So I ran a 5K on Saturday.  My first in over a year.  That should count for something, right?  IMG_2439[1]It was very warm and humid.  I wasn’t ready.  I still have horrible breathing problems.  After 1/2 mile I wanted to quit.  Seriously.

I didn’t.  I ran the whole thing except the 2 water stops, where I paused to drink and catch my breath.

It felt horrible.  I knew I wouldn’t have a stellar time but I wasn’t prepared for the attitude I had toward my finish.

I was disappointed.  It was my slowest 5K since 2007.  I am bigger.  Not in as good of shape.  And I still can’t figure out my breathing issues.  These are all things I’ve not had to deal with in the last 7 years.

I got a 2nd place medal for my age group.   I should have been happy, instead I was in the “2nd place is the first loser camp.”  In my current shape there is no way I could have caught the 1st place gal, it wasn’t even close.  And yes, there was more than 2 people 😉

ODB said he was proud of me.  I’m actually glad he wasn’t there.   It wasn’t one of my proudest moments.  Looking back, I am proud of how I did, even though it wasn’t my best.  It was the best I could do that day in my current state.

It’s hard to accept when you’ve fallen from glory.  Even harder to figure out how to get back there.

Cool new things

My veggie spiraler

I’ve only tried zucchini before, but other squashes, apples, potatoes, etc are on my list.  It has 3 different blades to vary the size.

veggie spiraler

This spice from Savory Spice Shop.  This was awesome on broiled pork chops.  I will be back for a whole bottle!  Says it’s great for poultry, burgers, meatloaf, and stuffed peppers.  Oh the possibilities!

new spice

New venue and 2 new artists to me.  We went to Texas Music Theater in San Marcos on Friday night to see grammy nominated writer Will Hoge (Dan was already a fan).  Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue opened the show.  It was all new to me and I had a great time.  Not to mention, I got to have dinner with my good friend Alison and her husband before the show.will hoge

My mom (in pink) defended her Thin Mint Sprint age group title and had a PR on Saturday.  That’s my sister running with her.mom race

Photos not available yet, but we completed tore up our backyard on Saturday and Sunday.  I hope this leads eventually to an awesome yard!

Brain Power 5K

A coworker handed me a flyer last week about this event while we were out for lunch.  The Sunday, I received a message about this race on Facebook with a discount.

Monday I finally got around to reading about the specifics.  Race in Williamson County to benefit brain tumor research.  September 9, 2012.

I have to do this.  I am doing this.

I signed up and formed a team.  The team is NOT in my name, I put it under LUNA.  You can join the team here.  Some of my friends and family have joined the team already.  I encourage everyone to consider joining the team.

I do not and did not ever have brain cancer.  I did go to the MD Anderson Center in Houston for evaluation of my tumor.  If you haven’t kept up with my blog updates, Dr.’s have chosen to leave it alone and monitor it with additional tests in June and September for now.  They don’t deny it’s there, but they are uncertain it needs to be removed at this point.

I want to do this event to help others and raise awareness.  Just with my limited experience with the subject matter, I understand the need for more research and exposure for the problem.

More about the beneficiary:

Brain Power 5K is proud to join the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, in their efforts to eradicate brain cancer.

The Brain Power 5K seeks to provide funding to the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation for brain cancer research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as well as pediatric initiatives at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. We wish to create an opportunity for Central Texas to honor those affected by brain tumors.

The Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation is the only Houston foundation funding adult brain cancer research at MD Anderson.

Thin Mint Sprint 5K

My BFF, her friend, and my mom came into town for the Thin Mint Sprint this past weekend from San Antonio.  I was so happy they came in.  I actually got to see my BFF 3 days in a row!  (one night for dinner in SA, and then Friday and Saturday!)

The race was put on by my Girl Scout’s Service Unit (group of troops in the area).  It was a fundraiser for one of the other troop’s big trips.  It was a smaller race, around 100 entrants for the 5K (which ended up being 3.5).

The race packets were cool.  One of the troops  (of older girls) took t-shirts and made them into re-usable bags!  I will post photos and directions soon.  Great idea!  If you are in the Austin area, they will custom make you reusable bags for FREE!

