Thursday, December 30, 2010


I love challenges! It keeps me motivated and gives me something to look forward to. My next challenge you ask? Run for the Bling of It! I was already somewhat planning in my head to run as many races in 2011 as I can, but this will keep me honest. The challenge says I have to run at least one race every month and blog about it. Easy enough, right? I mean, check out my Upcoming Races section over there -----> It's getting pretty full!

I keep thinking that I need a New Year's resolution, but why? I didn't stick to last year's resolution. Although it was set pretty dang high. Maybe I should try for a total mileage for the year. According to my Garmin stats, I have run 528 miles so far this year (and that's not including my recent runs that I haven't uploaded yet), but that's only miles tracked by Marvin. There were several runs without him due to lack of battery power. I'm thinking I could definately add to that number. So is 1000 miles too much to shoot for? Maybe it is. I'll get back to you on this one.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Christmas presents I got from my family. Lovely cooking stuff I wanted and gorgeous martini glasses! But I can't use any of it. Why? Cuz they also gave me a stomach bug. I got in a nice run Monday night, but that's been the last of it for me. I'm feeling better so far today, so I'm hoping I can get at least one more run in before the year is over. I still haven't gotten to wear the new shoes yet!

Happy last week of the year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas and other stuff

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I sure did - look what Santa (aka Hubby) brought me.

The new version of my Brooks shoes in RED! I saw this color when they came out and just begged for them. I'm so glad he took the hints :)

Before we left for the Christmas holidays and stuck the kids (aka doggies) in the car for 4 hours, I decided to take them out on a run. Well, the Lilly runs, but the Jager can only hang for about 1/2 a mile. Silly chihuahuas are not made for running! 

Here's the Lilly sitting pretty waiting for me to put the leash on her. She loves going out running, but I hardly ever take her. Shame on me! I really need to get her more of a harness type collar instead of a traditional one. She can slip out of this one pretty easily. We did 4.5 miles around the neighborhood and she enjoyed every second of it. Although, her long legs looked like they were just taking a nice walk whereas I was running a steady 9:50min/mile pace. I even tried to sprint with her for a quarter mile - I think she made it to a trot! Either way, it wore her out and she slept the whole drive to my parents' house.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I was tagged by Amanda at RuntoTheFinish for this little questionaire, so read-on if you wanna know more about moi.

1. Are you a girlie movie? Action movie? or Comedy kind of person? Definately a girlie movie kinda gal. My husband is pretty embarassed by my Netflix Queue actually. I watch my fair share of action and comedy with the husband, but there's nothing that beats coming home from that Saturday morning long run and curling up on the couch with my smoothie, ice and chick-flick before the hubby wakes up.

2. What is your favorite thing to do to “treat” yourself? I'd like to say "get a massage" but I really rarely do that. When I do, it feels like a treat, but mostly my treats consist of Anthropologie sales. There's something about that store that just makes a bad day disappear.

3. How much sleep do you need to feel your best? Normally, I'd say 8. But I just started a morning workout regime and I find myself usually getting no more that 7 and still feeling really good.

4. What vegetable could you eat every day? I'm torn! I absolutely LOVE vegetables and never feel like I eat enough of them. My favorites: broccoli and squash. I really don't think I'd ever tire of either of them. My husband thinks I'm wierd because I crave them like some people crave cupcakes (although I crave those too!).

5. Dream place to run? Central Park. Although I've never been to New York and could really care less about seeing anything else there. When/if I finally ever visit NYC, I've already promised myself that I'd run in Central Park every day I'm there.

6. Last good book you read? I've read a lot of good books this year, but I'm going to have to say Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I couldn't put it down! Hubby even loved it and he's not a runner.

7. What was the best year of your life? Wow, really hard question here. I really think that every year of my life is better than the last, but I guess if I really have to pick one I'd say the year I got married. I was 26 and had just become a runner. I dealt with the stress of moving in with my fiance, planning a wedding, dealing with injury and trying to stay fit. It was a tough year, but all of it was totally worth it. It really showed me who I am and what I'm capable of.

I really enjoyed these questions, so now I'm going to tag 3 of you!
Jenna Renee at
Linz at
Barbie at

Thanks for the survey, Amanda! Now for something even more fun. Check out E and I hustling our way through the last mile of the Jingle Bell last week!

