Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Treadmill PR (personal record)...

Is there such a thing? If so...I achieved one!
So, my best ever 10K run time is just over 54 minutes & today I did it on the treadmill in 53:33!! So, I totally know that is relatively pathetic compared to most people who run (and, run well) -- but, for me it is pretty good. It was 8:37 per mile pace.
My heart rate was in the upper 160's for the beginning & middle of the run & then went into the 170's for about the last 1.5 miles.
I felt strong today - probably because I had taken the last 2 days off from my workouts (hard to get a workout in when the kids are off from school & there is so much to do before Christmas...).
In fact, for today's workout, I actually did a 1.5 mile warm-up run & then did my 10K PR. So, in total, I did 7.7 miles. Just glad I felt good through it all. I totally hate those runs that are so hard & feel so terrible. Although, I do realize that those feelings are all apart of the training - they must come & even though they feel terrible, they ultimately DO make me stronger & more well-conditioned. Not to mention, those terrible "feelings" are usually no more than my mind trying to over-ride my body & tell it what to do. Rarely, do I ever really feel that bad...but, sometimes my body would just LOVE for me to stop running & my mind loves to chime right in and agree that the discomfort is too much to bear & that I should totally STOP.
I think a HUGE part of training (as I have found out over the last couple years) is so much of a mental game. Yes, it has a lot to do with how strong/fit my body is, but it also has a ton to do with how strong my mind is. And, I do find myself actually lying to myself during those hard workouts - where my body & mind are trying to convince me to quit.
When I am lying to myself about the pain of a particular workout, here is how the internal conversation typically goes:
Me: MAN! This hurts so bad! My legs are DYING! Ok, I am only going 1 more mile & then I am totally done!

Me to Myself: Legs - just SHUT UP! This is NOTHING! You are only doing a 6 mile run - think about all those people that run marathons & ultramarathons in training & preparation for Ironman races.
Me: Yeah, but those people are super-human. They have conditioned themselves to train for 3,4,5, or even more hours in a day. And I, am but a mere mortal!
Me to Myself: True...but, whatever I set my mind to do...I CAN do!
Me: Okay...I CAN DO THIS. I am not giving up & I am NOT cutting my workout short. If I want to get stronger, I have to put in the time.

So, you see....lying to myself actually DOES work...most of the time! I really WOULD be lying if I said that I never let my mind get the better of me, though.
But, this is a process. Both for my body & my mind. Everyday that I try my best, I really DO get stronger.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some life updates

First, our house is finally starting to come back together & we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Colorful paint is up & the tiling of 3 bathrooms and the dining room should begin after Christmas. Once that is done, all that is left is carpet, some paint re-touches and all the final touches. It sure has been a long journey. Our house flooded on October 7th & we have been living in this apartment since the 3rd week of October.
We had hoped to be have the house fixed before Christmas, but it wasn't to be. The contractor says we should be home by January 15th. We will definitely ready to come home.
The kiddos are doing well & are looking forward to Christmas. Also looking forward to having a couple weeks off from school.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Journey to Ironman - Part 2

