Category Archives: Running Blog

12 May

We Ran for Ice Cream, Again

On the top of everyone’s list of 5Ks to do again this year was the Blue Bell Fun run.  I love the fact that it benefits the Brenham high school athletic department but I think the real appeal is the FREE ice cream.  The difference this year would be that I would be running the 5K with my hubby instead of the 10K on my own.

After looking at the course map I realized that the monster hill at the end of the 10K course was now also at the end of the 5K course.  That coupled with warm, humid and windy conditions promised that this would be a tough 5K.  We started off at around the same pace as the last 5K (first mile 7:21), but the rolling hills and humidity quickly got to us and we slowed down (second mile  7:43).  We started the third mile and before we knew it we were climbing the hill, half way through I really want to slow down  but Andrew was chugging and there was a teenage girl who had latched on to us that I did not want her to beat me up the hill, so I kept pushing.  We finished that mile in 7:45, which I was very happy with considering that mile had over 100 ft in elevation gain.  After turning the corner we managed a good little sprint to the end.  This was my slowest 5K  in years (23:58)  but I worked hard for it and did not feel bad about the turtle pace.  After we finished, we grabbed a fruity ice cream bar and went to look for the kids and run them in.  They struggled with the heat and hills but pushed till they finished and enjoyed lots of frozen treats as a reward.  I was happy to see after checking the results  that I was 2nd in my AG!  Andrew and I were 62 and 63 overall out of 2160 runners which is pretty darned good.

After the run, ice cream and awards ceremony we drove around to look for wildflowers and enjoy the countryside and finished our visit to Brenham by walking downtown and having lunch at Must be Heaven Sandwich shop (just like last year).

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08 May

Dukes and Daisies 5K

Third 5K in 3 weeks and fifth race for me this Spring.  I never race this often but my husband and kids have been enjoying the races so I have just gone along for the ride.  Honestly after running the Cap 10K and realizing I was much slower than last Spring I did not want to race again until I got faster but I didn’t want to take away the Spring racing experiences from the kids, so I sucked it up and have gone out week after week and tried my best at these races.

I almost did not do this race but promised my daughter we would run these three 5Ks together.  I almost ran with her instead of running my own race but knew if I did that  I would just be coping out because she would rather pace herself during 5Ks.  I also almost ran a good race today..almost.

Last year I ran the Daisy 5k (now known as the Dukes and Daisies 5K) race and PRed..I ran it in 22 minutes.  I knew running it this year would be a direct comparison on my fitness.  The turn out for the race was really low..around 75 timed runners.  One of my favorite parts about this race is that the ladies get a 3 minute headstart.  Because the race was so small this year though this was a disadvantage.  The lead ladies were not super fast so  I tried to hang on to their pace and went out to fast.    My first mile was a 6:50.. which would have been perfect last year or even on a cooler day but at my current fitness level and the temps today it was too fast and I totally bonked after that.   By mile 2 I  dropped from 3rd to  5th female and slowed down drastically.  I finished in 23:31..no improvement actually slower than last week.

What killed me was the overall female finisher finished slower than I ran the race last year.  If I was in the same shape I was in last year I could have won the woman’s race…ugg..  I don’t think that opportunity will ever come up again since at most races in Austin the female winner is much faster.  After the race I went back on the course to find my daughter and run her to the finish.  I am so proud of her and so happy that she wants to run and challenge herself.  My children have been a huge motivation to do my best and not give up at these races because I want to be good role model for them.  Secretly I have wanted to cry during and after each of these races but knowing the kids would be at the finish line helped me think of the positive and keep things in proper perspective.

Now I have a month to train before running the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon on June 5th.  I am hoping to finally shed these final pounds to get back into peak shape and speed up a bit.

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24 Apr

Dashed at the ASH Dash

The ASH Dash 5K is a small race (about 700 people)  held on the Austin State Hospital grounds and the proceeds from the race benefit the children and adult receiving treatment for mental illness.  Very family friendly event with the Easter Bunny making and an appearance and an Easter egg hunt after the event.

Just as we did last race, I ran my own race and my husband ran with the kids.  Have I mentioned how awesome he is?