We don't even look like we are breaking a sweat!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jingle Bell 5 Miler

Sunday was the Jingle Bell 5 Miler in downtown. A few of my running friends ran it last year as their first experience with running, so now they are trying to make it a yearly fun run. Well, I say "fun run" but let's face it - I don't know how to not try for a PR, especially for a distance I've only raced once. My previous five mile race was in February 2009 and my finishing time was 46:57. I honestly didn't have any goals for this race, but C wanted me to pace her to an under 9 min mile. I wasn't sure I was up for the task, but I told her I'd do my best.

E and I before the race. 

The group getting ready. We'd already done a few yoga moves and lots of jumping up and down to stay warm. I think it was a freezing 48 degrees at the start.*

And we're off!

The first 1/2 mile or so was through the tall buildings in downtown that create an insane wind tunnel. It was work just trying to keep up a good pace.

Finally out of downtown and starting a good pace. C was still keeping up at this point, but her asthma kicked in shortly after this. She still finished in a great time, but E and I pulled ahead after making sure she'd be okay on her own.

Here comes Speedy on the other side of the course. We had just passed mile 2 at 19 minutes. He was almost to mile 4. I'll never be that fast!

E and I just kept up the pace. The turnaround came and we still felt great. It was starting to get warm outside, but the wind was keeping us cooled off. Thank goodness since I was wearing a cotton t-shirt! I tried not to look at my watch during the race, but just to run what felt good. My heels started to hurt a little around mile 2, but I didn't worry about it. It was a beautiful day for a race and we were having a great time.

Before we knew it, we were running back into downtown and picking up speed. The finish line came into view and E asked if we were going to sprint. I said "give it all you've got!"

Oh, and we did! All of us had excellent runs! Speedy came in 3rd in his age group! This is our goofy pose. Not sure why we all decided to kick our feet up like that :)

One fault of the race (or perk if you were speedy like us): The vendors were giving away all their swag in big boxes. Proof: above E and D both got 70 sample boxes of Cinammon Toast Crunch. Not sure why they weren't giving them out individually, but that kinda sucks for everyone else running the race. When we finished, vendors were already taking their tents down. Hello, the race is still going on!

Our official time: 43:26! Talk about an awesome PR!

Oh, and remember how I said my heels hurt? Yeah, my shoes rubbed the skin off the back of my heels. My shoes and socks were soaked in blood when I checked them at the finish. And this race had no medic tent. What!? Thank goodness the cute guy at the massage tent had bandaids and peroxide to clean me up!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Hubby has officially approved of our trip to Providence for the Shape Up Half Marathon on May 1st. It's going to be a great birthday weekend visiting friends we haven't seen in over a year and racing!

2. Running is really hard this time of year. I've been working on my ability to wake early in the mornings and get my workouts in. MWF mornings I have a boot camp class at 6:30 that I haven't skipped yet. I'm really proud of myself, but I'm trying to extend those early mornings to T-Th too so I can run before work.

3. This Sunday is the Jingle Bell 5 Miler and I'm so excited. It's been a long time since I've raced a short distance and I'm really curious to see what I can do. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I love Bill White

Well, not as in love love, but you know, just love. As mayor of Houston, he really stood behind making us a fitter city and providing the citizens with all the exercise opportunities he could. Bill White was an avid biker, so he supported and pushed for such things as bike donations, organized rides, bike safety and best of all: bike trails. When we bought our house 2 years ago, I was really excited to be only a quarter mile from the (at the time) almost finished bike trail. The Mayor's idea of Rails to Trails took all of the unused/abandoned railroad lines through town and replaced them with paved bike trails. From my house, I can pick up the trail going north about 2.5 miles or head south for about 4 miles before it dead ends.

After my long run this morning, it was such a pretty day that I decided it would be a great idea to bike to work. My bike trail heading south will take me under all the freeways and spit me out 2 miles from downtown where my office building is. Imagine my surprise when I reached the end of the trail today to be greeted with this:

Before, this was a grassy/gravel/untaken care of strip of land. It was very unsafe to run on since it was so uneven and even biking was a chore. I pretty much just avoided it and so did everyone else.

