Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Finisher!

December 22, 2012

We did it! We finished our first ever half marathon! It was a pretty chilly morning but our toes quickly thawed once we began running. Here we are at the start all the way in the back with the 12+ minute milers.

race01

Mark and I ran together for the first mile, mainly so I could help hold him back to prevent him from starting off at too quick of a pace. Eventually he broke away and said he’d meet me at the finish line, then it was time to go to work. The first couple miles flew by since the crowd was still rather thick but people slowly thinned out and I was able to focus more on getting into my interval rhythm.

race03

In the weeks prior to the race we had considered driving the race route to scope out the hill we knew we would have to climb but we decided to keep it a surprise. I’m kind of glad we did because otherwise I might have been a little nervous…I mean, this hill was pretty sizable. At about mile 5 we began our ascent and didn’t see much of a break for a good 2 miles. After one last steep stretch of road we reached the top and were greeted with a beautiful view of the foggy valley below. It was breathtaking. While running up above the fog we were warmed by the sun and as we descended again, into the fog, the temperature dropped back down at least 10 degrees {a much welcomed refresher after the climb}.

race02

My initial time goal was 2:45:00 but after crossing the half way point I knew I could make it in 2:40:00 as long as I stayed conscious of my pace. So with a new goal in mind I jogged the entire backside of the hill, skipping my intervals for a couple miles while I had the energy, and made an attempt to pass someone new on each run interval. It was kind of fun because I generally stayed with the same 10-15 people for most of the race; I passed them, then they passed me, and so on.

As I crossed the finish line the timer read 2:40:39 which made me sad since I was just over my goal but after looking up my official time according to the GPS chip in my bib I had finished in 2:39:09! Because we started so far back we didn’t cross the official start line for a full minute and a half after the gun.

Britney race results

Though my finish time, pace and overall placement isn’t anything too impressive, I am super proud of myself {and my hub} for accomplishing this. We worked really hard to train and there were plenty of times when neither Mark nor I wanted to go out and run but we encouraged each other and found a way to get it done.

Mark’s goal was to finish in under 2 hours but thanks to his knee pain flaring up again after mile 7 he came in at 2:12:27; not too shabby at all, he did awesome! Since he finished before me he was there cheering me on at the finish line :)

race04

After the race we hung out at our group’s tent for a little while chatting with our friends and taking advantage of some free Chick-fil-a sandwiches. Then we headed home to an ice bath and LOTS of stretching.

What a great experience, and I got to share it all with my hub :)

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Final Countdown

December 4, 2012

Race week is finally here! I haven’t begun to get nervous yet but I’m sure I will on Friday when I’m in Walnut Creek to pick up my race packet at the expo. I went with my mom to an expo for one of her Rock ‘n Roll half marathons in San Antonio and I remember the general feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air; I can’t wait to experience it all again but from a runner’s perspective this time.

We’ve got our pre-race dinner and race morning breakfast all planned out…the night before we’re going to have loaded baked potatoes with ground beef, broccoli and cheese and in the morning we’ll do bananas with peanut butter and a granola bar or toast.

Based on my training and my average pace during some longer runs my goal for race day is to maintain a 12:30 pace which would have me finishing with a total time of 2:43:52. The GPS on my phone (which assists the Nike+ app) has been a little off, it thinks I run anywhere from a 9:30 pace to a 13:00 pace and jumps around sporadically, so I’ll probably have to calculate my pace in my head during the race and figure out the exact times once I’m across the finish line. To be honest, I’ll be happy with anything under 3 hours but I know that I’m capable of finishing under 2:45:00 so that’s my goal!

In these last couple of days before the race we’re doing our best to eat well, drink lots of water, stretch and roll our legs each day, go on a couple relaxed runs and get lots of sleep. This will be the longest distance that either of us have ever run and we’re both super excited to cross the finish, tired and sweaty :) Did I mention that thanks to some very generous donations from family and friends Mark and I both met our donation goals?? Thanks to all of you we raised enough money for over 32 people to have fresh water for life! WOO HOO!!

Becoming a Runner

September 27, 2012

Me 6 months ago: “I hate running. My mind gets bored too easily and running can’t hold my attention. There’s no way I’d ever train for a long race. Those people out on the streets at 6am are nuts. I’d rather just run while on the soccer field.”

Though that last part is still true I hate to admit it…I think I’m starting to enjoy running? GASP. I never thought I’d see the day. Me? Actually like running? No way, never gonna happen. Yet here I am, training for a half marathon. How in the world did that happen?

I didn’t  just wake up one day and decide to commit to this but it wasn’t exactly planned either. Mark and I have found a great church home here in San Ramon and during one of our first visits a short presentation was made in the announcements about Team World Vision and what they’re doing to make a difference across the globe. Basically TWV is a sub-program of World Vision that focuses on marathons and other races as a way to fund raise for the organization. She talked about how if we raised $50 per mile then during the race we would know that with each mile marker we passed we were providing water for one more person ($50 is the cost for water for one for life). It was a great pitch and she had me totally hooked. So we stayed after church and talked with the group to get more info and ironically this is how we ended up meeting our new-found friends which we now hang out with weekly.