It was the first official 5K for my BFF and her friend.   They both did great!

I was exhausted from long hours from traveling and work training, but I did better than I expected.  2nd overall woman, 1st age group, 10th overall.  It was my first 5K in almost a year (not including relays).  No PR, but then again, the race was 3.5 miles, not 3.1.  My watch doesn’t match the photo or the chip time, nice.  I’ll go by my Garmin.

It was a good morning for all.  My mom and I both took home trophies.  My hair looks CRAZY!

Women’s age group winners

Love this photo of myself with one of the Brownies from my troop.  Showing off our awards.  All of the kiddos who did the Daisy Dash got medals.  I hope that next year all of my troop will participate in the fun!  

I was also the fastest troop leader 😉

And because I don’t always act my age, I decided I needed to get in the trunk of the Fiat they were raffling off.  I’m not even sure my suitcase would fit in there.  For the record, I do fit…barely.  Should have seen me trying to get out.  I had to get out hands first, haha!

Afterwards we went to Morelia Mexican Grill for lunch (tiny local chain).  It was a GORGEOUS day.  We chose to have some great patio time!  Lovely lunch with the gals and my mom.

After lunch my mom, sister, and I shopped until we dropped at the Round Rock outlets.  I was able to spend my Christmas giftcard at Ann Taylor and then some!  Yay for new clothes, I never go shopping.

Great way to spend a Saturday!  Good run, friends, weather, food, and girl time 🙂

Things I like Thursday: healthy-living activity

My Brownie Girl Scouts are working on healthy-living activities with their family this week for their homework.  To help encourage them, I wrote them a letter with tips and ideas.

I also added a resource page for them to look at with their parents, here’s a snippet that may be useful for some readers:

Healthy-living/fun/service sources:

Upcoming Healthy-living activities:
Brown Santa Kids K
1K (0.62 mile) untimed fun run/walk starting at 10 AM
on Sunday December 11 at Travis County Expo Center . 
Also a 5K run/walk option at 8:15 am.  Benefits Travis
County Brown Santa, which benefits families in need at Christmas.

*This event is the same time/day/place as the ARC Decker Challenge: 
Upcoming Service activity:
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade.
Saturday November 26, State Capitol.  Bring a toy to donate.
Benefits Travis County Blue Santa.  Do some walking while downtown to make it a healthy-living activity too   http://www.chuysparade.com/


I can’t wait until our meeting on the 28th to see what kind of healthy-living activities they did with their family.  Whether it was trying new foods, trying new activity, less tv, more moving, teaching their family a new game, making better food and drink choices, etc. 

I’m doing the homework as well 🙂  I will start with Dan on Saturday and my mom and dad on Wednesday of next week.  I don’t have to do their homework activities, but I think it’s a good example to show them I am working on the same goals as them!

Not the average runner…

Amanda over at Run to the Finish had a great blog last Friday about how she stacked up to the average female runner (as seen on my dirt road anthem, originally from running usa).  Thought i’d compare myself as well 😉

Average Age: 38.5 – 31
63.2% Married  – Nope
78.2% College educated –  BS Environmental Science and Geology
70.3% Earn a household income of $75,000+ – Yes we do.

Running History:
Average number of years running: 9.9 years  – 5 years
Average number of running events participated in during the last 12 months: 7.2 events  – Probably at least 20, i’d have to go back and look
51.8% have completed 1 marathon or more in their lifetime — 5

Running Routine:
70.4% Run/Jog 4+ hours each week – Depending on the phase of training I would say this is avg year round
77.7% run 12 months a year – Yes, especially when it’s cold.
Average number of days run per week: 4.0 – I’m average, it’s about 4
Average number of miles run per week: 21.9 – Mine varies quite a bit, guess that’s average for me.
66.1% describe themselves as ‘Frequent/Fitness Runners’ – I don’t think i’m frequent

Running Preferences:
Favorite race distance is the Half-Marathon (39.0%)  – Absolutely
Interested in entering next year: – I’ll be doing at least one of each, more halves or relays than the others probably
    Half-Marathon (77.0%)
    5K (57.3%)
    10K (56.0%)
    Marathon (43.3%)

Primary motivation to start running:
    For Exercise (25.0%)
    Weight Concerns (14.5%)
    Needed a New Challenge (9.3%)-This was me, Dan moved away and I needed a new hobby to fill the time
Motivation to continue to run:
    Staying in Shape (76.8%)
    Staying Healthy (74.2%)
    Relieving Stress (64.4%)
    All of the above, for sure.

