, I am going to estimate I was in transition about 5-minutes each time, which leaves me with a final run time of 22.59, which is beyond belief! Running this race was life-changing.  On my ride home I talked to my running buddy “b” and we are already anticipating our next run.  My legs need to rest for a few days, as well as my bum, which I expect will have a bruise the size of Texas, due to the unexpected fall, but I did it and I am excited about what will come next.

If you have been following me on this blog and would like to continue to follow my journey, please go to my personal blog at warriorprincess4him.wordpress.com - I would love to hear from you too.  Go to my blog address and send me a note.  I would love to be an encourager on your journey as well.  A huge Texas-sized thank you to HITS Austin, for choosing me to be a part of this race, to Coach Mark for your invaluable training and guidance, Caryl and Cortney for your unending encouragement, to Beth Leibo and Sam from Texas Running Company for hooking me up with new shoes and a Texas Running Company t-shirt, to “B” for being my running buddy, to my friends and family for your support, and above all to my Heavenly Father for protecting me from my fall today, which could have been really, really bad, and finally to my amazing God who softened my heart enough to help me grasp that I am worth fighting for! Thank you!

Psalm 18: 32-36 “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013: It has been a bad eating day once again.  The stress of the Advent season at work and the strain of being sick have caused me to eat terribly.  Honestly, I didn’t make time to prepare healthy food this week.  One of the biggest discoveries I have made over these past few months is that I am most tempted to eat “bad” food when 1) I am super busy and don’t have time to prepare food  2) It is cold, rainy, and dreary. As of now, I don’t have any healthy (no-carb) “go to” recipes that will warm me up on a cold winter day.  Up until now, I have been eating lots of vegetables and salads, which are great, however, on these nasty cold days, which have been incredibly frequent, the only food I fancy is warm crusty bread and soup or chili, or spaghetti, all of which have carbs. I need to expand my recipe book to include “warm” foods that are no-carb or low-carb. I hate that I have had a relapse this week, of all weeks.  I did, fortunately, get up this morning and go to the gym for a run.  The weather was too cold for me to go outside, so I ran/walked for a half hour on the treadmill, completing 2.41 miles.  And, as instructed by Coach Mark, I worked up a sweat.  It’s kind of funny that since I have been so accustomed to one hour workouts that disappointment actually struck when I was forced to end my run after only a half hour.  I will most definitely continue the hour long workouts after the race.  The routine was perfect for me.  Now, if the weather would just improve so I can train outside and get back to eating healthy.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013: Instead of working out, I am sitting on the couch praying that I am not getting even sicker than I already am. I have continued to take antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection; nevertheless I have felt like “doo doo” all day. I even went home from work this afternoon to take a two hour nap, but to no avail. Sadly, one of the other competition winners is also sick. The weather has been so incredibly nasty these last few weeks and it has taken its toll on all of us. Hopefully race day will find us feeling 100% and ready to go! However, these last few days have been so discouraging, which has in turn, led me back to my comfort – CARBS. I slipped up a few days ago, but today I really overdid it. This then leads to more shame which could spiral out of control if I am not careful. I definitely don’t need a relapse of old unhealthy habits (overeating and refraining from exercise,) but being quarantined to the couch tonight is conjuring up some of those old urges and has me a bit worried. Coach Mark instructed me to take it easy tonight and rest, and in regards to training this week, to only complete half of what I normally do. Coach Mark said, “just get sweaty, and then stop.” Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, but the “Warrior Princess” in me wants to push further because race day is already this Saturday. I’m going to be quite transparent. I NEVER want anyone to think that I am lazy, or that I am not giving 100%. It is one of my prime struggles in adulthood and probably the biggest insult one could ever dish out. I have issues with people who just sit around “hoping” for something to happen, but will NEVER do anything about it. Admittedly, those issues curtail from my own personal battles. I WAS that person for the greater part of my life. “I’m fat.” “I’m always working and never have any fun.” “I never get straight A’s.” “I don’t have a life.” “I shouldn’t be sitting the bench.” Complain, whine, grumble, but I never did a thing about it. I never got results because ONE: I didn’t believe I was worth fighting for, and TWO: I never gave 100%. The fear of “what if I did succeed” was almost more than I could bear, so I would give up right before the finish line every time, and have a big ole pity party. At least I would have some kind of a “party,” I sub-consciously noted, because I unquestionably had zero confidence that I would ever have a victory celebration. Heartbreaking, I know, except it is the truth. I wonder how many others out there can feel my pain. Fortunately, two years ago I discovered – the real me – “The Warrior Princess” who revealed herself during a life-changing experience called Transformation Challenge Physical Training (TCPT). This “warrior princess” came out of nowhere, and revealed that I was worth fighting for! Ever since that experience, I continue to go above and beyond in hopes of inspiring others who might be afraid of crossing that finish line. That’s why I did this race. I have dreams that I have yet to achieve, and until I decide that I am worth fighting for, they will never happen. I must have more experiences in life where I proudly cross the finish line. Considering I have more often than not given up precisely BEFORE the celebratory end of every race, I have a long way to go. Why don’t you sign up for HITS Austin, and plan to cross the finish line with me? Imagine the possibilities if you finally decided you were worth it!

Sunday, December 8, 2013: I was heartbroken that I had to abstain from running with “B” this morning for our regular Sunday morning run, but with the near freezing temperatures, I wasn’t willing to risk getting sick. I slept in and ran this afternoon, and I was really thankful that I was able to sleep in, as I fell asleep on the couch last night before 9pm. This is a sure-fire sign that I needed to rest. It was a busy morning at work, today, but in the afternoon I made time to go to the gym. Decked out with my Ipod and headphones, I jammed out to some tunes while run/walking for an hour. I again emphasize the importance of a running buddy because I didn’t run as far as I usually do with “B.” With that said, I still completed 4.30 miles in an hour, which is better than nothing. In regards to my nutrition, I went to lunch today with friends and ate chips and hot sauce, but not like I used to eat and instead of the whole Mexican feast with beans, rice and tortillas, I chose to have a taco salad and didn’t eat the taco shell. I was very proud of myself! For dinner I was scheduled to attend a special Christmas party at a Mexican Restaurant, my favorite! Since I had already splurged on chips and hot sauce at lunch, I knew I couldn’t have a repeat offense, so I ate dinner before the party. Consequently I wasn’t tempted to eat all my favorite “Mexican” favorites. I didn’t eat anything at the restaurant, however I did have margarita. I wasn’t supposed to have any alcohol on my “no carb” diet, but since, I haven’t had any alcohol in over 6 months, I felt it was ok. I am proud of myself for the choices I have made over these past weeks. Yes, I have “flubbed up” and had some carbs. It’s going to happen, but I am not consuming the calories that I once was and I am eating more nutritious food and less of it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013: Sadly, today, I didn’t have even a “little bit” of “want to” in me to workout. Excuse #1 - I am still recovering from an upper respiratory infection. Excuse #2 – I have had a very busy week and I am super tired. Excuse #3 – The weather is not cooperating and I am unable to complete my brick outside at the track. With all that said, I still dressed myself (always a good thing when in public), drove down to the gym and just did it. The only thing moving me at that point was the fact that in less than an hour I would be done with my workout, and could finally go home and rest. I completed my first mile in 9 minutes and 7 seconds. Yippee, one-third of the way done! I followed that by jumping off the treadmill, getting a drink, and finding the nearest stationary bike to call my home for about twenty minutes. Then, it was back to the treadmill, and 9 minutes and 45 seconds I was DONE, both physically and mentally. This chickadee needed to rest her brain and her body. Thankfully, I did what I needed to do today, but I had to, because yesterday I neglected to exercise altogether. It was a super busy day running, here, there and everywhere for work, and by the time I had exhausted my “to do” list I become conscious of that fact that I didn’t have enough time to ride my bike for the allotted hour. I was expecting friends for a rare Christmas party in my home and I simply didn’t “get r done.” Fortunately, I didn’t let that sour my day. I deservedly, made Friday my “splurge day!” That evening I ate some delectable carbohydrates, since no party is complete without my family’s infamous cheese ball and crackers. I capped off the night with a mouth-watering S’more and wonderful conversation. I didn’t overindulge, and it still tasted heavenly! Miraculously, I lost another 1 ½ pounds this week. When making good choices one can splurge on occasion and still lose weight. It is all about balance.

