Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

The four day holiday was wonderful! Very nice and relaxing. We decided not to do the Texas drive this year and we didn't have anyone join us out in Denver, so it was just the three of us.

I left work at 2:00 on Wednesday and got in a 5 mile jog. The weather was 60+ degrees and it felt good to get out, even though the run itself was feeling pretty bad. It took forever, but I finally made it back home. Madison and I headed to the dreaded mall to christmas shop. She was meeting a friend there later on, but I convinced her that it would be good mom/daughter time if we went a little early. I managed to pick out something for my mom, niece, cousin, and of course, Madison. We hit the mall Starbucks to grab a fu fu coffee drink while we waited on her friends to show up. I hadn't eaten anything since lunch, so I was about to pass out from hunger. The starbuck's drink provided just enough calories for me to make it home. I picked up Tokoyo Joe's on the way home for dinner and Rick and I ate and hung out until Madison got home. She was having a friend spend the night, so she conned Rick into taking them out to pick out a horror flick. She seems to think horror movies are funny and has a good time watching her buddies scream in fright.

Thursday morning, Rick and I went on our coffee run and then I preceeded to get the bird ready for the oven. After I finally got the turkey dressed and in the oven; I decided to take Piper on a run with me. I had bought a 12 pound turkey, so I estimated that it would take about 3 and a half hours, so I had plenty of time to run, shower, and prepare the rest of the dinner. There was absolutely no one out on the roads and Piper and I had a nice peaceful 6 mile run. She was happy to be out and about. I normally don't take her with me because she can be a pain in the butt. She loves to jump at the cars as they are driving by, but like I said, there were no cars out, so she wasn't trying to eat them.

We got back and I showered and set about preparing the rest of the meal. By this time Madison and her friend had come up from the basement dungeon and were working on their gingerbread masterpiece. They were creating a gingerbread house with gingerbread, icing, gumdrops, etc. I have never laughed so hard. They had the roof as the walls and the gingerbread kept breaking to where they had to use the icing as glue. It was hilarious. Rick finally swooped in to help, but not before I had snapped a few pictures.

Anyway, after I had mashed the potatoes, baked the rolls, cooked my green beans with onions and bacon, stuffing, etc and the gingerbread house was FINALLY up; we sat down to linner. Yes, linner. That's what Madison likes to call a meal between lunch and dinner. Rick likes to call it dunch, but Maddie insists that it is LINNER.

The rest of the day was spent lounging and goofing off. We drove out to explore a new state park and to see if there were any mountain biking trails that needed to be explored.

I have pictures that I will post as soon as I download them to the computer.

Friday, I got up and took Piper on a 7 mile run and then we (Rick and I) spent the rest of the day cleaning and doing some extra chores.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wanted: Treadmill

I left work early today, so that I could get in a quick run before cooking dinner. I did a 6 miler tonight and it actually felt pretty good. The weather down here in the suburbs was 63 degrees today, so I didn't feel too winded from the ole asthma. I still want to buy a treadmill for those cold, snowy winter nights though. The reason why I was looking at the used one on ebay is that it has the Integrated Footplant Technology, which adjusts belt speed to foot speed, which is suppossed to support your natural running stride. I really don't know much about treadmills. Does anyone have any recommendations? Someone named Mills left a link (on the comments to my last post) of a variety of different treadmills. Mills, do you have any thoughts on the Ingtegrated Footplant Technology? Is it worth the money? Like I said, the treadmill that I have been eyeing on ebay has the footplant technology and I could probably get it for cheap (or cheaper then they are new!), but I have never ran on one that has this feature, so I don't know if it is worth it. It is the Precor M9.33 and I think that it is a couple of years old.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Short Run and some weights

I got in a short run tonight. I did a 4.5 run when I got home from work. Got home, took a shower, and now I'm drinking a beer and planning on going downstairs to do some weightlifting for about half an hour. My arms are finally starting to see some definition, so I'm encouraged. The run felt ok. exercise induced asthma is acting up because of the dry air, so I am forced to run slower, but I'm ok with that. I've been looking at treadmills pretty hard the last week and a half and have my eye on one on ebay. It's a $4K treadmill that I am hoping to get for $1800. Cross your fingers!

Ready for a long weekend

I am ready for the four day holiday weekend. I could care less about turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, pumpkin pie, etc; I am just ready for a LONG break from work, deadlines, stupid people asking me stupid questions (external auditors), and the constant chatter from idle people who obviously don’t have enough to do (do I sound bitter?). I need a break to clear my mind and exercise my body. I can’t wait. Last weekend was nice, but it definitely wasn’t enough.

