Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye IS Dreams, Visit our new blog!

As of tomorrow, Inspiration Stardust Dreams will be moved to a new location. We're mixing up our blogging a little bit and instead of focusing on...whatever we've been focusing on, we're going to make it a triathlon-specific blog. Theresa and I are both dreaming of completing an Ironman soon, and we figure the easy way to get motivated and gear up is making our blog more on the triathlon side.

The new address is

I'd like to take this time to thank all of our readers over the past couple years. You guys have been awesome with your inspiration to us and motivation. I've certainly seen a lot of change within myself over the past two years and I can only hope that continues in the future.

On behalf of both of us, thank you. :-) We look forward to seeing you at our new blog!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Race #7 of the Season: Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

Before I get into the race post, a picture of the ring that I promised ...

Engagement! More Ring
The ring! Blue topaz donated by my dad for the cause set simply. I love it.

Anyway, on to the race! Brandon and I did this same race last year. We were thinking about doing a smaller one, but decided "eh, what the hell" and did it again this year.

Last year: 4,000 people showed up.
This year: 9,000 people showed up (7000something finishers).

Last year: Race temp somewhere in the 40s.
This year: Race temp ended up cracking 60.

Last year: We pretty much quit working out for like a month at this time.
This year: We've kept plugging along somehow.

Last year: The race would be the longest one to date.
This year: I've cranked out over four several times and even cracked five once.

Last year: I had to walk during the race.
This year: No walking for me!

Last year: I felt fine.
This year: Ran through a head cold (which is still here ... grrr ...)

Okay, so except for that last one, this year was much better than last, including our times (which you'll see in a second). Given the warm weather, there was still snow on the ground, though.

Turkey Trot
Brandon standing in CO snow for the 11th straight month.

We got there about 90 minutes prior to race start so we could find good parking so we could get out of there pretty quickly after the race ended (race time was 10:15am; i had to be at work at 12:30p). As a result, we had tons of time to walk around and warm up.

Turkey Trot
Brandon and I with Gobbles the race mascot.

Turkey Trot
The typical "Brandon adjusts his iPod" warm-up shot.

Turkey Trot
Being silly.

Turkey Trot
Continuing the silliness. I also rocked out my new Zeal sunglasses this race (they were awesome).

Turkey Trot
Exiting the port-o-potties. Remember how I said 9000 people showed up for this race? Yeah, there was this row and another row with about the same amount of port-o-potties right next to it ... and none other except at the finish line. Yeah. Glad we got in line early.

Turkey Trot
Some guy dressed as a chicken.

Turkey Trot
Brandon channelling his inner warrior for the race.

Turkey Trot
T the Tree becoming a tree ... kind of literally (t the tree was my hockey nickname ... long story).

We finally made our way to the start about 15 minutes prior to race time. Given that it's our "last" race of the season, we decided to run it together. I kind of felt bad making Brandon run with me given that his running has been going a lot better than mine AND my body decided to get sick on me, but he insisted.

Given that this race is so huge, they don't have people at the mile markers yelling out your time. Which, given that it ended up taking us 90 seconds to even get to the timing mat at the start line from our place in the masses, was probably okay. Anyway, first mile was different for Brandon and I. He thought it felt bad. I thought the first mile flew by and was kind of surprised to see that first marker. I felt okay while running and I didn't lose my timing chip in the first tenth of a mile like I did last year, so that was a plus.

The latter half of mile two was when things started to get iffy for me. One thing that probably helped in the first mile and a half was we ended up running on the path in the park and NOT the street. However, halfway into mile two, we wound up back on the street which I'm sure changed the impact of my feet hitting the ground and blahblahblah. I also started heating up a bit (remember what I said about it getting to 60 degrees?). Regardless, if mile one felt great, mile two felt like crap.

Mile three wasn't that better. I was seriously concentrating on form so it wouldn't crumble into the ground and I was slowing my pace a little just so I could keep running. It crossed my mind to take a small walk break, but I know that once I make the decision to walk once, I've made the decision to turn what was a run into a walk/run. Sucks, but that's the way my body works. So, I kept on plugging.

Mile four was the most painful. I could tell Brandon probably wanted to pull away, but, wonderful fiance that he is, he stayed with me. I kept giving him one word answers to his questions (which were mostly, "You okay?" me: "yeah."). Still, I kept running. Felt marginally better once I saw the finish line. Was a lot happier that, unlike last year, I could actually SPRINT across the line this year ... though it was probably one of my worst kicks ever.

Last year: Got stuck in a logjam and had to walk across the finish line.
This year: Was able to actually RUN across the line!

Last year: Finished in 48:26 for a 12:06.5/mile pace.
This year: Finished in 40:52 for a 10:13/mile pace.

Last year: Finished one second behind Brandon.
This year: Finished one second ahead of Brandon.

To sum up, it's better to never just stop training and even if you have a head cold and haven't been putting in that many runs (particularly longer distance runs), you can still pull a decent time out of your behind.

