Thursday, August 27, 2009

I learned how to add videos!

Wow, not sure what to say about this product!

This is kinda scary but hilarious, that dog needs some help!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lazy day off = random photo Tuesday

Rich and my little brother Kirk playing Baggo (aka cornhole) in our backyard.

Tanner doing what he does best, laying around.

It's a hard life being a dog in the Morris family, as shown by Dickson and Fiona's deplorable living conditions.

Kirk and I in before the Dierks Bentley/Darius Rucker concert a couple weeks ago. Can you tell we're related?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How Many Blogs Do You Read?

I currently subscribe to 99 blogs, most of them are about running, dogs and makeup/perfume (yes there are several blogs entirely devoted to perfume....I know, I was shocked too! But now I'm just addicted). I was just curious to see how many you guys all read.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Richard's Race Report

I couldn't get him to sit down and type this himself, so he's dictating it to me:

First here's a little background. I don't have much experience with swimming. I did take swimming lessons when I was a little boy, and I can remember overhearing my teacher telling my mom that I wasn't a very good swimmer. Fast forward 20 years, and I can confidently say that I haven't improved much. Granted, until now I haven't tried so hopefully with some coaching and a lot of practice I will become a much better swimmer...short of drowning I can't get much worse, that's for sure. I knew that the swim was going to be the toughest part, and I knew if I could survive that part I could finish the bike and run.

Somehow my age group, 30-34 y/o men, was the last wave into the pond. Maybe they thought this would be a strong age group so starting us last would be smarter than, say the 40> women's group....they were wrong. I tend to get a little panicky in the water to begin with, add that to race-day nerves and a murky deep pond, and you have one freaked out Richard. I actually felt good for the first 5 minutes or so, and stayed up with the pack. After I started to get tired, I fell behind and started struggling. Let's just say that I had a good 7 minutes in the pond by myself. Every other swimmer in the entire triathlon was already moved onto biking and I was still floating, dog paddling, and hating life out there for 7 minutes as the lone swimmer left in the pond. It was just me and the lifeguard in the kayak. I'm pretty sure he got a good hand of solitaire in waiting for me to finish. There was still a pretty good crowd around because the start and finish of all 3 events was in the one main central location beside the pond. This one lady would cheer for me really loudly every time I would start swimming, then she'd get quiet when I would flip over on my back and gasp for air, then she'd cheer again when I would start swimming again. As I FINALLY neared the end of the swim, the announcer says on the PA "Swimmer approaching, swimmer approaching" and the photographer puts down his drink and runs back over to take my picture. Thanks Mr. PA announcer for drawing more attention to the fact that I was still in the water. I drag my exhausted body out of the pond and jog to the bike...the only bike left on the racks except for the couple of bikes already back on the rack from the elites in the first wave who are already onto the run portion. I can barely breathe, that 0.3 mile swim was the hardest thing I think I've ever done in my life. Time: 21 minutes

Unlike all the guys in their nice tri-shorts, I swam in boxer briefs and normal beach swim trunks. For the swim-bike transition, I had to strip down to my undies, then pull on my biking/running spandex and then my running shorts on over them. I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to pull tight spandex shorts on when you're soaking wet. There I am, hopping around in my underwear on one foot because the other foot is stuck in the spandex and I somehow manage to knock the bike rack over. At that point I was very thankful there were no bikes on the rack. I got it set back up, got both pairs of shorts, shoes, socks and helmet on and started towards the bike start. Time: 4 and a half minutes

When I got to the mat, a volunteer says "You can mount now." I keep walking. She says "Sir, you can mount now." I'm like...I would love to mount now, but I can't physically muster the energy, give me a second. I take a Gu and drink some water, mount the bike and take off. The course had some loops and out and backs, so I saw a steady stream of bikers coming towards me but none going my direction. About 4 miles in I meet Amanda and tell her I think I'm going to die. Actually, my exact words were "I'm f*c^i*ng last and I think I'm going to die." I was so worn out from the swim that I didn't have any energy to move very fast on the bike. About 7 or so miles in, I go through an intersection and the cop that has it blocked off asks me if I want the good news or the bad news. I tell him to hit me with the bad first. He says "Well, the bad news is, you're in dead last place. The good news is, you're halfway there." Ok, halfway, I can do this! My goal was to catch up to and pass at least one other biker. After a few minutes I spot a bike in the distance and I start pedaling like crazy to overtake him/her. I will not be last! I finally catch this triathlete, and discover that it is a woman probably in her 50s on a beach cruiser with a basket on the front. As I speed past her, I simultaneously felt pride at no longer being last and disbelief that I had sunk so low as to be proud of passing this biking Mary Poppins. As I went back through the intersection, the cop hands me a bottle of water and asks "Did you pass the lady with the basket on her bike yet." I told him I had, and he starts packing his cones up in the car in anticipation of the last biker approaching. I finally make it back to the transition area and am ready to move on to the run. Time: 55 minutes