We didn’t do too much last weekend; it was nice and relaxing. Friday night we just hung around the house; even Madison stayed home. She complained about it, but she stayed home. Saturday, Rick and I went on our usual coffee run and then headed out to do a trail run. It was 55 degrees out, so it was perfect for trail running. I was planning on doing an 8 mile trail run. Rick decided that he was going to run most of the way with me. I think that he ended up doing 7 miles! I think the most he has ever ran on the road is 4 miles, so the fact that he went out there and put in a 7 mile trail run is great! Like I said, he’s going to be a hell of a trail runner one day. I think it helped that the last 3.5 were all downhill, but he did really good on the 3.5 uphill. That’s not an easy run! He only walked a few of the steep sections and just took it nice and slow. My asthma was acting up, so I would stop to catch my breath and give him a chance to catch up (on the steep sections), so it worked out perfectly. Saturday night, Rick, Madison, and I went to REI to check out their big sale. I got a new pair of white ski pants and some new smartwool socks. Then we went home to lounge, watch football, and bottle the beer that we brewed a few weeks back.

Sunday, we got up and took a drive through the mountains. We were originally going to do a mountain bike ride, but Rick’s foot was bothering him and I could feel the start of a cold, so we decided to take it easy. It was a beautiful drive and I couldn’t believe that it was the end of November and there was still no snow in the high country! This will definitely make the winter seem shorter! We stopped at the Hard Rock for lunch and then did a little shopping at various shops in the small towns along I70. We got back home around 2:00 and I took the dog out for a walk to enjoy the remaining sunshine and then came home and took a nap. I never take naps, so it felt WONDERFUL.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More running and more goat...

Well, it was another gorgeous weekend here in Colorado. The sun shines over 300 days a year here, so it was no really no surprise that the weather was great. When we do actually have a crappy, snowy, or rainy day; it’s always a nice change. I love to sit in front of our fireplace and look out of our floor to ceiling windows and watch the snow softly fall.

We didn’t do much Friday night, I cooked dinner and then we took Madison over to a friend’s house to spend the night. Rick and I hung out, talked, and just enjoyed the quiet of a childless evening.

Saturday, we got up and went for a coffee run. I got my Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte and Rick went to Einstein’s for coffee and a bagel. The mountains were beautiful and clear and I couldn’t wait for the world to warm up a bit, so that we could go play in them! The tops were capped with a fresh coat of snow and the blue sky was crystal clear. In the summer, sometimes the view can be a bit hazy from the pollution, but the cold November air had zapped the haze and left us with a breathtaking picture.

We went home to do chores and wait for the weather to warm up. We decided that it would be a trail run day. The high was only going to be 50, so it would be a little too chilly for a mountain bike ride, but perfect for a trail run. We loaded the dog, water, cliff bars, Garmin forerunner, and ourselves into the CRV and set out for Lair O the Bear. I had strapped on my heart rate monitor for the first time and was curious to see the readings while doing a trail run. There are five zones that your heart rate can fall into during training. I did a little research to figure out what the heck these were and how to figure my maximum heart rate. Training in zone 1 is the safest, most comfortable zone, reached by walking briskly. Here you strengthen your heart and improve muscle mass while you reduce body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for degenerative disease. You get healthier in this zone, but not more fit -- that is, it won't increase your endurance or strength but it will increase your health. It should only be about 50-60% of your max heart rate. Zone two can be easily reached by jogging slowly. While still a relatively low level of effort, this zone starts training your body to increase the rate of fat release from the cells to the muscles for fuel. This zone should be about 60-70% of your max heart rate. Zone three is reached by running easily and you improve your functional capacity. The number and size of your blood vessels actually increase, you step up your lung capacity and respiratory rate, and your heart increases in size and strength so you can exercise longer before becoming fatigued. You should be about 70-80% of your max heart rate. Zone four is reached by going hard -- running faster. Here you get faster and fitter, increasing your heart rate as you cross from aerobic to anaerobic training. At this point, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to supply the exercising muscles fully so they respond by continuing to contract anaerobically. This is where you "feel the burn." You can stay in this zone for a limited amount of time, usually not more than an hour. That's because the muscle just cannot sustain working anaerobically (this means without sufficient oxygen) without fatiguing. The working muscles protect themselves from overwork by not being able to maintain the intensity level. You should be about 80-90% of your max heart rate. Zone 5 This is the equivalent of running all out and is used mostly as an "interval" training regiment -- exertion done only in short to intermediate length bursts. Even world-class athletes can stay in this zone for only a few minutes at a time. It's not a zone most people will select for exercise since working out here hurts and there is an increased potential for injury. It should be about 90-100% of your max heart rate.