Also, as Brandon and I are hoping to do a blog overhaul sometime between now and January 1, you might see even less posting than you do from us now ... particularly from him. Just to warn you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Trot Preview

Okay, so I haven't posted ring pics yet. If you're friends with me on Facebook ... go look at my profile. If not ... check back.

Anyway! I was going to post a marginally amusing Thanksgiving post about things you could do to help combat food overload (like use frozen turkeys as kettlebells - the bags already have handles!), but I got lazy and didn't follow through.

However, Brandon and I did run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving (same one as last year) and it went a lot better than last year. Once I upload my photos (hopefully tomorrow), I'll get that race post up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Take That, Snow!

Just got back from one of the more satisfying runs I've had in a looong time. It was just under three and a half miles (3.37 to be precise) and not one of my faster runs, but it felt awesome, the weather was stormy and I beat the more serious snow by like 10 minutes. HA!

And yes, I'm engaged to Brandon now. :) I'll post a photo or two probably early next week. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hi Everyone

Hey...been awhile since I've I'll kind of fill you in on the latest.

My theme for November is Explosiveness. It's time to hit the weight room again, regain the muscle I have neglected for a few months and also explode in other the pool and the pavement. Bottom line is, I'm going to be hard on myself this month. And make my body explode.

In other news, come January, our blog is going to have a different format. Instead of updating you on the mundaneness of our otherwise very boring lives, it's going to be more specific, with issues and whatnot that we come across. I'm hoping to update it nearly daily, so keep coming back!

And in other news, we are no longer boyfriend/girlfriend...we are engaged!!!! I'm sure pictures of the ring and whatnot will follow shortly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Snow and Moonlight Runs

So, as I blogged yesterday, I've done two fun runs this week. Neither of them were that long (and one wasn't even timed), but both were enjoyable.

The first was Wednesday. As you may have read/heard about, a big ol' snowstorm hit Colorado this past week. Well, I had either a run or a cycle penciled in for Wednesday as I was off work and it's a bit hard to ride one's bike in a snowstorm. So, I ran. It was cold and wet, but I ran.

10.28 Snow Run
Me all bundled up and ready to go!

10.28 Snow Run
The view outside. If you look closely, you can tell it's still snowing.

At this point, I shoveled a bit of the driveway so I had a path to the street and I took off. Given that the sidewalks were barely shoveled off but the roads had been plowed, I took advantage of the fact that pretty much no one was out on the roads and ran in the street. Not the safest thing and not something I would normally do, but in this case, it worked.

I did a short loop around the neighborhood; I felt great and warm and could have gone longer ... had I remembered a scarf/neck gaiter. The bottom half of my face kinda froze due to the snowflakes pelting it and the wind that kicked up every now and then. If I had something covering my face, I definitely would have been able to pull out a longer run.

10.28 Snow Run

Path I'd shoveled ALREADY almost recovered in snow.
10.28 Snow Run
Frozen me post-run. You can see my delightfully rosy cheeks ... and chin ...

In any case, the short run I managed was fantastically fun. It was also probably the best test of the Drymax socks so far as I apparently ran through some puddles and never noticed until I noticed my shoes were pretty wet when I got home. Oops. Still, my feet were bone dry!

The next run was what I'm for now terming the Team Baby Dino Annual Hallow's Eve Moonlight Run. (yes, i'm a nerd)

I came up with the idea for the run when Brandon and I were thinking of things to do on Halloween. Going out and drinking really wasn't an option as I had to be up this morning to be at work by 6. So, I thought that we could get black t-shirts, paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint, grab our cameras and run around the neighborhood, taking pictures of cool jack-o'-lanterns or whatnot in the process. It wouldn't be a serious run; just a fun way to enjoy the holiday now that we're too old to go trick-or-treating (boo).

So ... we did.

Moonlight Run
Us! Front of shirts.

Moonlight Run
The back.

So after taking a few pictures of our own jack-o'-lanterns, we were off. Sadly, there weren't that many good Halloween displays/jack-o'-lanterns, but we did get some fun pictures of us running.

Moonlight Run
Brandon ... who ditched his hat at one point.

Moonlight Run
Me enjoying myself.

Moonlight Run
Flopped in the snow.

Moonlight Run
Getting some snow resistance.

If you made me guess, we only did a couple of miles. I couldn't even throw a time out as we stopped at my brother's house at one point to take pictures of him and his girlfriend in their freaky costumes (they went to a bar). Still, it was a way to ENJOY running. Make it something we want to do more often.

As a result of this run ... we want to do it again next year. Make it the second annual version. We're also thinking of making our own shirts for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot we're doing (four miles!).

Because if we've got to run, we might as well make it as enjoyable as possible, right?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fun Runs!

Yes, I know I haven't updated much here, but!, in the past week, I've pulled off two relatively short but totally awesome nonetheless runs.

One was Wednesday during the crazy-ass snowstorm that hit Denver (yes, during the snowstorm) and the second was, oh, just about 30 minutes ago.