T2: Lots of people are milling around already finished, eating bananas, drinking gatorade, etc. I drop of the bike, and start running. Time: about a minute

Run: Suprisingly I felt pretty good going into the run, probably because I felt much more in my element. My goal was 35 minutes for the 5K, and I beat that by about 4 minutes. The funny thing was I was passing by the central area about a mile into the run, at the exact same time that Amanda was coming down the home stretch and crossing the finish line. Basically she was on a road, there was a median full of specatators, then I was on the bike path running parallel to the road. Some friends had come out to cheer us on in the median-spectator area, and they saw me and were cheering for me at mile 1 and totally missed seeing Amanda finish since they were facing the bike path and had their backs to the finish line. She just laughed and said she thought I needed the cheering more than she did at that point anyway.

Overall thoughts on the experience:
It was incredibly humbling, but I will definitely do it again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pics from the Tri

We took this one when my brother dropped us off. It was still dark out and we were trying to figure out where to go and what to do.

Here I am with our bikes, as we are setting up our transition area.
I felt so bada$$ with my number written on my arm. I know, I'm easily

That's the dog-park pond behind us.
My little brother and I after the finish.
Yay, Rich after crossing the finish line....looking more than a little dazed and

Monday, August 17, 2009

Charleston Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Bottom line: was harder than I thought, but I loved it and am ready to go again!

So let me start by telling you guys what our training was like for this. We did, if I remember correctly, a total of 4 swims and 4 bike rides with one of those being a swim/bike brick and one being a bike/run brick. And of course we've been running pretty consistently so that part was well-trained-for...the rest not so much. I say we were blissfully ignorant. We knew we weren't trained adequately to do well, but also knew it was pretty much our last shot this season if we wanted to do one and we decided that we did, if nothing else just to finish it, see what the sport is all about and see if it's something we're interested in pursuing further...and I think it is! This particular sprint is really short: 0.3 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. So a grand total of 16.4 miles, I have to say that after doing it, I respect the distance. It didn't seem like it would be that difficult, but in hindsight I have more respect for the seemingly short distance than before the race.

Sunday morning we got up early, loaded the car and headed to the park where it was held. We got everything set up as best we knew how for transitions, got our numbers drawn on and laughed at how we had no idea how it would go.

Swim: My awesomely huge muscles weigh quite a bit, so I was able to register for the Athena division (insert sarcastic tone here). I thought I would still be with my age group, but nope...the Athenas (females >150lbs) were grouped in with the 40+ age group. So here I am with all the super fit golden oldies, and I overhear this awesome conversation.
FOL1 (fit older lady #1): So how old are you?
FOL 2: 66
FOL1: Do you still have that boyfriend?
FOL 2: Yes, I do. I'm not really in love with him but he's so sweet and we have fun together, and ooeee he is sexy.
I hope I can be as fun and life-loving as these ladies when I'm in my 60s!
My wave started about 10 minutes before Rich, so I kissed him good luck and got in the lake (aka dog-park pond). The swim turned out to be much tougher than expected. I think what made it harder was the dark, murky water and swimming so near other people. I didn't realize how many times I would get kicked/splashed/etc. Plus my goggles fogged up, which has never happened on any of my (4) training swims. I didn't freak out about not being able to touch as I was afraid I might, but I definitely did at least half the swim on my side or back. It was ugly, but I got out of the pond in one piece. It took me about 15 minutes.

T1: 3:00, not sure what took so long. I dried my feet, put on socks and running shoes (we don't have road bikes/clips), helmet, ate a gu and was off.

Bike: Number of times I heard "On your left"=>100. Number of times I said "On your left"=3. Take that you 3 people slower than me! I was really really wishing for a road bike, because I just physically cannot go as fast on my hybrid. The bike was a flat out and back and it was great fun. I cranked the gear up to the highest and pushed it pretty hard. My hiney was burnin'! It was getting pretty sparse near the end of the bike because most people had already either moved onto the run, or finished the race altogether. The bike portion took me 49 minutes.

