House-hunting Heartbreak & Other July News

Excuse the gap in posts… we had a few intense weeks here at the Breaux household.  House hunting in a HOT market is tough!  Basically the Houston house supply is at an all-time low, prices are high, and from what we hear we are competing against foreign investors paying in cash.  Even the rental market is challenging – I recently heard that the city of Houston is building more apartment complexes than the whole state of California! 

We started casually house hunting in mid-2013.  We were already amazed by the prices then, and they only rose through 2014.  During IMTX training I told David I was not able to train and look for houses at the same time – it was too much emotionally and physically.  I made him a promise that once the race was over, we would concentrate our efforts on house hunting.   So since May, we have been seriously looking at houses.  We kept a strict eye on Redfin, Zillow and HAR.com, and when we saw a house come on the market that we are interested in, we would try to be there that evening.  We’ve see a lot of houses in the past few months.

The problem is we want to live close to the city and aren’t ready for the commute that comes with the ‘burbs – the Houston suburbs are known for really bad commutes and we enjoy our life and time.  It might be a different story if we didn’t work at the same company or if only one of us worked, but with both of us working, we want to maximize our time.  Time is money – actually time is more valuable than money!  Our criteria has been in or near the Houston “loop” with 3 beds, 2 baths, a garage, and 1500+ sq ft – and we would love a small outdoor space, at least a patio to sit in.  We were also very focused on location (near an area where we can run, walk, etc.) and natural light.  For me, if the house is dark it’s a no-go.  For David, he really wants a nice work space like a garage.

Well, we found three houses we really liked, bid three times (one was just a back-up offer), and were out-bid each time.   A couple weeks ago, we were on the third house we considered seriously, and we put a bid in even though we didn’t think we had a chance.  Five days later we received a phone call from our realtor that we go the house!  It was an adorable house in the Heights, with a “beach cottage” look and very open interior.  It needed paint and new carpets, but we were super excited as it was near the running trail, a park, and it would be ours.  We got an email from the seller’s realtor saying our offer was accepted, and that evening we strolled around our new neighborhood and planned new furniture and pinned Pinterest decorating ideas.

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But not so fast… just before bed that evening we received bad news that another offer had come in.  And we then found out [of course] that email acceptance of our bid is not at all legally binding, so the sellers decided to consider the other offer.  At noon the following day the Sellers told us we could put in our “best, highest offer” by 7 PM that evening.  We were off to a bidding war.  We went through sad, mad, then bitter emotions.  We just had this house for a reasonable, yet still quite high price and now we’d have to bid well above?!  While this was all legal, we just felt it was unethical.  The sad thing is, I think it happens often in the world of realty.  It’s all about the money.  Feeling upset, we did put in an offer, but it wasn’t enough and we were out-bid. 

So for a week or two we were a bit down and out.  We had already visualized our future together in the house and then it was taken away.  We continued the house search, but nothing came up that was “us”.  For what would be the biggest purchase of our life we weren’t ready to settle on something we didn’t love, especially in Houston.  We love Texas and we like Houston, but we’re here for work; we’d love to think that we will get to see and experience other locations though and have some adventure in life.  We don’t want to buy something we can’t afford then be tied to it. 

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I didn’t think we’d get so emotionally tied to houses in the process; you don’t realize what an impact a house can have on you.  I know a house is only a “thing” but it will impact your lifestyle and surroundings for many years, and the location makes a difference in your daily activities.  And you sort of want it to reflect you and your family – not too fancy, not run down, but juuuust right.

Last week we had to decide whether to renew our apartment lease, and so we decided to renew until next April.  Whether the market will improve by then, we don’t know, but at least it gives us a little time for the rental market to improve, so if we still don’t find a house, we could maybe rent a house with a garden and garage.  So that’s the story.  I guess David and I are just at the point we want somewhere to call home and add our own touches to.  I think it will come, we just need to be patient.