I'll blog more tomorrow (with pictures!) with the tale of both runs.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Eat sugar, but not too much (if you must at all)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A book for you all to read

I just finished reading Born to Run, a book by Christopher McDougall. It basically describes the author's journey from trying to diagnose a foot injury to finding the Tarahumara Indians that live in a remote area of Mexico. These people are the greatest runners in the world, covering long distances without pain, injury, or suffering. With the help of a strange, reclusive man named Caballo Blanco, Chris discovers what makes these people love something so simple as running, and gets caught up in the greatest race the world never saw. From the Leadville Ultramarathon to Badwater, you can discover why we as humans today dread to run, and how to recover this lost ancient art.

I know that sounded like a bad book review on Amazon, but seriously, this was an amazing book. T and I discussed it at length. Do we over-analyze running? Is this really a simple thing that we are meant to do? Are we so absorbed by the comforts of society that we have forgotten how to run?

What I took away from it, if there was only one thing to take away, is keep things simple, in any sport you do. Focus on enjoying yourself when you're out there. The second you concern yourself with making running something you HAVE to do, it no longer is enjoyable.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Catching up...

Sitting in Rapid City, I have a chance to reflect upon what has been a so-so time period of working out and where I'm at...and where I want to be.

This morning, I went for a run in Rapid City. It was 28 degrees when I started my run. Moreso, I'm fighting a cold right now. Nonetheless, I pushed myself through it and ended up doing 2.13 miles in 24:19. Not a good time, obviously, but you know what? I don't mind. Because that brings me up to my next point.

Everything I do in this next year is important. Every time I work out, every time I swim, bike, run, weightlift, play hockey, etc. I am doing something to my body. I'm changing it. Therefore, I have decided my theme for this next year will be called Breaking Down Walls. It's got numerous meanings, including what I just mentioned above. Another one is I want to push myself continuously. Every workout, I want to break down a wall. And obviously, we're both looking at doing an Olympic triathlon and a half-marathon. Yeah, breaking down those walls. :-)

Last week, I ran 5.23 miles in Wichita. It might not seem impressive, but consider this: I was fighting a cold that week (and still am), and I ran 13.02 miles that week. That is a record for me in terms of mileage in one week. I'm really happy about that. This week was a letdown due to a lot of circumstances, but honestly, I'm ok with it. Normally, I probably wouldn't be, but hey, we're breaking down walls. :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Born to Run and a New Personal Achievement

I first have to preface this post in that I shouldn't be blogging and SHOULD be working on my WCHA season previews instead ... but I wanted to post this yesterday and didn't so I need to do it today. Yes.

Anyway, after reading an excerpt in 5280 Magazine and I'm pretty sure this one in Men's Health, I decided to pick up Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Long story short, it was AMAZING. McDougall, a writer for the aforementioned Men's Health, wanted an answer to a simple question - "How come my foot hurts?" He'd been told that it was due to running and the high stress that it puts on one's feet. In figuring out exactly why running hurts one's feet, however, he learned about the Tarahumara, a group of running people down in Mexico. The Tarahumara are basically the world's best ultramarathoners, having come to one such race (the Leadville 100) and kicked everyone's asses. They are also kind people, have very low injury rates and are pretty much perfect (so McDougall describes them).

Anyway, the book tells of McDougall's tale of finding the Tarahumara and then learning how to run and train like them, finding out that he can run further and longer as a result with no injuries.

McDougall winds his story in along with the basic history of ultramarathon-ing as well as the history of how our foot problems (due to running) came about. Basically, as humans evolved and moved upright, we were born to run and run long distances. Barefoot. The human foot was made to run barefoot and all the correcting crap we do to our feet with our running shoes and stuff basically makes it worse. In other words, since Nike came out with the first cushioned running shoe, runners started getting injured and injured a lot.

If you like running, a good story, history and a touch of anthropology mixed all together, I highly recommend this book. I just picked it up from the library, but I'm thinking it's one I may need to buy to have for the personal library.

After finishing the book yesterday, I was motivated to go running around the park barefoot ... but knew I had to get in some miles. So, I decided to go for a long run. I tinkered with my form a little - keeping my back straight and my steps as light as I could make them ... and I did well. I tried to enjoy the run and not feel miserable and for the most part ... it worked.

I didn't have to walk until just past the 3.2 mile mark and only seriously walked when I got to this murderous hill near the end of the run (100 feet in elevation gained in under a half-mile). All in all, I did 5.12 miles in 1:00:16 ... which is the longest run I've EVER been on. EVER. It was the first time I've ever cracked the five mile mark. My quads started hurting a bit near the end as did my stupid buniony feet, but it also felt AMAZING at the same time.

So, that's where I am. Except for pretty much my total lack of bike riding lately (oops), I think I'm well on my way to early prepping my way for an Olympic distance triathlon next year and maybe even a half-marathon next December (2010, people) ...