Irish gal living the American dream in Austin, Texas y'all!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trip to the Windy City

Howdy y'all.. man I really love saying that but I would feel like a fool saying it in real life! So howdy y'all! Hope you've had a good week!

I'm a bit all over the place so I'll give y'all a recap on what I've been at since I went on my trip! On Friday, I headed for Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Mr. Man is at.  On Sunday, we caught an early train to Chicago and checked in to our hotel. We were starving for lunch and upon the advice of my foodie buddy Rob (check him out at The Food Buzz), we headed to Lou Malnati's to sample Chicagos famous deep dish pizza.. it was mmmm good! 

Later at the hotel, food coma set in for Mr Man so I hit the gym.  0.7 miles into a run on the treadmill I realised deep dish pizza is not the best running fuel.. funny that! So I stopped and did 20 min hills on the bike followed by 15 min elliptical. Major stomach issues after but I was well enough to eat at a delicious tapas restaurant a few hrs later.. You have to check out cafe-Ba-Ba-Reeba if you visit Chicago, delicious! I love food, so tapas and tasting as much as possible without the danger of exploding suits me damn fine! 

Tuesday started off with a workout at the hotel gym. I ate yogurt beforehand so after nearly seeing my deep dish pizza for a second time on Sunday, I decided to hit the elliptical instead. Knocked out 30 min. So glad I didn't run.. An hour in to touring around town a bit later and my left foot was hurting at every step. Insert sad face here. I did make it to the top of the Sears tower though (now known as Willis tower)!

note the fool lying down.. and the other fool wearing slipper-like shoes in Chicago.. lucky I didn't lose a toe!
By the way.. it was so cold in Chicago.. I know you may have no sympathy for me since I was practically around in bare feet. But even if my foor wasn't sore, there was no way I was running on the lake, like I had hoped. W had planned on a walk there one day and within a block of the lake the wind got too much to bear and I begged for us to turn on our heel! Total wimp now that I'm living in Texas... have the lagging jacket ready for me when I go back home in August!


Anyways on Wednesday I worked on abs a bit.. Working on my plank. Those things are boring as hell but apparently effective. First thing I did was call to book a doctor's appointment. The fear is that I may have a stress fracture (my totally uneducated guess), since I haven't run in 12 days and its worse now and I'm kinda getting worried. Best to let the doc do his thing and figure this out. 

I also haven't mentioned the fact that I have a 10k a week from Sunday.. Hence the fear! I'll happily back off the running beforehand but I really really wanna do it! 

Capitol 10k is a huge one on the Austin running calendar, with approx 25,000 people running it every year. I joined Austin runners meetup group in January and there are a number of my Saturday morning run comrades running it too. Since I started CCFA half marathon training I can't run with them anymore (group runs also on saturdays) so I'm looking forward to seeing them again. A great friendly bunch.  Because the group is so big there's always 2 or 3 of us around the same pace so I'm hoping to have someone to run with. I also convinced my friends Jackie and Aileen to sign up sooooo.. the after party is gonna be too good to miss out on it!

Chicago had been a great trip; the past few days have been a welcome break from pushing my fitness and healthy eating. Back on the wagon I go! 

Thank you to all who have supported my goal so far to raise $4,500 for Crohn's and Colitis. By the end of May, I need to commit to running and therefore meeting my fundraising target. This is because the flights and hotel needs to be booked at that time. Sooo (trying really hard not to sound like a money-grabber) if you were thinking of donating, then it would be great if you could do so in the next few weeks. If you weren't or can;t afford it then no worries obviously. 

I have a few tricks up my sleeve to do some fundraising events in the next few weeks.. possibilities are a movie night, a barbeque, a bake sale and a raffle.  I also accept donations in the form of bright ideas! 

Just to remind you what it's like to have Crohn's disease, read the latest post from Ali, a Crohn's sufferer/ runner/ editor-in-chief of a magazine.. what a gal. I really didn't realise Crohn's was this bad.

A special shout-out to Jackie Ahmad, Tom Kane and Victor Trevino and Mike Murphy for your generous donations. If you would like to donate please do so here.


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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pucker up!

