25 Nov

Cross Country Mom

My daughter is in seventh grade this year, which means that she can finally participate in school athletics.    She went back and forth on the decision to run cross country but after a couple of days with the PE kids, she decided she would much rather participate in a sport.

I was reluctant to even encourage cross country because I didn’t  want to be one of those parents that forces their kids to participate in the sport that they like, but I was secretly overjoyed that she joined.   I enjoyed watching the meets, cheering her on (occasionally a little over enthusiastically) and buying her running gear (I may have gone overboard here as well). But my favorite part of her being on the XC team was the running we got to do together.  I sometimes got a little coachy with her but mostly we just chatted and had a good time.   We got a lot of quality time together and now that the season is over I miss our runs.

As for her actual XC season, it was amazing.  Our team was small and didn’t do great overall but all the girls improved week to week.  Every meet was a PR for my daughter.  I was impressed with her fitness gains from week to week, I wish it were that easy for me to improve my racing times :).  She already has her goals set for next season and we have plans to run over the summer together so that she is better prepared going into the first few races.  I have a feeling in a couple of years I may have a hard time keeping up with her… she has said her ultimate goal is to beat me in a 5K race, I am going to try to stay ahead of her as long as I can.

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17 Jul

Missoula Marathon- Tiny PR

After two long years I finally completed marathon number 3.   I decided to run the Missoula Marathon again so that we could go on a family vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons afterward and because I enjoyed it in 2010.

Going into this race I was pretty confident I could PR because my training went pretty well and I was lighter and leaner than I had ever been.  In hindsight I should have eaten a little more in the days before the race, I woke up feeling really drained and tired on Saturday and could tell I had lost more weight…not a good thing on the day before a marathon.

Weather was supposed to be hot in the afternoon but not horrible during the race ( 55 at the start and around 70 at the finish).

I felt great for the first 11 miles of the race, kept the pace in what I considered a safe range, no heavy breathing and no pushing.

My family was following me around during this portion and their cheers made me smile.  I only spoke to 2 ladies during this portion of the run and oddly enough they were from Austin.  The coolest thing I saw during this portion of the run was a golden eagle catch a fish out of the river and fly away with it.

8:02

8:10

8:02

8:07

8:05

8:08

8:10

8:07

8:12

8:05

8:08

Running at my goal pace became a little harder during miles 12-16.  I didn’t push on the hill at mile 14 because I didn’t want to burn myself out.  Having such a large hill in the middle of the course is rough but just like in 2010 I felt the climb was worth it because the views were breathtaking.

8:13

8:09

8:59

8:10

8:02

After coming down the hill I started to struggle.  My hamstrings and glutes were really hurting and I started to feel really drained even though I was fueling.

8:19

8:18

8:37

8:54

8:46

8:54

Andrew met me at mile 23 and I was really hoping this would help me run a little faster but my legs were dead and all I could manage was a death march to the finish line.

9:32

9:47

9:45

9:32

8:14 pace for the last .32

My official time 3:44:00, a very tiny 19 second PR.  But a PR, so I will not complain.  I was happy that I was able to complete the marathon and improve on my time from 2 years ago even if it is only by a few seconds.  A BQ has eluded me once again.

Looking back at my long runs they all ended pretty slowly and so did my marathon. I will need to add in some fast finish workout and more progressive runs.  Not losing weight the 3 days prior to the race would also help.   I also need to strengthen my hamstrings, so that they don’t crap out on me during the final miles.  The final thing that I think would help is finally getting some cooler weather during a marathon but I have no control over that.

We loved our trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, so much to see and do.  I took the full week off of running and am now easing my way back up for 2 weeks.  After that I will start training for a winter marathon.

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22 May

Cinco on Cinco

Our fifth and final 5K of the spring was the Chuy’s Hot to Trot Cinco on Cinco which was on May fifth of course.  Lots of fives.  This is the third time we have participated in this race. I like it because it is fun, it has a good course, benefits a good cause and all the speedsters show up.  The last one may seem like a disadvantage but it really is good to have a lot of fast people running when you want to run a fast race.