Honestly, I did not feel great going into this race.  Nothing was really hurting me but my energy level was low and I was not feeling fast.  My 2 attempts at racing this season have been so slow that I consider them to be failures.   I tried to think positive thoughts for this race but really didn’t expect to PR.  Even though I didn’t expect to I still  went out at  close to my PR pace.  Couldn’t even hold that for a mile..finished the first mile in 7:11.  And it only went down hill from there, I tried to run fast but only managed a 7:22.  The race is a two loop course so around this point I had to start running around them.  Why do they always walk in big packs??  Anyhow my third mile was a slooow 7:40.  :( Recovered a little for a sprint to the finish .19  at a 7:08 pace.  Finish time 23:33.  I was very disappointed with my race time, I didn’t think I would PR but I didn’t think I would be that slow.

There was no time to  mope about my failure as my children would be coming through the finish line and I need to set a good example for them, so I put on a smile and encouraged them in their performances.  My daughter PRed with a 28:11!!    My son didn’t fare so well, I think he went out too quickly and the heat got to him.  I could see he was disappointed, I was able to encourage him with my own experiences.  After realizing that not every race is not a PR for me either he felt better.

Post race there were lots of goodies and an Easter Egg hunt for kids of all ages.  This was great for my kids who are 10 and 11  now and to old for most egg hunts.  My son even won one of the Easter baskets.  Even though I didn’t think I placed in my AG, I checked the times and it turned out I had.  I won second in my AG  and received a little golden bunny trophy.  That really turned the race from a negative experience to a positive.

Overall a good race: flat course, fun activities after the race, cute trophies and tees. The only negatives today were the weather warm and humid (which has nothing to do with the race itself) and having to weave around the walkers on the second loop.  We may do it again next year as my daughter really wanted one of those golden bunnies…she got really close (4th in her AG).  I think she wants to try for it next year and maybe by next year I will be in good enough shape to PR and win myself another bunny :)

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09 Apr

We All Run for Ice Cream – Blue Bell Fun Run

When my kids heard about the Blue Bell Fun Run had free ice cream at the finish line they immediately wanted to run it.  I signed them up for the 5K and I decided to give the 10K distance another go since it was the same price.  I have been feeling much stronger over the past couple of weeks and really thought that would be able to run a better race than I did at the Cap 10K.   Two things I didn’t account for were weather and misjudging the elevation chart they provided.

We had to wake up super early and drive 2 hours to Brenham.  There were more people at the race than I thought there would be and the biggest crowd they’ve ever had.  They had a kid’s 1 mile race, a 5K, a 10K and a 10K relay.  Each race had it’s own start line so I left my husband and kids at the 5K start and headed off for the 10K start.  I knew the weather was bad ( warm and humid)  but I was still gonna try to beat my Cap 10K time.

First couple miles went according to plan which was to keep the pace under 7:40 (7:36,7:35).  Mile 3 had a lot of elevation gain and the heat was getting to me, I only managed a 8:01.  This really bummed me out but I knew I had to press on I tried to speed up but was really stuck in the weeds 8:13 for mile 4.  Mile 5 was an easier mile it had more elevation loss than gain and I was able to pick the pace back up a bit 7:48.  I was feeling good going into to mile 6 thinking that I could come back, I caught up with somebody that passed me in mile 3 and that gave me confidence.  Then I saw the final hill it was steep and it was long.  I tried my best to charge up but could feel myself fading, the guy I caught back up to said “Don’t quit on me now, you caught up to me and passed me, keep going.”  That was the kick in the butt I needed.  I picked my pace up and finished that mile in an 8:09 which may sound slow but on a hill like that, feeling the way I did it was fast.  I sprinted out the last .33 at a 7:12 pace..luckily this part was downhill.  My time was 20 seconds slower than the Cap 10K.

Honestly I was upset when I finished, I really thought my time was going to be better for this race.   I took a few minutes to reflect on the race and asked myself did I do my best out there today and the answer was yes.   So I stopped beating myself up   and knew that I would keep working to find my speed again.

After the race I met up with my family, they were already enjoying some post race ice cream.    My son was super excited because he beat his sister to the finish line.  He said the clock said 48 minutes but that had to be wrong because he felt like he was running his 1 mile pace.  He was right the clock was set up for the 10K start and not the 5K start.  He actually ran a 28:54 which was a huge PR for him.  He was able to do this despite the fact that some guy pushed him to the ground  early in the race.  His knees got scraped up but he just got back up and kept running.  The kid has pure grit.  My daughter also did well on this hilly course, she ran a 29:37 which is her best time this Spring.  My awesome husband ran between the two of them and took pictures.

After cleaning up and changing out of my sweaty clothes I looked at the 10K results and saw that despite my slow time I placed 3rd in my AG out of 166 and was the 11th woman  out of 533.  This cheered me up quite a bit and made me feel good about my performance instead of disappointed.