Thursday, December 5, 2013: Some things never cease to amaze me. Changing one’s lifestyle is extremely difficult, however, it is so rewarding. This morning I got up at 5:30am to run with my friend “B,” this after a 14 hour day yesterday. I was exhausted and I could have easily slept in as I normally do on a Thursday but instead we finished a 5.06 mile run at a 12:09 minute mile pace. Amazing! Running five miles at that pace is astounding to me. I almost can’t fathom it. I started off running just a mile at that pace and today I maintained that speed for 5 miles!!!  I am sincerely grateful and indebted to my running buddy, “B,” HITS AUSTIN and to Coach Mark H. Wilson and all of the team at HITS for gifting me with this amazing life-changing opportunity! I couldn't have done it without any of you, and I am finally starting to believe that I will never be the same!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013: Wow, today was a very, very long day – a good day, but a long one.  I woke up at 6:30am this morning to ride my bike. I had to, because there was no other option and yesterday didn’t go as planned. The sun still hadn’t come out fully yet and it was super foggy.  Even my glasses fogged up numerous times on the ride. I waited until 6:45am and then went on my bike ride.  I had so much to do today that I could only ride for 50 minutes, but as Coach Mark said, “If you can’t get your whole workout in, just do something. Remain active.”  I completed 10 miles in 50 minutes with a maximum speed of 15.9 mph and an average of 11.8. I was certainly active – back and forth and here and there and everywhere for work.  Today was the start of special Advent activities at our church and that meant two more worship services and a few schedule changes. On top of that, before I even got to work today, I had to go to the doctor because I am still not well and it has been over a week of feeling “cruddy.”  I visited my family doctor, was diagnosed with “upper respiratory,” got a shot, antibiotics and then went straight to work.  I haven’t even had time today to go and get the antibiotics. I was only able to drop off the prescription  I was non-stop until 9pm this evening, when I finally left the office.  That makes for a 14 hour day – wowzers!  Certainly there are many of you out there that can feel my pain.  On extended days like today, you just have to do it. Not everything went as planned and I didn’t get my whole workout in, but at least I did something!  It is 10pm, I am completely exhausted and I have scheduled to run at 5:30am with my friend “B.”  I hope I sleep well because right now, I have ZERO desire to get up before dawn on my day off, but mornings are the only time during the week that “B” and I can find the time to run together and as I have mentioned before, having a buddy is my saving grace and holds me accountable. “A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do” to stay healthy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013: Today I took the day off from work to drive to the Texas Running Company in Sugarland to be fitted for the new running shoes that I was awarded as part of winning the HITS Austin Training Program contest.  I was supposed to have gone to the Texas Running Company in Austin, however, I live over five hours away from there, so the next best option was to be fitted at a store a little closer, hence the reason for my trip to Sugarland. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get professionally fitted for shoes, and had the blessing of being accompanied by one of my best friends.  Up until now, I had chosen my shoes by which was the most attractive. Clearly, my experience today has proven that was not the appropriate way to choose running shoes, especially if you are a runner, which I can now proudly say, “I am.” Sam, the manager of the Texas Running Company store in Sugarland, was amazing to work with and hooked me up with some awesome shoes. The process, however, was simply fascinating!!  The first thing Sam did, was measure my feet to be sure I was wearing the correct size shoes. Then he had me put on a “neutral” pair of shoes and run on the treadmill for a few minutes.  This was no regular treadmill.  This had video cameras to record how I was running.  Upon completing the short run, he showed me photos of different people running, including the photos of myself that were just taken.  By observing the way my feet strike as I run, Sam was able to determine the best running shoe for me. I was astounded by the science involved in selecting running shoes, and I was equally impressed by Sam’s knowledge.  While many others in the store chose their shoes quickly, I took my sweet time.  As I usually do when shopping. This was a giant decision and I wanted to formulate the right one. I tried on three unique shoes and ran in each pair.  (Trivia Question: Do you know how much I sweat when I run? I wrote about this earlier in one of my blogs. I sweat more than the average man.  And I did this today in a public venue with business men and women all around.  Yeah, it was a sight to see.) After this, I tried on two different shoes (ex: Asics on right foot and Brooks on left foot) and ran so I could truly compare them.  Of course being me, I had to do this numerous times, JUST to be sure.  Two hours later, I left the store with a fabulous green Texas Running Company t-shirt, an extraordinary pair of running shoes and gratitude in my heart!  Thank you Texas Running Company, I will be returning to your store again, and encourage y’all to check one out too.

My workout objective for the day was to do a 1 hour bike, but sadly, that didn’t happen.  The sun does not rise until about 7am and it sets at about 5:30pm and I had to leave before 7:30am to get to Sugarland on time. By the time I returned home it was dusk and I didn’t have enough time to go to the gym and still get to my meeting. However, Coach Mark gave me some great wisdom.  He said, “If you can’t get your whole workout in, just do something. Remain active.”  So I did exactly that.  At the store this morning I probably ran about a mile or so and it was awesome! Then before my meeting at work, I walked ¾ of a mile, and after the meeting I went to the track and completed one more mile.  In all, I walked/ran about 2 ¾ miles! No, it was not what I had planned, but at least it was “something.”

I am realizing more and more if my schedule is adjusted or I am unable fit in what I had planned that day, doing “something, rather than nothing,” is best!  Tomorrow was theoretically my off day, but due to the fact that I wasn’t able to get in a solid workout in today, I am planning on riding in the morning.  Thursday will be my run day with my friend “B”, and something tells me that getting myself up on Thursday morning will be a little bit easier than it has been, since I get to test out my new awe-inspiring shoes.  Friday will be a one hour bike day, again, Saturday will be my brick day, and Sunday will be yet another run day.  I am energized about the week ahead, but it is going to be an extremely busy one.  We are talking 12+ hour days not including workouts because this is one of the very busiest times of the year for me and my staff. Certainly my test will be handling any unforeseen changes and actually fitting in all of my workouts. This, I am sure, is something that each of you faces every day.  We are in this together!

Sunday, December 1, 2013: So today, I had about the same longing to get up and run as I usually do – NONE!  I am NOT a morning person, but by the time I reach the end of my run, I am so pleased that I did.  I know with certainty that I would have turned off my alarm this morning and rolled over to catch another hour of sleep, if I didn’t have my friend “B” holding me accountable.  It is rough getting up, but I enjoy chatting with her while we run.  It’s kind of a labored breathing conversation intermittent with a couple words shoved in between breaths, but at least it is a conversation!! “B” makes me run harder and we have so much more fun. Today the end of our 53 minute run was greeted by a breathtakingly beautiful sunrise, (You can see the photo here) and it inspired me so much that I continued to walk by myself for another 20 minutes, which allowed me to complete a total of 5.22 miles.  It wasn’t a breeze by any means, but I still did it!

Saturday, November 30, 2013: Wow, it is almost the end of week 6.  This past week was also a bumpy one, in that the weather forced me to do most of my workouts inside the gym, however, yesterday and today, the sun was out, my spirits were up and I was able to be outdoors.  I went in to the brick today uncertain.  I weighed myself today and I gained 3 pounds.  Sad, I know, but I believe it is imperative for me to be completely transparent with you.  So there it is – I GAINED THREE POUNDS!  And that is going to happen in life. Our body weight will fluctuate and celebrating with food will cause weight gain. My problem in that past was that a weight gain usually involved sabotage (aka: food binging).  “Oh what the H..E…double hockey sticks. I’ll just make a cake and eat it too!” But, instead, I’m back on the no carb diet and back in the saddle…literally.  I rode my bike to the track and FINALLY felt good on my bike.  I wore two pairs of socks, so I am almost 100% certain that my seat is in the correct position now, and my arch pain was due to my shoes not fitting correctly. I will continue to wear two pairs of socks, and may also look in to an arch insert for my bike shoes.  Problem solved. Upon arriving at the track, I could tell I was in a positive place mentally and started running. As I ran each lap my mantra was, “sayonara, three pounds! You’re goin’ DOWN!” By the time I finished my fourth lap, I couldn’t contain myself.  What was my pace?  “You know you make me wanna (Shout!) Kick my heels up and (Shout!) Throw my hands up and (Shout!) Throw my head back and (Shout!) Come on now (Shout!)!” I ran an 8 minute and 53 second mile!!  Astonishing!  It took me a few minutes to slow down my breathing, but I transitioned, got on my bike, and completed 4.21 miles in 21 minutes.  As I ran my last mile, I just kept praying for less than nine minutes, but I was having some discomfort and difficulty breathing, however, when I finally crossed the threshold, I had finished my second mile in 8:58!  This was the first time I completed both mile times in under nine minutes!!!  Another reason to SHOUT!  “Kick my heels up and (Shout!) Throw my hands up and (Shout!) Throw my head back and (Shout!) Come on now (Shout!)!”

