The good kind of exhausted

It’s no secret that my life is like a 3-ring circus, and most of the rings are of my own doing.  If only I had Hermione’s time-turner, I would be able to stay on top of everything!!  The past few days have gone by in a whirl wind!  I wish I could say my toilets are clean and all the clothes are put away, but (sigh) I cannot.  However, I logged some nice miles over the weekend and spent the rest of it watching Alli’s 10-year-old team dominate the 11s, so the toilets can wait!

First, I’ll get to the running updates:

Thursday evening, we ran hill repeats again.  They weren’t as much fun this time, because my partner had me run them at easy effort on the first 4 repeats.  (I was NOT happy about that, but he didn’t seem to care one bit in the least.)  The last 2 repeats were shorter, but he instructed me to give a hard effort on them.  I clocked a pace that I didn’t even know was possible for me.  OK….I’m not stupid…I know there is NO way I could sustain that pace for any distance at all, but it was a really exciting payoff to be able to see it….attached to ME!  The weirdest thing is that I didn’t go through any stiffness or soreness from this workout.  I’m still not quite sure what to think about that.  When I got home and showered, did some yoga, foam rolled and put on my new Zensah recovery socks.  OH.  MY.  GOSH!  I love them!!  They are amazing and felt sooooo good!zensah

Saturday morning’s long run was to be 10.5 miles, at a god-awfully slow pace.  However, I am coming to understand and appreciate what SLOW runs do for your body, so even tho my partner couldn’t make it for that run I knew I had to maintain the pace.  I kept the pace pretty well through mile 5 with not much fluctuation (SO NOT Jen).  Around mile 6 (when Jen got the run-high), pacing became painfully difficult.  I looked down more times than I could count and found myself close to 1:00 faster than my prescribed pace, but, contrary to my normal response (run the faster pace and just get a little faster), I managed to slow myself and get back into the zone.  This is quite a noteworthy accomplishment and I still don’t know what it means or how I was able to accomplish this on my own.

There really is no better feeling that greeting the sun when out on an early morning run.
There really is no better feeling than greeting the sun when out on an early morning run.
There really are few things more beautiful (to a Texan) than a field of bluebonnets.
There really are few things more beautiful (to a Texan) than a field of bluebonnets.

Around the time that I started having pacing issues, I also had some minor ITB issues.  I tried not to panic.  I stopped and stretched and continued on the way.  I wrestled with the decision to scrap the run and take a shortcut back, but I decided to continue on.  That was probably Crazy Jen rearing her head, but I can’t keep her locked away ALL the time.  I may be rushing recovery by having entered  a half marathon on 5/3, but logging the miles for that race training run was in the back of my mind.  Throughout the day, I felt that ITB tightness, but stretched as much as was possible (which wasn’t much since I was now camped out at the Dallas Convention Center).  The good news is that it now feels great.  I’m hoping and praying that it is all related to increase in distance from the more focused training I’ve been doing the last 6 weeks.  For now, I’m taking the Scarlett O’Hara approach and have decided I’ll worry about that tomorrow.

After the Saturday long run, I came home and did some recovery yoga and foam rolling.  Then Alli and I packed, frantically, and were off to Dallas for a tournament a the convention center.  Alli’s team played in the Mizuno Lone Star Classic, one of the National Qualifiers for USA Volleyball.  This qualifier is the largest in the nation (fitting, since everything is bigger in Texas) and is divided into 2 weekends…each one with over 100 courts.  The teams are seeded, then divided into pools of 4 teams (sometimes 3 teams due to numbers).  There is an AM wave and a PM wave each day during pool play, then brackets are played out on Sunday.  Most divisions are giving out bids for the Girls’ Junior National Championships, so there are 2 days of pool play for every age group except 11s.  And since Alli’s team is a true 10s team, we were playing in the non-bid 11s division, which meant we only played Saturday and Sunday.