See the tract laid out where the concrete path will go? If you look hard enough, you can see where they've already started laying the concrete. I'm so excited! Soon I'll be able to run/walk/bike all the way to downtown and have access to the bayous, Eleanor Tinsley trails and the eastsidetrail. Bill White's plan is still in effect even now that he's no longer mayor. He wanted all of the trails to be connected throughout town and this is a big piece of that! I can't wait for this to be finished - and of course Hubby to be healed so that we can bike it together!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'd like to say that I'm totally excited about it finally being December and Christmas being around the corner, but I'm not really. I don't have a tree up (nor do I see one in my future) and listening to my Christmas music just feels wrong. Hopefully it starts feeling like the season soon because I usually love this time of year!
2. I haven't been running again. :( How does everyone do it now that the time has changed? Better yet, how did I do it last year? I keep turning my alarm off in the mornings so there is no time before work and then after work I'm so depressed about it being dark that I just want to do nothing. And Hubby being laid up on the couch since his knee surgery this week isn't helping to motivate me. I need the summer back!

3. Love Clif products? Love winning free stuff? SkinnyRunner is holding a giveaway of 4 different Clif products. Head on over here to sign up!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thankful Healthy Blogger 5K

Since I was hosting Thanksgiving this year, I didn't think it would be fair to take off the morning and go run the local 5k (there's no way my family would have joined me either). So I signed up for a virtual 5k and got up early Thanksgiving morning to hit the pavement. It was sunny and warm here in Houston (about 72 degrees at 7am). I hadn't run since my long run on Saturday, nor had I done any of the exercises the tree docs recommended for my knee. The first mile felt great (except for being hot). I even ran into a neighbor and we chatted for a few blocks of our respective runs. The last 2.1 miles were a little slower because my knee started to bother me and I was exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before. I ran the best sprint I had left in me for the last .5 miles, but I was tired!

Final time: 32:00. Not my best 5k, but definately not my worst. I'll try for a redo when all the company leaves and I actually get some sleep.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know I had my fair share of pecan pie. Thank goodness boot camp starts on Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Return of the Saturday Long Runs

It's Saturday!

I have been texting with N all week promising that I was going to get back into this thing called running. I even promised her I would show up for the group run this morning at 6:15am. Well, that was before all the spicy Mexican food and margaritas last night. And before I stayed up till midnight before hitting the sack. My husband asked me before I headed to bed last night if I was going to get up for the run. My response: "I'll set the alarm." Ha. I did. But then I immediately turned it off this morning and went back to sleep.

That is until N called. Then I figured I had to get up and at least show my face. I rushed to get clothes on and had my Click drink on the way. We showed up just in time. Turns out 2 of my other buddies were running this morning too, so it gave me a little extra pep in my step. I didn't really know what I was capable of doing since it was my first long run back and my knee has been giving me trouble this week, but I knew I could always walk.

I felt great! The weather was just perfectly cool and sunny (once the sun came up anyway) and I realized how much I missed seeing the town overrun by runners so early in the morning. I ran the whole way with my marathon training partner and we took the time to catch up on our lives since our respective marathons. We even finished with negative splits and I definately feel that we could have continued running. But, one must take it slow after a month off.

I spoke with the "tree docs" after the run (one of the perks of running with the group) about my knee. After their quick assessment, they said it was probably just too much pressure on my knee and I should stay off the roads and work on building the muscles back up in my quads and hamstrings. As long as I stick to the track or treadmill and their softer surfaces I should be fine (along with icing and stretching).  So I guess it's not sympathy pains for the Hubby's knee after all, but at least it's not as bad of a diagnosis as his.

Happy Running!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turkey Trots

I have only done one Turkey Trot in my life, but it was one of the funner races I have done. I loved getting out in the cold on a holiday and watching all the families run together (and then I didn't feel so bad about eating food all day!). I am usually travelling on Thanksgiving, so it's very hard to me to sign up for a race. Well this year, Alissa at A Journey to Thin is hosting a virtual 5k for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited because I'll be able to get up before everyone else and get in a good 5k before we start preparing the midday meal. If anyone else wants to join in, click on the image below and sign up!