Friday, November 29, 2013: I made it to Thanksgiving Day!  I was finally able to eat carbs and allowed myself to savor the creamy potatoes and gravy, savory stuffing, apple pie and chips and dips, none of which have I consumed in three weeks.  The entire feast, which also included turkey and gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, was scrumptious!  I more than ever commemorate this day because I didn’t GORGE myself (nor did I want to), as I would have in the past. As soon as I started to feel like a stuffed turkey, I stopped eating.  Previously, I would have had two overflowing plates of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and rolls, not to mention countless appetizers before the meal even began, and still made room for 2-3 pieces of pie. Conversely, I had one plate, with a few extra potatoes and turkey and only one slice of apple pie and felt completely satisfied!  I still ate too much, but it was my reward!  We need to have reward days and now I understand why.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete the Turkey Trot as planned , which also meant I didn’t complete the “super brick” I was supposed to run that day (ie: 3.1 mile bike, Turkey Trot Run (3.1 mile), 3.1 mile bike).  To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but sometimes you have to make tough calls for your health, and as difficult as it was, I believe I made the best choice. I felt much better today.  I got on my bike completed 12.7 miles in 1 hour and 1 min and 34 seconds.  My average pace was 12.4 and maximum was 17.4.  I STILL have to make adjustments to my seat and handle bars due to the new shoes. Clearly I am a novice at this, since I still haven’t gotten it right. I am going to go and ask someone in the know to physically watch me ride my bike so I can figure out what is wrong. With that said, I still felt pretty good about the ride.  It was much warmer this afternoon, thank God!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013: Well, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I am a bit anxious.  Okay, so that’s a lie.  I am A LOT anxious about tomorrow.  First, I am not feeling 100%.  I have been coughing and sneezing and my left ear was hurting today and I also have a low grade fever.  All afternoon I kept trying to think “happy thoughts” but my head has been heavy and at about 5pm, I could have taken medicine and went straight to bed.  On top of that, my right knee is bothering me and I am icing it down.  My uneasiness is because I believe it is in my best interest NOT to participate in the turkey trot tomorrow.  It is going to be in the 20’s in the morning and the fact that I am sick leads me to believe that I will only get sicker and possibly injure my knee if I run that race in the freezing cold.  I was supposed to do a brick tomorrow - bike the 5k course, run the 5k course and then bike the 5k course again.  It was going to be a big day, and I was really looking forward to it.  That is why feeling sick is so difficult for me today. Originally I was hoping I could just do the 5k, but it is not wise. The reality that I am not going to exercise (aka: burn calories) before the Thanksgiving feeding frenzy begins is causing me great angst. I knew this day would come. The concerns that people have shared with me are swirling in my head, “you need to be careful once you start eating carbs again. You will gain it all back,” or “if you don’t exercise then you shouldn’t eat carbs.”  Here’s the reality, folks.  I never intended to stop eating carbs forever, but I certainly didn’t think that reintroducing carbs back into my diet would be so stressful. I must remember that Thanksgiving dinner is supposed to be my reward.  I have eaten almost zero carbs in three weeks, and even though I am not going to complete the scheduled brick or even the 5k in the morning, I still deserve to celebrate Thanksgiving!  But that being said, the “numbers on the scale” keep flashing in my head again and the anticipation of a weight gain is causing a great deal of fear. Don’t we women fret about this too much? I must stay the course and just do the best I can.  I plan to ride my bike for an hour on Friday, complete the brick on Saturday and the one hour run/walk on Sunday.  All will be good.  Deep breath!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013: Today was a one hour bike day, but once again, due to the continuous rain and near freezing temperatures, I was unable to ride outdoors.  Instead, I attended a spin class at the gym. Unfortunately, I was about 20 minutes late to class, but rather than have a complete meltdown and forgo the class altogether, I put my bike shoes on, strapped ‘em in and started pedaling.  I extended my time on the bike for 20 more minutes to complete the full hour bike, and fortunately I did.  The instructor stayed with me and helped me uncover why the arches of my feet might be bothering me with my new bike shoes. First, she demonstrated how to pedal properly, and by golly, I sense that might have been a giant part of the problem.  Coach Mark projected the same thing.  Pedaling incorrectly can strain certain muscles that are not meant to be flexed.  With the assistance of Coach Mark and the instructor at the gym, I believe I am on the path to resolution.  I look forward to proceeding outdoors again so I can come to a conclusion, however, the weather forecast doesn’t look promising.  Coach Mark’s goals for me this week are to continue the “no carb” diet (except for Thanksgiving Day, which is my reward day), bike one hour on Tuesday, off on Wednesday, do a brick on Thursday – 3 mile bike, 3 mile run, 3 mile bike, rest on Friday, complete my usual brick on Saturday – 1 mile run, 20 minute bike, and 1 mile run, and then a one hour run/walk on Sunday.  It will be a full weekend of workouts, but my reward is “feasting upon” Thanksgiving dinner. I can eat carbs on Thanksgiving, people, and if I am frank, I am uneasy about introducing carbs back into my diet. I will do my best to eat healthy.  That being said, I am not craving potatoes as in the past, however for weeks I have been dreaming about delicious crusty homemade bread and pie, pie and more pie!  Did I ever tell you - I LOVE PIE?!  I do, and I am longing for a piece or two.  My objective is to refrain from eating the whole darn thing at once.

Sunday, November 24, 2013: I weighed myself this morning and have another victory to celebrate!  The day after I completed the 2013 Chicago Triathlon I weighed in at 193 pounds.  I was horrified.  That was the most I ever remember weighing in my life (though I didn’t weigh myself in high school or college).  The number on the scale scared me enough to sign up for a chance to win a free registration to the HITS Austin Duathlon.  It was the day I started logging my nutrition intake on the “My Fitness Pal” app on my phone.  And it was also the day that I thought would be the same as all the others.  In the past, I have set goals. I would write a goal weight down on a big board in my bathroom and even had it flashing on my cellphone. But nothing ever made me change my habits. I would continue to do the same thing, hoping for different results.  Miraculously, nothing changed. I was consuming loads more calories than I thought, and wasn’t exercising regularly. But today, I celebrate, and have this awesome graph of my progress to show for it!  You can now see that I weigh 180 pounds.  I have lost 13 pounds in 13 weeks, with the most weight coming off while on the “no carb” diet and exercise routine.  Fabulous!

So, back to today.  It was my long “run/walk” day, and my only option was to go to the gym. Today I ran 4 miles during my hour long run/walk.  I really missed running with “B.” She clearly pushes me, as every time we have run together we have run approximately 5 miles in that hour. But, rather than be a “Negative Nelly," I’m going to celebrate – and not with food (wink, wink)!

"Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”― Narcotics Anonymous

Saturday, November 23, 2013: Today was brick day and it was cold and rainy, so I was unable to go outside and run at the track, where I have regularly been running my brick.  Instead, I went to the gym and was quickly reminded that I detest changing my routine.  I really didn’t think I was so OCD about my schedule, but clearly I am.  I like the comfort of it and I don’t like to run on a treadmill.  I also discovered that I clearly don’t run at a steady pace. I was moving the speed up and down and certainly felt I was running faster than I was. The treadmill saw things differently.  I definitely prefer to run at the track for the brick because I know exactly where I am going and can check my split time at each ¼ mile. Unfortunately, my times were slower today. Both end caps were only about 9 minutes and 20 second miles.  I should have brought my stop watch that I had been using, but I forgot it, because I was out of my routine. This was super frustrating.  That being said, between the end caps, I traveled to the cycling room, threw on my bike shoes and rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes.  My arches weren’t bothered this time, so that makes me think that I still need to make adjustments on my personal bike.  I will work on that this week. The bike computer said I biked 8 miles in 20 minutes.  Having ridden my bike for hundreds of miles while training, I easily recognize how far I have biked.  Consistently, I have been completing only 4 miles in those 20 minutes….not 8. Oh well.  At least I can say I completed my brick. I will celebrate and call it a day!  Oh yes, I had to call off tomorrows morning run with my friend “B.” I so look forward to our runs, however it will be 45 degrees with a wind chill temp of 39 degrees with 16 mph winds. Though I am a Wisconsin girl, the temperature is too frigid for this chickadee and I can’t afford to get sick. I will resort to running on the treadmill when I can tomorrow. Confirmed…I am NOT a cold weather kind of gal, which has me bemoaning the fact that in December in Austin, it might just be cold.  I really never thought about that until today.  Yikes!