We started our pool on Saturday with our referee duties and I gave our scorekeeper the match off and kept score for her.  Mainly because it would make the match go faster, but I also really enjoy keeping score.  I was much more comfortable keeping score here, rather than Friday night when I kept the books for softball.  (I’m too ADHD to keep up with the base runners!)

The pencils were old and terrible.  HOW am I supposed to make it perfect if I can't erase? #scorekeepingnerd
The pencils were old and terrible. HOW am I supposed to make it perfect if I can’t erase? #scorekeepingnerd

Then, it was time for our girls to get to work.  We were in a 3-team pool, and HAD to win both of our games in order to keep our hopes for Gold bracket alive.  The first set was sloppy, but the girls pulled it together and came out on top in the end….29-27.  The next set was a beating and we won 25-6.  We should have won both sets 25-6, but a win is a win.  Next up was an Oklahoma team.  They stomped us in the first set 14-25, but we answered in set 2 for a 25-14 win, finally pulling it out in the tiebreaker 15-12.  These wins put us first in our pool and guaranteed us the right to play for gold on Sunday morning.  However, we had a crossover match later that evening to determine pool seeding for those pools.  AGAIN, playing an Arkansas team, we lost the first set 22-25.  And AGAIN, we battled second set to force a tiebreaker, which we won 15-7.  (WHY can’t they just save my heart and take care of business in 2? LOL)

Luckily, a couple of moms and I got away for drinks in between games Saturday evening.  Made that last game a lot less stressful! LOL
Luckily, a couple of moms and I got away for drinks in between games Saturday evening. Made that last game a lot less stressful! LOL

We were back on the court early Sunday to ref, then play our last 2 pool games.   Just like Saturday, we were in a MUST WIN situation.  We had to win both of our pool games to make it to the 8 team gold bracket.  We took care of business 25-15, 25-5 in the first match.  The second match was closer, but we still managed to close it out in 2 games: 25-22, 25-23.  Making it to the gold bracket meant that the lowest we could finish would be 5th of 44 teams.  Sadly, the first team we were to face would be a team that knocked us out at a tournament a few weeks ago, effectively handing us 5th place in that tournament as well.  We played on our heels the entire first set, which ended terribly 8-25.  The girls came ready for battle during the second set, but we made too many unforced errors and ended the game a little short with 19-25.  Our girls were the only 10s team in this 11s division and ended up 5th.  There is NO way we could walk away with our heads down!!

Our girls are so much fun.  I tried to get video of them playing leap frog during the opposing team's warm-ups.  I mean, they ARE Frogs!!
Our girls are so much fun. I tried to get video of them playing leap-frog during the opposing team’s warm-ups but failed. One parent made a snide comment about the goofing off, but what does she know? They ARE Frogs!! (And they are TEN year olds!)

Normal tournaments are exhausting, but qualifiers are exhausting x 10.  We walked out of the convention center at 9:30 Saturday evening and had to be back on the court, ready at 7:30 AM.  I had reserved a room at the Omni, because it is connected to the Convention Center and for too many good reasons to list.  When we got back to the hotel, the wait to eat at the hotel buffet was 1 1/2 hours.  I knew there was NO way we could do that, so, much to Alli’s disappointment, she had to raid her Sunday snack bag.  I assured her we would find something healthy to eat at the concession stands on Sunday….she was SO worried about her healthy snacks!!  (WHY???  I had already successfully bribed motivated her to get her serves in with the promise of a smoothie!)  Since the hotel buffet had been such a fiasco on Saturday evening, I decided to order room service for breakfast so that we wouldn’t be stuck in that same situation again Sunday morning.  She was SO excited when it arrived!  Doesn’t take much to excite a 10-year-old!