T2: 2:00 Helmet off, skirt on over spandex, bike back on the rack, legs don't want to move

Run: I'm feeling pretty good although with the lead-legs and humidity, I felt like I was running through hot mud. I trudged along at a snails pace, and walked a the water stops. At about mile 1.75 I thought I had taken a wrong turn. There were almost no runners left on the course and I was on an unmarked section that runs through a bike path in the woods. I was convinced I was off-course, so I started walking back for probably a minute or so before I saw two ladies from my chubbies/oldies swim wave that reassured me I was on the right path. I turned around and ran (jogged slowly) to the finish. I was able to kick it and finish strong. Time for the run was 36ish.

Overall thoughts:
-Most definitely need to train more
-LOVE tris, can't wait to try another one
-need to get road bike, or convert my hybrid
-could have pushed much harder than I did. I didn't know what it would take physically to finish so I never went all out.
-Tri-people are awesome. They were all so friendly and encouraging.

Stay tuned for Rich's guest post about his experience. I promise you'll laugh.
Blogger is being difficult and not letting me add pics tonight, so they'll be in the next post as well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Answers to your Redneck Remedy Questions, and the winner is...

I forwarded your questions on to the mastermind behind Redneck Remedy (you can follow him on twitter @redneckremedy) and here are his answers--

Q: How safe is it for kids?
A: It is safe for use in kids ages 2 and up.

Q: What is the shelf-life?
A: At least a year

Q:How does it work on itchiness?
A: It is great for itchiness. The hydrocortisone decreases inflammation and itchiness, and the tea tree oil is soothing.

Q: Can you use it on chafing?
A: It's great for chafing-lots of folks use it just for that.

Q:Does it work on bee stings?
A: Yes! In fact, just had a patient in yesterday with wasp stings buying it for a second time.

And the winner (chosen randomly) is MCM Mama, congrats! Email me your address at amandamorris1121 at gmail dot com and I'll have your bottle mailed to you.

I can only vouch for the product for sunburn, and while I love you all dearly I refuse to purposefully chafe just to review a product...but the next time I have unintentional chafing I will use Redneck Remedy on it and let you guys know how it works!

Since we have our tri on Sunday, I got this weekends long run in yesterday. It was a hot and steamy 8 miler, but felt better than any run has in a long time!! Isn't it funny that now I don't consider 8 miles to really be a "long run.":) Happy Thursday peeps!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Training update

I have forwarded all ya'lls questions regarding Redneck Remedy on to my buddy who created it, so I'm going to wait to do the drawing until I hear back from him.

We are *tentatively* training for the Outer Banks Marathon in November. I say tentatively because there are so many things between now and then that could change (friends wedding dates, injury flare-ups, etc) so right now we are just taking things one day at a time. But if everything works out for us to be able to run it, we want to be ready! We're using this plan from Marathon Rookie. I've been trying to figure out the best way to incorporate some strength training without it resulting in me running on legs that are sore and exhausted. I think what is working so far is to go to Body Pump on Mondays and then again on Wednesdays if possible. I just take it easy on the squat/lunge segments so that I'm strengthening but not to the point of fatigue that I cannot run an easy run the next day. With our long runs typically on Saturdays, this gives me at least 2 days for my legs to recover after strength training. I am tired of having a mushy upper body (and lower body now that I think about it....)

This Sunday is our sprint tri, and it should be interesting. We've been running consistently and then just fitting in a bike or swim here and there, but not following any real training program. It may take us 3 hours, but we'll finish:)

My little brother is here visiting from Arkansas. He just graduated last Friday with his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, and is out here for a vacay to celebrate. He doesn't know it yet but we're roping him into being photographer and cheerleader for us Sunday.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Product Review and Giveaway: Redneck Remedy

A friend of mine from pharmacy school has created a product called Redneck Remedy (RR) (don't laugh, we're from Arkansas) that can be used for sunburns, other minor burns and skin irritations.

Now I try really hard NOT to get sunburned, but with summer running and beachgoing, sometimes it still happens. I have used RR several times this summer, and I just have to recommend it to you guys. It has lidocaine and hydrocortisone as the active ingredients...nothing crazy or new but the way it's blended together makes it go on great, soak right in and feel soothing to your skin.

clear, unlike the bright blue and green typical of aloe gels
rubs in smoothly, nongreasy and nonsticky (I hate sticky gels)
is soothing and feels good on sunburned skin, helps ease the burn and promote healing

Can't buy it in stores, but it's super easy to order at
Smell, which is unavoidable due to the key ingredient being tea tree oil. Here's a blurb from the website about it's use:

"Tea Tree Oil is widely recognized for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anesthetic, and antibacterial properties that help heal. It is transdermal in nature, meaning it penetrates deep into the multiple layers of the skin and is a "carrier" of active ingredients, generally improving their effectiveness."