We drove around a while looking for wildflowers but there has been very little rain this year so the fields weren’t covered in flowers like they were last year when we drove through this area on our way to Houston.  The countryside was still very pretty.  We ended our trip to Brenham with a walk around the little  downtown area and lunch at a little sandwich shop.  Overall a great day, even though I had a rough race today, we might do it again next year.

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19 Mar

Tough Turtle

“Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don’t so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.” – Joe Henderson

Race day is coming up soon and I really need to summon up the tough turtle within.  She has been absent for a while, acting like a soft shell.  Here are some things that have helped me be mentally tough in the past and that I am incorporating in my training again to toughen up.

Setting Goals. Having a goal to work towards keeps me going.  When I want to skip a workout, am exhausted and/or want to throw in the towel, I just remember what I am working for and push through.

Training Hard. I push my body to the max on intervals, tempo runs and hills. To make sure I am pushing as hard as I can I often wear a heart rate monitor. Seeing my heart rate let’s me know whether I am pushing as hard as I can or if it is just mental fatigue telling me to stop. Succeeding at these workouts gives me confidence and puts me in a positive state of mind about what I am capable of come race day.

Running  Alone. Okay this one may seem a like a weird one because I recommend running with other people.  In fact I think running with faster runners can help you reach a higher level in your running.   But when I am trying to prepare myself mentally it is not good for me because when running with someone else I tend to rely on them for pacing.   I really don’t have to think, I just try to keep up.  This may help me run faster during that run but it really doesn’t help me when the going gets tough and I am on my own in a race.  Pushing and getting through a 20 miler or a long tempo on my own however gives me the confidence to know that I can do it again on race day.  So, I am not saying do every run on your own.  If you are not racing with your training partner or partners though I just think it is a good idea to try to do some of the tough workouts solo.

Visualizing Success. I am anxious by nature, so this is a tough one for me.  As race day approaches, instead of worrying about how I am going to do and failing to meet my goals, I work on being positive and trusting the training I’ve done to help get me through.  I picture myself running with good form, relaxed and strong all the way to the finish line.

In closing, I would like to share a simple yet powerful  quote I came across this week that got me through my hard workouts  and  that I plan on using as my mantra during next week’s race: “Don’t let fatigue make a coward of you.”~Steve Prefontaine

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13 Mar

Speeding Up

With the Capitol 10K coming up in two weeks I have really been trying to get myself used to running faster again.  This has been challenging especially since I only had a month to do this and I have been stuck in turtle gear for quite some time.  It has been two weeks since I started and am feeling a little speedier already, here is what I have been doing.

  • Intervals on the track. Every time I have seen improvement in my speed, intervals have been part of the training plan.  Interval training where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking is put quite simply works. For my 10K plan I have been doing 800s at a pace slightly faster than 10K pace and 400s at 5K pace (a little faster if I can).  I like running intervals (on most days), they give me confidence and help me realize I can run fast.
  • Progressive tempo runs. There are many ways to run tempo runs, the distance and pace you run them at will depend on what distance your race you are training for.  For example, right now while training for the 10K, I run a warmup mile and then run 2-4 miles starting at half marathon pace and progressively get faster until I reach 10K pace. If I was training for a marathon my tempo runs would be slower but longer.  I find that tempo runs help my endurance and teach me how to push harder after I have been already pushing hard and exhaustion is setting in.
  • Hill Repeats. These are exhausting but are highly effective.  Pick a hill..run up as hard as you can and then jog back down, repeat.  I like to vary my hills, sometimes I run short/steep hills and other times I run longer/gradual hills or combine the two in one workout.  Running hills will make you stronger, faster and more confident.  Nothing beats the feeling of conquering a hill! “Hills are speedwork in disguise.” -Frank Shorter

Final thought…Simple but true.. “If you want to race at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace.” ~Hal Higdon

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11 Mar

Can’t Stop Thinking about Running a Marathon

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” -Emil Zatopek

My thoughts keep turning towards running a marathon.  It is my favorite race distance.  I think I like it the most because I enjoy the journey of the training cycle, how I can see and feel it changing my body.  The excitement and anticipation I  feel during taper.  And the physical and mental peak  I  experience on race day. I know there is a lot of pain during all three phases and during recovery  but after a certain amount of time passes I only remember the good things.

