Future of the Blog?

5 Dec 2013 In: Uncategorized

As you can see, I haven’t blogged in pretty much forever. Life takes over and you find yourself living and doing more than sitting and writing about it. Plus, with Facebook, FourSquare, and other social media outlets, I find that my family knows what I’m up to from the odd status or photo album there than anywhere else.

So I’m trying to figure out if I want to just archive my blog and make my site somewhat static, or revive it and use it as a multi-tool. What do I mean by multi-tool? Well, I’ve been getting back into the graphics side of things again, with a Wacom-digitizer on my Surface Pro, I’m back to sketching and painting. Maybe I’ll start posting sketches on the blog.

I’m also the same gadget-hound I’ve always been, so maybe it’s time to post more reviews between gadgets, apps, and accessories. Fitness has become a huge part of our lives now too, so maybe I’ll occasionally post a race report here or there (or which injury is nagging me the most at the time, because, if you’re a runner, you know we LOVE talking about our injuries!)

So anyway, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my blog, aside from making it into just an online portfolio for my UI/UX designs or sketches.

The past year has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, from losing our beautiful German Shepherd to doing the Disney Coast-to-Coast races, from US Airways / American Airlines mergers to getting deeper into longer-distance trail running.

Stay tuned. Changes afoot. On the site, I mean. Otherwise I’m still pretty much the same ‘ol me. :)

Christmas 2012

17 Dec 2012 In: Uncategorized

Can’t believe I haven’t blogged in nearly six months, whoa! The long and short of it, I’ve been into training heavily (mostly running) and have run several races and gotten more PR’s (personal records) in the last six months than I have since I started running in 2011. I now run about five days a week, up to 25-30 miles a week (a large week for me).

I ran the Lady SpeedStick Women’s Half-Marathon in November (2:24:42 PR), did my first sub-30 minute 5K (Turkey Trot, 29:18), ran the Hot Chocolate 15K (1:39:59), and ran the Athleta IronGirl 10 mile (1:40:08). With a LOT of hard work and training, I’m finally not last in my age group or one of the slowest runners on the course. It feels SO good to see improvement.

Chuck’s knee is getting better week by week. He finished his last PT session last Thursday, so he’s on his own now, following the Hal Higdon Half-Marathon training plan and working through the lingering soreness in the knee that happens after running distances over 8 or 9 miles.

We haven’t flown our balloon yet this season — between his recovering knee injury and our work/race schedule, we haven’t had much time. Hopefully we will fly more in 2013 than we did in 2012!

Next year is The Year of the Mouse. Mickey Mouse, that is. We’re doing the Coast to Coast half-marathons starting with the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon in January and finishing with the Disneyland Half-Marathon in September. When we finish the Disneyland half, we’ll also receive a huge coast-to-coast medal — we’ve been looking forward to it for almost a year now!

Planning on LOTS of trail running races next year, and I’d like to do an Olympic distance triathlon along with maybe a half-Iron distance tri, if I have the time. Been doing a lot of running, though, and not enough cycling.

Hope your plans for next year are lofty and fantastic — have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Summer Update 2012

19 Jul 2012 In: Uncategorized

Haven’t posted much, the usual “life” gets in the way of blogging sometimes. Chuck had ACL reconstruction knee surgery in the beginning of June, but he’s doing well now and in physical therapy once a week. I know he’s dying to get back to running and cycling, but so far he’s limited to swimming and stationary bike.

As for me, I’ve been training hard for the past few months. I work out nearly every day, alternating spin days with run days. On the weekends it’s swim time, as well as squeezing in a long run and long bike ride most weekends.

So far the longest I’ve run since surgery last December has been 9 miles, and I felt fantastic that day. My longest ride has been nearly 27 miles, and I was pleased to have found some great trails along Skunk Creek to keep me moving along happily.

I’ve booked myself to the gills with races — I have the Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half-Marathon in November, the Tour de Tucson ride in late November, then in December it’s the Hot Chocolate 15K and the Athleta IronGirl 15K.

As far as triathlon goes, I’m still being a little wishy-washy on racing in Nathan’s Tempe Triathlon at the end of September. I wanted to do an Olympic distance which is 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike, and 6 mile run. But the end of September is still somewhat oven-like, so it’ll be a challenge for me. I’ll still probably race. :)

Otherwise we’re both happy and healthy, and ready to get out and do some traveling as soon as Chuck’s knee is good to go!

