Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HM Training: Week 4 Recap Plus

Last week was week four of half marathon training and it went extremely well. Knocks on wood, in fear of jinxing myself

And, since last week was a higher mileage week this week’s mileage is cut wayyyy back. It’s nice that it is Tuesday and I only have one training run left for week 5. Only one long run before I am halfway through this training plan. Crazy!

Let’s recap week four, shall we…


Planned - 3 miles @ 12:47 pace

                Actual - 3 miles @ 12:24 pace


Planned -  6 miles (4 @ HMP 11:27)

Actual – 6 miles @ 11:16 pace (11:37, 11:16, 11:08, 11:06, 10:55, 11:33)


                Planned – 2 miles @12:47 pace

                Actual – 2 miles @ 12:15 pace


                Planned – 10 miles @12:47 pace

Actual – 11 miles @11:58 pace (I maintained a comfortable pace the entire run and these were the results: 12:04, 12:07, 12:07, 12:03, 11:57, 11:55, 11:41, 11:57, 11:52, 11:55, and 12:04)

Total: 22 miles – a 10% increase from the previous week :)

I am heading out of town tomorrow which means more of me trying to fit in training while traveling. I actually have two back to back trips; Austin for the Austin City Limits music festival/San Antonio to visit friends and then two days later I am headed to NY for four days. Thankfully these are my last trips before the half so once I return, four weeks out from race day, I will have a decent chunk of time to adjust back to my normal training schedule.

But in the meantime, I know I probably won’t be posting much if anything for the next few weeks so I am going to give you my training plan for week 5 and 6 here and then once I am back from NY I will do a full recap.

Week 5


                Planned – 4 miles @ 12:40 pace

                Actual – 4 miles @ 12:29 pace


                Planned – 3 miles @ 12:40 pace

                Actual – 3 miles @ 12:10 pace

Thursday (hopefully, if not then I will aim for Saturday) - 9 miles @ 12:40 pace


Week 6

Monday or Tuesday (depending on how I feel) – 2 miles @ 12:40 pace

Wednesday – 5 miles (3 @ HMP 11:27)

Thursday – 2 miles @ 12:40 pace (maybe the Brooklyn Bridge?)

Saturday – 13 miles @ 12:40 pace (hopefully through Central Park)

That’s about it for now. I am super excited for the next two weeks and a much needed vacation. It may seem like I travel a lot, which I kind of have been lately, but my last trip was for work. Actually quite a few of my trips this year were for work. And even though I was still able to see friends and do a lot of cool things my focus was still work. For these two trips I am disconnecting from work (and at least for this week, school) and I am just going to sit back and enjoy my vacation without any distractions. I am super excited to head back to Texas, to see some of the most amazing people I know and go to ACL for the third time. And even more so, I am excited to do it all with E!

Love and hugs,



P.S. Here's a sneak peek of our soon to be newest family member... CHARLIE! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

HM Training Week Three Recap

Week 3 of half marathon has come and gone and I am pretty happy with how it went, even after having to make adjustments to make the training schedule fit my life schedule. And knowing me, and knowing I have two travel weeks for weeks 5 and 6, this will be a normal occurrence (switching things around) when all is said and done.  But that is life. Plus, who doesn’t adapt their training plan to fit their schedule? I would like to meet this person.

Anywho, here is last week’s plan and results.

5 miles (3 @ HMP 11:27) on Wednesday – total time 57:37 and an average pace of 11:31. The 3 miles @HMP were as follows: 11:24, 11:08, and 11:05 J

3 miles on Thursday @ 12:47 pace (this was supposed to be Monday’s scheduled run) - total time 38:23 and an average pace of 12:40

2 miles on Friday @ 12:47 pace – total time 25:18 and an average pace of 12:37

10 miles on Saturday @ 12:47 pace – total time 2:05:37 and an average pace of 12:33. This run was absolutely what I needed to get me feeling confident about the half in 6+ weeks. This training plan calls for four 10 mile runs and one 13 mile run and I think that is a good thing. For me, especially at this pace, the more longer the runs better. Mentally and physically.

