Tag Archives: Running

Training Journal – Hell’s Half Acre

img_3853Some people go out partying on Saturday nights. My friends and I run long distances. 25K, to be exact. That’s 15.5 miles imperial. Chris, Becca, Stephanie and I ran the 25K, while Helen ran the 50K after running a 5K earlier for a total of just over 34 miles. Helen is a certified badass with the awards to prove it.

Most of the people I know thought I was crazy. 15.5 miles at 10:00 PM in the middle of summer? Madness! There’s nothing I love more than a challenge though, so I packed up my gear bag and hit the tollway.

The weather was actually fantastic. There was a nice breeze near the river, there was no sun in my face, and the temperature got cooler as I ran instead of hotter. Couple that with an almost completely flat course, add plentiful fluids and nutrition, and I had an awesome time.

The course was a 5K loop, which meant I had to run it 5 times, but it honestly didn’t feel boring or tedious. In fact, when I was finishing my 5th loop I was looking at all the little things I’d gotten used to seeing with a bit of sadness. It felt good to be running and when I crossed the finish line just after Stephanie and just before 2:00 AM, I felt incredibly accomplished.

I chatted with Stephanie for a while, then we walked to our cars and I started to get lightheaded. It was a little odd because I’d been hydrating regularly, eating my gels at the right times, and was eating a banana at the time. I sat on the curb and Stephanie sat with me until I felt better.

I got home a little after 3:30 and took a long, fantastic bath, ate some tacos and went to bed after hanging my new medal on the rack. I ended up getting to sleep at almost 5:00 AM and woke up at 9:30 to take my medication but couldn’t get back to sleep. My afternoon nap was blissful.img_3842

All in all, the Hell’s Half Acre 25K was an amazing time. It was the longest race I’ve done since last December’s 30K and I’m looking forward to starting my marathon training this week. Working from the bottom up to 20 miles again will feel just as good as this, if not better.

As an aside, I love the shirt they gave us. I have this great t-shirt from Lola’s Saloon that has a low v-neck that I adore, but it’s starting to unravel a little and I was hoping for a new one to pop up. This one looks like it has potential to be my new fave! It has a nice deep neck and is kind of soft. Plus, it tells the world that I did fifteen freaking miles! I don’t know if I’ll ever do the 50K, but I also said I’d never do a marathon and here we are.

I think I’m done racing until September. I’ve got the Labor Day 10K then and the CALF 15K, and I’m hoping to be in better shape than my last few races. Back to cross training!

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Training Journal – Happy Independence Day!

 

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In the spirit of the goofy Snapchat pictures from yesterday, here’s one from last year. His beard is much more epic now. Today I decided to break with my tradition of the last few years and do a 10K instead of my usual 5K. I feel like I’ve progressed past the point of doing 5Ks anymore, unless that’s the only option (Christmas Day 5K, part two of the NYE Double). As Charlotte said “it takes us longer to get there than to actually run the race.”

I’ve really gotten into running in different cities and there was a 10K in The Colony, so I decided it was time to expand my horizons. I also decided it was time to expand my husband’s horizons and was super excited when he agreed to do the 1 mile fun run!

You see, my husband is disabled. For the last couple of years, extended physical activity has caused him pain due to degenerative disc disease in his back that is compressing his sciatic nerve. He’s on a ton of medication, and as I’m sure you can understand, it takes a toll on his mental health. I was hoping that getting him out and doing a 1 mile walk would make him feel as good about himself as running does for me. I am happy to say that it was a success! I stood at the finish line and watched him come over it while I waited for the 10K to start, and saw him get his medal. I’m so proud of him!img_3832

As for my own race, I was woefully underprepared for it. Since my arthritis has gotten worse in my hands, I’ve been trying to find a new medication and now that I’ve got the pain under control, I’m finally able to start running again. Unfortunately, it’s been since the Military Miles half marathon since I’ve gone running, or even to the gym.