I'm starting to journal my workouts on paper again. I had done some of that (workout journaling) on the computer - here & there - but, I want to be consistent now on paper so that I have something tangible to look at to chart my progress with workouts over time.
And, speaking of time, where did the entire month of November go?! And, now here we are in December! Which means I am now officially under the 1 year mark to Ironman in November of '09.
So, now I am in "phase 2" of my training. I got my first half-marathon knocked out & now I am into half-marathon #2 and really hoping & praying that I can continue to train hard & strong over the next 8 weeks until the 3M Half Marathon. I want to train smart (Trev is helping me do that) so that I can stay injury-free and beat my time I had at the San Antonio Rock n' Roll 1/2. My goal is to actually break 2 hours & Trev thinks it is definitely possible. Ideally, for the 3M, I would like be at 1:55 total - to go under a 9 minute mile pace - into the range of an 8:50 or 8:55/mile pace.
I guess I should ask Trev if trying to take off 5 minutes overall is a bit too aggressive of a goal. I dunno. Just sounds like a great pace (for me!) and a nice round number!
I have been consistent with track workouts and working on my pacing and I have been putting in a lot of time running. And, THANK GOD, no aches or pains! Now, I just need to keep it that way.
"Phase 3" of my journey (I think....still have to consult Trev on this) will be immediately moving into marathon training....the Austin Marathon in February, to be exact. I just checked out that race website & it looks like I am gonna have to get registered for that relatively soon. Registration is already at 40%.
Well, I don't want to get too ahead of myself, especially since coach has not specified my direction for after the 3M. One step, one phase, one part of the journey at a time. I really don't want to think too much ahead and either psych myself out or burn myself out. Small steps will get me to my goal.
Writing this stuff down will help with those small steps, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going the distance...

...all 13.1 miles, that is!!!
I completed my first 1/2 marathon this past weekend -- pulling out a slightly better showing than even I had hoped for.
I did the inaugural San Antonio Rock n' Roll half marathon & had a blast! Even in spite of being sick with a cold for the 3-4 days leading up to the weekend and actually being sick the day of the race.
I had not had great expectations for my race time...in fact, I had given myself permission to be slow (10 minute mile) if I needed to be. But, as it turned out, I was able to be slightly faster, finishing in exactly 2 hours & 20 seconds - which is a 9:11/mile pace.
Luckily, I actually felt decent throughout the whole time. I started out really, really slow (which had been my plan anyway) and then just slowly, but surely tried to up my pace. My body actually gave me no problems. No aches or pains - really the only thing that bothered me was my congestion. Trev had suggested some kind of mint tea before the race to help clear up the congestion a bit (which I really wanted to get, but couldn't because of the chaos with traffic n' such before the race) & also sucking on cough drops through the race. I actually did do the cough drops & they did seem to help a bit.
It really wasn't until mile 11.5 that my legs began to feel fatigue. But, not even in a horrible way. Although, when I saw the 12 mile marker...I actually said "thank you, Jesus" out loud because I was definitely feeling like I was ready to be done.
All things considered, though, my body felt great all the way through.
I am psyched for my 2nd 1/2 marathon coming up in January -- called the 3M Half Marathon. Supposedly a fast course (almost completely downhill), I will look to beat my 2 hour mark from the SA Rock n' Roll this past weekend.
Can't wait to do my next race!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

FLORIDA it is!!!!

So, Ironman Florida it is!! I got in online & got registered with only minimal hassle. So, so glad I got in here (as opposed to Ironman Arizona). I really wanted to have the beach atmosphere for Matt & kids so that they would have something to do while I am doing this epic race. It will likely take me 13 or more hours to complete.
I am so psyched to do this race, so psyched to train hard, so psyched to push myself farther than I have before!!
I realize that there will be so much sacrifice needed to achieve this goal, but I wouldn't be doing this unless I felt like I could tackle all of the challenges and the sacrifices.
Trev(my coach) also secured his spot at IM Florida!! YAY!! I am so glad the he & his wife Rebekah (my original coach) are going to be there!!
NOW -- onto the training!
1st Step - complete my first 1/2 marathon in less than 2 weeks. YIKES!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I've had 4 babies in 16 days!!!