And in case you were wondering, after I came home from the 10 miler I had a recovery drink, stretched and sat in an ice bath for 15 minutes. Afterwards I put on some compression socks and had some breakfast. The rest of the day included house work and cooking, a (much needed) massage, and a short road trip to see E’s family. I woke up Sunday and felt great. I had no residual muscle soreness on Sunday or Monday and I think that had to do with the ice bath, the massage, and the fact that I didn’t sit too much on Saturday.

This week I have another 10 miler on tap and will follow it up, again, with an ice bath. I will be sure to keep you posted on how my recovery is after this next long run as well.

Week 4 Schedule

Totally stole this from Run Eat Repeat

Monday 3 miles @ 12:47 pace

Wednesday 6 miles (4 @ HMP 11:27)

Friday 2 miles @ 12:47 pace

Saturday 10 miles @ 12:47 pace

Now, since I am the worst when it comes to blogging in a timely fashion I am posting my week four schedule having already completed two of the four scheduled runs. But I think this week I will hold off on giving my results and save them all for next week’s recap.

Or, of course, you can just go to the blog FB page and check them out now. I usually post about each day’s training run. Exciting, I know. Ha!

And so you know, I just do this to help keep myself accountable and document my progress (and any struggles) for recording purposes.  I am fully aware how boring these posts must be to read so thanks for toughing it out.

I am hoping this week to get in a couple non-running/training related posts as well. Fingers crossed.

Love and hugs,



Friday, September 19, 2014

The Unabridged Version

One of my super awesome Ragnar teammates, Don, is in the process of building our team website. It will have an about page, detailing our team story/background, as well as our individual stories. I was slacking (no surprise there) on submitting my story and thankfully Don gave me some inspirational words that helped open the proverbial floodgates. Below is the unabridged version of what will be displayed on the website. The below version has been edited down (probably as to not bore readers to death) but Don thought I should still share the full version and asked me to do so here. So, if you are interested in reading my weight loss-running story combo here it is….

If someone would have told me 4 years ago that one I day I would be training for half marathons, triathlons and Ragnar Relays I would have laughed, thinking they were out of their mind.

You see, four years ago I weighed close to 300 pounds. An annual trip to my primary care physician lead to a hard conversation in which I was told I needed to lose at least 100 pounds. My doctor didn’t sugar coat that harsh reality. In fact she was mean about. She made me cry. She had a personal vendetta against fat people and all she wanted to do was to make me feel bad. She was just so cruel.

Well, at least in my head she was like that- when I replayed that visit over and over again. Her words did not serve as motivation to lose weight but instead fueled some kind of hatred towards anyone that didn’t accept me as is.  I didn’t want anything to do with people that judged me because of my size. I was perfect. I was healthy. I was absolutely fine. That doctor was wrong.

Except for the fact that she wasn’t.

Not that I don’t agree with the ideals behind health at every size and body acceptance- because I do. Those were at the base of the false identity I had created for myself- the belief that I was a healthy obese person (because those people really do exist) and that I accepted myself as is. I lived in a quasi-happy delusion that I was ok.

I was in denial.

I was not healthy and I truly did not accept myself. There was no self-love. If anything there was pain and disgust and shame for the person I had let myself become.  And as far as my health goes, I was just biding my time before the medical diagnosis for some weight related illnesses came pouring in. The path I was on- it was inevitable.

It took some time, about four months or so, before I finally had my ‘Ah-ha’ moment though. It took me hitting rock bottom and finally waking up to the realization that I had not taken any accountability for my weight or my health. I had turned into this person leading a restricted, sad life all because I expected others to change things for me. Or worse, blamed them for leading me to that point. I had no ownership of my life. Nothing was my fault. Until that moment when I realized I did, and it was.

That is when everything changed.

Was it easy? No and yes. Definitely not at first.  As is a pretty typical reaction to one deciding they want to lose weight I turned to extreme behaviors- too few calories, too much of too intense activity- actions that were not sustainable for a girl weighing 286 pounds that hadn’t left her couch in years other to go to work.

It didn’t take long to realize I needed a new plan. A Dacia-specific plan. And so I experimented and tried new things. I was really unfit so I chose to do the only thing I could do- walk. I walked and walked and walked. And it hurt. Walking at 286 pounds was painful.