Blogger 5K

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I finally went on my first post-marathon run today. It felt really good! My feet really missed pounding on the pavement and the wind in my face was so nice. For not having run in almost a month, I was surprised to see how fast I was running - and it felt pretty easy.  My lungs were the only thing that bothered me. The weather here has finally turned slightly cold and my lungs just aren't used to it yet. I'm sure after another few runs outside I'm going to feel great. Oh, and remember how I said Hubby tore his ACL? Yeah,  my right knee was having a few symapthy pains for him!

Happy running!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Running that Isn't

I have a confession: I jumped way to early on my announcement to run the Route 66 Tulsa half marathon. As it always does, life got in the way. It's been almost 4 weeks since my marathon and I have still yet to lace up my running shoes. I want to get back out there, but somehow I keep telling myself I'll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow never seems to get here. Anyways, I couldn't have gone to Tulsa anyway unless I wanted to go alone. Hubby tore his ACL last week playing soccer so getting on a plane and standing around watching me run is the last things he wants to do right now. Boo on him. But, he'll be an awesome spectator during his recovery in January/February/March when I'm racing almost every weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week from H#ll

I don't know about you guys, but this week has been killer. My schedule consists of sleeping, working, studying, repeat. Blah. I still haven't even been able to tackle my first post-marathon run! It's killing me, but I don't want to take the time out of cramming for my professional exam to head out for a run. So I'm excited for Sunday and my date with the pavement. Brooks just released the new Adrenaline 11s and I'm dying to try them, but I don't really need 3 pairs of running shoes. Must wear out the Asics so I can replace them!

Onto other news. All this non-running has made me think about running even more and where I want to go from here. I got the green light from the Hubby last night for my next year's worth of adventures. I figure that since it's the last remaining bits of my 20's, I want to go all out. So, for birthdays, Christmas', any random time people want to give me gifts, I'm going to be accepting race fees and Continental gift cards (United, whatever). I want to join the rest of the crazy running folks that I've "met" through the blogging world and really travel for my races.

First up? Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa, OK on November 21st.

Others that I'm already looking at for next year?
  • RI Half Marathon on May 1st
  • Lewis and Clark Half Marathon, Bozeman, MT on June 5th
  • Oregon Wine Country Half on September 4th
I'm really looking into fun, scenic races. If I wanted a boring race, I could stay here and run all the ones with loops down Allen Parkway and Memorial. I want to really be able to explore the city I'm visiting by way of running the race. Let me know if there are ones that I should consider for my list and if you want to run any of these with me!

I'm also in the process of getting talked into Marathon #2. I'm just not ready to commit yet.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nike Women's Marathon

This is probably my longest post yet, but bear with me, it's worth it. :)

This was one of the best weekends of my life. My three friends and I arrived in San Francisco on Thursday night. We crawled in bed at our hotel ready for the sun to come up and the fun to begin.

T, C, N and I on a cable car.

Friday morning we all woke with excitement and tons of energy. We decided a quick running tour of the city would be just what we needed to start the weekend right. We ran down Market Street to the Embarcadero and walked around taking in the sites.

Dinner in North Beach: Carbs and Wine. What else do runners need? :)

After a day of excitement at Alcatraz and Italian at North Beach, we found ourselves Saturday morning at the Expotique and Niketown.
We met up with my marathon friend from LA. This was going to be both of our first marathons.

Of course, I had to find my name on the wall! I'm not sure which marathon thought of this first, but I think it's such an excellent idea. I kinda want to do Chicago now so I can find myself on that wall too!

Race Day:

We woke up early. My  mom sent me an awesome text message telling me how proud she was of me. It made me tear up a little bit. My wonderful husband had left me a note inside my running shoe that I found Friday morning before our run. I purposely did not open it till race morning. I'm so lucky to have such a thoughtful, loving husband!

The other girls were a little jealous, so we decided to write each other notes! I was getting more and more nervous as I dressed and laced up my shoes. But C told me in her note to "put on my big girl spandex" and none of the girls had any doubt that I could run 26.2 miles. Best friends ever!

Dressed and ready to run in our "I eat hills for breakfast" shirts.

Walking to the corrals. Pretty sure my stomach was turning in knots.

