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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19 Nov

Longest Half Marathon Ever

My San Antonio Marathon experience can be summed up with the old adage, “Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.”  The first thing that almost made me just call the whole thing off was my conveniently located hotel lost my reservation.  This caused a lot of drama and anxiety as I tried to book something downtown but everything was booked.  Magically a few days later a few rooms opened up but they were much more expensive and did not offer late checkout, which meant the only way I would be able to get back in time to shower was if I met my time goal and then ran to the hotel after running a marathon.  Hubby thought I could do it so he didn’t checkout in the morning, so I had a lot of pressure to finish fast.

Second thing to go wrong was the weather.  As the week went on it looked worse and on race morning the conditions were almost identical to 2009.  Accuweather said 100% humidity and temps rapidly rising from 60 to 80 as the morning went on.  This is the worse kind of weather for me.  The humidity makes my heart rate sky rocket making race pace feel really hard.

Third and the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back that made me turn around at mile 13.1 was a nagging knee/hamstring injury that I have been running through and nursing for months that I thought would heal with the reduced mileage of the taper but didn’t and starting nagging at mile 5 and hurting at mile 6 and never ceased.

I never thought I would not finish the race I intended to run, but I had to be honest with myself and I knew  I had already pushed the pace for a PR the first half of the race and if I didn’t stop I would do some serious damage to my knee and finish limping to the finish hours after my family had planned to meet me.  So at mile 13.1 I turned around and walked/jogged back to mile 11 of the half marathon course and finished off the race with the half marathoners.  I ran my longest (17.39 miles) and slowest (2 hours and 38 minutes) half marathon ever.

I cried and struggled with the decision in the days following the race but after hearing about the man who died at the finish line I came to peace with my decision.  It was the best choice for me and my family.  There are many marathons but I only have one body and I need to be responsible and take care of it so I can keep running for the rest of my life.

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11 Nov

Turtles Can Win!

My family and I ran the EGA Boo Run again this year.   This is a fun event for a good cause. The  run benefits the Exceptional Georgetown Alliance. Proceeds help fund therapeutic camps for school-age children with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

We got there just in time for the kids to participate in the costume contest and for me to get a mile warm up in.

Timmy wore his Mario costume again since Hannah was Princess Peach.

Last year I ran this race with Hannah  but decided I would run it on my own and use it as a fast tempo run and see if I could at least win an Age Group award.  At the half mile point one of the volunteers told me I was the first female, my thought at that point was we’ll see how long that lasts.  After the turnaround I realized that the next woman  was at  least 30 seconds behind so I made it my goal to keep the same pace and not let anyone pass me.  Everyone kept telling me I was the first female and cheering me on along the way.  This was very exciting and kept me smiling the whole race.  No one passed me during the rest of the race and I even  managed to reel in a teenage boy towards the end.  I finished in 22:57, first female and 8th overall out of 118. This was not my fastest 5K but definitely the best 5K experience for me .  When I started running I never thought that I would be able to beat out all the other women in a race not even a small one.

For coming in first I won a cool medal, a $25 RunTex  gift certificate, a $15 Paesano’s gift certificate and a free car wash.  I was so excited.

The kids did great as well.  Tim ran on his own and ran a 28:59.  This is a great time for him especially since his plan was to take it easy and just have fun.  Andrew kept my daughter (who ran in a super long dress) company during the race and they just took it easy and ran a 32:14.

Lots of family fun!

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17 Sep

Zilker Relays

I am finally getting around to writing up a race report on the Zilker Relays.  One of my running buddies that I met on Daily Mile asked me to be part of her and her husband’s relay team.  It sounded like a lot of fun so of course I said “yes”.   She knew  I was marathon training and putting in a lot of miles so I don’t her expectations of me where very high. hahaha

Sarah and Mike decided on Tortoises and Hares for our team names after seeing this blog.  I thought this was awesome of course, even if the implication was that I was going to be one of the tortoises and therefore slow.  I figured I would just have to prove that turtles can run ;)

Onto the race.  The Zilker Relays is a 4-Person Relay Race. All Relay legs start & finish at same location near the Mopac footbridge on Stratford Road. Distance is 2.48 miles per leg.  Which made this race 2 firsts for me : relay race and racing a distance shorter than a 5K.