Ok….I know that’s pretty wordy, but how’s that for a lesson? I mainly plagiarized it from the internet, so I hope that it is all correct, if not, correct me. Anyway, we drove out to Lair O the Bear and prepared for our trail run. The trail starts out on a nice little incline that is not too terribly steep. Rick and the dog ran a little ahead of me while I trudged along letting my inhaler kick in. There were tons of hikers and mountain bikers out and about and I swear it was warmer out there in the foothills then it was in Denver.
Rick and I split up since I was planning on a longer run and he took the pup. I slowly climbed up the trail and finally remembered my heart rate monitor. I looked at my GPS and my heart rate was 187! Good god, I was working in my zone 5! Surely that can’t be right, I thought, zone 5 is reserved for intervals and sprinting. I stayed in zone 5 until I started to descend the hill. Ahhh….relief. I only put in about 5.5 miles, I was having a shitty run and my asthma was acting up due to the cold and the hills. Oh well, some days are better then others.

Saturday night, Rick and I took Madison to a friend’s Bat Mitzvah and went shopping for pictures for our house. We ordered a couple, and then went home to watch the Mizzou football game and eat Blackjack pizza.

Sunday was supposed to be 65 degrees and I was very eager to get outside. Rick decided that he wanted to add more mileage to his runs, so he decided to just do a run in the suburbs. I was aching to get out to the woods again, so I packed up and headed out to Deer Creek Canyon for a little trail running. I started up the climb and I was hurting bad. My breath was ragged, my heart rate monitor was screaming 188 and I was HOT! I told myself that if I could just make it up the first mile, I could take the downhill option instead of the trail that ascends further up the mountain. I passed hikers upon hiker and I kept waiting on one of them to tell me just to STOP and sit down (I was beet red and breathing like a train), but none did or would. “You can do it…you can do it…if you just set your mind to it” I kept singing to myself. I was just about at the fork in the trail where I could turn and go downhill or I could make the decision to go uphill when my favorite Lance Armstrong quote popped into my head. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, and hour, a day, a year, but eventually it will subside…..If I quit, however, it lasts forever. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?” Ok, Tara Fuqua, I thought, you didn’t drive all the way out here to run just two miles. I promised myself that if I took the harder route, I would stop quoting Lance, so I turned and ascended the trail. The run somehow got a lot easier after that and I was able to put in a seven mile trail run. I even ran the very steep section without stopping and I felt amazing afterwards.

Sunday afternoon, I barbequed chicken, burgers, and tried some of my bosses goat sirloin steak. The goat steak was really good, but they were in very small pieces. Rick called them “steak nuggets”. I was surprised that he liked them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running and the Goat

Last night, I got in a 6 ½ mile run. It is becoming increasingly hard for me to run lately because the cold, dry air is causing my exercise induced asthma to flare up. I have to run pretty slow so that I can breathe normally, otherwise I sound like a locomotive coming down the road. It is extremely frustrating! I usually love running in winter, but since Colorado has such low humidity, my chest heaves and I spend a lot of time coughing. I hate the feeling of my chest becoming tight, I always wonder if I’m having a heart attack. Oh well. I did my run in an hour and two minutes and went home to chow down on some goat. Yes, you heard me right, goat. My boss raises goats on her farm and she talked me into trying a goat roast. She insisted that goat was very lean meat and very low in cholesterol. Since I will eat pretty much anything, I agreed that I would try the meat. It was very good! Very tender and tasted a lot like pot roast. I went ahead and told my boss that I wanted to try the goat burger and the goat stew meat. If it’s lean, I’ll use it in stew, chili, spaghetti, etc. I think Rick thinks I’ve gone mad. His initial reaction was “goat, huh, sounds very….interesting”.

In other news, yesterday, Rick and I signed a common law marriage affidavit. In the eyes of the Colorado law, we are legally married. We figured since we were officially getting married in March, we would go ahead and sign the affidavit, so that we could do our taxes together and be on the same healthcare plan, etc. Tara McLain. Sounds catchy doesn’t it? I won’t legally change my name until after the wedding even though I can’t WAIT to get rid of Fuqua. No one can pronounce it. I’ve gotten some pretty creative pronunciations. Just use your imagination.