Yes, you read that right! Well, not 4 that I've given birth to, but 4 of my doula clients! I have watched 4 babies be born in only 16 days!
Whew!! Time for a vacation.....and.....luckily for me, I'm getting one! We are off to Port Aransas, TX first thing in the morning. This vacation couldn't be more welcomed if it had to be!
I have only 1 more baby due in October & then I am taking a break from doula work until January 2009.
It sure has been a blessing to help these babies come into this world -- but, it has definitely taken it out of me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Journey to Ironman - Part 1

So I want to start doing this little mini-series inside my blog, to help me keep track of my progress and preparation for my 1st Ironman triathlon in 2009.
Starting today....my thoughts on training thus far:
Well, I am still barely wading into this long, grueling process of training towards these long distances (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, & 26.2 mile run).
I have prayed (although, admittedly, not enough...) that God would bless this journey for me, that He would give me the physical strength & endurance needed and that He would allow my body to remain injury-free during the process.
I am making tiny steps towards increasing my training distances and, in addition, I am trying to remind myself everyday to seek God for His plan in all of this.
Swimming will be a hard area for me. Currently, I spend about 2 hours in a pool/week. I max out my distance around 2600 meters (about 1.5 miles)& have never swam even 2 miles straight in a pool or open water.
Cycling is a bit better, in so much as I've ridden a few 100-mile rides, but I don't routinely go out & peddle 100 miles in one ride. My weekly totals on the bike average anywhere from 60-100, depending on the week.
Running is my training focus right now, as I am aiming to finish my first 1/2 marathon on 11/16/08. So, right now, I run 3 days a week...1 long distance (currently at 9 miles), 1 medium distance (currently 5-6 miles), & one short distance track workout (about 3 miles).
Running is hard for me too. I enjoy it tremendously, but I tend to like long, slow runs & not the hard, fast ones. Trev (my coach) has helped me with my run position thinks I can get faster over the longer distances, too.
Trev has been wonderful - helping me to change up my run & now, change up my swim stroke, too. He has a wealth of info & helpful tips for things related to Ironman that I (as a total novice) have no clue about. Well...he should -- he's completed 2 Ironmans! Anyway, he has been great for me & I look forward to the rest of the training with him.
Ok, that's all for now. Part 2 coming soon....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

grrrr....my aching back

Darn it! My back is killing me. I have no idea what I did, but all day yesterday and right now, I have this tightness and aching all across my mid-to-lower back. I'm having trouble bending over and twisting side to side.
I don't know if it is injured or just tired from Friday's birth (12 hours on my feet & bending over massaging mom), Sunday's bike ride (50 miles), or Monday's run (7 miles). Whatever it is, I feel the need to take today off from my swim workout. Not that a swim would make it hurt worse, just that it wouldn't be a rest. I think it needs a rest. So, here I sit typing with a heating pad on it for now.
Crossing fingers that it will be ok and feel normal again tomorrow for an hour-long swim & a 5 mile run.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is it Monday already?

Yes, it is. The weekend went by too fast. Matt was gone all weekend, too - doing the Ft. Davis bike rides. He did really well -- came in 2nd place Saturday & then 4th on Sunday's 7 mile mountain time trial. He's good at climbing, but unfortunately missed 3rd place (& the prize money) by about 100 meters, he said. Bummer! :o( He had fun, though -- just tired today.
I did my 7-mile run this morning & it didn't go as well as I had hoped. It was a bit slower than last Monday. Last week, I did it in 1:03:56 & this morning, 1:06:21. I think it was slower for 2 reasons: 1)It was way warmer today (79*) & last week it was 68* & 2) This loop I did at Williamson county park is mostly trail for the 1.75 mile loop.
Either way, I gave it my best, but I did feel less "spry" today. My legs were heavier, my knees a bit sore on the last loop.
Only 13 days until our Port Aransas beach vacation & 8 weeks until my first 1/2 marathon!
I know this is crude, but I got a chuckle out of it:

Please GOD...let that NOT happen to me!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You're Doing a What???????