Much like my last two races, it was hot. Extremely hot, and the sun was in my face. Oh, and I found out when we got there that I was out of sunscreen. I won’t be surprised if I have a sunburn. Ugh. In spite of the heat, the course was nice. We went around the lake and through some trails, and even though I had to go extremely slowly once I got hot I enjoyed the run. The medal doesn’t hurt either, and it’s super cute and petite. I’d love to do this race again next year when I’m a little better prepared, and maybe Eli could do the 5K. I’ve already got him halfway convinced to do the 5K on Thanksgiving while I do the 10K.

img_3827I’m so glad he and I could share the experience! He put his medal on the Saints Row IV cardboard standee we have in our place, and I put mine on the rack. Next stop is the Hell’s Half Acre 25K on Saturday, which blessedly takes place at 10:00 PM. It’ll still be hot, but as Eli pointed out, it’ll be getting cooler as I go on instead of hotter, and there won’t be any evil sun to shine in my face. I’ll keep you updated, of course!

Training Journal – Military Miles Half Marathon

img_3737I’ve been a little quiet about my health, both mental and physical, because I always feel like no one wants to hear about it. You’re here for books and kittens, after all! Last week, however, was extremely rough for me as I suffer from chronic pain in my hands. It was bad enough that I became somewhat depressed about things and was feeling a little hopeless, so I decided to handle my physical issues in my favorite way – running all the miles!

I went to Dr. Google and looked up June races, and found one in Las Colinas called the WW Military Miles half marathon that looked promising. After a little bit of internal debate and a conversation with Charlotte, I signed myself up for 13.1 miles in the Texas heat.

Now I know I said I would never run another race in the summer after the Badass Texas half but I was certain I’d do better because the elevation wasn’t so crazy. Also, they gave me really nice socks (pictured above).

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The race was pretty good! I didn’t do better than the Badass half but I definitely enjoyed it more up until the last 3 miles when I once again felt like I was baking. They were awesome about keeping us hydrated and trying to keep us cool with iced towels and water every mile, and a lot of the course was shaded trails. It was hot and I was exhausted from finishing a book the night before, but it was a lot prettier and I just feel better running under the trees.

I finished with the exact same time as last month but I’m proud of myself, and I feel so much better. My hands are still killing me but hey, I don’t run on my hands! I got so down about what I’m having trouble doing that I completely forgot what my body is still capable of doing. I also wore shorts again because good gravy, Texas is hot in the summer.

Also, bonus kitten pic of Robin Lord Tater Tot snoozing!

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Training Journal – What It Takes to Be a Badass

img_3612My best friend likes to talk me into things. I’ve known her since middle school and we’re close enough that she calls us “sisters of the heart.” Thankfully, the things she talks me into are often good for me. This time she talked me into (another) half marathon.

When I first started running in 2014, I saw a flyer for the then-named Badass Brazos race. It was billed as the “hottest, hilliest half in Texas.” I told my husband that I would never attempt that thing, mainly because I didn’t want to die. Two years later, Charlotte pops into my email suggesting I be a badass with her and run this race.

I love running with Charlotte, even though she’s faster than me. I love the post-race rehashing of our favorite and the toughest miles, the feeling of sharing something special, and of course the post-race selfie with the medal. Sometimes during a hard race, all you can do is think of the medal.

They renamed the race the Badass Texas half at some point, and according to their website the thing was on a flatter course. Friends, if that’s what they called flat, I’m not sure I want to know what they call hilly.

It started off all right. Not too humid, a little warm but nothing I haven’t run in before. It started at 6:45 so it was even a little dark. Charlotte went to join her pacer and I went to join mine, we hugged and said we’d see each other at the finish line. At Mile 3, we hit our first big hill. By Mile 7, when the major hills started coming, I was already tired. To make things worse, the sun was out and slowly baking me. The race directors had anticipated this and put water stops at every mile instead of every 2 miles, and there was ice cold water, iced towels, and energy packs available at every station. Even with this extra support I was wishing for the thing to be over when I wasn’t even halfway through.

Then came Mile 11.img_3609

Actually it was more like Mile 11.5, but I don’t want to be nitpicky. All of a sudden I was feeling lightheaded, clammy (bizarrely enough), and extremely nauseous. I knew what this meant. I’d crossed the line from being hot to heat exhaustion. I was determined to finish, though, and with encouragement from Charlotte’s husband and son, I made it over the finish line and received my enormous medal.