Unfortunately it doesn't smell the best in my opinion, but I'm willing to smell like tea tree oil temporarily because the product is excellent otherwise, and I think the tea tree oil is an important ingredient that makes this formula great, so it's definitely worth the smell (it's not bad, just pretty strong).

Redneck Remedy was created by a pharmacist I graduated with, and he's one of the smartest and nicest guys you could ever meet. I truly hope he has great success with this and any other product he develops. I think every medicine cabinet needs a bottle of Redneck Remedy on hand for unexpected burns.
If this is something you think you would like to try, drop me a comment telling me why you need Redneck Remedy and I'll draw a winner on Wednesday.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Official Race Photos from Napa-Sonoma Half

He made it! There were some times in the last couple months when we didn't think Rich would be able to run it at all.

I'm not sure why but every race I wind up with a open-mouth, waving-hands pic.

And here I just look really constipated and uncomfortable....maybe it was because I had to pee the first 9 miles.

Where's the wine????

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Napa to Sonoma Part Deux...really long review in pictures

So after our late night Friday night, we slept in Saturday then woke up and got a good look at the "cottage" where we were staying. Essentially it was a mobile home park where they had taken mobile home/RV type thingys, removed the wheels, and covered them in some sort of siding. We had a 1 bedroom with a sleeper sofa because there were four of us. It was a little cramped for 4, but it got the job done. One of Richard's best friends from childhood and his wife, Charles and Erin, were joining us on the trip.

The expo was nothing to write home about. It was very small and in an unairconditioned tent so we did not stay long. After the expo, we went to a winery and olive oil tasting at Jacuzzi Vinyards and The Olive Press. The Olive Press is amazing, and I highly recommend any olive oil lovers to order something from their website. They have various organic oils (not all are organic), flavor infused oils such as blood orange and lemon, and dipping sauces. We went there last summer, and ordered bottles for several people as Christmas gifts and loved it so much we had to go back. Then we found a little jazz festival and killed an hour or so there. We were the only people under the age of 70 there. This pic is of one of the bands that played, the Natural Gas Jazz Band. They have been playing together for 40 years.

Here are Rich, Erin and Charles enjoying the tunes.

There was a dance floor set up, and let me tell you...these old folks could dance. It was definitely not their first rodeo. I couldn't resist getting a pic of this woman in her fringe black mini, bright red lipstick and parasol. You can see some people in the background holding hands doing some sort of dance in a circle move.

After the jazz fest we had dinner at Uva Trattoria in Napa. They had great, light, gourmet pizzas and we ate a yummy meal and worked on hydration (yes, with water for once!). Then we went back to the cottage, layed out all our gear for Sunday morning and hit the hay.
Sunday morning we got up around 4:30. I slept in my recovery socks both Friday and Saturday nights as per the recommendation of a guy at our favorite running shop in Charleston. This shot is of me taking one last horizontal break before driving to catch the shuttle bus. By the way, if you haven't tried some form of recovery/compression sock, you need to. They rock!

Here are Rich and Erin fueling up on G2, coffee and peanut butter bagels on the cottage porch (ie metal platform attached to the side of the RV).

The race started at a winery on the top of a hill. This is right where the shuttle bus dropped us off at the base of the hill.

The vinyards are just gorgeous.

The view from the top of the hill. This is just a stunning part of the country.

Another shot of the view. You can see all the runners on the road down towards the starting line, which is that red balloon arch. I could have looked at this view all day, but I had a race to run!

No prerace photo collection is complete without a bathroom shot. The lines were insane. The porta-potties are over on the right side of the pic, and the lines extend all the way down into the vinyard. This was the only race I've run that people have not been peeing behind every shrub/car door/telephone pole they can find. I guess they didn't want to pollute the grapes?

I ran with my camera, which was really easy. I wore a running skirt from and the camera fit perfectly into the side pocket. This shot came out blurry (guess I'm not a very smooth runner) but you get the idea...running through the vinyards with rolling hills. The course turned out to be warmer and hillier than I expected. I knew that there was a pretty good hill in mile 1, which with adrenaline and fresh legs was a piece of cake. The rolling hills throughout the rest of the course were what really wore me down.