I changed up my diet, just ever so slightly at first, and put the focus on portion sizes and moderation. I did what I could within the limits of my body and my knowledge of food and nutrition.

I lost 5 pounds, then ten pounds, and then pretty soon I had lost nearly thirty pounds and started to gain some confidence. I continued walking but then began to branch out to riding a recumbent bike, using the weight machines at the gym, taking yoga classes, and then I pushed myself way outside of my comfort zone and started boxing. It was so tough. But I loved every minute of it.

As the pounds came off and I started to become more active, I started to more closely examine my diet (as in the food I was eating) to try and understand what foods were good for my body. I started food journaling. I really tried to focus on the affects food had on my body energy level wise, sleep, digestive, etc. I really tried to switch my focus from living to eat to eating to live. Or, more accurately, eating to live an active lifestyle.

Running didn’t happen for me until I had lost about 110 pounds. I did not use running to lose weight and, honestly, I never really thought I would become a runner. In January 2012, about a year into my WLJ, I decided to see if I could run a mile. I was getting close to a healthy weight and I was very active so why not try it and see. Well, I ran that mile and it sucked. But that feeling of accomplishment- it was amazing. It propelled me to decide to train for a 5K. Which I did. I ran the whole thing, too. And guess what? It sucked. I felt accomplished because I set out to achieve a goal and I did but it sucked. Running just plain ole sucked. So I decided then I was done with running. No mas. I was going to go back to Nia and Yoga and Pilates and boxing and all the other fun things I did.

Except for the fact that I (foolishly, but also fortuitously) had signed up for another 5K before I had even completed the first. And not wanting to waste money I decided to give the 5K another shot. And this time around…it didn’t suck.

So I kept going. Running more frequently and further distances. Racing, training, racing, training. All of the sudden, I loved it. And of course, I still did/do other things. I love cycling and yoga. I absolutely love group fitness classes. But running, well, there is nothing quite like it. And this year, after taking almost 6 months off from training due to surgery (a story for another time), I have returned to running inspired by this team. This amazing team of people who are the epitome of hard work and perseverance, strength and beauty, kindness and compassion. This amazing team that I am so lucky to be a part of. This amazing team that I will get to live out my dream of running a Ragnar with. Is anything better?

So, in short (I kid), my name is Dacia. I used to be really fat. I lost a lot of weight by taking care of myself the way I should have all along. Because of this everything in my life has changed for the better.

And next May, I will get the opportunity to run down my dream
Some of the pics to be displayed on the team website
April 2011

December 2012
July 2008

May 2014
Love and hugs,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HM Training Week Two Recap

Week 2

Last week was week two of  the ten-week half marathon training plan from Runner’s World that I am following.

Last week’s schedule called for four runs, all at a slow training pace, totaling 17 miles for the week.

Last week was also the week I traveled to Seattle (2,777 miles away) for a work conference, flying in on Monday and out on Sunday.

During the week we had sessions and events, sometimes lasting past 1030p – which is tough when you are two time zones behind your norm and your typical bedtime is ~ 930p.

During the week we also had made plans to meet up with friends, visit breweries, see the city, and eat all the Veggie Grill I could.

I knew running while traveling, especially with such a hectic schedule, would be tough but you know what? I made it work. I had to switch the days around a bit to accommodate traveling and spending time with a friend who came up from Portland and I also had to figure out where the heck to run and what areas were safe. It was a pain in the ass.

But guess what? It was totally worth it. I logged in some great miles and saw some breathtaking views along the way. It was awesome. Especially those temps- 50’s with like no humidity! I won’t see that in FL until November or December if I am lucky. It was terrific.

Last week my training pace goal was 12:47 min/mile for all four runs. What actually happened (thanks to hills and fantastic weather) was this:

5 miles on Tuesday @ 12:08 pace

3 miles on Wednesday @12:02 pace

2 miles on Thursday @11:02 pace

7 miles on Friday @11:45 pace

I tried to just focus on a comfortable pace during each run and take time to enjoy the scenery. It was nice. I am not mad about my pace, I know now that I am back in FL and know my routes (and am running through soup) it will be much easier to SLOW DOWN.