This week, South by Southwest (SXSW), the music, film and interactive festival hit Austin, as did close to 250,000 people! Quite crazy for a city smaller than Dublin. St. Patrick's Day (note: not St. Pattie's Day) fell on the last day of both SXSW and Spring Break, so with all these people around, my brain got to thinking of fundraising possibilities.

Lots of people wear the t-shirts 'Kiss me I'm Irish' but they're not the real deal like moi (!), so cheesy as it is, I decided to make the most of being REALLY Irish in America on St. Patrick's Day and offer kisses for donations from a real Irish girl. Once the idea was hatched I checked with a few friends who agreed that while it was a little nuts, I had nothing to lose (clearly dignity doesn't come into it).

A few friends agreed to chaperone so I wouldn't feel like a total prossie, and off we set for Sixth Street, aka Dirty Six. It's a dirtier version of Temple Bar in Dublin, a classy spot, just where we belonged for the task at hand.

me and my pimps

kisses for everybody!

After gaining some dutch courage in the form of Guinness and the like, I was ready to start smooching! We did the rounds of lots of bars and it was actually good craic (Irish word for fun, not cocaine). Most people were very receptive and generous. I only kissed one guy on the gob; rather he smacked one on me before I had a chance to turn my head! Quite a few guys gave me donations to kiss their girlfriends and.. wait for it.. I HAD to kiss two girls on the lips. I couldn't get over how soft their lips were (well this was in comparison to kissing big hairy beards for an hour earlier.. but still). Men always get the better end of the deal ;) The other amazing discovery from the day was how many guys wouldn't donate because they had girlfriends/ were married.. really, come on!

So after an exhausting afternoon of sipping, chatting and dishing out the smackeroos, we counted our donations.. $160! More moneys for Crohn's and Colitis research! A huge thank you to my friends Jackie, Mikaela and Tom (who brought listerine for me too!). I couldn't have done it without your help and I'm lucky to have friends so generous to this good cause.

Oh yea, I'm training for  a half marathon!
Fitness week:
Monday: 40 mins elliptical and 15 min Nike training club app 'abs burner'
Tuesday: treadmill 7.7 miles in 1 hr 4 mins.. Tempo run.
Wednesday: Gillian DVD 'week 3'
Thursday: 35 mins elliptical and 10 mins abs
Friday: Off
Saturday: Team Challenge group run, 4 miles
Sunday: 30 min elliptical and 15 min Nike training club app 'abs burner'

I'm transitioning to barefoot running.. you know wearing shoes that make you look like a teenage mutant ninja turtle.

Anyways, I'm pretty sure I've messed up my left foot with too much running in these babies too soon. I'll be crosstraining mostly for now, until it feels better. I'm going to Chicago for a few days next week (yipeee!!!) so I'd love to run on the lake there.


So thank you to all of you lovely peoples who donated this week. Between donations from Feng Wang (better known as Jack in the Box), Dominic, Mary Schtones (ok, she's called Mary Cody), Kevin and today it's been a great week. Dominic gave a very generous $100 so I will be running my first mile for him.. the lengths he will go to get his name tatooed on my arm ;)

Please give what you can, if you can.. earrings, bbq rub, a mile or a kiss in exchange; take your pick! Thanks to one and all.

Here is the link to my fundraising page: http://www.active.com/donate/napaSTXA13/atxHOConn1

Please feel free to comment/ mock me, i can take it! Oh and has anyone got tips for transitioning to barefoot running? are compression socks the way to go?
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week two

It's been a busy week.. between training, working, volunteering and fundraising!

The Half Marathon is a few months away (July 21st) but I'm taking my training pretty seriously since I have a goal time in mind. I ran a 10 mile race in October and I honestly had no clue what I was capable of. I ran just over an 8 minute mile.. so for the half, my goal is 7.30 minute mile. I have no idea what the course is like with hills and whatnot but this is the figure in my head and I find it easier to stick to a plan when I have a goal in mind.  Half marathon in 1.38, it's gonna happen (if it doesn't don't remind me I said this!)

