Category Archives: Training Journal

Training Journal: Houston Marathon 2019

Yesterday was the big day. I avoided the flu, drove like an old woman to avoid further car accidents, and made my way to Houston

I was nervous from the time I woke up Saturday until the time I woke up Sunday and went out into the cold to wait for our Uber. Richard kept telling me it would be fine but I wasn’t sure. We went to our corrals and proceeded to start our marathons – his 5th and my first.

It was hard. Harder than anything I’ve ever done. There were so many times I just wanted to give up but I couldn’t. Not after everything that happened.

This marathon was a year and a half in the making. I was. Not. Giving. Up. I kept running. Richard started a campaign of harassment/support that got me through the last miles.

I was 9 minutes over. The finish line was being taken down. Rather than letting me and the others suffer for nothing, they led us down a little path lined with pinwheels that was actually really cool, and into the convention center where I was given my medal, shirt, finisher mug, and food. I staggered outside into the sun and dropped onto the fountain to wait for Richard.

Friends, when I saw him I started crying. Without his support and encouragement I don’t know that I would have even signed up for the damn thing if he hadn’t told me he knew I could.

So now I’m officially a marathoner. I’m taking the next week or two off before the Cowtown and then the Pearland half with Richard and Charlotte. Richard also wants to do the Skyline half in April because we are crazy people. I’ll never forget my first marathon, though.

Advertisements

Training Journal – Houston Blues

Look at that beautiful medal. I love it so much and the fact that I am likely not going to be getting it on Sunday is kind of breaking my heart.

In a fit of pique, I had a little bit of a moment on Facebook. I am not humblebragging, fishing for compliments, or looking for people to tell me that I can totally do it. The simple fact of the matter is that at my current pace, I will be on target to finish in about 6 hours and 15-20 minutes. That’s well outside the 6 hour time limit, which means that beautiful medal won’t be going home with me. You can tell me to think positively all you like, but you can’t change facts.

After my hip injury this fall, I had to take a lot of time off from training and with my new job and schedule I’ve had to change my whole workout time around. I’m still getting used to things and after an hour commute home I’m a little fried. All of this added up to leave me at a pace I’m kind of embarrassed about. I’ve never been the fastest runner but this is a new low for me. I’ve accepted it, though, and know what I have to do to improve.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to improve in the next two days. I have hope that I’ll be able to finish in time to finish the Cowtown Marathon in February, but as for Sunday it’s not happening. As a result, I’ve gotten a little depressed. Every race week email I get makes me a little sadder. Everyone is so excited and ready to run their best and earn their medal, and I have to try to accept that no matter how hard I try I just won’t make it. It would be super easy to bow out and blame it on the car accident I was in on Tuesday, but I’m trying to use it as a learning experience. It still hurts a little though.

Tomorrow I start the drive to Houston. I’m going to be so happy to see my friends but I’m also preparing myself for disappointment. The best I can hope for is not to be carted off the course in the bus. See y’all on the flip side.

Training Journal: Divas Virtual Half Marathon…2018?

Amanda and me, getting ready to start. Cold. Remember the virtual half Amanda and I were going to do that ended up turning into a New Year’s Day 5K? Of course the missing packet shows up on January 2nd! After a comedy of errors that included a hellish crick in my neck, we set the date for yesterday. Friends, it was cold. 38 degrees to be precise. Amanda was almost frozen but I’ve run in 19 degree weather so I knew I’d make it.

Since she was running the 5K and I was doing the half, I mapped out a route that would take us out and back together so we could snap a picture of us with our medals before I went back out for another 10 miles. The Diva series is known for its huge fancy medals and before she saw mine Amanda asked if it was a thing with them. It is. It’s totally a thing.

After a quick hug, Amanda went to warm up and I went back to the trail after a cup of water. Somehow it felt like it had gotten colder but I started on my way, having mapped the rest of the route through Trinity Park. Even in the winter it’s beautiful, and I enjoyed it.