We drank two ice-cold bottles of water, ate oranges in the shade, and were even treated to snow cones but we still felt like we were melting. We both swore we’d never do this thing again, and that distance races were out of the question for the rest of the summer. Still, we did it.

img_3562I started running again in 2016 to try and lose weight, and while I have lost some it’s no longer the reason I run. Even at my slowest, I’m amazed at what my body can accomplish. I never thought I’d be able to run a 10K, let alone a half marathon or a 30K. I’ve had some rough times and even ate pavement recently, but I am proud to call myself a badass and can’t wait to see what Charlotte talks me into next.

Definitely no more half marathons this summer, though. It’s too damn hot.

Training Journal – Highly Suggestible

As we have already established by my marathon training, I am very easy to talk into potentially bad ideas. My friend Richard talked me into a marathon. My best friend talked me into the Badass Texas half marathon in three (!!) weeks. And now it seems my spin instructor may have talked me into a triathlon.

A little background here: it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve trained for a triathlon. I’ve actually done one as a matter of fact, a little indoor triathlon at the YMCA in Wisconsin. My proudest moment was not being the last person out of the pool. I am an AWFUL swimmer. I’m also terrible on a bike. So why am I doing this?

I’m a very big believer in conquering your fears. So even though the thought of putting my face in the water gives me panic attacks, I go swimming twice a week. One of my other close friends wants me to go bike riding with her so she can teach me not to leap off my bike instead of stopping it. I’m hoping that I’ll not only gain enough confidence to complete Baby’s First Triathlon, my running will improve as well.

This month my goal is to swim 1/4 mile twice a week, go to spin class twice a week, and run 3-4 times a week. If I have a goal – say, a triathlon to train for – I’ll be more likely to stick to this schedule.

Next stop, Badass Texas half!

Training Journal – Stronger Every Day!

I’ve had the best week! Last Saturday I ran in the Skyline 10K in Dallas and I am pleased to report that my pace has improved significantly since the Green 6.2; 12:04/mile at the Skyline down from 13:49/mile at the Green 6.2! Told you I’d crush it!

I fully attribute this to my cross-training. I’ve been going to spin class for about a month img_7741now and have been swimming intermittently as well. Tuesday I swam 525 yards, went to spin class for 45 minutes, then finished off with a 5K in which I dropped my pace by 15 seconds (!) from my last time on that trail. Thursday I added a second spin class and let me tell you, getting up at 5 AM is not at all fun. Next week, I’m adding a second 3 mile weekday run as well.

As it turns out, my best friend is also a terrible influence on me! She emailed me and asked if I wanted to join her for the Badass Texas half marathon – hailed as the hottest, hilliest half in Texas – because I am a badass. It’ll be my first half marathon since starting my new training regimen and I’m a little nervous.

img_7722The Skyline half went really well, though, so if I keep up my training I should be able to make a decent show of it. I was surprised by how easily I sustained my pace, even dropping to 11 minutes or lower in places! The miles seemed to fly by and I felt great afterward.

During my last marathon training attempt, I was plagued by shin splints the entire time. There were times that my right leg hurt so badly that I was just limping around work, or forcing myself to get through enough of my warmup that adrenaline would kick in and my muscles would warm out of it. I know, I know, not good for me. This time I’m being smarter.

In addition to the cross-training, I’ve changed my diet and as of today I have lost 10 pounds! I’m training myself to eat more than a pack of energy chews before a heavy training session, and I’m up to a granola bar and a banana. Eating before a run has always upset my stomach so I did most of my fueling mid-run. This way seems to be giving me more energy and I’m glad.

The Skyline Challenge has a time limit of 5 hours to run 22.4 miles, and the Houston Marathon has a time limit of 6 hours to run 26.2 miles. That means to finish both of them I have to keep a pace of 13:30 or lower, so I’ve got some work to do. If I can keep going the way I am now, I’ll be able to do it!

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