Week 3
This week is the first training week I see a double digit run- 10 miles on Saturday. I was battling jet lag and just the normal post-travel funk pretty tough on Monday and Tuesday so I had to, again, switch up my running days. This week I have four runs scheduled, for a weekly total of 20 miles. The plan is:

5 miles (3 @ HMP) on Wednesday

3 miles on Thursday @ 12:47 pace (this was supposed to be Monday’s scheduled run)

2 miles on Friday @ 12:47 pace

10 miles on Saturday @ 12:47 pace

Today I got in 5 miles before work. The plan was one mile warm-up, 3 miles at half marathon pace (11:27 was the goal) and one mile cool down. The results:

Mile 1- 11:29

Mile 2- 11:24

Mile 3- 11:08

Mile 4- 11:05

Mile 5- 12:30 (this was my target pace for my warm up but I was running easy so I just went with it)

Total time: 57:37 and an average HR of 122bpm
BOOM! I love that I am starting to push my run a little faster and I was able to maintain a really comfortable pace and low heart rate. Yay! Improvement!

Well, that’s about it for now. Stay tuned for a recap on my first 10-miler of 2014 next week J

Love and hugs,



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thought-Provoking Thursday: 1st ed.

Back in the day, like two blog sites ago, I used to have a weekly posting called ‘Thought-Provoking Thursday’. I used this post idea as a way to reflect and answer some though, thought-provoking (usually) questions.  Similar to Friend Makin’ Mondays except that I was the only participant (although I am sure other people also post similarly on Thursdays) and the questions were a bit deeper than the ones on FMM.

There’s no doubt that I have been struggling with blogging. I think some of it is I don’t have much to write about (I run, bike, eat and drink beer and sometimes play with Legos) but maybe even more so I am just feeling like I am having a blogging (or blogger) identity crisis. I guess that’s the thing, when you don’t have a ‘theme’ for a blog that freedom it allows you can also hinder you due to lack of direction.  That’s kind of where my head is at now. So, in order to try and continue writing regularly I am going to bring back Thought-Provoking Thursdays and hope that I can find some inspiration that will carry into blogging on other days.

This week I am starting with five questions from this post: 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind from Mark and Angel Hack Life.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I think I would be 30. I am 36, for those who don’t know, and most days I don’t feel 36, although I am not really sure what 36 should feel like.  But if I didn’t know my actual age and I was trying to approximate my age off of societal norms I would say definitely older than early 20’s because I have a car payment and student loans but definitely younger than 36 because I am single (meaning unmarried) and have no kids.  I definitely think I feel like an adult with adult responsibilities but at the same time I feel quite young because I do have an untethered lifestyle and then adult again since I have a real job with disposable income so…yeah, 30.

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Never trying. Hands down. That is where regret comes from. Failure is a learning experience, a chance for growth. Never trying leads to stagnation.  And I never would want my life to be stagnant.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

I really wish I knew the answer to this. Wouldn’t we all be happier filling our days doing things we love? My guess would be that we let fear prevent us from spending more time doing what we love. I know it is for me. Fear of stepping into the unknown, leaving financial security behind. I see many others do it, so I know it is possible but for me there is that really big WHAT IF holding me back. I’d like to think that one day I will feel comfortable enough to make a big life change and start building the life I really want but I know that comfortable day will never come, it just never happens that way. Honestly, I am just waiting for the day I grow a pair and finally push myself forward, into the unknown.

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Gosh, I hope not. I really hope that in the end my life was spent doing and not just talking/thinking about doing. But as you read above, I am still in the thinking stage. Although, in my defense I do think I have done a fair amount of doing, too. I try not to wish my life away and instead take advantage of every opportunity that comes about. But still, I find myself not ready yet to make the big changes.

What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

This is a really tough one because there are so many injustices. Can I say I would like to get rid of ‘-ism’s; racism, sexism, ageism, sizeism (is that even a word?) and create a world filled with accepting and loving minds all willing to help their fellow man up, not beat him down. Equality everywhere.  That would definitely be a really good starting point.