It may not have been the best idea to do this the weekend before the marathon but – and I know I never mentioned it before – I have anxiety. I knew that doing the half would make me feel better, whether it proved I’d crash and burn at the marathon or gave me hope, so I decided to do it for the sake of my mental health. I’m so glad I did! I kept a good pace, made good time, and my legs don’t feel any worse than they did Saturday (which was not at all). In order to finish the marathon in the allotted 6 hours, I need to keep a pace of 13:44/mile. Today I ran 13.1 and sustained a pace of 13:29/mile. Yes, I am slow. I finished in 2:56:00, which is my best time since last May, and I almost cried.

I’m still certain I won’t finish in 6 hours. Feeling good or not, I was still tired after the half so I doubt I can keep my pace under 14:00/mile. If I can keep it around there, though, I might be able to finish just a hair over 6 hours and get an unofficial finish. No medal or swag, but I’ll know where I am and whether or not I can finish the Cowtown. The most important thing is that I continue to live by Deadpool’s motto: “Maximum Effort.”

Next year I think I’ll see if Amanda wants to do this again. I had fun and feel extremely good about myself, and I got to spend time with a friend I don’t see much anymore. And that, folks, makes me feel like an actual Diva.

Training Journal: Do It for the Pancakes

I admit it, I like food. And some of the best food is the stuff you eat after a race. Tacos, Indian thalli, stuffed grape leaves, bananas, and possibly my fave part of the Cowtown Weekend: the little cup of vanilla Blue Bell. Today was no different because this morning was the Cowtown pancake social run.

Last year I had to miss it because of work but now that I have weekends off I punched the “going” button so hard I nearly cracked my screen. Not long after that my friend Gemma texted me and asked if I wanted to go together. Pancakes and a running buddy? Yes please!

When we got there it was packed because the entire Fort Worth running community advocates eating pancakes and we saw some of our friends and coaches there too! It was a lot like the Hell’s Half Acre; everyone just got together and hung out beforehand. We chatted, signed waivers, and perused the sale racks, picked up maps, and headed out into the cold to run our chosen distance. Gemma and I selected the 6 mile route because we’re slow and I have a marathon next weekend, and we were off!

One of my fave things about running with a friend is that we can chat and enjoy ourselves for several miles. We had a good time, gossiped, and hydrated properly. In spite of the hills we made really good time and everything was good until I missed a turn. I got us back on track but instead of running 6 miles we ran a little over 10K so we definitely deserved both the sausage and the pancakes that greeted us on our return.

After the pancakes, we hung out at the Cowtown office (it’s pretty big) with 200 of our closest friends. The Cowtown is one of the biggest events in town, second only to the Stock Show, and it assures that any party is going to be a runaway success. Gemma signed up for this year’s race but I am waiting to see how things go in the Houston Marathon this coming weekend. If I finish, I’ll do the half. If I fail spectacularly, I’ll try for the Cowtown full. One way or another I’m doing a dang marathon this year.

I was actually surprised by my pace this morning though! My average was 13:17 and I felt good! It gives me hope that if I can’t finish the marathon in time, at least I won’t take 8 hours to finish. Hope springs eternal, I guess!

Training Journal: Happy New Year!

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that I haven’t done much running this fall (and winter). Part of this is because of the new job, trying to get everything worked out and get used to my new schedule. I used to be able to run Tuesdays, Wednesday mornings, and Saturday or Sunday. Now between my commute and being exhausted from work I have had a hard time making time. Also, now that I work Tuesdays I haven’t been able to go to the Y for spin and swimming.

However! With the start of the new year my singular resolution is to get back to being fit! I’m not awful: I’ve lost 15 pounds and sleep better but I miss running. And so I am currently in search of a running challenge for the winter, hoping to get myself moving again. I’m also trying to come up with a schedule for going to the Y before work but we’ll see how that works out. Running, though. That’s happening.