Have you lost your ever-lovin' mind?!?!?!
Why...yes! Yes, I have.
I have decided to finally start training toward a goal I have had hidden in my heart for a couple years now....completing my first Ironman Triathlon. Both the 1/2 Ironman (70.3K distance) & the full Ironman (140.6K distance) -- all in this upcoming year, 2009.
Yes, I figure I'm crazy as it is...why not add in another element of complete insanity to top it all off. More or less, it boils down to...I am not getting any younger & ever since I watched my first Ironman (Hawaii world championships) on TV as a kid, I have dreamed about what it must be like to push my body to the limits in training & in a race of this magnatude.
Don't get me wrong, though. I have absolutely no intention (at least at this point) in racing my first Ironman. In fact, to finish alone will be enough for me.
So, the plan for now is to aim to enter & compete in 2 1/2 Ironmans before next fall (2009) and then tackle the full Ironman in November 2009. I am hopeful to be able to register online and get a slot at either Ironman Florida or Ironman Arizona -- which ever I get into.
And the general training plan will be as such:
* Train for & tackle my very first 1/2 marathon this fall
* Train for & suffer through my first marathon this winter
* Continue to swim 3x/week
* Continue to bike 2-3x/week
* Strengthen my core & weight train
SO THERE!! It is officially OFF MY CHEST & ON MY BLOG!!!
Bring on 2009, BABY!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Austin Triathlon - Race Report

Pre-race with the kids.

The long & the short of it: A GREAT RACE FOR ME!!
Total time = 2:46:53
The swim was good - it felt good - easy strokes, good breathing...although, it was breathing on every stroke which my coach isn't a fan of...but it helped me keep my heart rate in check. Got out of the water in just over 33 minutes - which is a decent pace for me for 1500 meters. (I know, I know....that's pretty slow) But, can I just say that I LOVE WETSUITS!!!
Transition #1 was smooth. Easy out of the wetsuit & onto the bike.
The bike was a 3-loop course for a total of 24.8 miles. I felt great on the bike - strong & happy. It's my gig. I live for the bike leg of every race. It is where I make up my lost time from the swim. All went well & I averaged almost 21 miles/hr.
Transition #2 also smooth.
Onto the run & Rebekah (my coach) warned me all week to start out slow & have a negative split. So I did. Started out sorta slow, but it felt fine & then I gradually picked up the pace a bit & felt SO good the whole time. What is up with that?!?! No one EVER feels "good" for a whole run. But, anyway, I did & I was so thankful. I finished the 10k in just over 55 minutes - with a 8:56 mile pace. Sweet! (Again - I know, I know...that's slow) But, this is strong for me.
Overall - it was a really great race. I gave it my all & placed 17th in my age out of 60 women. Not bad!

Feeling great on the run!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Matt Just Left for Pittsburgh

Well, Matt just left to go to the airport to head home to Pittsburgh. He will be attending his 21-year old nephew's funeral. Zach was a great kid - but got wrapped in drugs and alcohol early on in life. Zach died of an overdose.
So, Matt is going by himself to this service in memory of Zach. I really wish I could be going with him - to say goodbye to Zachary one last time & to support Matt and hug the family, but I have so much going on at home right now with work. Plus, I would rather not leave the kids behind & certainly, this would not be something for them to be involved with.
I wish things didn't have to end this way for Zachary and our family. How sad that he'll never get to finish out his life -- to grow up, to get married, have kids of his own. It's just so frustrating to think that this all could have been so different. And, what could we have done as his Aunt and Uncle to help make it different. Could we have been more diligent to keep in touch with Zach. Should we have tried harder to convince him to stop taking the drugs. All of those what if's. But, of course, it is too late now to worry about those.
So anyway, it has been a pretty rough 2 weeks in our family - as Zach slipped away slowly in the hospital after the overdose. The emotional rollercoaster was really hard and intense. I pray for Matt -- that God would protect Him physically and emotionally as he makes this trip. I pray for our family, too -- that we would never again have to lose another young person to drugs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've Realized....

I am not a writer. I always think about blogging about things that happen everyday, but by the time I get to the computer, I've either forgotten what I wanted to write (aka: mommy-brain) or I am too lazy.
I did want to add these pictures of Ella taken the other day, though. They are just too cute NOT to share. She was such a ham for the camera and really enjoyed having curly hair (thanks to foam curlers!).
So without further ado, Ella's photo shoot:

This is what it looked like after we took the curlers out first thing in the morning.
The back.