Rich and I ran the first 2 miles together (oh side note: I had to pee at the start but didn't have time for another trip thru the porta-potty line, and the lines on the course were so bad I had to wait til mile 9 to find a porta-potty with no line!), then he started taking some walk breaks to protect his knee. I knew this was not going to be a PR for me, so I decided to use that as an excuse not to pace myself. I wanted to just run as hard as I felt like from the beginning and see how it turned out. It was hard! Miles 1-7 were great, and were pretty fast for me. I don't have exact splits but there were definitely on par for a PR had I been able to maintain them. Mile 8 I started slowing down, and by mile 9 I was taking walk breaks. The walk breaks became more frequent, and I even took one around mile 12.7. I know what you're thinking...12.7?? You were almost there. Well my reasoning was that I wanted to look good and strong in my finish line pics, so I walked to about 12.9 then hauled a$$ the last my relaxed, easy look in the finish line pics is all an illusion:) I also ran with my phone in one of my pockets and I immediately reached down for it after finishing and realized it was gone. I knew it must have just fallen out, and luckily about that time the finish line announcer said "And we have a pink blackberry." Sweet, got my phone back! I was trying to make my way back to the spectator area to wait for Rich to finish when he tapped me on the back. He was able to run more than he expected, so he was finished already. My official time was 2:26ish (previous PR in March was 2:20:02) and Rich's was 2:35ish (previous PR in March was 2:15ish). After meeting up, we grabbed more waters and then got in line for our wine glasses for the post race Wine Festival.

About 15 or so wineries set up tents and poured up their finest. It was kinda tough to choke down tastes of the reds, but the cold whites and roses really hit the spot.

I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever drunk wine while wearing a medal.

One of my favorite things about the day was getting to meet up with my blog/Twitter buddy and inspirational runner extraordinaire, Aron. It was also great to make some new friends, Maritza and Tara. These girls are so cute, and they are all speedy, awesome runners.

After a little while, we got a text from Charles that he and Erin were almost finished so we walked back on the course and met them for the home stretch. It was Erin's first half, way to go!

The rest of Sunday was pretty lazy. We caught the shuttle back to Napa from Sonoma, took naps, ate Mexican food, watched some Whale Wars and went to bed early.
Monday happened to be Erin's birthday, so we started the day with brunch and mimosas to celebrate. Then we drove up to Calistoga for massages and to visit a couple wineries.

Here we are at one of our new favorite wineries, Honig Vinyard. They had delish wines, and are working hard to be sustainable and more natural. Like they plant flowers around the grapes to attact bugs to the flowers to decrease pesticide usage, and they use solar panels for some of their energy. We liked them so much we joined their wine club. We joined one club last year, and it's so fun to get your shipments in every few months. Our favorite regions is the Dry Creek Valley/Healdsburg area because the wineries are smaller, with a more family feel instead of being huge and commercial. We ended up buying about 15 bottles total on the trip.

Tuesday morning we all got up early because Charles and Erin had to drive back to San Francisco for their flight. Rich and I went to the Jelly Belly factory and took a really neat tour. It was interesting to learn about the history of Jelly Belly, and to see how they are made. And...of course we loved buying beans in the gift shop. My favorite flavors are strawberry cheesecake and buttered popcorn...yum!

Wednesday morning we got up, dropped or wine purchases off for shipping, and drove back to the airport for an uneventful trip back to Charleston. The wine arrived a few days later in great the hard part is saving them and not drinking them all this year.

I cannot recommend this destination race enough if you are a runner and wine lover. We have our sights set on another trip to wine country next fall for the Healdsburg half marathon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Report and Trip Recap Part 1

Bottom line: got in several hours later than expected

We flew out of Charleston on Friday afternoon, and were supposed to land
in San Francisco about 10pm, after a brief layover in Atlanta. As we took off from Atlanta to SF, as we're just about to level off, someone has a seizure so they had to turn around and make an emergency landing back in Atlanta. About the same time, a litte girl 2 rows in front of us projectile vomits all over the back of the 3 seats in front of her. So we land, EMTs remove the seizure-man (who had stopped seizing, was fully conscious and doing well) and several men in basically hazmat suits come in to replace the vomit-splattered seat covers. The pilot tells us that we made a heavy landing since we were loaded with fuel, so they have to do a routine inspection before we can take off again. No worries, should be quick right? WRONG! It took about 45 min then the pilot comes back on to inform us that the heavy landing inspection was fine, but they found some other problem with the flaps on the plane so we would not be taking that plane anywhere. We deplane, they tell us that now they have to call in a new crew which winds up taking at least 2 beers (aka over an hour in the nearest airport bar). Finally the crew arrives and we are able to take off on our 4h 45min flight. We land, get our rental car and hit the road. We finally got to the condo (or "cottage" more on that later) about 2am, which is 5am according to the est we were used to and my alarm is always set for 5am for work, so it went off just as we got in bed.

Stay tuned for part 2: The Expo and The Race