Alli had the eggs and bacon.  I ate the English Muffin and took a few home fries off her hands ;)
Alli had the eggs and bacon. I ate the English Muffin and took a few home fries off her hands 😉

The Omni did a great thing for the Lone Star guests and set up a room in which we could check our luggage until we were finished in the convention center.  It saved me a big hassle as my car was in the valet.  After we claimed our luggage and finally got our car out of the valet, we were on our way home.  And in less than 15 minutes, Alli had settled in for a nice, long, well-deserved nap.

Yes, I took this while driving, BUT traffic was stopped!
Yes, I took this while driving, BUT traffic was stopped!

Happy Marathon Monday!!  I’m cheering on all the runners!

Jen

The weekend from which I am still recovering!

This weekend was fast and furious, to say the least, but it was one of the most fun weekends that I have had in quite some time!

Saturday morning I was up, bright and early, for my first run since my marathon on December 14.  Six weeks of no running.  Needless to say, I was excited, but I also went in with the mindset that it would be an information-gathering run – more of a state-of-my-recovery kind of assessment, if you will.

This was the first run with my new watch and I absolutely LOVED the change.  I had created my workout and synced to the watch ahead of time, complete with my targeted heart rate zones.  I planned a 5 min walking warm-up followed by 3 repeats of 5 min running in heart rate zone 3 (130-148), then 5 min walking in zone 2 (112-129) with a 5 min cool down.  Now, I realize these zones aren’t completely accurate for me, since I am unable to figure my threshold at this point, but I think they will work until I am able to perform all the diagnostic tests.  My first running interval was 10:21/average per mile.  The second was at 10:54 and the third at 11:24.  Since my watch only showed my heart rate and the countdown to the next interval, I had NO idea of my pace (which was a VERY good thing).  I knew on the 3rd interval that I had slowed considerably, and as a result I kept trying to speed ahead but my watch wouldn’t let me!  Believe me when I say that I wanted that thing to quit beeping at me, so I did as I was told! LOL!!  Overall, it was a very good run, except the crankiness in my right ITB on the 3rd interval.  I am not all that surprised or all that concerned, as my myofascia release has been focused on my left (gimpy) side.  I will be going this week for a full body release so hopefully we can take care of some of the right side issues.  Bottom line, though, is that the run gave me hope that I CAN come back and I WILL come back strong!

The old train depot was a beautiful sight on frosty Saturday morning!
The old train depot was a beautiful sight on frosty Saturday morning!
The walking intervals, coupled with using a watch instead of my phone, gave me opportunity to snap some lovely pics!
The walking intervals, coupled with using a watch instead of my phone, gave me opportunity to snap some lovely pics!

After the run, I dashed home to stretch, foam roll and shower in an attempt to make it to Logan’s 9 am soccer game on time.  I’ll just kill the suspense and tell you that I did NOT make it to the game on time.  I made it to the soccer game just before half-time.  The morning was BEAUTIFUL!  Sun was shining, light breeze and temps warmed quickly so that I didn’t even need a jacket!  Logan even played right midfield as opposed to his usual defensive position, barely missing heading the ball in on a cross in the second half.  A fun twist was our 2-student spirit section.  They brought their drums and played the entire game.  All would have been complete, if only we had brought our vuvuzelas!  The boys ended their tournament on a win and have gone to 3-2-3 on the season, which is about 3 wins and 2 ties better than last season already!

A long-time friend of mine owns an online newspaper in town, the North Texas E-News.  He is a phenomenal photographer (well, it helps to have a high-dollar camera) and he is so supportive of ALL the surrounding schools.  I can’t tell you how many amazing pictures he took of Taylor over the years.  Now that we have home soccer games, he is braving the elements to capture those moments as well!

A pic of Logan from Saturday's game.
A pic of Logan from Saturday’s game.
Another amazing Allen Rich photo!!
Another amazing Allen Rich photo!!

After the soccer game, I rushed home to pack.  Alli’s team was playing in a tournament at the Dallas Convention Center and I had made a last-minute decision to spend the night.  I scurried around the house like a mad person packing, rushed to catch the last half of Alli’s basketball game, and we were off to downtown Dallas!