Birthday Update

Just as an update: Madison and Rick bought me a new phone for my birthday. This was Madison’s idea, of course, since she is thirteen and obsessed with phones. I guess that they were both pretty tired of seeing me running around with what has been deemed “the ghetto razor”. The back on this phone would never stay on, so I finally taped it on. This seemed like a pretty smart idea to me and it made the phone functional again (I’m too cheap to buy a new one), but apparently Rick and Madison were tired of seeing me with a taped up ghetto phone. The new phone is a Samsung something or other (see picture above). They brought it home and Madison played around with it all night. I didn’t get to even look at it, so of course when I got my first phone call the next morning; I had no idea how to answer my own damn phone.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Birthday Fun

Thursday the 7th, I managed to get in a 6 mile run. It was nice and cool out so I was sportin my new Nike Fit Dry jersey that Rick bought me for my birthday. That jersey rocks! Kept me plenty warm, but also kept my core pretty cool. The run itself felt pretty good, I wish that I had gone longer, but it was getting late and it was really dark out. I've been looking into buying a treadmill for when the weather gets really snowy and icy.

Friday night we just hung out. Madison had a sleep over with a few friends at our house, so we had to listen to them all night. No, it really wasn't that bad, they were in the basement and we were upstairs. It was my fault anyway, I bought them Rockstar energy drinks and fed them my leftover birthday cake from work. I'm a great mom!

Saturday morning, I spent 2.5 hours at the salon getting my hair cut, colored, brows waxed, etc. You know the drill, it takes a lot of work to look this good. Just kidding. After I got home, Rick and I took the dog and went out the Deer Creek Canyon for a trail run. The weather was in the upper 50's, but the sun was shining, so it was pretty warm out. I was sportin my Nike jersey again and just about collapsed in it I was so freaking hot! Oh well, you live and you learn. Rick took care of the dog, since he doesn't go as far as I do. He's going to be a great trail runner one of these days though. The altitude and the uphills don't bother him near as much as they bother me. Bastard! I managed to get in a 7 mile trail run and it was just what I needed. It was tiring, but I felt awesome afterwards. That night, we went to Dave and Busters to celebrate my birthday (Rick has promised me a nice steak dinner on some night that we don't have Madison). We had fun playing games and just hanging out together. Later, after a Starbucks and Jamba Juice stop, we went home to brew some beer and watch Mizzou put the hurt on K State.

Sunday (my birthday), I started the day off with a Wal-Mart run. I hate Wal-Mart, but it wasn't too bad at 7:30 in the morning. When I got back, Rick and I debated on a mountain or road ride and finally decided to get out the road bikes. We haven't been on them in ages. We only went about 23 miles, but it felt good to get out and get some nice steady exercise. There is a great paved trail by our house that goes all of the way downtown, which is about a 35 mile ride. We didn't do that today since Madison wanted to go to the mall, but it's a great ride when we get the chance. We got back and Rick took Madison to the mall, so that I could hang out and relax (and blog) a little bit. They are aparently doing more birthday shopping even though I told them NOT to get me anything else. Oh well. I'll let ya know what it is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Pics from Work

Photo of a co-worker and I rolling a fake paper towel joint. I had to promise the HR department that I really didn't have a drug problem.

Here's a photo of our little Accounting Dept-ain't we cute

Election Night Run

I got home from work about 5:30 and whipped up some dinner really quick and was out the door for a short run. I was excited about getting back to watch the election night action. I ran about 4.5 miles in 39 minutes and got home as they were announcing that Obama had won Ohio! Yeah!!!! I knew it wouldn't be long before we sent ole Sarah Palin back to shooting moose in Alaska. I was so happy to witness and be a part of this historic election. Congratulations, President-elect Barack Obama. You stood poised, graceful, and unflappable, and with your message of change and hope, you carried the day for the people of the United States.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lots of weekend Activities

Friday was Halloween and my team at work dressed up as hippies. We had a blast! I'll post the pictures as soon as I get them. We spent 20 minutes in my bosses office rolling fake paper towel doobies. She would holler out to anyone walking by "Do you want to help us roll some doobies?" She was totally cracking me up. We won the costume contest, which included a pizza party. That was mainly the reason why we dressed up, the pizza party. Entice us with food and we'll participate in anything.

Friday night I got a five mile run in and handed out candy to the trick or treaters. They were all adorable. One came up to the door as a Juicy Juice box.

Not much going on on Saturday. I drove to the airport to pick Madison up and then taxied her around the rest of the afternoon. She went to a "303" Concert on Saturday night, which she deemed "even more amazing then the other concerts". She cracks me up.

I did get a 5 mile run in on Saturday night and that totaled about 26 miles of running for the week. I was beat. Of course that didn't stop me from getting up Sunday morning and going for a 2 and 1/2 hour mountain bike ride with Rick. We went out to Waterton Canyon and rode out on the Colorado trail for a little ways. Totally awesome views. Didn't bring the camera this time, next time we will. All in all, it was a great ride. I had to convince my legs that they COULD make it a couple of times. They wanted to quit on me. Some of those hills out there are grueling.