Friday, November 22, 2013: Well, today was supposed to be a one hour bike day, however, a cold front came through at just the “wrong” time and I wasn’t able to get out on my bike due to the rain. Instead, I decided to go to the gym and walk for an hour.  I wasn’t really up to running, however, I did walk briskly for an hour.  This week has again challenged me to not eat carbs, while under pressure.  Yesterday my car overheated and I had to take it in to get repaired.  Today I had to forfeit $800 to drive away with my newly fixed car. This is unfortunate and particularly taxing, because just a year and five months ago, my previous car engine blew up and I had to shell out thousands of dollars to get a new engine put in, after which I still had major issues with it. I became exasperated and sold the stupid thing, choosing to buy a “new to me car.” Fast forward to yesterday and today, and you can see the incredible tension I was experiencing, and frankly, in the past I would have threw everything to the wind and binged on thousands of calories of food as a resolve. Conversely, I believe something is stirring in my soul. Today, rather than overindulging, I got a ride to work, cleaned my office from top to bottom (cabinets, closets, shelves…everything) and by the time I was through, my car was ready to be picked up.  From the auto mechanic, I went directly to the gym. I should have been famished after my workout, but I wasn’t. I prepared a salad, ate several grapes and a piece of string cheese.  WIN!  I am not joking people. I sincerely don’t know who I am anymore or shall I say, who I am becoming.  The only thing I can conclude is that this “no carb” diet has shocked me to the core, and allowed me to discover that food is fuel and not my “comforter.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Thursday, November 21, 2013: Today was bike day.  I was pretty wiped out from the week and didn’t have an exact plan on when I was going to ride my bike, however, as fate would have it, my car overheated this afternoon and I had to take care of getting that at the shop.  With that said, I still managed to get in my 1 hour bike.  I am still having some issues with the new shoes/pedals on my bike.  My arches are really hurting during my ride, and the pain is moving up in to my knees. I’ve read some things online and it says that it might be due to poor arch support in the shoes.  I will talk to Coach Mark about it tomorrow, and hopefully I can get it resolved.  Otherwise, I might just have to resort to using my regular shoes until I can get it figured out. I certainly don’t want to get injured.  I was able to ride 13.10 miles in 1 hour and 2 minutes.  I averaged 12.6 mph and maxed out at 17.4. On another positive note, I managed to go out to eat to a Mexican restaurant and I DID NOT EAT CHIPS AND HOT SAUCE! This is a major miracle, especially considering the stress I am under, being forced to give up a large chunk of cash to pay for the new radiator and thermostat that my car needs replaced.  Please note, if I were allowed to eat only one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose chips and hot sauce. So tonight was a very big win for me! Now, I know what many of you are thinking; there is no way I could do that?  Well, I never thought so either.  I am discovering how this “no carb” diet is working for me.  I am doing this for now, to get some extra weight off because I need to, to be healthy.  There is no way I am going to go the rest of my life without eating carbs.  I will be introducing carbs back into my diet again.  And honestly, I have had “some” carbs this week, but nothing close to what I would consume before.  This “no carb” challenge is causing me to have fewer cravings for the unhealthy foods I used to binge on.  Gratefully, I am finding myself longing for fruit instead of cake, and in regards to chips and hot sauce, I will definitely eat them again.  Sadly, until now, it was as if I had convinced myself, “If I can’t be successful at something, then at least I can eat more than the average person.”  I used to actually be proud that I could eat an entire large pizza in one sitting.  That is nonsense!  It is not necessary to feed my emotions with an exorbitant amount of food, moreover, I can still eat “several” of my favorite things and even reward myself with a piece of my most favorite dessert, but I don’t need to eat ten pieces of cake or two baskets of chips, or a whole pizza.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013: So I got up again to run with my friend “B.”  We decided, or shall I say, I decided we would go on a different route.  “Pounding the pavement” was taking its toll on my body and so as suggested by my chiropractor,  I decided we would run the 1 ½ miles or so to the track, run two miles at the track, because it would be less taxing on my body and then run the 1 ½ miles back home. However, it was dark on this route and I got all turned around, literally, but we did eventually get to the track.  When we got there I realized I had to go to the bathroom, but the bathrooms weren’t open, so we went jogging around town to find a restroom. Did you know that nothing is open at 5:30am?  Seriously, why am I up this early again? LOL!  Sonic was open, and thankfully they allowed me to use the restroom and we were back on track. Unfortunately the detour slowed us down, but it was still an adventure, and we completed 4.85 miles in 1 hours and 3 minutes. That was 13 minutes per mile!  I can see improvement once again, and I am able to take fewer stops along the way. Let's hope I don't have to make any more emergency potty stops.

Monday, November 18, 2013: I spoke with Coach Mark again today to reflect on this past week and to look forward to the next one. This past week was one of the most difficult weeks I have ever had emotionally. I have a food addiction. I love food, and more than that, I have had a love affair with overeating foods that aren't good for me. I eat when I am happy and sad, however, religiously; I nurse the emptiness and sadness inside of me with food. However, being on the "no carb" diet has made it impossible for me to indulge in my favorite foods. No pie, no cake, no chocolate, no cookies, no potatoes, no french fries and absolutely - NO BREAD. Whether happy or sad, I can’t feed it with food. It has “forced” me into a new, uncomfortable pattern. I can't go to those foods to “sooth” myself or "make myself feel better,” besides that is a blatant lie. Gorging myself on delicious foods is only quick fix, which isn't a fix at all, but rather a habit that leads to deep depression and guilt. Overeating leads me to repeat this cycle again and again (overeat, feel bad, feel guilty, eat more, gain weight, feel bad, overeat, etc.), adding on pounds and taking me on a voyage to diabetes, heart disease, and ultimately early death. This is not a path that I want to continue on, and winning this contest and having the opportunity to train and exercise regularly, work with Coach Mark, build relationship with the other contest winners, run this race and lose weight is absolutely one of the best things that has ever happened in my life. Over a month ago, I didn't believe I could change my lifestyle. I was grieving the loss of an exercise experience that I was a part of that helped me lose 23 pounds. Once that exercise experience ended, I not only grieved its loss, but as fate would have it, I went through an extremely stressful, debilitating, and almost unbearable year of life. I found myself hating to get up and go to work in the morning, and was crying myself to sleep at night (if I even slept at all). The only thing that seemed to provide comfort was baking delicious desserts and trying fabulous new recipes…eat, eat, eat. And the 23 pounds I lost all came back and then some. I was also making every excuse I could to not exercise. Moreover, I had already signed up for the Chicago Olympic Distance Triathlon in August of 2013 and I in no shape nor was I prepared to do it. I almost talked myself out of it, but thankfully, by the grace of God, I completed the race. In the months previous, I worked out with Instructor Chris Sturgis to get myself whipped back in shape and it was a rough road, with lots of tears, but I did it. I finished the Chicago Tri, and then signed up for a chance to run the HITS Duathlon in Austin, not knowing how it would change my whole life. So here we are, week 5 of training for the Duathlon and working with Coach Mark, and I hardly recognize myself. I now believe that I can and will continue this new lifestyle. I can make better choices for meals. I can find the time to workout at least one hour each day. I can do this on my own. I am worth it! My crutch was that I kept telling myself, I had to have a gym membership, I had to have a coach, I had to be instructed in a class and if I didn’t have those things, then I couldn’t do it. No! All of those things are great things, but I don’t HAVE to have them. All I need is SELF-CONTROL and SELF-DISCIPLINE, and most importantly of all, I need to LOVE MYSELF! A month ago, if I would have binged on a dozen cookies I would have given up right then. I would have stopped working out and would have also driven myself to the grocery store, bought myself more cookies - two dozen thumb print cookies to be exact - and in tears, would have eaten them in the comfort of my office. However, I didn’t do that this week. I had a weak moment, and we will, but I got back up, I wiped myself off, I looked into the mirror and said, “Kristy, you are worth it.” And then I got back on my feet and ran. I ran in the right direction, with my head held high and finally with confidence in my heart! You can do the same. I pray that if you are in that place, if you are about to demolish an entire cake to melt away that pain, emptiness or sadness, STOP and about face! Look in the mirror, (do it – I know it is going to be hard because you don’t to see that reflection that looks back at you, but you are going to HAVE to do it.) Look into that mirror, say your name (saying your name is super important here), “__________ I am worth it”. Because you are!

Ephesians 3:16-22 - And I pray that you…may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!


Sunday, November 17, 2013:

You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow. You CHOOSE! – Unknown

Brick Day was today! I was actually feeling excited about it, especially after going out to eat at a restaurant with friends again, and still being able to “pass on the carbs.”  More little victories!  I rode out to the track this afternoon, and finished my first mile in 8:59.  Seriously!  Under a nine minute mile! The best time I have ever recorded in my adult life was 8:31. Considering I have been reducing my run time by twenty to thirty seconds each week of training, I believe I might be able to break that record before race day! So, back to the brick, after the run, I returned to my bike and completed 4.19 miles in 20 minute and 28 seconds, averaging 12.2 mph and maxing out at 15.6.  I am still getting used to the new bike shoes, but overall I am improving each week!  After the bike, I returned to the track and completed my last mile in 9:07!  This week was an emotional roller coaster trying to manage the “no carb” diet and fitting in my workouts with an abnormal schedule. In truth, I expected my times to be worse than ever, but thankfully, by the grace of God, my hard work is shining through.  And as if things couldn’t get any better, I lost another pound for a total of 3 ½ pounds in just two weeks!  Astounding!  Thanks, Coach Mark for your encouragement this week!