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” -Frank Shorter

It was a big disappointment not being able to run a fall marathon last year because of my heel spurs/plantar fasciitis.  I know it was the best decision but it was something I really wanted to do and I feel that the goal  of a 3:40 marathon is still hanging over my head.  Some spring/summer marathons have been tempting me.  In fact I almost signed up for the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in June.  I know I could get my mileage up and finish it in a decent time (not sure about a PR or meeting my goal time) but the question is would I end up getting hurt in the process.  Last spring I rushed through marathon training and made it to the start line of the Missoula Marathon with plantar fasciitis.  I made it through the race with a 15+ minute PR but I could not run my goal race in the fall because the plantar fasciitis got worse after the race and I couldn’t get the mileage in without a lot of pain during and after my runs.  When my foot started feeling better I had my eye on running the Austin Marathon, I tried to increase my mileage and ended up with painful shin splints.  Once those subsided I tried again to increase my mileage and ended up with an adductor injury that lasted a few weeks.  Even though my mind was ready to run long again and train for a marathon, my body wasn’t.  Taking everything into consideration, I have decided to learn from my mistakes and resist the urge to sign up and train for a marathon this spring/summer.  Instead I will wait until the fall/winter to run a marathon again.

“Good things come slow – especially in distance running.” -Bill Dellinger

So what will I do until marathon training begins.  Sign up for some shorter races to challenge myself, stay injury free, and daydream about running another marathon.

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08 Mar

Turtle Running Tips

People who knew me before I started and lost weight often ask me how I got into running and ask for a few  pointers on how to get started.  So I wanted to share my top 5 tips/lessons I learned along the way to help people who are just starting out running or are thinking about starting a running regime.  Keep in mind I am not a coach or a superfast runner.  I am just someone who started from nothing and has learned a few things along the way.

  • Turtles can run. When non runners find out I ran a marathon.. first they ask “how many miles is that?” and then they say “I could never do that”.  I always tell them you can do it, if I can run a marathon anybody can.  I was not athletic as a child..in fact I refused to play sports and didn’t like playing tag because I was such a slow runner and got winded quickly.  I was not an athletic teenager… I tried to get out of participating in gym class as much as I could.  Nothing changed during my college years and my inactivity and bad eating habits caught up with me after having children and becoming a SAHM.  I weighed 60 + pounds more than I do now when I started  walk/running.. and I made it all the way to the marathon distance in less than 2 years…so once again if I can become a runner anyone can!
  • Turtle Pace.  Start off slow.  When most people start running they run as fast as they can for as long as they can and then quit.  If you have never been a runner or are out of shape, like I was when I started out, you may only last a minute or two if you do this.  What worked for me was starting out with just walking.  I walked everyday.  Building my daily walk up 3 miles.  After I was comfortable with that I started adding in running segments.  I did this without any kind of a plan so I just would just as far as I could and then take a walk break to recover and then run again.  Doing this almost everyday I eventually was able to run the whole distance, it wasn’t fast but I was running it. I didn’t know about the couch to 5K programs when I started out but I know a lot of people who have used them and I think they are a great way to get started, by offering  structure, incorporating rest days and stopping  you from doing to much too soon.  Which leads me to my next point.
  • Turtle progress. Progress slowly.  Doing too much, too soon is the reason most people get injured running.  This is a lesson I have struggled with.  More than once I have run too much to soon and ended up injured.  How much your body can handle will depend of course on your current level of fitness and activity level.  The basic rule is don’t increase your running by more than 10% a week and don’t forget to take rest days(no ruuning) and rest weeks (decreased mileage weeks). So if you are a walker add in just a little running each week and if you are running increase your mileage slowly.  After I went from walk/run to just running, I made the mistake of running too much too soon and ended up with my first running injury, shinsplints which made it painful to even walk, I had to stop running and when I started running again I had lost some of my fitness.   Turtle progress is better than moving backwards.
  • Turtle Goals You may be thinking about starting a running program because you want to run a marathon.  That is a great goal.  I think that setting smaller race goals on your way to a marathon is the best way to get there safely and the smaller races will keep you motivated along the way.  Start out by picking a local 5K and work your way up to longer distance races if you want or just work on getting faster at the shorter stuff.  Distance running isn’t for everyone, running a fast 5K  can be very satisfying and just as challenging.
  • Turtle weightloss. If you are trying lose weight by running your progress may be slow.  When I was trying to lose weight I supplemented my running with other activities to burn more calories.  Cycling, weight training, elliptical, rowing and swimming are just some activities you could try.  Remember just because you are running doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want.  On average you burn 100 calories per mile, which means you would have to run 35 miles just to lose one pound.  So in addition to running eat less and  do other activities if you want to lose.  My weight loss was slow but I have kept it off which is more important than how fast I lost it.
  • Going from turtle to hare. When you are first starting out don’t worry about speed.  Just have a goal amount of time you want to walk/run or run and do it.  Once you’ve been running for a while and you’ve maybe even completed your first 5K, you may be wondering how you can get faster.  Three main things that helped me were: Interval workouts, this is alternating fast running with slower running. Running with someone faster, you will be surprised by how fast you can go with someone else by your side.  Running longer, doing one longer slow run a week increased my endurance and helped make it easier to run faster on shorter runs.  There are physiological benefits to running long but there are also great mental benefits.  Knowing I could run 10 miles slow, gave me confidence that I could run 3 miles fast.
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05 Mar