Race day came and it was a hot one.  When we got to the race start area it was still 103F!!  Of course it cooled down a little by the time we raced.. it was probably only 99F..haha  Our strategy was to have the fastest runners (the guys) run the first and last legs and we tortoises (haha) would run in the middle.  As I was waiting for James (the other member of our team) to come in I was quite nervous..  he blazed through the course in 14:01.   I managed to grab the bracelet without dropping it (yes, I was nervous that I would) and took off.  I was thinking that a 7 minute pace would be a good goal.  But I just couldn’t manage this with the heat.  I guess I should have tried a couple of runs  in the evening heat and speedwork before racing. Instead my pace settled at 7:25.   After only a mile my throat was burning and was super dry.  I was never so happy to see a water stop as I was to see the one that was set up at the halfway point.  Second mile clicked in at a 7:25.  Now I knew I only had a half a mile to go.  I tried to speed up but really knew I would be happy at this point to finish up without slowing down.   As I approached the finish line I was nervous again about not passing off successfully but I saw Sarah and passed off successfully.  I finished the last bit in 3:15 seconds.. which gave me a total time of 18:05 (avg. pace 7:23).  I was a bit disappointed with the time but kinda happy that I at least was able to be consistent with my splits.   Next up was Sarah, she turned out to be a much faster tortoise than me.  She finished her leg in an impressive 17:09.  Mike earned his hare status with a super speedy 14:09.   Our total time was 1:03:25 (avg. pace )6:24.

After the hard stuff (running) was done we got to enjoy the reason we really signed up for the race.  Food, beer, music, and lots of yacking!! Overall a very fun experience and I think it would be fun to do it again next year.

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20 Aug

Kinvara Krazy


Wanted to give a little update on my plantar fasciitis/heel spur issues and my footwear.  Last time I wrote I was wearing Brook Launches and working in the Kinvaras.  As the weeks passed by I gradually increased my mileage in the Kinvaras and decreased my mileage in the Launches.  I found that after a while every time I ran my launches my ankles bothered me and sometimes the old plantar fasciitis pain would rear it’s ugly head, so I went full time in the Kinvaras.  Since switching over my feet, ankles, legs feel great.  I have gotten in more mileage this summer during base training without injury than during any of my marathon training cycles.  The only  problem I have found  is that my calves occasionally get tight but that is easily resolved by rolling them out.  The Kinvaras combined with smart training seems to have finally rid me of my foot pain woes.

I will admit that my collection of Kinvaras is getting a little large.   I have six  pairs in my closet.  Four that  I am currently running in and two new pairs.  Most shoes don’t last me more than two hundred miles so when I got close to that mileage I bought replacements.  However, the three pair that have more than two hundred miles on them still feel great, so I haven’t stopped running in them.  It will be interesting to see how many miles I can safely get on them before retiring them.   The extra two pair I bought on a super good sale (best time to stock up :)). So, in short I am totally in love with Kinvaras, I really hope Saucony keeps them they way they are, so that I can continue to run with happy feet!

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15 Aug

Turtles on Vacation

For our summer vacation this year we went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.   I thought about doing another destination race over the summer but decided on a relaxing beach vacation instead.  We have been to Mexico twice before but this stay was by far my favorite.

Why?   The answer is simple…. TURTLES!!!

The turtle spotting began immediately after we checked in.  As we walked to our room there was a man made pond full of  red eared slider turtles swimming and sunning themselves.  We stopped and admired them for a while before heading to our room.

Later that day as we were exploring the jungle trail ( this was really cool jungle area on the resort that had monkeys, tzereques, iguanas, coatimundis, peacocks, flamingos,etc. out in the wild)  we discovered a pit that contained two African Spurred Tortoises.  These guys were really cool and loved  stopping  by everyday to say, “Hi” and see what they were up to.

Our next turtle encounter came on on first full day of vacation.  After I came back to the room from my run, we went to breakfast and then  walked along the beach.  There is a stretch of beach a short walk from the resort we stayed at that is undeveloped and  is one of the nesting places for white sea turtles.  We saw quite a few nests, probably around 10.  I thought this was awesome, as did my daughter.  After we got back to the resort area she built a little sculpture of sea turtles and hatchlings.

Our coolest turtle adventure on this vacation was our trip out to Akumal bay to go snorkeling with the sea turtles.  It was amazing to see these animals swimming and feeding in their natural habitat.  I could have stayed all day just watching them, they are so beautiful and graceful in the water.

We had many other adventures on our vacation but our turtle encounters made this trip one I will always remember fondly.

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