Saturday, November 16, 2013: Today would normally have been my brick day, but due to a day-long mission trip I was unable to do it.  I do have plans, however, to complete it tomorrow. On top of that, I walked for approximately six hours straight today, having had the duty of strolling through streets of the Third Ward in Houston, picking trash up from the sides of the city streets. Thankfully, I am in a much better place than I was earlier this week.  The “no carb” diet is so much more difficult than I could have imagined and it is blatantly obvious that I have a food addiction. Previous to the “no carb diet,” over 50% of my regular diet was carbohydrates.  I can’t believe how many carbs I have been consuming on a regular basis.  With that said, I DID NOT succumb to the temptation to have carbs today, even though everyone else on the mission trip was eating sandwiches with delicious bread, rice krispy treats, granola bars, Doritos, cookies, etc.  I brought my own lunch in a cooler and even when we went out to dinner this evening, I managed to order a salad with chicken breast and it tasted delicious!  The croissant with honey butter just sat there on the table quietly attempting to lure me in, but I did not surrender.  Also, my mid-week binge on carbs was a reminder that there will be those days that we all have meltdowns, and regress.  We are human.  For pity sake, none of us are perfect.  However, after “falling off the wagon” we have a choice.  We can choose to stay on that path to no change, or we can get back after it, forgive ourselves and do something completely different that will transform us.

Friday, November 15, 2013: Well, it was my day to do my BRICK this week, but by the time I got done with everything that I needed to get done professionally and personally today, I didn’t have enough time to do it, so I decided I would do it on Sunday, since I have a day-long mission trip tomorrow. I did however, manage to go out to The Olive Garden with a friend and her family and I did not succumb to the temptation to have the breadsticks or any pasta!  I was really proud of myself, but it was extremely difficult. Thankfully I had eaten before I went with them, otherwise, I am sure I would have given in.

Thursday, November 14, 2013: I got my bike shoes this week and had a few things added to my bike to make my rides more efficient.  It was in the 40’s this morning and I had to do some major convincing to get myself out there in the elements. Yeah, I was super, super stoked to go on my ride today (insert sarcasm here).  That being said, if it had been a beautiful sunshiny day, I am certain I would have rode all afternoon, but it is winter weather here in Southeast Texas, and YES, the Vaseline, once again came in very handy.  Ultimately, I managed to live through my first bike trip with my new bike shoes that clip in to my new bike pedals.  It was actually rather easy to disconnect my shoes from the pedals, which I was thankful for.  However, I did not have a very successful ride, from my perspective.  I only managed to ride 12.16 miles in the 1 hour and 5 minute ride.  My average pace was 11.2 mph and my maximum was 16.3.  When the experienced riders say “don’t use equipment in a race that you have never used before,” they are not bluffing.  If I had gone ahead and raced, never having used those shoes and pedals before, it would have been a disaster.  I had to stop numerous times during my ride today, to adjust my handlebars, aero bars and my bike seat.  Previously, my shoes sat on a different area of the pedal than they are now, with the new bike shoes. Adjustments needed to be made to ensure that my knees weren’t being injured and of course for my own personal safety. As a result, I wasn’t able to get into any type of rhythm and I didn’t feel like I had gotten in a good workout. Admittedly I was also pretty down in the dumps about the “no carb” diet.  I ate carbs every day since Saturday evening and Coach Mark has asked me to get back on it.  I intend to do just that, though I am still not sure how long I can go without my peanut butter toast in the mornings.  I religiously have two pieces of toast with peanut butter and honey each morning for breakfast and I have really missed out.  I had it this morning as well, but I did go to the grocery store today and purchased some different items, so I have more options.  I HAVE to do this, and sticking with the diet plan has been a challenge this week.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013: Today, having a buddy to run with was the ONLY reason I got out of bed and ran in nearly freezing temperatures. If I could have talked myself out of it, I would have.  Yet again, another victory!  I am doing things I would have never done before. Two shirts, CHECK, two pairs of pants, CHECK, hoodie, CHECK, hat, CHECK, socks, CHECK, mittens, CHECK, Vaseline, CHECK!  Wait, what?  Yes, indeed, I said VASELINE!!! Who knew that slathering your face in Vaseline would protect it from the blistering winds as we ran this morning? Well, it did!!  My friend, B, is so smart! Not only did this info save my face from wind burn, but our early morning chitchat made the time pass quickly as we completed 4.52 miles in 1 hour and 4 minutes. About an hour later I was able to catch up with Coach Mark and reflect on the week.  We are going to stay the course, and while I already “fudged” and starting eating carbs, Coach Mark has asked me to keep refraining from carbs until Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving will then be my reward day.  I am going to do my best!  But another confession – I ate about a dozen cookies today.  I know, I feel bad about it now, but wow, after having no carbs for a week, I couldn’t help myself.  This also reminds me of the importance of NOT having these temptations in the house or at work, because if it is there, you will eat it.  That proved to be the case for me today.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013: Well this week is shaping up to be super crazy.  As if I needed to be reminded; I freak out when my schedule changes. Yesterday was my off day and I was unable to talk with Coach Mark due to both of our schedules conflicting.  That threw me off because I suppose I have grown dependent on his “assurance” and encouragement more than I realized in these last four weeks. Also, I am without my bike for a few days because it is in the shop, and I am unable to do my brick on Saturday, as I am accustomed to, due to a service project I am involved.  Ahhhhhhh! I have a plan to get in the same number of days, but why do I freak out when “life happens” and my schedule changes? I just don’t know, but maybe you can relate?  That being said, I had a successful week last week, except for the fact that I broke down and started eating carbs again on Sunday night.  I made it 6 days…17 meals without a single piece of bread, grain of rice or slice of potato. I should be proud of myself, but I conclude that I am feeling guilty because I started eating carbs again, and I don’t know what Coach Mark’s plan is for me this week. On top of that, I am still disappointed about my weight.  I was expecting to lose more weight with the “no carb” diet, and sadly I have already gained a pound back.  It seems that when I am focused on weight more than I am focused on successful workouts and how I feel, I get a bit down in the dumps. By simply referring to my blog in the last three weeks, I can see that.  I wasn’t down at ALL, until I focused on how much weight I was going to lose on the “no carb” diet. A great coach and friend of mine once told me (after one of my incredibly dramatic rants) to not worry about the number on the scale and just push myself to do my best.  Those words of wisdom are truer now than ever before. The number on the scale is something that haunts me and brings me down. No one should put themselves down no matter what the number is on the scale. The number on the scale doesn’t define you.  It doesn’t define me.  If we are pushing ourselves further than we have ever pushed ourselves before then we should celebrate. I should celebrate!

So, moving on to tonight’s workout.  I had no bike, so I went to a cycling class at the gym I attend.  It was kind of cool (strobe/dj lights, video of a bike ride to a winery, awesome music), but I REALLY missed my bike and riding outside.  I rode for an hour, but I could tell it just wasn’t the same.  Thankfully I will get my bike back tomorrow and I will have new pedals and new bike shoes. Stay tuned for the bloopers.  I have never ridden a bike with bike shoes that are clipped in.  I repeat the shoes I will be wearing will be CLIPPED IN.  If I have to stop and I can’t get my shoes out of the clip in time something drastic and dramatic will have to happen.  Either I will have to fall off my bike with my shoes still clipped in, which will most likely cause some damage to my legs or I will have to just keep moving and hope I don’t hit a car or the car hit me. This is going to be a trip, in more ways than one.  My helmet is a must.  Prayers would be appreciated.  As much as I am making fun of myself, I am really looking forward to seeing what a difference it makes to have my shoes clipped in.