Andrew and I had the goal of beating last weeks time.  We knew it would not be easy since Schlotzky’s is a flat course as well and it was a hot and humid day.  The first mile and a half are slightly uphill so  the first mile was not as speedy as I would have liked (7:04).  After the half way point of mile 2 the course gets flat to slightly downhill so we were able to maintain a good pace (7:04).    The last mile is ever so slightly downhill but the heat really made it hard to pick up the pace as much as I would have liked, at least we held on to almost the same pace as the first and second mile (7:07).  We of course sprinted it in but I honestly did not have much of a kick left because I was already at my max and was really struggling to catch my breath.

We were super happy to see our finishing time 22:19!  A new CR, 23 seconds faster than Schlotzky’s and only 19 seconds slower than my PR.  We grabbed a drink and waited for the kids to come in.  We were surprised when we saw Hannah coming in before the clock said 28..she ran a 27:45, a huge PR for her !!!  Timothy also fought the heat and came in at a great time.

After the race we had fun catching up with local runners, Elvis, the Chuy’s fish and the mariachi band :)  We also enjoyed the post race treats.  And of course we had Chuy’s for lunch.

I consider our Spring 5Ks a success.  It was fun to race side by side with my husband and see improvements in our speed.   I am so proud of the kids for pushing through and running some tough courses and warm weather this year.    We are already looking forward to our Fall 5Ks!

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13 May

The Best Bunz in Town

We decided to run with the best bunz in town at the  30th Schlotzsky’s Bun Run benefiting the Austin Sunshine Camps for our fourth 5K of the spring.  We ran this race last year and it is a pretty flat course with a fast field of runners (plenty of people to try to chase down).  I thought the combination of being 5 pounds lighter than our first 5K this season, doing speed work and the flat course boded well for what I have come to refer to as a CR or a couple’s record despite the humid conditions on race day.

Our race plan was to head out fast and try to stay as close to a 7 minute pace as possible.  Our first mile mile was a 6:58, our fastest mile so far in a race.  Mile two was tough, Andrew ran slightly in front of me so I could chase him for a bit.  We practiced that during  our intervals and it worked well for us, we slowed down a bit but not too much (7:10).  For the third mile we were both really winded but a third person latched on to us and I made it my goal not to let that guy pass us, even though I was pushing at my max we only ran a 7:25.  After hitting three miles, we high tailed it to the finish.  Andrew told me the man we were pacing with was kicking so we kicked too… Our sprint to the finish was at a 6:19 pace.  All three of us finished at the same time.  It was awesome.   Our finish time was 22:42, a 37 second CR.  We were very excited.

After running the kids in, enjoying our post race goodies and chatting with some local runner friends, we tried to check the results.  They weren’t posted because the race timers were having issues with their printers, etc.  Since I thought there was an off chance of getting an AG award we waited around.  It turned out that I was second in my AG, so I got a nice medal :).  I was glad we waited.

Despite the timing issues and the delays that caused we really enjoyed running our bunz off again at the Schlotzsky’s Bun Run.

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13 May

Master’s School 5K

I scoured the Run Tex Calendar for a our third 5K and  saw the Master’s School 5K in San Marcos.  This year was their first year putting on a 5K benefiting their school and I thought it would be nice to go out and show our support at a smaller race.

We woke up early and headed down to San Marcos to get there in time to pick up our packets and warm up.  It was really cool to see how excited all the volunteers and the children who attended the school were about the race.  The course was a nice out an back on a rural road with rolling hills.  Our first mile was pretty quick because it was slightly downhill and the wind was at our backs for most of it (7:08).  When we turned around and hit the headwind and a hill, we stunk our pace up with a 7:50 mile.  As we hit the 3rd mile and had the wind at our backs again I was really hoping we could make some time up but we didn’t have much left in our legs, we ran a 7:20.. the rest was an all out sprint, to bring our finish time to 23:19.  The exact same time as the ASH dash.  We were a bit disappointed about not improving our time but I was the 3rd Female in and Andrew won first in his age group, so not a complete loss.  The kids stayed together for most of the race and fought the wind and hills.  They requested a flat course for our next 5K.

The loot for this race was pretty awesome.  I received  a $25 Academy Gift Card and   Chick-fil-a  food.  Andrew recieved a nice certificate and also won some Chick-fil-A food.  Our numbers also got picked during the raffle.  I won a spibelt and smoothies, Andrew won a Chick-fil-a  cow with more Chick-fil-a food.  All the kids who ran the race received a medal, which I thought was a nice touch.  I was impressed by the organization of this little race, it was definitely worth the ride out.  I also want to say thanks to the photographers who took pics and made them available to the runners free of charge.