Don’t Break the Chain!

5 Jun 2012 In: iPhone, lifehacks, productivity

I love productivity hacks and ways to keep on target with goals and achievements. Lately the one I’ve been using comes from a website called Chains.cc.

My Chains.cc Goals

My Chains.cc Goals

The idea first came from Jerry Seinfeld, which is pretty cool. He wanted to write better jokes, and to achieve that goal, he felt that he needed to write daily. So he bought a big wall calendar and marked a big red “X” over every day that he wrote. After several days, he had a chain of red X’s on his calendar. Every day he said to himself, “Don’t break the chain.” It encouraged him to continue writing and improving, and is a fantastic productivity and goal-setting idea.

Chains.cc allows you to create your own “chains”, and all you do is visit the site daily and “X” off the tasks that you completed. My daily goals are to exercise, improve my software development skills, study for my FAA Private Pilot exam (for hot air balloons), and do some form of writing daily such as a journal entry or blog post.

Having this site keeps me on track, because I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a task for the day and get to visit the site and “check it off”. It also works on my guilt factor, some days it forces me to study or work out just because I want to see the string of completed tasks. The website makes it easy to configure your goals and works on iOS, Android and all modern browsers, no app necessary (although I think there’s an iOS app coming soon).

Do you have a set of daily goals you’d like to continue to make progress on and get a visual representation of your accomplishment? What methods or productivity tricks do you use?

Rio Salado Triathlon 2012

7 May 2012 In: races, train, triathlon

The other big event recently was racing in the Rio Salado Triathlon this past Saturday, May 5th. I elected to do the sprint distance this time since it’s my first triathlon after ankle surgery. The distances were 750 meter swim, 12.6 mile bike, 5K (3.1 mile) run.

I have spent the past three months increasing my training volume to where I would train 12-13 days in a row before taking a rest day. I did as much as I could without injuring myself, and the training seemed to help as I was faster this triathlon than the “baby” tri that I competed in July 2011.

Swimming in Tempe Town Lake with no wetsuit had me a little nervous at first. It was my first open-water mass start, but we got to start in waves, so it wasn’t bad at all. Nobody gave me a black eye, knocked off my goggles, or elbowed me in the mouth. The buoys looked SO far away, despite only being half of my typical swim workout distance. But I hung in there and once I got in the groove, enjoyed every second of the swim. Before I knew it, I was getting pulled out of the lake onto the stairs to go transition.

The bike leg was so much fun that I half wanted to stay to the left and loop it again (which is what the Olympic distance riders did). I only averaged 14.5 miles on the bike, but hey, I’m a new rider. Maybe some aero bars and bigger quads would provide a little extra awesome next time. ;) The only mishap I had during the bike leg was that my Uncrustable strawberry peanut butter and jelly sandwich went bouncing out of my bento box when I crossed a bumpy brick road. There went my nutrition plan for mile 7! I just took two “Salt Stick” salt/electrolyte capsules instead and called it good.

I made it into T2 (bike to run transition) and racked my bike and prepared for the run. Here’s where I found out that my bite-valve bottles come in handy because they allowed me to suck down water with no hands while I tied my shoes. I downed most of a pack of Stingers (like gummi bears, only healthier) since I lost my PB&J sandwich, and headed out for the run.

The run is what it is… my weakest sport. It’s what I need to work on the most. I know I’ll get better / faster / stronger, I just have to keep working harder at it. I had the best day though — I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and especially the swim and the bike. I can’t wait until my next triathlon. I came in under my time goal of 2 hours at 1:51 and change. I know I’m still a back of the pack triathlete, but if I can just finish and I’m not DFL (dead flippin’ last), I’m a happy camper.

My next race goal is to compete at Nathan’s Olympic Triathlon at the end of September this year. I’m cool with the swim and bike distance already, but I will have to up my game to be able to hang for running six miles instead of just three miles. I can do it, but I want to be able to do it FASTER!

I’ll post pics and the video when I get them all edited into one loop. Let’s hope I manage to get to that before the weekend. ;)

 

Josh vs Shark

7 May 2012 In: shark attack

I just realized that my last blog entry was on March 12th and it’s already May 7th. A world of events have happened during the past few months, so here’s the biggest news first:

On April 3rd, 2012, my brother Joshua Holley was attacked by a ten foot tiger shark while surfing. He felt pressure on his left foot and then saw the dorsal fin pop up and out of the water. The shark came back around towards his board and Josh pushed it with his left hand on the gills and started punching it in the face with his right hand. His quick thinking and clear head under pressure are what saved his life!