“Brains before beauty, wear your helmet!” – Unknown

Friday, November 8, 2013: Today was a very busy day.  I not only had to fit in my one hour bike, but I had to carve out a moment to mow the grass, which is really takes more like two hours. Thankfully I found time to do both as well as work for a few hours.  This afternoon my body was felt pretty good and with the cooler temperatures AND a reduction in wind, I ended up riding 13.30 miles in 1 hour and 2 minutes. This is up from last week.  I averaged 12.7 mph and had a max of 15.9.  I can beyond a doubt feel myself getting stronger –mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Winning this contest and having the privilege of running this race has been an absolute life-changing gift. This week’s challenge was to refrain from eating CARBS and that is exactly what I have done.  While my energy level has not been as normal, I have discovered that I don’t really HAVE to eat the potatoes, rice, chips, crackers that I usually have.  I will say, most of all, I grieve the loss of wheat bread. My mornings just aren’t the same without my peanut butter and honey toast.  Now, just to be clear, Coach Mark and I are not advocates of eating a “no carb” diet incessantly.  That would frankly be impossible for me to do. However, he asked me to do it to “shock” my body to see whether it rebels or rises up.  I am eager to weigh myself on Monday to see just how effective it has been. That being said, I still have the brick and long run workouts yet to come. Bring it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013:

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” - Greg LeMond

This statement is so true!!  Today it was super tough to get up, but being that I had prearranged to run again with my friend “B,” I knew I HAD to. One; I didn’t want to disappoint “B,” and two; I needed to keep my promise to myself. Keeping promises to me is a very valuable piece of information that I learned from Chris Powell, the trainer and transformation specialist on ABC’s highly rated “Extreme Weight Loss.”  He teaches that there is power in making a promise to one’s self and keeping it.  That promise might be “I promise to refrain from eating dessert today,” or “I promise that I am going to get up and run for an hour.” It could be anything, and gratefully, today I kept that promise to myself and it was empowering. I remind you, I loathe getting up early, however, once I get up and get out the door, and accomplish a goal that I have set for myself, I feel so great!

The run today was just over an hour – 1 hour and 11 minutes. In that time we were able to run 5.11 miles!  I am still wordless, and if you know me at all, that is a flippin’ miracle. There is NO WAY I would have ever believed that I could have accomplished that.  I have never – not even in training for the Olympic distance triathlon – ran or even walked over five miles at any one time. Check that, I think I might have done something close to that about eighteen years ago due to a calculation error on my high school cross country coach’s part (he once sent us on what he thought was a four mile run and it turned out to be almost double that), but never have I accomplished mileage like that in my twenties or thirties. My muscles don’t even hurt all that much. Maybe it’s the adrenaline, I don’t know, but God continues to work in my heart to remind me that “I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.”  Coach Mark is one who I must also thank. The training regimen that he has set up for me has been incredible.  Furthermore, it is not like he is sitting here right next to me, forcing me to do it.  I not too long ago, thought that was the only way it could happen, but no.  In three short weeks, I am seeing tremendous growth in my self-discipline, courage, and confidence, and that is a testament to the encouragement that Coach Mark is providing for me.  And how could I forget to mention the “no carb diet.”  I made it through the week!!! The wonders never cease!!  Confession: I admittedly made corn bread muffins for dinner tonight – which was like heaven on earth – but other than that, I made it 6 days…17 meals without a piece of bread, grain of rice or slice of potato.  I think I deserve a medal for that!  Until this week, I had convinced myself that carbs were a necessity on my plate, but I have proved to myself that I certainly don’t have to “always” have them. I am certainly going to look into the possibility of having days of no carbs to continue shocking my body.

Drum roll please…I lost about 2 ½ pounds this week.  I am down to 184.4! Losing one pound in a year was difficult just two years ago, and recently, one pound a week has been difficult, though attainable.  However, losing two and a half pounds in a week is a true act of God! The HITS Dualthon is about a month away, and so much has changed in me these past three weeks. I almost can’t envision the woman who will cross the finish line. It will be an incredible day at Circuit of the America’s in Austin!

Saturday, November 9, 2013: So, today was yet another extremely busy day for me and balancing everything is unquestionably getting tougher.  That being said, I was still able to fit in everything I needed to do.  The most challenging part of today was that I was really craving the carbs!  I have been able to refrain from the temptation, but going to the grocery store a few hours ago was pure torture.  Aisle after aisle and end cap after end cap had the thanksgiving displays of stuffing and pies and cakes and frosting and marshmallows and ice cream. This made me realize how much I depend on carbs to fill out the majority of my meals.  In the store, there was a whole lot of talking going on between me and God and thankfully, He gave me the strength to abstain. I came home and made a nice chili; no rice or noodles, but nevertheless, it filled me up and tasted great.  I will say that my energy level is still quite a bit less than normal this week and I think that I due to the lack of carbs, but I do believe I have lost significant weight.  I will weigh myself officially tomorrow. Today was also BRICK day.  I always get fairly anxious right before I am about to do the brick and today was no different. I set out for the run and finished at a pace of 9:26.  My best mile time thus far.  I then got on my bike and was able to ride 3.94 miles in 20 minutes and 41 seconds.  The most frustrating part of the bike on brick day is that I have to ride in town and that involves stop signs, lights, and lots of cars, which doesn’t allow me to really be aggressive in my ride.  So I parked my bike in transition and trotted off to finish my second mile.  I completed it at a pace of 9:31.  This is the first time that my second mile wasn’t better than my first, but I still count it a blessing because my energy seemed low today.  The t-shirt that I wore was my mantra for today “overcome.”  Indeed, that is the opportunity we have each and every day.  We can sit back and do nothing different or we can “overcome.” With God’s help today, I overcame.  I overcame the temptation to eat carbs when I wasn’t supposed to. I overcame the temptation to not complete my workout, and I overcame my fear of failure by attacking the brick and once again improving my time!  What will you overcome today?

Thursday, November 7, 2013:

The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked. -Amy Webster

Thankfully, I didn’t ride into any suddenly opened car doors, but I did run in to a lot more traffic than I am comfortable with which caused me some anxiety.  In addition, I had to battle the wind, but thankfully I completed 13.02 miles in 1 hour and 3 minutes, averaging 12.4 mph and a maximum of 18.4 mph.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013: Okay, so today, I admittedly was still awfully sore from my run on Tuesday morning and chose to sleep in.  What's more, it is my eventful day at work and having to teach in the evening, I chose to make today my rest day, and plan to complete my one hour bike tomorrow and then on Friday.  Originally I was supposed to be off on Friday and ride one hour today. With that said, I am doing very well on my “no carb” diet this week. I have made much, much healthier choices in food selections than ever before and it has not been difficult thus far.  Yesterday morning my friend “B” made me breakfast and that included “HUMMUS.” Well, that was a food I have never eaten before and I LOVE it!  For that reason, I immediately went to the store and bought the same brand I had eaten for breakfast, and ate it for lunch and dinner with carrots and cucumbers. I would have normally chosen to eat it with crackers, but since I am on a “no carb” diet I ate it with veggies! I actually prefer it plain, but since I need to eat more vegetables I cut up cucumbers and carrots and used the hummus to dip them in. I also chose to eat hard boiled eggs, beef and vegetable soup, salad with lots of veggies and a few slices of turkey lunch meat.  For breakfast I created a delicious omelet with green pepper, sausage, green onions and a little sprinkle of cheese along with the hummus and some grapes, kudos to my friend “B” for giving me the idea.

I am only in the middle of week three, yet I am witnessing my transformation right before my very own eyes.  Incredible! In addition, one of my youth expressed to me tonight that she would like to participate in a triathlon.  I am so excited for her! If an almost 200 pound, 36 year old woman, with the confidence of possum, and a family history of heart disease, diabetes and self-loathing, can finish a duathlon or triathlon, ANYONE can. And, that is the absolute truth! So, go ahead…make plans to do it! Make a change. Do something you have never done before.

“A year from now you will wish you started today.” Karen Lamb

Tuesday, November 5, 2013: It was a miracle!  Today I got up at 4:50am and met a friend to do my run.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but in the end we ran 4 miles in 51 minutes and 22 seconds!!! I can’t believe it. That is a pace of 12:48 per mile.  Considering I habitually don’t wake up for another two hours, I would conclude that we had a great run.  It was actually a watershed experience, not only referring to the amount I sweated, but also because I realized the value of running WITH someone else!!!  God never intended for us to do life alone and it was so wonderful to have a buddy there at my side to support me.  Sadly, I am in the routine of doing my workouts at the spur of the moment, so finding a friend who can run or bike with me at the last minute is just not realistic.  Thankfully, yesterday, "B” texted me and said “you wanna run in the am?”  “Ummm, no” was my first reaction, because she wanted to run at 5am.  Nevertheless, I really loved the idea of running with her and so I said yes.  I jumped in with both feet, set my alarm and did it.  The time passed by so quickly and before we knew it, we had completed 4 miles.  "B" is training for a half marathon so she needs to get her runs in and I am eager to continue the journey of running together when we can.  My next long run day is on Sunday, so I hope it works out to run together again. This morning’s run has proven to be an extremely positive experience.  I know I wouldn’t have pushed myself that hard if I went to the track by myself.  I am indebted to my friend, for asking me to run this morning.  She even cooked me and her kiddos breakfast after our run! God is so good!