Diva 5K

Super windy day for the Diva 5K but that didn’t stop any the 700 participants from getting out and running.  So great to see so many women out celebrating their beauty and strength. I really was surprised that they had so many participants for their first year and think they did a great job organizing.


My daughter and I had a great time out there today. It was fun to dress up in our tough girl shirts, running skirts and monkey skull knee socks for the run. My daughter ran a really great pace for the first 2 miles and then we slowed a bit to get our tiaras, feather boas, and roses. She ended up running a little slower than her normal 5K time but the goodies were worth it :)

I can’t believe how much my daughter has grown since her first 5K just two years ago. Seeing how much she has grown makes me realize how quickly her childhood is going by and that I need to value every moment and everything we do together.

Here are some pictures from the race.

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03 Mar

Watching a Runner Emerge

My children have been run in a few 5Ks over the past couple of years. Up until now a little running leading up to the races and then the race itself is all they have really been interested in doing. I thought the fact that they even wanted to do the 5Ks was awesome.

About a month ago as I walked my kids home from school my son asked if I would run a mile with him. Of course I said yes. I had a blast running the mile with him. We went at the pace he dictated and walked when he wanted. As we walked into the house he asked if we could run another mile after he finished his homework. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I said yes again, of course, and when he was done with his school assignments we ran. for the rest of the week as we walked home from school he asked if we could run a mile and some days we did 2.

Honestly I thought his interest in running would be short lived but it hasn’t been. If anything it has increased. We started to increase our run/walks to 2.5 miles (because he wanted to) and I make sure on some days he rests. He would probably run everyday if I let him but I want to make sure he doesn’t get hurt by adding too much running in to soon.

Like many of us he is excited about accomplishing some running goals. The more we run together the loftier his goals become. After just one week of running he went from feeling like one of the slow kids at school to thinking that if he keeps running with me he can become one of the fast kids and run track when he gets to high school.

This past weekend me, my husband and two kids went out for a 3 mile run. After we all ran 3 miles together my husband and I were going to run an additional 2 miles around the track while the kids played. As we began running my son asked if he could keep running and my answer was “of course, if you want to”. He said he wanted to keep running until he was to tired to run anymore. I thought maybe he would last another lap or 2.

We reached 4 miles total and I was sure he would stop, he has never run more than a 5K in one go. He said he wanted to keep going all the way to 5. He did it. The distance was quite an accomplishment, he was beaming when he was done and I was too. As he was completing the fifth mile he started talking about running a 10K with me and told me he would like to do a long run on Sundays. So that when he runs his spring 5K the mileage feels easy. Even more amazing was that on Monday he wanted to run again, but I told him he should take a rest day after running his longest run ever.

It has been great watching his love of running grow and I am interested to see where running will take him.  One of the things I am happiest about is that his running was his own idea and something that he decided he wanted to do.  I believe that this is really important.  As parent we should encourage our kids to do healthy, active and positive  things but not force them to do the same sports that they are involved in or were involved in.

If your kids are showing an interest in running here are a couple of tips to get started.  Take it slow, don’t expect your kid to go out and run a 5K the first time you are out.  Depending on the age of your child maybe even just do a half mile.  Try using the run/walk method.  Kids tend to run full out when they first start so taking walking breaks until they can find the right pacing can make the run feel easier and more enjoyable.  When the are ready sign them up for a race.  Start out with a kids K or a 1 mile race.  If they like the shorter races and show an interest in doing a 5K then sign them up for one and run it with them, at their pace.  My kids have expressed that having me running with them made the race feel easier.  Most importantly make sure they are having fun!

“Encourage kids to enjoy running and play in athletics. Don’t force them to run too much competition.”~Arthur Lydiard

I have great memories of running with my children and hope to continue making new ones.

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