Product Preferences:
Average number of running shoes purchased in last 12 months: 2.9 pairs –HA!  I wish, probably at least 5-6
Last running shoes purchased:
        ASICS (26.4%) YES, they are in my reserves right now
        Brooks (16.6%) – 25%
        Saucony (14.2%)

65.3% spent $90+ on their running shoes — MSRP on my shoes is $140.  I never pay that, but it’s always more than i’d LIKE to pay

47.9% purchased their running shoes at a specialty running store – Not always.  The last 2 pair were, at 2 different stores.

Favorite brands of running apparel: I wear whatever I find that I like.  Don’t care which brand it is.
    Nike (64.8%)
    Under Armour (45.7%)
    Champion (34.3%)
    Adidas (30.7%)

80.4% spent $100+ on running apparel in the last 12 months — I’m sure
59.6% purchased running apparel at a specialty running store — Not as frequently because they are often higher in price, but I do love a good sale. 

Average Weight: 137.6 lbs – I’m less, but in middle of Weight Watcher’s healthy range for my height
Average Height: 65.01 inches – that’s me!
Average Body Mass Index (BMI): 22.9 – I don’t really buy into BMI crap, I have no idea
40.9% are content with their weight – I’m content with my weight.  I’d like some body parts to shape up better, but the scale doesn’t bug me.  I’m in the healthy range, which is what I care about.
42.3% are content with their fitness level – I think there is room for improvement.  My health was been an obstacle lately though.

 How do you compare to the average female runner?

Where in the world is Melissa?

Heck of a week, heck of a week!

Monday: slammed at work, packed Dan up for his trip, heard runner and ARC member got killed while running 😦

Tuesday:  weights at the gym in the AM, then Houston trip for work.  LONG day.  Ran errands on the way home.

Wednesday:  ran before work, caught up at work.  Sick.  Came home to recover.

Thursday: weights before work, all day business meeting (no break for lunch, grrr!), Moonlight Margarita 5K, which benefits Trail Foundation.  Sister, AK, and I all went downtown together.   Got a black armband to wear to honor Scott Birk.  I wasn’t feeling great again, so I ran with sister (I took a DNF because we were bib-timed and our finish was slower than my first 5K ever).  She had a really hard time.   I don’t think she eats enough and certainly didn’t drink enough liquids before.  She was really dehydrated by the first mile.

You have to eat people!  Even if you are trying to lose weight, YOU NEED TO FREAKING EAT!  Starving yourself is just going to cause more problems.  We met AK’s husband for a late dinner at Guerro’s.  I’ll keep my observations about eating to myself.  But if it comes down to health and safety, I am going to open my big mouth.

Oh and I forgot to mention, my neighborhood was on fire Thursday.  I came home a little early  from work to check on it.  All I will say is, when you actually need information from the news, they are useless.  As was the city, who said no exvacuations, but the Austin newspaper said hundreds were being evacuated (which was true, just not my section).  They promised the fire crews were staying overnight, so I felt a little better.  My house wasn’t directly threatened, but it could have been bad.  I think the final count was 60ish acres, no houses.

Friday:  long day at work, meetings, team lunch at Gloria’s (their tropical mexican salad with shrimp is GOOD!).   Exhausted.  Came home, Dan back from Canada.  I was so out of it this week, I though he was in Chicago.  That is next week. 

Dinner was burgers, sweet potato fries, and grilled veggies (I like football-ish food to watch Friday Night Lights)….on the Foreman.  It was 105 in the sun.  No way in hell was I going to grill outdoors on our patio which is 100% full sun in the PM. 