Monday, November 4, 2013:

Never quit. Never lose heart. Never be defeated by circumstances. Never take your eye from the risen one.  – Unknown.

Today I had the privilege of talking with Coach Mark about the coming week.  We reflected on this past week and made some adjustments. Even though I performed well and showed improvement, Mark chose to give me another day of rest because he doesn’t want to burn me out.  The plan is to run on Tuesday, ride on Wednesday, ride on Thursday, rest on Friday, Brick on Saturday and long run/walk on Sunday. The biggest challenge this week will be to eat “no carbs.” Well, I can eat fruits and vegetables, which have carbs in them, but no alcohol, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, sugary cereals, maple syrup, candy, tortillas, etc.  Now, growing up a “meat and potatoes” girl, this is going to be a challenge, but one I am willing to shock my body and lose some needed weight.  Well, as a friend once reminded me “you don’t want to LOSE the weight, because you will find it again. You want to get rid of the extra weight.”

Sunday, November 3, 2013: Today was an incredibly busy day and to be honest, I really didn’t feel like doing my one hour run/walk.  There is a song called “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” and I laugh every time I hear it because Sunday mornings as well as afternoons are honestly some of the busiest times for me and other professional church workers, and they certainly aren’t “easy” in the least.  To beat everything, daylight savings time brought the sun down early and aiming to make meals for the week, catch up on work, and complete my one hour run/walk before the sun set…well, it almost didn’t happen.  However, as the saying goes, “no matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch”, and that is exactly what I did. Even though my legs, body and mind weren’t feeling up to running, I chose to just set out for the track and just walk. I cannot tell you how many times in the past that I promised myself I was going to work out and then when it came to the end of the day, I would just sit at home feeling guilty about it. Tonight’s walk turned out to be extremely pleasing and much needed. It allowed me to clear my mind, refocus and jam out to some fabulous worship tunes.  Double bonus: I was able to practice some breathing exercises while singing to help me have better control when I sing.  I suppose I should apologize. I’m not exactly positive what the group at the track heard because I was rockin’ my ear buds and couldn’t hear myself, but I ascertain I was proudly belting out every song. In the end, I completed 3.75 miles in 1 hour and 20 seconds.

Saturday, November 2, 2013:

“You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” Unknown

Well, instead of “throwing in the towel” today, I DID use it to wipe the sweat off my face, and if you have ever had the privilege of working out with me, you know that I sweat bucket loads and I need an unquestionably large towel.  Do you know any of those gals who get all dolled up for a game, track meet or the gym and at the end of it they look precisely the same as when they arrived?  Well, that girl is NOT me. In fact, I am sure I sweat more than any other woman or man on the planet. Nevertheless, even with a cooler 70 degree temperature, I got my sweat on and completed the BRICK (1 mile run; 20 minute bike; 1 mile run)! As I referred to earlier, it has been a more challenging week. My legs were feeling tired today, and that made me a bit anxious for the brick.  I arrived at the track, parked my bike in the “transition area” and started the run.  I finished at a pace of 9:32 per mile- astounding! I knew I was pushing myself because I was wiped out when I finished, but that was an 18 second improvement from just a week ago.  I was so pumped up I couldn’t even put my helmet on correctly, but I pulled myself together and got on my bike.  I rode a different route this time so that I didn’t get stuck at any lights and was off.  I completed 3.7 miles in 20 minutes and 23 seconds which was a little slower than my pace from last week.  But, with that said, I got off my bike, did a few stretches, and embarked on my final mile.  Might I also add by this time there was a head wind that I felt was slowing me down, but I actually finished my last mile in 9:29 – I am NOT kidding!  I in fact improved my time again.  Clearly something is happening here. Thank you, Lord!

Maybe you are like me.  I don’t usually have moments like this. Normally, I don’t have “little victories” to celebrate.  Or, maybe, just maybe, I am now humble enough to recognize and celebrate them.  Often, I have had difficulty accepting a compliment or an encouraging word from someone, and definitely, I rarely give props to myself.  However, the regimen that Coach Mark has created for me is helping me progress week by week, day by day, and I must “stay the course.”  Indeed, I am being refined and I am so thankful! I must continue to celebrate the victories, no matter how minute. Lawana Blackwell once said, “I’ve grown to realize the joy that comes from little victories is preferable to the fun that comes from ease and the pursuit of pleasure.” I concur.  Do you?

Friday, November 1, 2013:

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. – Unknown.

This is a fabulous piece of wisdom, which I desperately want to believe, because if it isn’t true, then honestly wouldn’t we all want to do away with challenges all together? Challenges, simply put, are difficult, but God never promised that everything in life would be easy.  He only promised that He would be with us every step of the way (Isaiah 43:1-3). Thankfully I trust that to be true. I am not walking, or shall I say “running” or “biking,” through this journey alone, however, it certainly has been a “tricky” week. (Pun intended as it is the week of Halloween).  Balancing work, family and friend time, personal Bible study, dishes, laundry, paying bills, as well as workouts is not an easy commission. On top of that, I am also a bit sore. Admittedly, I am a creature of habit, so, yesterday’s “change of plans” (ie: having to switch up my hour long bike ride to today, instead of yesterday, because of the torrential downpour) along with a long day and late night, affected me more than I realized and left me tired and unfocused. But, I had to pull myself out of this downturn and just RIDE!  As I began to pedal, I decided to refrain from looking at my computer today, but rather, just keep pedaling and pushing myself.  Normally, I obsessively verify my stats, shifting from “average mph” to “total miles” to “fastest pace” to “actual time” back to “average mph,” and so on.  But I didn’t do that today -- another victory! I completed 12.22 miles in 1:01:05.  That was an average of 12.0mph and a maximum speed of 17.2mph.  Not bad for not feeling up to par.  I believe I am getting stronger and for that I am truly thankful.

Thursday, October 31, 2013:

“The difference between try and TRIUMPH is a little UMPH” - Marvin Phillips

Well, today, I had a choice.  I could choose to just forgo training all together, or I could change course and adapt to the situation. A few months ago, I would have chosen to forgo training all together and then felt guilty about it, and then almost certainly eat a 1,000 calorie dessert to sooth myself, but today, I made a better choice.  The forecast was 100% coverage of rain.  It hadn’t stopped raining since yesterday evening and there was pretty significant flooding.  There was no way that I could safely ride my bike, so I chose to switch out the workout for tomorrow and did it today. I walked 30 minutes in the gym on a treadmill, since it wasn’t safe to walk outside either.  Thankfully, the rain is supposed to subside by tomorrow, so I am confident that I will be able to get my one hour bike ride in!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013: This morning I was out of the house and on the track before the sun came up.  The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and though I am not a morning person I couldn’t help but think how many sunrises I have missed sleeping in. They sure are beautiful.  My goal today was to do a 30 minute run/walk.  I completed 2.75 miles in 32:35! This is a whole ¼ mile more than last week, so I continue to improve, which I am so proud of.  My pace per mile was 12:01. My muscles were really sore today after the run. I am not sure if it is residual from the wild wind yesterday or if I was that I pushed myself more this morning.  Either way, it was a good burn.  I was not the only one running/walking at the track this morning. My inspiration for the day was a father and his three children that were running/walking together. While I made each lap, I couldn’t help but think of the countless excuses I have made to not get up in the morning to exercise and here was this man and his three children.  I am sure the children weren’t the ones who wanted to be at the track, but their daddy was. The father knew it was important to exercise, so he got his three kiddos out of bed. I was run/walking pretty much alongside this man and his children and at the end, I was able to see him cheer on his kids as they made their one last lap. The three of them raced each other and the father stood along the track and encouraged them all. It was a lovely scene.  No excuses.  If a father can get himself out of bed, get dressed and get his three children out of bed, get them dressed and get to the track to exercise, then by golly we can all do the same.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013: Who knew I lived in the “windy city?”  Well my sister does live there, but not me.  Still, today, the “windy city” came to Southeast Texas.  It was 81 degrees and there was a 13 mph wind out of the Southeast. Now usually I don’t take notice of the wind, but I did today.  You can imagine from the photo of the flagpoles provided that the wind made my one hour bike ride a “wee” bit more difficult.  I found myself struggling with the wind almost the entire road trip and I was so disappointed.  It seemed I couldn’t get over 10mph, but I persevered and finished completing 11.80 miles in 59 minutes and 11 seconds.  I averaged 11.9 mph and maxed out at 18.6mph.  I felt pretty overheated when I finished the ride but my muscles weren’t hurting - yet.  I scurried back to work for a few hours, and then it hit me - my body started lamenting about the wind.  I suppose I did exert more energy than I thought fighting against the wind, but to focus on the positive, it was as if I had conquered the hills of Austin! FYI, there are literally NO hills where I live: NONE Period. The closest hill would be a bridge or an overpass, but I am not about to battle traffic speeding 75+ miles an hour. Indeed, today was a simulation as I rode into the wind: I attacked the hills of Austin and my muscles are reminding me.  I also celebrated another victory today, crossing over the 100 mile mark on my bike odometer.  Actually that is deceiving because this is my second Cateye bicycle computer, having lost my first one.  My best guess is that since starting this journey two years ago, I have road over 200 miles on my bike.  I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of mileage for those of you who log in 30-50 miles a day, but for someone who was close to sedentary two years ago, I would say that is pretty dog gone good.