And lastly, onto other training news – I’m finally getting over my hip issues after lots of stretching and core/glute/back work.  I found that stretching my hamstrings and back really helped with my hip, who knew?  My next race is an Olympic distance race on Labor Day, and after that who knows, probably a fall race as well.  I had a less structured program with lots of “fun” workouts for a couple months after ironman, and now I’m back to training for an Oly race.  So I started last week with a swim test and a bike test last and found that my swimming was going well but my biking power had dropped a little.  Not too surprising.  Of course that meant this week Marni brought on the pain with LOTS of intervals.  I was loving it though, I was feeling good to push once again and enjoying the workouts.  I had lost a little motivation right after IMTX with my hip feeling off and all the house hunting drama, so now that all that is over, I’m back to a happy spot.  And some other happenings:

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Green smoothie insanity has continued!  With berries and/or melon lately.

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The Femme Fatale was taken apart by yours truly and Di2 was installed (did get some bike shop help to run the cables though!)  LOVE my ride with Di2 AND Zipp 404s!!  I’m one lucky girl.

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Yummy eats – blueberry/granola/Greek yogurt snack at work and lentils with salad, quinoa and sweet potato for dinner

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Super refreshing watermelon juice with basil!

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Catching Up–Houston Summer

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the delay in posts, but honestly, I didn’t have a ton to catch you up on.  As far as life goes, just the same ol’ work.  If you’re curious (or extremely bored) the project I’m working on is a deepwater project in the Gulf of Mexico called Jack St. Malo, and was recently featured in this video in Fortune Magazine.  Working on a project that gets oil out of the ground in over 7,000’ of water (1+ mile) really puts energy use in perspective! 

David and I are also pretty busy house hunting at pretty much the worst time possible.  The Houston housing market is smoking!  Not sure what will happen, but we need to make some decisions in the next few months.  We’ve had some really emotional conversations/decisions and and while we’ve made a couple offers none have been strong enough as most houses already have contracts or multiple offers above list price by the time we see them.  But we are keeping our eyes out for that special place to call home.

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On to a more exciting topic, training: my hip is finally much better, yay!  I mentioned in some last posts it was aggravated while running/biking.  The three ART (Active Release Therapy) sessions I went to seemed to help, as well as just throttling back a bit.  Sure, I lost a little speed and power, but I am SO happy I’m back in the game.  I got some long rides and runs in the last couple of weekends and it felt GREAT.  I’m back to 10+ hour training weeks and just enjoying it.  I love that feeling of being sore – not injury sore, but knowing that I worked hard sore.

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Much needed legs-up-the-wall pose has happened more than once in the past couple of weeks

And David is finally recovering and can run again, hooray!  This morning before work David and I did a good 1:10 hr endurance run:

  • 30 min warm up at comfortable pace with stops/stretches every mile
  • 30 min endurance pace (HIM pace, 8:30 for us as we are a tad out of shape) with 10-15 sec rest every 5 mins
  • Stop and recover a few minutes
  • 5-10 min EZ run/jog to cool down

By the end David and I both commented on how we really enjoyed the shorts breaks every 5 minutes and it gave us something to look forward to.  Amazing how quickly the workout went; had it been a straight 30 minutes it would have been much harder.

We followed it up with my new favorite smoothie recipe, with lots of anti-inflammatory power from the cherries (recipe below for one person; we double it for both of us):

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup almond milk or milk
  • 1/3 c frozen cherries
  • 1/4 c frozen or fresh blueberries
  • handful kale
  • 1 date
  • 1/2-1T chia seeds
  • 1/2-1T wheat germ or flax seeds
  • 1t spirulina
  • 1/2-3/4 scoop whey protein powder

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Breakfast at work

And just some other randoms from the week:

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Sunday was a 3 hr bike + 45 min run brick followed by scrambled tofu/eggs with toast.  I was so proud of myself for completing this tough workout!

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A yummy dinner of roast chickpeas, avocado, egg, arugula-spinach mix and whole wheat pita toasted with Rosemary and served with hummus

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New Betty gear makes swimming even better!  (feel free to email me if you are interested in a discount on Betty Designs gear :)

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