Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gobble Gobble

I'm a bit late with my TXU Energy Turkey Trot update and I figured out why...I didn't snap a single photo! Nope, no pre-race pictures, nothing along the route, not even post-race. However, not playing around during this race (as per my usual), I PR'd this 10K and shaved 10mins off my time.  Hot Dawg! 1 hour, 15mins. I had my fastest mile time at 11:26mins.

This made for my 2nd Turkey Trot, the first being in Sacramento in the cold and rain (what a nasty race) and running with over 26K people. This one was a bit more sedate at 14K people and it was ok weather (sunny, not too humid, not too hot). I stuck to my plan of running a mile and walking a quarter mile. I did start out running with a girl from my running club, but she had to slow her roll due to numbness in her feet. Normally, I would say: No Girl Left Behind (BGR motto) and that I will walk with you, but something clicked again (like at Rock n Roll) and I didn't want to slow down. I made sure she was ok to walk (this is a normal thing with her feet) and I kept on running. She finished around 1 hour and 26 mins, which is my usual time.

I am finding that races are fun when you start out with your friends. It would make for even more fun to see familiar faces cheering you on, but I am learning that running, although social at times, you have to be your own cheer squad. So I turn up my headphones and sing along as I cross the finish line.

I am looking forward to my race line-up whether it be with a group, a single friend or solo.  Here's what's on my schedule:


Jingle Bell Run (10K)
Houston YMCA
Houston - Downtown
Friends of Galveston Island State Park Fun Run (10K)
Galveston State Park
Keep on Truckin’ Half
Brazos State Park
Brazos State Park
TX Med Center 5K
Harris County Hospital District
Houston – Medical Center
Sugar & Spice Half

Clear Lake, TX
Zooma Women’s Half

Blue Bell Fun Run (5K or 10K)

Wildflower Run

TX Flower Country Women’s 5K or 10K

Wildseed Farm, Fredericksburg

Which races are on your upcoming running calendar?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rockin and Rollin

...or, I survived my first Rock n  Roll Half Marathon. And on my big 4-0 nonetheless.

What was I thinking?

I was thinking it would be a nice day in San Antonio in Nov with Fall-ish weather. Boy, was I ever wrong. It was hot. At 9:00am, around my 5K point, it was already 72 degrees. I must have been delirious because I saw Elvis.
Elvis is taking off
What was I thinking?
I  wanted to finish 13 miles in under 3 hours. I signed on with the 2:45 pace group, but started back in Corral 33 with my running group. That was the party zone. I felt great the first 4 miles until the heat smacked me in the face. I walked between Miles 4 and 5, I snapped photos along the route. I talked to people as I ran. I let my usual self take over and slow my butt down.
Best signs seen along the route

What was I thinking?
It's freaking hot outside. I just want some water. I just want to take a break and close my eyes for a moment. I just want my feet to stop hurting. I just want this to be over. This was between Miles 6 and 8.

What was I thinking?
I'm just going to walk a bit and cool off. Thank goodness for the breeze and the downhill slope. All yes, finally Mile 12 - I'm almost done.

Sorry for the sideways photo. I've tried unsuccessfully to rotate - no luck.
Ha, see me with that silly grin on my face. That's because I didn't know what was waiting for me at Mile 13. I didn't even snap a photo. It was a damn hill. REALLY???? At the finish??? In the heat???? Who thinks this is a great way to finish a long-ass, feet burning, skin burning run? Ahh hell!!!

What was I thinking?
This medal was worth the heat and hurting feet. This race was a lot of fun thanks to a well-organized expo, the music along the route, the people running the race, the fun tees seen along the route, the various people cheering along the route.

Finisher's medal
yeah, I was feeling this shirt
I was not coming in behind her.

My running buddy would say: Run with your butt!
It's the Great Pumpkin!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taper Week

So I am 5 days out from my first half marathon. Whoop Whoop! I am looking to finish in under 3 hours. I know I can do this. This is easy (and before you say it isn't - it really is easy).