I write out a loose plan every Sunday and stick it on my fridge. Here's what I did this week:

Monday: Treadmill..... 5 miles in 41:42; focus on hills, (incline 1% for 3 mins, 3% 2 min @ 7.5) x repeats, with warmup and cooldown

Tuesday: 30 mins elliptical, followed by 15 min Nike Training Club app workout 'Arm Definer'

Wednesday: Treadmill..... 6 miles in 48:04

Thursday: Gillian Michael's DVD workout, 'week 3'

Friday: Off

Town Lake trail.. pwetty eh?
Saturday: Team Challenge Group Run: 4 mile loop of Town Lake trail.

Sunday (yet to do): easy 3 miles + 30 min Nike Training Club 'Gladiator' workout


Any of you runners got any tips for increasing speed?

I know a lot of people are very anti-treadmill, but truth be told, I don't feel very safe in my neighbourhood (I did see a dead body cycling to work one day so I have good reason!) so I'll be sticking to the gym during the week until it gets brighter outside in the mornings.


On Saturday mornings, we meet at 7:30 AM. Austin gets really hot in the Summer so that's why we will be training so early... in just one week it went from 41F (5C) to 63F (17C). Man, is it tough to get up at 5:45AM on a Saturday morning! Out 'Endurance Manager' Meredith does a great job at motivating us and yesterday before we took off, she reminded us of the reasons why we are doing this. She told us of a little girl who died of Crohn's related complications just a few weeks ago... awful. My other motivation comes from reading two of my favourite running/lifestyle blogs; Tina of Carrots 'N' Cake, and Ali of Ali on the Run. Ali is going through a pretty bad Crohn's flare -up at the moment, yet still manages to run! The money I raise goes towards helping these people suffer less....finding a cause and cure. If you can help this cause in any way then please give as generously as you can.

Thanks to Shona, Karen, Jon and Aaron who donated this week.. I have $275 thanks to you guys! As I mentioned last week, I am sending earrings to the gals. Here's a few examples of what I can make:




Clearly I'm not the gifted photographer but I hope that one of these tickles your fancy (if you're a girl that is!). The earrings are custom made, and I have lots of supplies so if you have a colour/ size/ style in mind let me know! I'm gonna get working on my bbq rub recipes for you guys this week. $20 or more of a donation and they will be on their way to ya!

For donations over $100 I will be dedicating a mile of my run to you.. your choice which mile.. an writing it down my arm.. temporary tattoo kinda thang! My arms are not stretchy so that's why it's over $100.

Thumbs up to you guys for supporting me!

Here is the link to my fundraising page: http://www.active.com/donate/napaSTXA13/atxHOConn1

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Half marathon for a great cause

Howdy Friends!

I have just signed up to run a half marathon in July, in aid of Chron's and colitis disease research with The Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America. Thankfully, I don't have any personal experience with either of these conditions but they really are horrible diseases of the intestines. There is bleeding and excessive trips to the bathroom involved .. some of our runners went through times where they had up to thirty no. 2's  a day! Imagine.. most of us experience that once of twice in our lives (and not THAT any trips) with a bout of food poisoning, but these people go through it constantly! I won't go in to any more details in case you're eating your cornflakes while you read this :)

The real scary part is that young children are being diagnosed now, and they have impaired growth because of it.. so that's why awareness and research is needed... pronto! If you're interested in any additional information on the condition check out the Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America website.

While I initially signed up  for the fitness challenge (on a whim, this past Wednesday), after meeting the other runners in the Austin branch I can't not do this.. we have one girl who has to poop into a bag...if she can run a half marathon and get out of bed at 6AM to train then I have no excuse!

I hope that this will inspire you to give whatever you can to such a great cause. My target is $4,500 - very daunting, so if anyone has any bright ideas for ways to fundraise then I'm all ears! As a little thank you, each of you that donates over $20 will get their choice of a pair of earrings or Texas Barbecue rub.. something for the ladies and also the lads...oh and both will be made by me!

Here is the link to my fundraising page: http://www.active.com/donate/napaSTXA13/atxHOConn1

I will be blogging updates of my training if you are interested (http://thecomfortzoneandbeyond.blogspot.com/). Training in Texas is going to involve a lot of pre-dawn runs since it gets so hot here in the Summer!

Thanks for reading y'all!
Hazel.
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