In the following weeks I researched half marathon training schedules, bought new tennis shoes, downloaded the Nike+ app to track my progress and started running. At first, the constant pavement pounding didn’t feel natural at all but the excitement of beginning training gave me the adrenaline I needed to keep going. And after a few weeks of sticking to my regimen I was starting to like it a little. Now (almost 2 months later) I look forward to my runs, it’s a great way to release stress and get outside in this beautiful California weather. It’s not always easy to motivate myself to get out there but I’ve “let myself” listen to Christmas music while running a couple of times now, it definitely helps (I know it’s September but it works so hush).

This is going to be a HUGE challenge for me but I’m excited about continuing to train and I can’t wait to cross the finish line knowing that I’m contributing to something much bigger than myself. If anyone actually reads this and you feel compelled to donate, here’s my TWV donation page.

With my birthday coming up at the end of October I’ve decided to donate any birthday moolah that I receive as well!

Rowing Love

June 24, 2011

I finally did it. I took rowing lessons on Lady Bird Lake! My last class was this past Thursday and I have to say that it was the most fun and challenging sport I’ve ever experienced. When we first moved to Austin I remember seeing the rowers out on the lake during our downtown excursions and I always said to myself that I should try it out. Now {almost two years later} I decided it was time and signed myself up for the intro class at Austin Rowing Club.

Let me first start off by saying that ARC is great; their staff is friendly and helpful, their coaches are very experienced teachers and the environment is just perfect. In ITR {intro to rowing} we learned how to use the ergs for training, how to properly execute a rowing stroke, how to get the boats in and out of the water, tons of rowing terminology, boat safety and most importantly how to row together as a crew.

Our class started out in the 8 person boats where I quickly began to favor the 7 position just behind the stroke seat. One day there was a crew there for practice that was one man short; my coach volunteered me and I got to row with an experienced crew! It was refreshing to be challenged in something new and to struggle to keep up with the rest. I ended up with a few new friends, a few new scars and a growing love for crew rowing.

Eventually we tried sculling as well {two oars per person as opposed to just one}. My first experience with sculling was less than ideal because we went out in a quad and we had a terrible time staying together with our strokes. Luckily we were able to try the single scull during our last two classes and I have to admit, I think it’s my favorite. In the single scull you can go at your own pace, focus more intensely on your stroke and be completely alone on the water. I’m not much of a morning person but I’d be fully willing to wake up at 5am to row alone on the still waters. I can only imagine how relaxing and meditative the rhythmic clacking of oarlocks and the patter of blades skimming across the water must be at that time of day.

Though I most likely won’t be joining a crew or the club any time soon {for proximity to home reasons}, I know that I’ve found another hobby that I can enjoy in the future. Just one more reason to move closer to downtown someday!

State Cup

April 4, 2011

This past weekend was the TSSAS Women’s Division 1-3 State Cup tournament in Pflugerville and our team qualified to participate thanks to our regular season record. We were in Division II along with 9 other teams from south Texas.

The weekend started out a little rough with a 1-1 tie in our first game on Saturday morning, but our team has always had problems waking up {especially for 8am games}. We won the next two 1-0 and 2-1 to win our bracket and claim our spot in the semi-finals on Sunday. Another 8am game took us into overtime but luckily we scored and didn’t have to resort to penalty kicks; the final score was 3-2. On the field behind us were the two teams fighting to play against us in the finals.

Their game also went into overtime but ended with PK’s; games rarely come to this so it was really fun to watch. The winning team was the same one that we had tied in our first game, AFC West from Houston; we were set for a rematch in the finals.

The wind picked up just in time for our game {ugh} so the team with the wind at their backs had the obvious advantage. We had the wind the first half and scored first on a long free kick from midfield; the ball sailed over everyone, bouncing in front of their keeper and floating right over her head and into the net. With the score 1-0 at the end of the half we had to fight the wind as well as the other team to defend our lead. The second half was all defense with AFC pushing up two extra forwards; we cleared out nearly 10 corner kicks and only had a few shots on their goal. Before we knew it, the time had run out, the whistle was blown and we had held on for the win!

We won $1,000 for our team and some sweet championship t-shirts; the money is going towards new jerseys for next season. I’m so happy to be a part of this awesome team; playing with them has fueled my love for soccer more than ever before. Man, it feels good to be STATE CHAMPS!