After a little styling:

Little Miss Bright Eyes:



Isn't she so sweet?!?!
Anyway, not much else new here...Jonah is doing well & happy to be done with school and be on summer vacation.
I did my 3rd triathlon of this season this past Sunday & did pretty good -- come in 80th place out of almost 2600 women. And came in 16th place out of over 400 women in my age group. It was a fun time!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Busy, Busy

So here I go again not blogging regularly like I said I would. Some days it's just hard to get my thoughts processed, let alone written out.
I do have a couple of updates to share, though:
1) I have attended 2 births in less than as many weeks. The first birth about 12 days ago, was incredible. A completely unmedicated birth for mom, with no interventions at all. Thankfully, the natural process unfolded really smoothly and baby was even born in the bag of waters! That was the first time I have seen that in person. Mom did a really great job and coach was equally as wonderful.
The 2nd birth was just last night. First of all & most importantly, mom gave birth to a really cute & healthy (9lb, 3oz!!!!!) baby girl. I am very thankful for that.
I was out of there by 8pm, picking up my babies from Laura's house.
I have more to write about my first triathlon of the season last Saturday, but I will come back & do that later.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WOOT! It is Official!!

So, after about 6 months of home study & 4 days of training/learning & a 3-hour exam in Dallas, TX at the Cooper Institute....I am now an official Certified Personal Trainer! YAY!! I got my exam results this past Saturday and passed with a 91%!!!!

I was thrilled to have passed, to have done well on the exam and I am thrilled to be done with that whole process. It did take quite a bit of energy & time, but it was worth it, I believe & it feels great to have accomplished the goal.

Thanks to my new friend Trish (who sort of motivated me to get the studying done sooner and go up to Dallas for the training and the exam sooner) for all her studying help and friendship through the whole process. Congrats to Trish, who also passed the exam! I also want to thank my friend & coach Rebekah, who helped both Trish & me study over the last 6 weeks before the exam and who also encouraged me to go for this personal training certification to begin with. Well, I had actually had this in my heart for the last couple years, but was really not doing anything about it to make it a reality. Looking on the internet for certifying bodies and programs does not qualify as taking necessary steps to acheive a goal!! So, it really was Rebekah that helped me to solidify my plans and my goal.

So, for now I plan on just continuing to help out the ladies in my church in our fitness ministry called Temple Foundations. I also have a neighbor that has hired me to help her as a personal trainer & I will eventually work with Rebekah as we do Boot Camps around the area.

For now, I am happy to have more initials to put behind my name:
Christina Barkley, BS, AAHCC, CI-CPT

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day # 2 of class @ The Cooper Institute

Ok, so things are going well so far this week with this Personal Trainer certification course. Yesterday's lectures and material was doable, but I still have a bit to memorize before Friday's test.

Today should be slightly more challenging because we will be going over anatomy. But, even still I am feeling good about it.

Later today, we actually do some of the fitness assessments where we will be doing running, walking, strength & flexibility testing. Should be interesting.

I also got in a 3 mile tempo run last night & then did a short interval workout.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ahhh.....in Dallas for the week.

So, I am here in Dallas right now -the night before- the start of my week-long Personal Training seminar at the Cooper Institute. I admit I am nervous about everything, especially the certification exam on Friday...but, I know that I will do well and pass the test. Plus, I gave God my worry & anxiety & I know He will carry it for me. My prayer is that He would enable me to absorb what I need to absorb and that I will retain all I need to.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pics from Spring Break @ Grandpas!

Grandpa with Jonah & Ella

Me & my dad

Me & the kids in Rockefeller Center

Kids in front of the apple store

The train ride back to Grandpa's house

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In the Big Apple

I'm away from the Austin area right now in New York visiting my dad. All is well & the kids are liking their time here -- talking with Grandpa & chasing the cats around.