Saturday: Drove to Georgetown and ran a bit on road and trail.  Then ran the “No Frill’s 5k”.  Wore my black armband again to honor Scott Birk (who died Monday).  The turnout was their biggest ever.  Even though I was tired and wasn’t feeling great, I had a decent effort, no PR though (which I wasn’t even about to attempt in the heat).

After the race, I drove to Sprouts and got some produce, then on to Weight Watchers, which is down the street.  I didn’t get to a meeting this week and felt I needed to.  I will say, that if I hear “free fruit is a miracle” one more time, I am going to scream.  I always ate fruit and wasn’t afraid of it, not even when it cost me points on the old program.  I enjoy fruit and don’t avoid it, never have.  I didn’t get fat eating fruit.

Ballgame tonight followed by Jack Ingram Concert.  Think some shopping may be called for before that.  Dan says  he has some work to do.  I think I need to work on stimulating the economy of Georgetown 😉

He died doing what he loved…

Austin lost a great man this week.  This is a re-publish of an interview a friend from ARC did (David Mitchell) with Scott Birk, who was killed while running on Monday morning.

(Author’s Note:   Scott died on June 13, 2011, doing one of the things he loved most, running.  He graciously provided the information for the interview below in March, but it wasn’t published until now.)

Scott, 48, was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  He has been married to his wife and fellow runner Carla for 26 years, and they have 3 children, two daughters in Engineering school at the University of Texas, and a eighth grade son.  Scott graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1985 with a BA in Computer Science, and obtained a Masters in Finance from North Texas University in 1987. He works as a computer programmer.

We asked Scott why he moved to Austin: “Carla and I moved to Austin from Dallas in 1990 because she was offered a new job opportunity.  I love living in Austin. I have a hard time picturing myself living anywhere else.  About the only downside is that most of our family still lives in the Milwaukee/Chicago area so we really miss them a lot.”  Scott joined the Austin Runners Club in 1995 and has been a loyal and supportive member, volunteering at a couple of races a year.  Scott was usually among the first people to register for the Austin Runners Club Decker Challenge.  One year he was actually first, and we tried in vain to get him to wear a bib with #1.

Scott started running in 1992.  He wrote, “Prior to that time I participated in many different activities, but my main things were golfing and basketball.  I thought anyone who wanted to go for a run was bit crazy. My mom started running when I was in high school. She ran a few races a year, but I had a lot of family members who would run a 5-miler in Milwaukee called Al’s Run. They were always trying to convince me to come and run it with them, but there was no chance they were going to convince me to run for 5 miles! Unfortunately, I tore my ACL playing basketball and as part of rehab I started running. I told my family since I was running I would make it one of my goals to run Al’s Run with them. I met a couple of runners where I was working and they were really helpful about teaching me how to train. I trained for three months to get ready for the race. I was not sure how I could make it 5 miles, but I made it, I loved it and I have been running ever since.”

Scott loves completing runs.  “I try to run every day.  The only time I schedule a day off is the day before a race.  However, I usually end up taking off a couple more times each month. I am sure people think I run too much or that I am addicted to running, but the interesting thing is I am not a person who really enjoys the run itself. It is a chore to haul myself out there every day and while I am running I cannot wait for it to be over, but it always a great feeling when I have logged another run.”

Scott remembers “the first time I made it through a three mile run without walking.  At that point I thought running may be something I could actually do and enjoy.”

Scott helped his son Nicolas train to get ready for his last two cross country seasons. “I had a blast running with him and watching him as he improved almost every day. I guess my coaching must not be too great as he has not run a step since his last meet.”

His advice for new runners?  “I am a very goal-oriented person so I would tell somebody to think about what it is you want to get out of running. After you have defined your goal then set up a reasonable plan to achieve that goal. Whether your goal is losing weight, running a certain distance, or maybe running a certain time, make sure you have short term milestones to mark your progress. If you find you are not where you want to be then realize that your plan is flexible and can be changed. Make the necessary changes so that you continue on your journey.  I would also tell them that running is not easy, so do not get discouraged when you struggle because everyone struggles. I always try to remember it is the struggle that will make the goal even sweeter when it has been attained.”