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Monday, October 28, 2013: Today was my off day.  I had the opportunity to talk with Coach Mark today and plan our next week of training.  He is such an encourager.  I am so motivated and excited about the week ahead! I have to admit, that I really needed the day off.  I felt good, and had moments when I really wanted to go to my normal classes at my gym, but as advised by Mark, I truly rested and I am glad I did.

Sunday, October 27, 2013: A dear friend of mine always sends me this Runner’s Prayer before every race. I have to say, I can’t repeat it enough - “Lord, we’re in this together so you pick ‘em up and I’ll put ‘em down.” Amen! I imagine this prayer would mean a lot more to a marathon runner at about mile twenty, but regardless, it was my mantra today too. One of the goals Mark set for me today was to run/walk for an hour. The idea is to run for a bit then walk for a bit, then run for a bit and then walk for a bit. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and while I had intended to be completely focused, I stopped a couple times to help a woman who had lost her dog. She was obviously a bit overwhelmed and upset and since I was running around the neighborhood already, I thought it was only right to be on the lookout for her dog too. I ended up completing 3.94 miles in 1 hour and 27 seconds. My average pace was 15.20.

As I prepare for the coming weeks, I can’t help but be nervous about the time change. I am not really a morning person so many of my workouts are in the afternoon. However, the time change will bring darker skies earlier, so I am a bit nervous about how I will fit in my workouts each day. Obviously, I will need to get out of bed in the morning and “just do it.” However, I also anticipate that the workouts will become longer so I will really need to stay motivated and get to bed early. Maybe with the time change it won’t be so hard to get up in the morning? I can only hope.

Saturday, October 26, 2013: It is BRICK DAY! As the time drew closer for me to complete the brick my anxiety increased. However, I tried to stay positive and I believe every person needs to have a day like I had today. I went into this brick just hoping to run my miles in under 12 minutes. The last time I did a timed mile run, I completed it in 11 minutes and being that I still wasn’t feeling 100% I was just hoping for 12 minute miles. On top of that, I was certain that the last mile would be way slower than my first. Well, I guess I underestimated myself. I ran my first mile of the brick in 9:58 seconds. AMAZING! I was over the moon excited and hopped on my bike. The way I chose to ride my bike really wasn’t the best. I had to stop at a few lights, but I completed the bike in 22 minutes and 30 seconds, riding 4.6 miles. Next, I got off the bike and left it in my “make-shift” transition area, stretched for a few minutes and finally took off running the last mile. I was focused. I just prayed that I would run it in less than 12 minutes. Would you believe I actually ran my second mile faster than my first mile? Well, I did! I ran it in 9:50 seconds!!! There was no wiping the smile off the face of this girl.

It was truly and incredible day. I highly underestimated my potential and learned something very valuable. Believing in me is something I should do more often. Most days, I am a “Negative Nelly” when it comes to believing and trusting in me. I just don’t ever give myself the benefit of the doubt, but today I proved that I can do anything I set my mind to. I am in a very positive place and am so excited to see how much I will change in the next two months. I never could have imagined that I would have run my miles in that amount of time. I once ran the mile in 8:30 seconds, but that was over a year ago when I was 20 pounds lighter and in the best shape of my life. I guess that should be a goal of mine: to run the mile in less than 8:30.

Mark it in the books. I’m going to see what I can do about that!

Friday, October 25, 2013: Well, I was supposed to swim today, however, I wasn’t able to make arrangements in time to do so, and it is just not warm enough to go jump in a lake, even with a wetsuit, so I didn’t swim. (I know, excuses.) I did mow the grass, which took about an hour and a half. That was a pretty good trade off, I guess. Tomorrow I have to do a “BRICK.” A brick refers to training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between, just as you would do in a race. Tomorrow my plan is to run 1 mile, ride my bike for 20 minutes and then run another mile! I am so excited to complete this brick; however, I honestly have never trained doing a brick so I am a little nervous. Something tells me I would rather eat a “brick” of cheese, but I will not succumb to this temptation. Actually, I should be proud of myself. While mowing grass tonight all I could think about was making a delicious, homemade chocolate cake but when I got home, I had some nuts and fruit instead. General Robert E. Lee once said, “You have only always to do what is right. It will become easier by practice, and you enjoy in the midst of your trials the pleasure of an approving conscience.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013: Well, “Aunt Flo” decided to stop by for a visit again, and when she comes, she always has an attitude, which makes me really, really cantankerous and pretty miserable to be around. And to top it off, I still have to ride my bike with “Aunt Flo” for an hour. Can you say road rage? Yes, today will be a challenge, but I guess I should be thankful I don’t have to swim today. Hallelujah, I feel better! Wait a second (sigh), I have to swim tomorrow. Dang it, I guess, I’ll worry about that tomorrow.  For now, I just have to get through the one hour bike. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

By the way – I’m hungry.

About 3 minutes in to my ride, I realized that I had forgotten to put my helmet on.  Great! (Insert sarcasm here.) So I turned around and went to get my helmet. Safety first!  Today, I rode 13.83 miles today, in 1 hour and 6 minutes.  It was a beautiful 82 degrees with a slight wind.  I averaged 12.4 mph and maxed out at 18.5mph. I don’t feel really great, but that’s not a result of the workout.  Not feeling great is a direct result of “Aunt Flo’s” presence who I also might add “forced” me to eat a chocolate candy bar and a half of a frozen pizza.

Nutrition is going right out the window today. Thankfully, I have recently been trying new recipes and new foods, but since I was running late today, I bought two frozen delights and I threw one of them in the oven. After further review, frozen pizza really doesn’t taste good at all. In fact I think it made me a little queasy and it is certainly not a good food for training.

“We can do anything men can do, with cramps.” – Unknown

Wednesday, October 23, 2013: So I almost pushed my alarm one too many times. I am not a morning person in the least.  Can anyone relate?  William Feather once said, “Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious.”  I would agree on most mornings.  I barely talk to anyone in the office before 10am and my thoughts don’t start coming out of my mouth in clear sentences until at least that hour, and that's even debatable.

I had to get up early to complete a 30 minute run/walk because I teach classes in the evening and I knew I wouldn’t have time to run later.  This is just one more perfect example of why I need to be doing this race. If I wasn’t, I can guarantee that I would have never gotten up to do this run. I literally forced myself out of bed, got dressed, grabbed a quick drink of water and a handful of trail mix and headed off to our local track.  It was still a wee bit too dark outside, since the clocks have yet to change, and I didn’t want to risk getting hit by a car that couldn’t see me.  Though I was tired and still recovering from a sinus infection, I felt good this morning. I completed a 2 ½ mile run/walk in 33 minutes and 36 seconds. If I hadn’t have had to go to work, I actually felt strong enough to have kept running.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013: Day one of training: I am not feeling 100% today. I went to the doctor yesterday and discovered I have a sinus infection. I got a shot and antibiotics to help me get on the road to recovery. And not only that, I have been out of the office for four days and am trying to play “catch-up.” I find myself in the office longer than I should, but I know that I have to ride bike for one hour, so I quickly return home, throw  on my workout clothes, my camelback, my helmet and my shoes, chomp down some cranberry, almonds and cashews, and I am off.  I will be lucky to finish my one hour bike ride before the sun sets, but I am determined.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, the sun set at just about the exact time that I completed my 1 hour and 3 minute bike ride.  I rode 13.14 miles at an average speed was 12.5 mph and my max being 17.6 mph.  I know this wasn’t a great ride, but I am thankful that I made it through. Now, I am starving, of course.  Remember I love food. I make dinner and eat. The end of the day has arrived. I am most proud today that according to my “My Fitness Pal” app, I have 920 calories remaining after having three meals, two snacks and a one hour bike ride.  At this rate, I will lose about a pound a day! Hallelujah! Tomorrow, I run!

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