Ok, well that wraps up this week’s installment.  If you had to answer these questions what would you say?

Love and hugs,



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday- Playing Catchup

8/22 to 8/24 in New Orleans- One of our favorite cities

By far the best meal of our life @ Square Root

Chef Phillip Lopez personally crafting each of my vegan dishes...

Chef Phillip Lopez, Erick and me after an amazing 15 course meal! He even invited us into the kitchen to take a photo with him. Hands down the most amazing restaurant experience of my life! 

Labor Day weekend- chillin' in P'cola

Love and hugs,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Recap, Week 1 HM Training Plan and a Video

August was really my first full month consistently running and using cycling and my personal training sessions for cross training. It was a really great month and I am excited to report that I logged over 167 miles, over 70 of which came from running.  I ended the last week of the month strong and hit my goal of logging 20 running miles AND I also rode for over 50 miles last week. It was pretty awesome, especially since most of them were logged out on the Townies with E. We are really enjoying our new bikes and it is great to have someone to ride with on the weekends again.  To me, cycling is very social and is something I always preferred to do with others. Running, well I can go either way. I enjoy company when I can get it but since I have almost always run alone I am pretty used to it being just me out there.

September 1st marked the first day of my half marathon training plan so I made sure to wake up early yesterday to log some miles.  I think I have mentioned this before but this go around I am using a ten week training plan from Runner’s World to help me train up for a sub 2:30 half marathon.  Most anyone who runs has probably heard the adage that you have to run slow to get faster and this plan really focuses on that- building a good aerobic base by running slow and monitoring your heart rate as a measure of the intensity. Having a strong aerobic base is very important in order to be able to run more efficiently and also to help your body burn fat for fuel instead of sugars. It helps keep you feeling strong over a long period of time. This was something I really tried to focus on my first go around of training but (stupidly) I ended up more concerned about my pace than my intensity and which ultimately I believe led to my injury and my struggles to get faster.  Seeing that RW focused on the slow run was really what sold this program for me.

This week and next, and for the most part almost all my runs not at half marathon pace (11:27 min/mile), are at a very slow, easy pace.  And I like that. Last Saturday I did a 7 mile run and I tried to maintain the recommended pace from the training plan (this is my week 2 long run) and I am happy to report I maintained a 12:42 pace (12:47 was the goal) and my average heart rate was 141 bpm, just one over my goal of 140 bpm.

This week my training plan is as follows:

Monday – 3 miles @ 12:47 min/mile pace (completed at a 12:42 pace with an average heart rate of 116 bpm and a MAX of 140 bpm – BOOM!)

Wednesday – 4 miles @ 12:47 min/mile pace

Thursday – 3 miles @ 12:47 min/mile pace

Saturday – 5 miles @ @ 12:47 min/mile pace

In addition to the running I also have two personal training sessions (one was yesterday, the other Wednesday), a gym date Tuesday afternoon, Friday morning spin session and hopefully a bike ride on Sunday as part of my active recovery.

Next week I am off to Seattle and even though this means training super early before each day’s conference session I am beyond excited to run in cold weather. The high’s out there right now are about 10 degrees cooler than the temps I am used to seeing each morning when I wake up. We have been in the 90s for weeks with the heat index hitting triple digits most days so I don’t know how my body will handle a high of 70, and temps in the 50s when I wake up. Pretty sure I will be in heaven. Yay for no humidity! J

Also, I log everything over on my Garmin Connect so if you have an account you should add me…I still can’t figure out how to find people on that site yet. I have only had an account for two years; you think I would know by now. I switched over to the Vivofit from the fitbit (I love it sooooooo much better) so you can follow me there, too, if you are also a Vivofit person.  And of course tracking and logging most days on MFP ~ dacia1978.

Well, folks. It’s that time again. I hope that I can write about things other than training schedules and of course apologize for the really intermittent posting lately but it is what it is. One day, I hope to have something more interesting to talk about. Until then, this is what I got.

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen this E and I made a short video as a response to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge using our minis. I hope you find it as goofy and silly as we did. It was so fun to make this- I definitely see more Lego movies in our future.

Love and hugs,