And what does he have for experienced runners?  “I honestly do not feel I am accomplished enough or knowledgeable enough to be handing out advice to this group of folks.” (Author’s note:  this man was always modest about his considerable achievements).

Scott has been a fixture at local races, frequently the Master’s winner, despite his size (Scott is well over 6 feet, big for someone so fast).  He runs in up to 25 races a year.  “My favorite distance is the half and then 5K.  I like the tactical aspect of the half and the run as hard as you can aspect of the 5K.”

For his race philosophy, Scott says “I am not sure I have one. When I first started racing I always went WAY too fast at the start and crashed at the end. Every time. I finally figured out that it is smart to try and run even or negative splits in a race, but I still have a hard time listening to my own advice. I tend to start off too fast and have far too many races where I fade at the end. I just find it too much fun to try and run right at the edge and see if I can avoid falling off the proverbial cliff.”

Scott’s PRs (at time of interview) are: 1 mile-4:41, 5K-16:50, 10K-35:22, Half-1:16:13, Marathon-2:47:48.

We asked Scott about his “wish list”:  “Try and enjoy every day that I am able to run because it is such a gift to be able to have the health and time to commit to this incredible sport.”

We close with his last thoughts:  “I cannot thank my family, and most especially my wife Carla, enough for indulging me while I spend so much time on the roads participating in this crazy sport. I also have to say that Carla has been a true inspiration to me with her determination to become a runner. For years she truly believed it was impossible for her to run. However, she found a plan she liked and was able to begin running. I asked her to come to a race with me and helped her devise a plan. She followed the plan and it was awesome to watch her cross the finish line of her first 5K. It is a memory I will never forget. It has been wonderful to share the experience of running with her in the years since.”

More on Scott and the accident here: Statesman News Article

In lieu of flowers, please go to Wells Fargo and contribute to the Scott Birk fund set up to create a footbridge across 2222 in his honor.  Account # 3037907239.

Open hearts

After seeing the devastation in Alabama caused by the tornadoes, my heart ached.  Dan’s family was fine, our friends lost power for a week, but were also fine.  They were the fortunate ones. 

The Austin SEC club posted on their facebook that a woman in Austin area was driving a truck to Alabama this week and was taking donations.  I started a drive at work and asked Dan to do the same.  The support was wonderful, some of our coworkers were very giving.  Dan, myself, and my parents also went out bought supplies to send.  I made two trips to the store over the weekend, completely filling my cart both times. I spent most of Sunday morning and early afternoon working on sorting, boxing, and labeling the items.  My whole living room was full!

This is why my rotator cuff hurts 😉  Apparently 2 jugs at a time, 50 times, swung over the truck uses a lot of that part of your arm.  OOPS!  I loaded all of this water into Dan’s truck on Friday from the ARC storage unit.  I took it to the race to get the rest of the leftover water and food.  We had 2 cases of bananas and 100 gallons of water from Austin Runner’s Club.

Leftover food from Daisy 5K got sent too.  Thanks ARC!  I’m glad they were able to donate the leftovers to the cause.

Sunday afternoon we drove over to the coordinators house.  We unloaded our stuff and then helped her unload a ton of items from the Austin SEC club.  They were unsorted, so we assisted with that too.  The photos don’t do the amount of items justice, it was a TON of stuff!

More stuff.  Great support from the Austin SEC club.  Big thanks to Dan for unloading all of those gallon jugs of water 🙂

She was picking up from several different churches, to add to the already large amount of items, and then driving to Alabama on Tuesday morning. 

Makes me happy that friends, family, and total strangers opened their hearts and gave to the residents of Alabama.

Dukes and Daisies 5K and Kids K

Women start first, 3 minutes ahead…

Special stroller division.  This year I think there were more daddies than mommies doing the strollers. 

Every woman gets a Daisy at the end.  Yes, a Daisy flower from a Daisy girl scout 😉

Sister and I were volunteers.  Mom ran.  First in her age group again this year.

It was my idea to wear the boots this year, since we changed the name a bit and wanted to have a little theme 🙂

Great morning (although long, I was running errands on the way to the race at 5 am, left the venue at 10 am).  Numbers were a little low this year, but it went well!  34th annual Daisy 5k goes down in the books