I have taken a few days off from training to get things done and get here for our spring break. I did do a short run today (about 35 minutes) - slow pace, just to get my heart rate up a bit. And I will taking tomorrow off so that the kids & I can tour around the Big Apple. We'll be taking the train & probably a cab, so all of those new experiences will be great for the kids. I am hoping to do plenty of walking, too, to help tired them out. I promised them we would stop by FAO Schwartz to pick out a toy! They are psyched about that!

We are here until very late Saturday night (not getting back to our house until 1am!) and then Sunday I teach my Thursday class group from 2-4pm and then it is off to Dallas just one hour later at 5pm to do my Cooper Institute Personal Trainer seminar and certification exam.

I won't get back from Dallas until late Friday night, too. This is going to be a long week ahead!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


At our small group last night we talked about peace....and whether or not we all have this fruit of the Spirit. Now, of course there are times where we have peace & others times we don't. And that, by its very nature, is the problem. Our study pointed out how we automatically have access to God's peace when we accept Him into our hearts. The matter is not whether we have a constant source of peace, the matter is whether we choose to accept His peace and WALK in His peace. So, we looked at some of God's attributes -- what makes Him trustworthy & why we can have faith in Him and therefore, have access to an incredible levels of peace -- even in the midst of the storms of life.
I learned a lot last night & I am resolving to seek God more, trust Him more & give Him my worries. By doing this, I believe I can walk in a new level of peace that will ultimately glorify Him.

And now, switching gears...

I started my day today by taking Jonah to school and then working on my studying for the personal trainer certification. In fact, I should be doing more of that right now. But, I need a break. I am trying to absorb all that I need to, in order to go to Dallas in 2 weeks for the training and exam.

I also went to the gym & did my prescribed workout (my friend & triathlon coach, Rebekah, has written my triathlon training plan for this season). Today was a "long run" and 1/2 hour core & stretching. I did 6.2 miles on the treadmill (torture) and then lifted and did core & stretching. So far I am on target with my plan, but it will go out the window (well, not totally) while I am away in New York next week & then in Dallas the week after. But, I will do my best.

Looking ahead, this weekend is a night away for me & Matt. We have a wedding to attend in Houston & Angie will be coming to take care of the kids/house/dogs for us. She is such an awesome friend!!

I guess that is all for now. Later.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Today's stuff

So, I will be dropping Ella at preschool in a bit & then heading over to the gym for a swim workout. I have to do about 1200 meters and then I have a 5k tempo run planned at home. From there, Trish & Rebekah are coming over to study for the Cooper Institute personal trainer certification. Yes, I am in the process of studying to get certified. And, I am going to Dallas in less than 2 weeks to take the week-long training course and then to take the certification exam. I had been feeling anxious about all of that & this morning I finally prayed and gave it over to God. I am trusting Him to help me to absorb all the material and to pass the exam. I was feeling like it was almost a bit too much for me to accomplish in my own strength (which, it is!!). So, I am giving it to Him and allowing Him to carry me through this. Of course, this doesn't mean I am not studying -- no, in fact, I am trying my best to study hard and get it all learned!

So, that is my morning in a nut shell. Maybe I'll be back later to talk about the afternoon & evening.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Back at the blog-thing

Yup, I am back to this little thing called 'blogging'. I journal on occasion, just on my pc, about life, my daily workouts, and my daily nutrition. I do this mainly to help keep me on track for my fitness goals.

But, for now I think I want to take a full blown crack at blogging on a more regular basis. For mental clarity, for processing my thoughts, and for the purpose of being able to look back on my words and hopefully see growth in all areas of my life.

So, here I am. Ready to write and let things out, so to speak. And, if you are someone other than me reading this -- WELCOME. Welcome to my little world. My life and times. The story of Christina. The story of how I am choosing to live a life that honors God and my family on a daily basis.

Peace be with you....