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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attempting to beat the heat

Hey y'all! What's the craic? (Irish version of what's s'up?) It's been a while since I've posted again.. I really do intend to post more regularly.. I've a lot of updates on my fundraising and training for ye.

The biggest consideration for training at the moment is the heat.. It's gotten really hot and for those non-Texans of you, it's worth noting that it just doesn't get that much cooler at night here. For my long runs at the weekend, I'm up at 5.15 to be ready to run for 6.30 or 7 to try and get it at its coolest. I also sweat buckets in bed... TMI (too much info)? me? NEVER! So I gotta drink alot before I can head out to sweat it off again. It's around 80 (26 celcius) as the sun is coming up and this week it's up to 98 (37 by noon). Yea, you better believe it!

So without further adieu, here are my tips for attempting to not die on the run:
  1. Drink 'till you pee like a racehorse. I seem to spend half the day at the watercooler, not just because that's what they do in the movies, it's coz i drink so much! The fact that I bike to work (8 miles roundtrip) means I'm extra thirsty. The other half of the day I'm powerwalking to the nearest urinating facility.
  2. Gear up!
    smiley me and Mr Camelbak after a run
    My Camelbak is my new bestfriend. I run with this on for anything longer than 5 miles now and it's so handy having 2 liters of water on your back.. no need to worry about having water fountains on your route! I must look weird sucking from this while running but I couldn't care less! I mix it berry flavored Gatorade, water and lots of ice cubes.. getting an ice cold drink out there fills my soul with joy ;)
  3. Run (almost) nude. Another thing I couldn't care less about anymore.. running in just a bra! I used to judge those running with a bra, thinking they were posers looking for attention. I thought there was no way it was necessary but I'm one of them now (but not a poser). A few weeks ago I was running with 2 guys and wore a top for the first while because I was embarrassed to take it off, but by the time I thought I might die (a few miles into a hilly run), I had my top off and tucked into my shorts coz you gotta do what you gotta do! I'm even thinking of getting arm bands for the guns.. because I don't wear a top, I have nowhere to wipe the sweat, and it's really annoying dripping from my elbows all the time.. seriously running in Texas is turning me into a complete douchebag (my favorite 'only in America' word).
  4. Take breaks and slow down. The last week or two I've had to stop a few times during a run, just to cool down a bit and catch my breath.. I know I have to work harder in the heat so it's OK, I was afraid it was because I was being to easy on myself but no, It's just fricking crazy hot!
  5. Run early. Believe me, I can't wait to sleep in longer than 5.30 AM on a Saturday morning but I went to a pool party on a Friday night a few weeks ago, and convinced myself with a little help from my friends that I should stay until MIDNIGHT!!! Imagine! So I didn't run until 11.30 and boy was I sorry.. drank my Camelbak dry that day.
    nice view from Town Lake Dam
  6. Hit the gym. If I can't run early, I hit the gym instead. It's still elbow-dripping hot (I should copyright that) but not so bad.
  7. Sweatproof bug spray and sunscreen. This is one I haven't been heeding and I need to! I'm allergic to most sunscreen and haven't found a good one yet, so I don't wear one most of the time.. my biggest fear is that in years to come I'll tell someone I used to live in Texas and they'll give me that knowing nod while checking out my wrinkles! So plan A: go to a dermatologist, plan B: never leave Texas. Bug spray I have no excuse for.. I can't stretch outside after my run coz I get eaten alive by the mosquitos, so I need to get this sorted.
  8. Pool parties. Almost everyone has a pool at their apartment here so it's a pretty nice way to spend to day grilling and chilling by the pool. So, who's coming to visit me??!!!
  9. Go tubing.
    Floating down the river is a pretty cool way to spend a Saturday after a long run, exactly what I did last Saturday.

My fundraising is going well y'all.. as of today I am 76% of the way to my goal! Douglas Fisher has earned his right to get his name tattoed on my arm for the race (only!). Aunt Cait and Donal, Aunt Mary and Mort have all generous donated to my fundraising page.. did I mention how thankful I am for my supportive family? What with the time difference and being 5,000 miles from home, it would be easy to forget little old Hazel but nope, people back home are going well above and beyond what I expected and I can't wait to see everyone in a few weeks. 4 weeks from Sunday I will be holding my nephew (and godson) for the first time!

I gotta give a big shout out to my parents (not getting teary writing this, I swear). You know you are loved by someone when your problems (or undertakings) become theirs as well. Both my mom and dad have acted like this fundraising was their responsibility as well as mine. My mom raised $100 at work and my Dad organised 'a bit of a cycle' a few weeks ago. By the way, it's worth pointing out (for the Americans) how understated Irish people are.. Dad acting like it was nothing he was doing.. and went along and raised close to 400 euro!! Even though we are not big on hugs in our family, anyone who sees my daddy give him a big hug for me (yes, now there are tears). In the meantime, here's a thumbs up for daddeo...

Of course all these efforts are for a very worthy cause.. finding a cure for a very nasty autoimmune disease.. we all have had (or will have) bum troubles in the future so if you can donate to find a cure for Crohn's and Colitis then please do so soon, right here ! the race is 3 weeks from Sunday! 