This week is taper week for me (not that I was racking up many miles during the week to begin with) but I am also trying to stay in line with my mileage challenge at work and log 75 miles for the month. Although I usually run 4:1 intervals (and that's the gameplan for Sunday), I want to work on my endurance and run longer. So yesterday my running buddy and I set out after work. She asks - "so what are we running today" (because it's her SLLLOOOOWWWW run day with me - LOL). I ask that we simply do 4 miles slowly and let's see how far I go before I feel like a break. She was awesome with her constant reminders to me to slow down (I am a jack rabbit starter) and those reminders were so helpful.

The weather was perfect yesterday evening. Cool and low humidity. It's finally running weather in Houston (hopefully it will stick). We took a new route along the bayou that included small inclines (Houston doesn't have hills). I concentrated on running a mile before my walk break vs running time and that worked very well. I was so elated when we hit the 3 mile mark because I found that I was able to keep my pace slow at the start, complete a mile, walk approx .25-mile and then hit another mile.

Then she did it to me. We were heading to the water fountain and she says - "ok, I'm going to run". Now, I know her pace is much faster than mine (her 5K pace is about 24min, my PR was 36 min back in July '11). She takes off! I tried to keep up and noticed that my pace topped off at 6.3 mph! I can't maintain that at the moment, but it's definitely something to shoot for. So I see some sprint intervals in my future.

We finished with a  half-mile walk to cool down. When it was all said and calculated, I logged 4.58 miles in 1 hour yesterday, averaged a pace of 13 min/mile, which is my comfy pace, and fewer walk breaks than my regular interval runs.

How do you taper?  How do you work towards increasing your endurance and speed?

Monday, November 5, 2012


Last week, there was plenty of talk around the sphere as to what constitutes a runner and I still say that no matter if you run for a min or run a full marathon, the fact that you laced up your sneakers and make an effort, it makes you a runner.

It's funny to me that I say this now. I have 6 days until the Rock 'n Roll San Antonio half marathon. My first half.

Over the weekend, I posted a thank-you via FB to various people who have provided the motivation to get off my butt and run and workout. This thank-you has lead me to reflect back on why I run.

Growing up, I wasn't the most active child. I spent a lot of time reading. I did play volleyball in elementary school and moved on to tennis in junior high and high school. When I started college, I was on an Army ROTC scholarship. This meant meeting a weight requirement for my height (I never reached the weight requirement), regular PT (that included running). At this point, I was only partially running on a track (running the straights and walking the curves) to keep my endurance up for tennis. I HATED running. On PT runs, I was always the one behind the safety patrol. I never ran in rank because I could never keep up. I was made fun of and was truly miserable.

Fast forward 20 years. I haven't played much tennis these days because it's difficult for me to find people who know how to play. Thanks to a co-worker, I bought TurboJam a few years back and got hooked on TKB. I've lost 40lbs and stalled. So I started reading more fitness blogs and saw that folks were shedding pounds through running. Thanks to various blogs such as Carli over at Running Into Shape, Tricia at  Endurance Isnt Only Physical, Kim at to dream the KIMpossible dream and a few other now-defunct blogs, I decided to try Couch to 5K. The program seemed easy enough, especially on a treadmill. I found myself running almost everyday before or after my workout classes at the gym.

Then I moved to Sacramento. This move threw my workout schedule a curve ball, but after a few months, I was back on a workout schedule with plenty of TKB  and Body Pump classes. But I still wasn't really running. In an effort to meet people outside of work, I answered a CL ad for a workout buddy and we signed up for my first 5K with the intention of walking it. A recap of that race can be found here.

Following that race, I wanted to challenge myself to run outside even more. I completed a Fun Run. Still looking to meet people and make a home in Sacramento,I came across Black Girls Run and noticed they were starting local running groups. My running has spiraled into an activity that I am really beginning to enjoy (even though I swore I would never run further than a 10k). While in Sac, I promised the ladies I would run the Urban Cow Half if I was still there. Unfortunately, I'm not. But to hold up my end, I picked a race on my birthday, the BIG 4-0 (it's even national running day).

Even being back in Houston, I look forward to my early morning Saturdays and my after work running sessions. I've recently started running without music and have my races picked out from now until April 2013, including 2 more halfs. To date, I have completed 2-5Ks, 3-10Ks, 1-12K and come Sunday I will have run my longest - a half.

So I have to say thank you to the many who have crossed my path to serve as motivators to get me to do the one thing I never liked and to go further than I ever planned.

I guess this is a true testament to never say never.

Thank you!