As a refresher, Alli is setter on Madfrog 10s National volleyball team.  Even though the 10s age group is growing in USA Volleyball, our girls will end up playing in the 12s division in almost all of our tournaments, and it was no different this weekend.  However, our girls have been well-trained and our coaching is impeccable.  They rolled through pool play, with a 6-0 set count to clinch 1st place in our pool and end the day.  Sunday morning we were back, bright and early, at 7:15.  We easily won our first three matches of the day to secure our spot in the finals.

I knew that the team in the finals would be difficult to beat.  Our girls don’t take into account the age of the opponent.  Or their size.  Or how well they can serve.  Collectively, as a team, they never seem to get rattled.  Of course, there are times when our serving is off.  There are times when our serve receive is off.  There are times when the pistons aren’t all firing.  But they never look defeated.  The team they played was very good, but our girls kept playing their game.  They ended up losing the first game 25-22, but still battled in the second set.  The teams traded points (point runs, to be more accurate), until the opposing team was able to clinch a 25-23 victory.  The coach of the other team even came over to congratulate our girls on the way they played and added that he hoped to never face them again.  Even so, the girls were devastated!  And I giggled a little bit inside because they were sad about 2nd place….in a 12s tournament!!  There were several moments of tears.  While all of us parents are in awe of their accomplishment, they truly believed they could win and believed that they should have won (and they were right!).  I LOVE that attitude!

2nd place overall, 12s Division American Volleyball Challenge
2nd place overall, 12s Division
American Volleyball Challenge

Taylor’s team was also playing in this tournament, so I was able to watch her team play when Alli was off.  She is such a good coach and I am very proud of her!  She is the type of coach that finds something to say about every single play.  That kind of coaching is what develops great athletes.  I have no doubt that she will enjoy many successes in her volleyball coaching career!Coach Taylor

 

Now for the non-sport activities!

Taylor stayed in the hotel with us Saturday evening.  On our way to the hotel after our afternoon of volleyball, we stopped at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas (to eat from the food trucks – don’t judge!).  This is a beautiful space that was built on top of a freeway.  Klyde Warren park

 

The REAL reason I wanted to eat at the food trucks was because I saw the Trailercakes truck.  How I have managed to live this long without having one of their cupcakes still boggles my mind.  Sadly, they only had coconut left, and we all know I have sensory issues with food – shredded coconut included, so I had to pass.  We finally decided to place our order at Butcher’s Son.  (OK, YES, the name grossed me out, as I couldn’t shake the vision of all the meat chopping going on in there, but the girls’ votes over-rode me.)  I ordered chicken quesadilla.  Safe, right?  WRONG.  THIS is what was inside:sausage quesadillas

CHICKEN SAUSAGE!!!!  I thought the meat poking out the side looked funny.  Then I thought the meat tasted funny and had weird/wrong texture.  Then I looked at the meat.  In case you don’t know, I have minor issues with meats that have been ground up and shoved into some sort of casing.  Yes….me.  I know it’s difficult to fathom, but go ahead and fathom it.

When we made it back to hotel, I stretched and rolled my ITB out with my trusty, portable friend, The Stick. (And then I read my Kindle 🙂stick

By the time Alli and I started making our way home Sunday afternoon, it was 3:30.  We were both starved and exhausted.  But, I had promised her Buffalo Wild Wings, so BWW it was.  Normally, we wouldn’t order appetizers and our meal, but, hey, her team had just ended up in 2nd place and she worked hard!  So we did order appetizers and when she had finished eating this happened:BWW

She actually laid down in the booth while I finished eating.  Winning wears you out.  Literally.

I am still dragging this morning, but she woke up refreshed and ready to conquer the week.  Oh, and she expressed the need for a medal hanger – like mine that I hang my running medals on, except volleyball.  Apparently she is planning on earning many more medals!

Happy Monday!