Some other surfers saw him yelling at the shark and came to his aid, as the tiger shark submerged back under the water and swam away. Josh kept his foot out of the water and on the board and with the help of some other surfers, they all paddled into shore where a lifeguard was able to call the ambulance.

Josh ended up having to have surgery two days later to reattach two of the tendons in his left foot that the shark severed, as well as 42 stitches to sew it all back up. He’s doing quite well now, but is still recovering and I know he’s eager to get back in the water.

He was a bit of an Internet sensation for awhile, making national and even international news stories, and has had several interviews played on television. Here are some of the MANY news stories:

Man Punches Shark
Joshua Holley Survives Tiger Shark Attack
Surfer Bitten by Shark

I’m just glad he’s okay and that his quick actions saved his own life. I was glad to be able to go home to Hawaii for the surgery to support him and the rest of our family. Can’t wait for the book and movie rights, Josh! ;)

 

I Work Out!

12 Mar 2012 In: Uncategorized

Last Wednesday was a milestone marking the end of my (very expensive even with copay) Physical Therapy sessions for my ankle. Last Thursday was my final doctor’s appointment where I was cleared to go back to all activities – yay! Only caveat is that if I’m doing quick lateral change sports (e.g. racquetball, hiking, trail running) I need to be sure to wear my ASO ankle brace for the next year.

Now I’m on my own for training again and can follow my own workout plan. I need to be cautious, I get a bit overzealous with triathlon & run training and then I get injured. I ran a fast tempo run on Friday, getting as fast as an 8:23 pace (very briefly) and then slowing down to a walk for a few seconds, and then getting back up to speeds that are faster than I’m used to running. Now it just feels like my lungs are holding me back instead of my foot, so that feels good. I can fix cardio. :)

Saturday I got out for a solo bike ride around the neighborhood and clocked an easy 7 miles. One of those training days where a bunch goes wrong, but it’s a good learning experience. I dropped my chain on a flat road coming to a four way stop and had to pull off the road and reset it. Then my Garmin decided it needed charging RIGHT THEN and died as well, haha. There was a decent amount of traffic on the streets, so I got in some good traffic skills and bike handling work. Sunday I swam a mile’s worth of laps in the pool and I’m continuing to get faster there as well, it makes me happy to see the numbers ticking lower.

Next races? A St. Patrick’s Day 4K is my first official “post-surgery” race. Just a fun race where I get to dress up and wear green, I’m looking forward to it. Then I’ll be doing the Rio Salado Sprint Triathlon the first weekend of May. That’s a 750 meter open water swim in Tempe Town Lake followed by a 12.6 mile bike ride, and then a 5K run at the end. I’m a little nervous about the bike leg – I’m a wobbly biker right now in clipless pedals, and having enough cardio for the run part scares me some too. But I think I can fix all that in the next month and a half!

If you’re tired of hearing the overused buzzword, “Innovation” bandied about the office too often, this book is worth the read. Scott Berkun discusses the different myths attributed to innovation through history, and why innovation itself is not the magical solution.

One of the great myths about innovation is that it should take the form of some brilliant idea hitting you on the head much like Isaac Newton’s Apple. Nope. Innovation comes from hard work, and there’s no magic bullet. I like what Scott Berkun has to say on page 13: “No grand innovation in history has escaped the long hours required to take an insight and work it into a form useful to the world.”



If you enjoy history, this is also a fun book to read, as Berkun talks about innovations such as Archimedes slipping and falling in the tub (Eureka!), Picasso turning an old bicycle into a sculpture of a bull, and Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. We have a tendency to glamorize these innovators and put them on a pedestal of genius when in fact, it was years of labor, research, mistakes, and elbow grease that got them to that point of “epiphany.”

This book was interesting to me because I love the process of programming as well as what it takes when designing an interface. I might spend hours tweaking a web layout to be pixel perfect, and then at the end find a flourish that brings the mockup together. Sometimes I don’t find that flourish at all.  Linus Pauling says, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” It’s a concept that is reiterated in this book that making lots of mistakes, continuing to persevere, and challenging your own ideas will help you in the execution of your goal.