After the race we went to the outlets to do a little shopping and we stopped at Chick-fil-a on our way home  to cash in some of our free food coupons for lunch :)

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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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05 May

Running our ASHES off

I started the Spring racing season fat and sassy, which also happened last year.  This always makes me nervous because I know the more I weigh the slower I am.  That coupled with the fact that I had done no speedwork leading into this race promised me that I would not be coming anywhere close to a PR, so I made my goal to run the ASH dash faster than I did it last year.

The big difference this year would be that I would be running it side by side with my husband.  He said that if I ran it slower than last year,  I could blame it on him :).

Our whole family loves this race because of the Easter bunny is there, it has an egg hunt that doesn’t exclude older kids,  the course is flat, it has  awesome bunny trophies and it helps the Austin State hospital patients which is a great cause.

Now for the race.  Race day weather wasn’t bad mid 60 and overcast.  My strategy for this one was little different.  Andrew does better with even or progressive pacing so my goal was to run it as evenly as possible..with a pace around of around 7:23 (just fast enough to beat last year).  First mile went by quickly and we pace it perfectly 7:23, second mile we both started feeling it but we actually ran it a little faster 7:17, I was dying during the last mile (which is how I always feel at the end of a 5K) but we managed a 7:23 and we picked it up at the end and sprinted to the finish at a 6:48 pace.  Our finish time was 23:22, 9 seconds faster than last year and much more fun because I got to share the race with experience with my husband.

Our time was fast enough for me to earn a 2nd in AG award and Andrew a 3rd in AG award.  Two bunnies!!  Yay!!

The  kids haven’t been running much lately,  so  they took it pretty easy and just enjoyed the race and the post race egg hunt.  I think the fact that they want to run 5Ks and look forward to them is awesome, can’t and won’t ask for more than that from them.  I am hoping these races build a life long love of running and the running community for them.

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19 Nov

Thankful Turkey 5K 2011

Today my family and I ran the Thankful Turkey 5K in San Marcos.  We did this race last year and it was so much fun.  I was really looking forward to a small, low key race after last week’s disappointment in San Antonio.

My main goal for the race was have a good time with my family…but I also hoped to improve my time over last year and win a turkey.  Early in the race I latched on  to a fellow runner and we just paced each other, each of us taking turns at leading, silently motivating each other to run a good race.   He was able to out sprint me to the finish but I was thankful to have someone to help me push the pace.  I finished the race in 23:07 (20 seconds faster than last year)  but the race course is a little long and has a lot of turns so that time is a little deceptive.  According to my Garmin I ran 3.23 miles which is much longer than I usually run for a 5K, so my pace today was faster than my pace for the BooRun, which I am happy about.

After I was done I went back to finish the race with my daughter who was running on her own because  my husband was pacing my son who ran another 28:XX 5K which is an awesome time for him.  My daughter was struggling a bit today (allergies and she had to stop to tie her shoe) so I kept kept back tracking on the race course till I found her.  I helped her finish strong and happy.

This race is not chiptimed…they do all the timing old school so it takes a while to get the results, so I wasn’t sure if I won my AG.  They distracted us by giving out the door prizes which they asked my son to draw and announce the numbers for (which he loved doing).

We made out pretty well from the raffle.

My daughter won a turkey gravy boat.

My husband won a pie.

And my son won a bag on candied pecans with a cookie cutter.

Then came the AG awards.

I won first in my AG, so I won a turkey.

And we were all surprised to hear my husband won 3rd in his AG since he was just pacing my son.  He won a Ham.

I love doing this race and hope to be able to run it for many years to come with my wonderful family.

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16 Jul

Missoula Marathon


Woke up at 3:30..well really I was awake at 2:30.  I can’t ever sleep soundly the night before a race and even though I felt pretty calm about this one I still couldn’t sleep. I wore my turtle socks for luck and lime green nail polish.

When I am feeling hardcore and have a do or die attitude towards a race I paint my nails a dark color but  I really just wanted to go with the flow with this marathon so I went with the mellow color.  Had my usual light snack and was ready to go.  My husband drove down town and I caught a bus to the start line.  I arrived early so there was no line and no wait.  After a short ride I arrived in Frenchtown where the race starts.  Sat around and talked to other runners.  There were a surprising amount of Texans.  The 3:40 pacer was even a Texan wearing a cowboy hat and all.  I planned on setting my own pace but staying pretty close to the 3:40 group as long as possible.