Goodbye Kaiser, Hello Copa

February 6, 2011

For the past 10 years I’ve been the proud owner of these Adidas Kaiser cleats; my parents bought them for me when I started the 8th grade. I broke them in during my last two seasons of club soccer and then they sat unused in my closet for a couple of years during of high school. There will always be a part of me that wonders what my life might have been like if I had been able to attend a larger school that had a soccer program; I loved playing so much back then.

When I went off to college I got involved in intramurals; I bought new socks and shin guards but kept my same old cleats. Being able to play again reminded me how much I missed soccer and I just couldn’t get enough. So after Mark and I got married and moved to Austin, I joined the Round Rock Women’s Soccer League. After playing a full year in this league I’ve decided that it’s finally time to retire the Kaisers. I know this sounds kind of silly getting sentimental over some old shoes but together with soccer in general they’ve been a big part of my life.

The new cleats are technically a birthday present but it took me a while to find a vendor locally that carried them. After some searching I found a great little soccer shop at 183 and Burnet called Soccer Post. I upgraded to the Copas which are made out of kangaroo leather instead of cow; it’s amazing the quality difference between these and some $40 cleats off the rack at Academy. Right now I’m still in the process of breaking them in but eventually the leather will conform to my feet and it will feel like I’m not even wearing them.

Here’s to another 10 years of soccer!

Well Aren’t We Sporty?

April 14, 2010

The past few days were chock full of athletic events for both of us; over the weekend I played in my soccer league’s state tournament and Mark had his first company softball game Monday night.

The tournament was so much fun, we had two games on both Saturday and Sunday; I think the last time I played more than one game in a weekend I was about 14…needless to say it was a bit more exhausting and I’m just a tad more sore than I remember. Our third game of the tournament was by far the best game I have ever had in my whole life. I had an assist on our first goal of the game and I later scored myself off of a corner kick header…it was the most amazing feeling, that was the first time I’d ever done that {but hopefully not the last}.

We ended up winning one game and losing the other three but since every game was really close and we maxed out our potential points on our only win, we ended up getting third place and scoring $500 for our team!

Tammy and Logan were in town for the weekend too so they came to watch a game…Mark got a few action shots, most are pretty far out and of my back but it’s hard to get anything much better when the field is so big.

Mark’s softball game turned out to be pretty entertaining; I have to admit that I brought a book to read but after a couple foul balls I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of not paying attention. The team he’s on is all people from work, some from his department, some not and their team name is the Bad Apples {genius right?}. Of course they all expect Mark to be really good because he’s “the young guy” but it’s all in jest and they have fun joking around with each other.

Though Mark fit in well with his teammates, I couldn’t help but feel a little out of place sitting in the bleachers. I was surrounded by screaming women…screaming at their husbands on the field and screaming at their disobedient children who were scurrying around. It was quite funny actually, watching the young, seemingly naive mothers trying to bribe their toddlers with Funyuns and french fries if they could only sit still and not throw dirt or rocks for just a few short minutes. I like to look at situations such as those as an opportunity to make mental notes on how NOT to raise my future children and it’s a lovely reminder of why we will not be having any of our own any time soon.

I digress…sadly the Bad Apples lost their season opener 16-17; it was a really close game, both teams were pretty evenly matched. Here’s Mark batting, he hit really well the whole night…just gotta work on that base running!

90 Minutes of Heaven

March 28, 2010

I’m totally on a soccer high right now. There’s nothing quite like 90 minutes of good, hard, physical soccer.

Last November I found a woman’s league to join in Round Rock and our team has grown together pretty well; I feel like I really belong on this team and that I’m an important part of it. We’ve got a few girls that played in college, some played in high school and others just have a passion for the game, like me. So far this season we’re undefeated; I always seem to be on the team that gets second place so winning for a change is feels great. It’s so awesome to be back in the game after not being on a team for 8 years.

Soccer is so liberating for me, when I’m on the field all my insecurities are left behind and I am 100% confident in myself. I wish I could say I felt like that in every aspect of my life, but it’s something I’m working on improving. I enjoy the physical aspect of the game too, I missed having a contact sport to play throughout high school and college because I mostly played volleyball and tennis. I remember back when I played basketball in middle school, my dad always said that he would give me 25 cents a point when I scored and a dollar for every time I fouled someone. I think about that every time I have a foul called on me now; you’ve turned me into an animal dad! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t revel in intentionally dishing out pain, but a game without a little pushing and shoving just isn’t any fun!

Also, I think I’ve finally found the perfect position for me; left center mid. Being a midfielder challenges me; I’ve got to be efficient on defense as well as help set up attacks for the strikers. Now midfielders are also the ones who do the most running, we go up with the offense and drop back to help the defense…I hate running, at least mindless running on a treadmill. With soccer, I’m pretty much running off and on for an hour and a half but I’m not concentrating on the fact that I’m running, I’m thinking about playing.

Basically what I’m saying is that I love soccer, everything about it: the strategy, the finesse, the exercise, the challenge and the camaraderie; and I never want to stop playing!