I enjoyed this book mainly because of Scott’s sense of humor injected into the book, bringing both historical achievements and current business ventures into a relevant, interesting read. This book demonstrates the importance of moving past the hype of “innovation” and discusses a plan of action in the epilogue that states, “Forget innovation: focus on being good.” I recommend it for anyone who wants to better themselves or get motivated about a new project.

Ankle Update

6 Feb 2012 In: Uncategorized

Wow, I can’t believe I went a whole month without posting, bad girl! Time to post an update on the ankle. It’s been a long, busy January, but I got out of the boot on January 12th and into an ankle brace and regular shoes. I’m now into my 4th week of physical therapy for the ankle.

In the four weeks of PT, my ankle has gone from pretty bad swelling those first few sessions, to a bit less of a “cankle”, to very little swelling now. Elevating my foot during work hours helped immensely. Before I started elevating it, I was going into PT at 5pm with a fat, swollen ankle. In PT they’ve had me doing leg presses and doing lots of stretching in all directions against a TheraBand. At the end of every session, my therapist would do some deep tissue work on the ankle, breaking up the scar tissue around the stitches and working the flexibility of the ankle. Then I’d hobble on out of there and drive home with a bag of ice on my foot.

PT is painful, but I’m also working incredibly hard at it because I want to improve as an athlete. Now I have progressed to where I’m balancing on my left ankle on an unstable, thick mat while throwing a ball at a trampoline that’s at an angle. Maybe by next week I’ll be balancing one-footed on a Bosu ball while they toss hula hoops at my head and give me fish for treats. ;-)

The scar isn’t too bad, it’s about two inches long and is still red, but I think when it heals all the way it’ll just be some shiny marks across my ankle bone. I’ve also been able to go back to swimming and cycling, which I’ve missed immensely. This Thursday is my last (?) doctor’s appointment where I’m guessing he’ll set me up with a few more weeks of PT and hopefully clear me to begin gently jogging. I can’t believe how much I’ve missed running.

In 8 weeks (my surgery was Dec 5th, 2011) I’ve gone from being completely unable to bear weight, to a candy cane cast, then a boot, then driving, and then to PT where I don’t even wear an ankle brace to work out! It’s nice to be making progress — it’s easy to get tunnel vision and feel like you’re going nowhere.

2011 Year in Review

30 Dec 2011 In: Uncategorized

This year was WONDERFUL, and chock full of learning experiences. Here’s a little rundown of what I learned this year.

1) Beware of sleek CEO’s that might promise you the moon and stars. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

2) Jobwise, take some time to find out what you REALLY enjoy doing. Find that workplace that feels like home when you walk in the door. After all, you’ll practically end up spending more time with your co-workers than your spouse.

3) Limitations are only in your mind. Forget about them. Make a plan and go for it. I went from “running hater” to having the most incredible Disneyland Half-Marathon experience of my life. I went from walking the dog once a day as my only form of exercise to my first 5K, first half-marathon, first sprint triathlon and even a “Dirty 6 Mud Run” obstacle course race.

4) Listen to what your body is telling you. I split my peroneal brevis tendon in my ankle this past August. I ignored it and kept going, even ran the half-marathon with the split tendon. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret running that half. However, I should have listened to my body immediately afterward and not signed up for more races and harder training, thinking that tendon injury would heal itself.

5) Face your fears head-on. In January of 2011, I flew my solo in our hot air balloon for the first time. I was nervous and a little scared. I didn’t sleep much the night before. But I was ready, and I had a beautiful solo flight — another life experience I’ll never forget.

6) Appreciate the people around you. They’re the ones that help you create your life to be what it is, help you reach your goals, and are there to pick you up and take care of you when you fall down (or have ankle surgery). Respect, love, and appreciate your spouse, family and your friends.

There were so many firsts this year in 2011 — I can’t imagine what 2012 has in store for me but I know it’s gonna be great. Better. Faster. Stronger.

About this blog

ASP.net UI/UX Developer by day, a million other hobbies by night. Attracted to shiny objects that need recharging. Passion for life, love, and sushi. Hot air ballooning, triathlon, running, hiking, books, and travel are just a few of my interests. Multi-platform (Android and iOS) enthusiast.


Photos

Grand Canyon Apr 2013Picacho Peak Christmas 2013
Hawaii Jun 2013Renaissance Faire 2013
Peralta Trail Mar 2013Vegas Red Rocks - 2013

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