Texan-pacer in Montana :)

There was a cannon blast and we were off at 6 AM.  The temperature 55 at the start with clear skies, I was hoping for cooler weather but I will take 55 felt great.  It was a little cramped for the first mile but as the miles went on the crowd thinned out.

All the miles were marked with these special mile markers.

The first 10 miles felt really flat and we ran along a nice straight stretch of road.  Beautiful open fields with the mountains in the distance.  I was able to soak in all the beauty and stayed relaxed.

My average pace for the first 11 miles was 8:15.  I started to feel the incline a bit on mile 13 and the only then mile 14 was the hill that slowed my pace quite a bit.  The view at the top of the hill was breathtaking, flowing river in the valley and the mountains in the background.

We did get some relief going back down the hill on the other side but the descent was steeper so it didn’t last as long as the climb.  Then we were back to flat terrain with just a slight incline.

The route started to go through neighborhoods during this later section of the race which I did not enjoy as much.  Around mile 20 the 3:40 pacer caught up with me, I stayed with or close to him the next 2 miles but lost him at a water stop and never saw him again.  There were a lot of turns the last 4 miles and I just couldn’t get motivated to go fast.  I tried focusing on staying relaxed and my form but that only made me go slower at this point.  Obviously I need a different focus at the end of a marathon if I want to go fast.  I just was not in a do or die mindset for this race, I wanted to finish with a smile not a grimace so I told my self to keep the pace in the 9s and try to finish under 3:45.  When my garmin beeped at 26 miles, I found some speed for a finishing kick and was able to sprint out the last .35 at a 7:22 pace  with a smile on my face. My finishing time was 3:44:19 which is a PR of more than 15 minutes.



I was very happy with my time considering the fact that I didn’t feel like I pushed too hard and I finished with a smile on my face. Post race I enjoyed the popsicles, fruit, beer and massage provided by the race.

And then jumped into the Clark’s Fork River instead of going to the hotel and taking an ice bath..it was cold but it felt good.

Freezing in the river

Overall a great race experience.  I really enjoyed the scenery and was able to stay relaxed which was my goal.  Qualifying for Boston would have been great but I think if I would have focused on that instead of the experience I would not have enjoyed the race and I may have injured myself and not been able to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

I would recommend the Missoula marathon as a destination marathon.  The organization was great, everything from registration to the finish line went very smoothly. A beautiful course, not super easy but easy enough to get a good time.  The weather was good for a summer marathon 55 at the start and around 70 at the end.  The sun rises early and is very strong though so be prepared.  We have been enjoying Missoula and the surrounding areas while we’ve been here.  If you love nature and wildlife there is plenty to see and do.

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16 May

Daisy 5K 2010

I ran this race last year but it was on a  different course and month.  This race was supposed to take place in March but because of some course issues they changed it to May.  The new location (Round Rock Outlets) is much closer to home so that was nice.

The weather was warmer than last week at Chuy’s 5k and the sun was shining which made it feel  hot, so I really wasn’t sure if I could better last weeks time.  Did not feel nervous going into this race which is a first,  main goal was to have a good time but also see if I could PR.   I started out pretty quickly, my first mile was a 6:43 (that is the fastest mile I have  recorded), I planned on going out fast because part of the first mile is down hill.  The second mile was a little tougher, I started to feel that dry throat feeling and I was huffing and puffing most of the way.  It was around mile 2 the first guy passed me (the daisy 5K gives women a 3 minute head start because it was originally a mother’s day race), every time a guy passed me I got a little boost of speed just trying to keep up with them for a few seconds.  Finished the second mile in 6:57.  Really had to dig deep for the third and finished it in  7:00.   Sprinted out the last .2, I guess I did not do well with running the tangents again.  Finishing time 22 minutes flat. That was good enough for me to place first in my Age Group.  I was pretty excited about that.  We stuck around after the race so that the kids could run in the kids K.  Bonuses: my daughter won a free Z pizza at the raffle, we got free Auntie Anne’s pretzels sticks after the race and met a fellow daily mile runner.

What’s next?  Well I will be starting to build up my base mileage again for my fall marathon.  My next big goal will be to qualify for Boston.  We will see if this turtle can run Boston :)

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