In an attempt to get started on this new road I enlisted Amanda’s help to go for a run this morning. We agreed to meet after she finished at work and run for a few miles. Unfortunately there were…complications. As it turns out, a race was going on. Text message showing that there is a race happening and asking if I want to skip runningWhat do we do when a lemon falls out of the vending machine? Throw that nonsense away and get some mimosas! Amanda and I signed up and proceeded to run a very cold 5K with some other foolish mortals. It ended up being amazing. I clocked my best pace in months, started 2019 off right, and got to drink at 10:45 AM with a good friend. Me and Amanda drinking mimosas by the finish line No medal this time, but I am pleased to report that so far the new year is going my way.

Training Journal: Happy Thanksgiving!

In just a few short hours I will be stuffing my face with turkey, green bean casserole, and Hawaiian rolls before going to my very last holiday shift. To prepare for the bounty, I did what any right thinking person would: I ran 6 miles.

When I first started running back in 2014, I started the holiday tradition of working in the afternoon and doing a 5K in the morning on holidays. I got my very first finisher medal back then and until Thanksgiving 2014 I never even knew those existed!

I particularly enjoy running the Cox Running Club turkey day races because they’re so well put together and fun. I did a different race in 2016 and it was kind of a fiasco. The course wasn’t interesting and it ended up only being 2.8 miles, so it’s no surprise that I went back to CRC for 2017.

This was the first year I did a 10K instead of a 5K and I actually did a lot better than I expected. My hip still isn’t 100% but there was almost no pain and my knee didn’t feel like it was going to give out. I finished strong and went to find Amanda, who had done the 5K. Guess which one is sensitive to the cold?

We both had a great time and afterward Amanda treated us to Starbucks where I had a nonfat Splenda chai latte, also in preparation for feasting. Pick your battles, friends. Pick your battles.

Now it is time for a nap before going to my FIL’s house for eating and I feel like I deserve it. I also deserve the rolls. I plan to tune out any and all political discussion, not complain too much about working, tell everyone about my new job, and stuff both my face and pockets with rolls.

I really love carbs, y’all. Happy Turkey Day!

Training Journal: Trinity River Run

I am incredibly sore. It’s been more than a week since this half-triumph, half-fiasco, and I’m somehow still exhausted.

It all started when I had to work the morning of the race. I was tired and barely had time to run home after my shift to put on my race clothes, so when Amanda got to my place to ride to Dallas I was already tired. Amanda, on the other hand, was extremely cheerful (as seen to your left).

In an attempt to stave off the pain I was starting to feel from being on my feet for five hours, I took a number of ibuprofen and tucked more of them in my water pack, which actually had two coconut waters instead. I cannot stand drinking Nuun electrolytes on the course so I packed my own, along with enough Gu to keep a hummingbird at top speed.

I was terrified from the moment I got to the starting line, but somehow I still held out hope things would go my way. I had been advised by Amanda to cut it short if I was hurting and I was planning on finishing the half marathon and 10K and doing just that. The race started and I stood with the 3 hour pacers, hoping no one would ask why someone with a triple challenge bib was so far at the back. Not wanting to give up, I decided to give it my all.

 

As much as I wanted to believe I would somehow be able to triumph over the pain in my hip and my lack of training (mostly caused by said hip), it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t going to be the night I finished the entirety of the Skyline Challenge. I finished the half marathon with my knee quivering, my hip screaming at me, and everything pointing to my hitting the ground. I went back out onto the course after taking more ibuprofen, but when I came to the turnaround I decided that I wasn’t going for the 10K. I took the turn and made it back to the finish line feeling as if I was literally about to fall asleep on my feet. I staggered to the medal table and picked up my half marathon and 5K medals, then staggered to the Trinity River Run table to get my bonus medal. You see, the Skyline Challenge is running two or more races so I still got the extra medal.

I caught up with Amanda in my car and we took this quick selfie before I started driving us home. She was very cold and I was completely exhausted so we were a real pair. I was so glad to have her company on the drive home. Talking to her kept me awake and by the time I got close enough to my bed to fall into it I was ready to sleep for 12 hours.

When I woke up again, it had actually been 12 hours and I was able to fully admire my new medals. Amusingly enough, when I originally signed up for this, I wanted to do the half + 5K before a small hiccup came along and put me into all three. So I achieved my goal after all, and 16.3 miles is nothing to sneeze at.