Tag Archives: Training

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.


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: 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 – Hazards of Being a Cheapskate

Let’s be real here. No one actually enjoys energy gels. If I want a shot of energy that I’ll like eating, I grab Honey Stingers or Clif Blocks chews. They have the consistency of soft Dots and taste pretty good. Before a race or hard training session, I’ll eat a pack to get me going. Energy gels though…

History lesson: energy gels were created by people who hate joy for people who like punishing their bodies, because running ridiculous distances and biking a hundred miles will drain you of energy faster than cheap batteries in a game controller. They started showing up in the mid-eighties in clear packets that allowed everyone to see the terrible mistake you were making in real time. Since then, there are more packages and flavors than I can count but they all have one thing in common. The consistency is one level above glue, which means that your mouth desperately wants to chew it but when you try it feels so very wrong.

Runner’s World ranked 27 flavors of Gu, ostensibly the most popular gel brand, and I wasn’t surprised to find the unflavored one at the very bottom. Every runner friend I have always says the same thing when the unflavored Gu comes up in conversation: “who hates themselves that much?” Everyone has a flavor that they like (or tolerate the most), and mine is Jet Blackberry. I buy it by the box at my favorite running store and try and keep at least one in my running belt for emergencies. It’s pretty cheap but for a family on a tight budget, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. My other favorite is mocha Clif Shots, but there’s only one place that sells them around here and they’re expensive, and also the store employees are kind of snobby.

The last couple of long-distance races I ran had Gu at every water stop, and even though I had stuffed my belt with enough to last 15.5 miles I took one at every station because eating free gel is highly preferred to dipping into your own stash. Another race was the same way, and I took one every time again and squirreled them away for later consumption.

Then tragedy struck.

While running a half marathon, I went to a water stop and saw a box of gels. I grabbed one with my water only to discover that it was Gatorade Endurance. “No problem,” I thought. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.” It was not. The flavor was okay but the consistency was what I imagine sadness must taste like. It was more of a soup than a gel and I swallowed it as fast as possible, vowing to never make that mistake again. Unfortunately my cheapskate nature overtook my reason at the next water stop and the thought of saving money won over my distaste for the gel/soup. I not only ended up eating four of the things, I brought one home with me and promptly buried it in my bag.

The other day I went for a run and neglected to pack any Gu. There was one packet of something in the very bottom of my bag and…it was the vanilla Gatorade one. Desperate, I put it in my pack and went for a run. When it was time to refuel I tore it open and poured it into my mouth and friends, it was even worse hot. Somehow my stomach did not refuse it, but I immediately went to FWRunCo and bought a box of Jet Blackberry.

Moral of this story: always stock up on Gu.

Training Journal: Jelly Legs

img_4168Last weekend was exhausting. Instead of my annual Labor Day race, I decided to run a different one on Saturday instead. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’d never run this course before but I was excited to run in a different area.

Apparently this course was a little more challenging than the usual, because not only was the temperature rising by the second, there were so many hills that I was ready to steal a golf cart. I made it, though, and 6 miles somehow didn’t seem like much of a run with the longer ones I’ve been doing lately. I was glad to be done and pumped for the virtual triathlon on Sunday. That didn’t last long.


Amanda and I got to the YMCA, the site of our eventual demise, ready for action. We put on our bathing suits and headed for the pool to get the party started. We got in the pool around 2:30 and started the 1/4 mile swim. As I am quite slow, it took me a while to finish and Amanda was done before me. No big deal, right? I can make it up on the bike.

Apparently I forgot how long 12.4 miles is on a stationary bike. I got through it by watching TV on my phone and persevered. About 10 miles in, Amanda was starting to flame out. I was right behind her. My legs were starting to tire and my feet were hurting from the pedals because they were different from the ones at spin class and I was without special shoes. When the readout informed me it was over, I just about leapt off of the thing. And the stiffness in my quads is matched only by the soreness of my butt.

We managed to get to the park to run, and it was like stepping into an oven. We had 3.1 miles to go, though, and I kept telling myself that three miles is nothing for me. It was a struggle from the first hill to the last steps and when I crawled back to the parking lot I felt like I’d never walk again. Things actually started getting a little sparkly so I sat down in my car and rehydrated.

At the end of the day, it definitely felt like we deserved our Diva medals. Amanda forgot hers so we just posed with mine, and went home to pass out. I slept for almost 13 hours after that and I deserved every minute of that too. I don’t know that I’ll do another triathlon anytime soon, but I think I can talk Amanda into doing this one again. Maybe a year is long enough for her to forget.