I'm going to do a separate post on my training in the last while, and show ye what my treadmill/ crosstraining workouts entail. I'm thinking of keeping the blog going after the race.. any thoughts? If you'd keep reading please comment, call me douchebag, tell me your favorite American word! The focus would change a bit since I wouldn't be training but you get the gist of what I write..probably more on what it's likemtp be Irish here, trying new things (like getting two-stepping lessons), eating, what I miss about Ireland, that kinda (every)thing.

What say ye..if anything? Love ye longtime, thanks for reading

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer in Texas

Hey you guyyysss! Long time no speakies!

Between my fundraising event, running and a few parties here and there, I've been kept busy! The fundraiser was a serious amount of work but guess what.. we raised $400! Success!

My event was a kickball/ barbecue party, ''Grab your balls.. it's KICKBALL time''! Cheeky title, buy you gotta 'grab' people's attention, right?! Kickball (for you non-Americans) is a sport similar to baseball, which uses a very soft version of a football. Sorry for the loose explanation, but that's pretty much all I got! People tried explaining it to me several times at the start and all they'd say is ''it's just like baseball'' and I was like ''but we don't have baseball in Ireland either''!

So my tips: kick the ball (always a good start), volley it down the line or away from people and run like the wind to the next base. If you mess up, remind people you're Irish and offer to get them another beer (kickball involves a lot of boozing too). The main requirements for kickball are the ability to let loose, make a fool of yourself and have a jolly good auld time! It holds a special place in my heart since I started playing just a month after moving here and although I only played one season I made most of my friends through it. I also got to know this fella through kickball..

It's for all these reasons I decided to have a kickball party! I spent every evening the week before prepping for the party.. making veggie burgers, chipotle coleslaw, shopping for a moustache, you know, the usual!

The weather has been nuts here lately, by which I mean it's rained like twice a week, EVERY week!!! and it hasn't even got THAT hot here yet (hasn't hit 100F)! When I planned the party a month ago I thought  ''no way can I have it in June, it'll be too hot''. Little did I know that it was gonna lash and pour.. complete with severe flooding warnings. Major bummer.

It was supposed to be on Saturday (May 25th) so I postponed it to Sunday and changed the location also, to somewhere with a covered basketball court as well as grass. I had plan B if Sunday was raining too. Luckily, the mighty kind peoples at La Barbecue (link) offered to give me a fresh brisket for Sunday and the party went ahead.

The Trashy Texas Gentleman

Rob, chef extraordinaire, smoked the sausage and corn on the cob and he made pulled pork too. I really can't thank him enough. He did way more than I should have asked of him so there will be a steak dinner on me very soon for ya Rob!I also made a big batch of ''Hazel's Magic Potion'', which may or may not have had alcohol in it  (public park drinking is outlawed in Texas and I don't want the electric chair just yet ;))

What do ya know, the sun came out for the occasion and we had a par-tay! A huge than you to everyone who came out and to those who wanted to but couldn't coz of the day change I'm sowwwy! I was expecting close to 70 people and about 20 people actually came. It was such a shame, given the amount of amazing food we had but at least I had a prize for almost everyone in the audience!

Sponsors of the event:
Fado's Irish Pub and Restaurant (2 giftcards)
Green Mesquite (giftcard)
Nancy Lyons (2 pairs of handmade earrings)
HEB supermarket ($50 in giftcards I used for party supplies)
Regal Theatres (4 movie tickets)
Amy's Ice Cream (2 giftcards)
Sam's Bar-B-Cue (box of sausage)
La Barbecue (full brisket)
Camp Gladiator (4 one month unlimited bootcamp passes)

not bad eh?!

So bottom line, I raised $400 for CCFA and hopefully threw a decent party for my buds. I could dwell on the fact that the party wasn't nearly as successful as I expected but we'll choose to be positive here. This is a shiny happy people place ;) So my target is getting close now!!!

6 weeks to go and 71% of the way there, thanks to those who have donated lately: my dearest Pops and her little family (me sista), Jack and Bridie O'Connor, Oonagh O'Neill, Pete Boylan, Forest Farm Eggs (the Griffin's) and Charles Fahy. I'm nearly there guys and thanks a million for supporting the cause!! No poo talk this time (big AWWWW), but you know supporting research for a cure for a currently incurable disease is a good idea. Help find a cure for this girl. If you can spare any few bob, please donate here!

No detailed workouts this time either (since I forgot my diary at work) but it's fair to say the training has cranked up a few notches. Let's see, I ran 36 miles last week (wasn't intentional, just had to get my long runs in around socialising!). Without blabbering on too much, it's gotten crazy hot and humid for running outside. Last night, I had a 7 mile run planned with my Team Challenge teammate Esteban. We hit the road at 7.50 PM and it was 90 degrees.. that's 32 Celsius Irish peeps! Hottest I have ever ran in and Esteban was merciless (in a good way)... we finished with less than 7.30 min/mile pace. I have honestly never had a tougher run but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger (at least according to Kelly Clarkson).

shiny, not so happy after a run last week

I've got 11 miles on the cards for Saturday and you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be out before the sun to get it done (I'm a poet now too ;)) Extra motivation for getting it done early? Well, Ireland are playing the USA in rugby in Houston and all the GAA clubs in Texas are having gathering for it and having a big style party beforehand (they call them tailgates here). I'm SUPER DUPER excited! There's 40 of us going from Austin!

I'll be sure to fill you guys in next week.. as well as on other Texas -style parties of late. It's all about balance right?!

Weekends almost here guys...weeeeeeeeeeee!

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