The race was amazing. Yes, everyone was crammed into the corrals. And no, no one was lined up where they were supposed to be. We picked a spot right behind the 4:15 pacer (even though my goal was 4:45!). It took us about 14 minutes to cross the start line, but it gave us plenty of time to take some Gus and get all our "good lucks" out of the way. I was actually pretty happy that they did not split the half from the full at the start. T, C and I ran together for as long as we could. It felt like any normal Tuesday run. At the 10k, we didn't even feel like we'd gone a mile! The temperature was perfect and we were at a good pace. Mile 6 came and we lost each other in all the walkers. Up until this point, the course had been wide so that everyone had room to run even though we were crowded. The hills were narrow and there wasn't any room to get around. We wanted to run the hills because we had trained for them and we were ready. The course faltered here. There should have been room for the runners to run and those who wanted to walk the hills should have been courteous enough to move to the side. I know people will probably argue with me on that or take offense to it, but we had every right to run just like they had every right to walk.

Once the huge hill was over, the next miles went by like a breeze until already it was mile 12 and the Half folks were splitting off. The crowd finally dispersed and we were able to set a steady pace. I was still feeling good, couldn't believe I was almost halfway there. I put my headphones on and started focusing. I knew the fun was over. The spectators were gone and I was mostly alone. The park was beautiful and I was taking in the sights. Before I knew it, it was mile 16 and the half was merging in with us again. Of course this time they are sprinting for the finish line and we are just trying to maintain our slow and steady turtle pace. They only stayed with us a few hundred yards and then we were on our own running down the Great Highway.

I'm not really sure why they call it a highway. It was a horribly paved road with a slow speed limit and red lights. I really had to watch my footing and brace myself for the cold gusts of wind coming off the Pacific ocean. It started sprinkling here and the rain was cold on my face. By the time I hit mile 18 at Lake Merced, I was starting to feel it. The lake might have been pretty, but I didn't notice. I was cold, wet and running uphill again. I started walking through the water stops and drinking both water and Gatorade. It took everything I had to start running again, but I made sure my walk breaks only lasted as far as the last trash can. I kept seeing my training friend in my mind telling me I could do this. Her image was the strength I needed to keep going. The route around the lake was boring and we were running alongside traffic the whole time. I finally made it to the Chocolate mile and the last Facebook update at 35k and I was ready to kick it back into gear. My two bites of chocolate were evidently just what I needed.

I focused on my feet and just kept moving. Each mile marker just kept appearing out of nowhere. I lost track of time. It seemed to be moving quickly. At mile 25, I was miserably cold and already back out on the Great Highway, but I took off my headphones and went for it. About mile 25.5 C appeared and started running with me. She talked to me to try to distract my mind from the pain and cold. Then N appeared, jumping up and down screaming "That's my friend!" and pointing at me. I almost cried then. She joined us and they ran with me until mile 26 when they were told to leave the course. I travelled the last .2 miles in the fastest sprint I could muster. I crossed that finish line with my hands up, proud. I was exhausted, but I couldn't believe it was over. I had just run 26.2 miles.

I started crying uncontrollably. I refused help from the medic and walked to get my Tiffany's necklace. I honestly can't tell you if the fireman was hot or not. I can't even tell you what color hair he had. I just took my blue box and started walking. Someone shoved an open bag in my hand and people just started dropping things in it. Chocolate milk, G2, pineapple juice, fruit, etc. Another volunteer bent down and took my shoe tag off and I managed to muster what size finisher's shirt I needed. I was on autopilot. After I walked out of the last tent, N was there waiting for me. I laid my head on her shoulder and cried. I just ran a Marathon.

After I contained myself, we found the rest of the girls and headed for the shuttle line. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to make it. They carried all my things and walked me up the hill. My legs were stiff and tired and I was freezing. It was so nice to get on the warm bus (after over a 35 min wait) and sit down. My energy started to return and I was feeling more myself.

Our group Finisher's picture in the warmth of the hotel.

We found the sign in the trash. I didn't run with the pace group, but I figured it was appropriate.

My final time: 4:30:08

I couldn't be more excited about that time! For a girl who was only hoping for a 4:45, I was ecstatic - still am! Now that it's a few days after and my knees are fully recovered, it almost feels like a dream. But then I look around my neck and see my Tiffany's necklace and I remember I actually did it. I am a Marathoner!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I did it!

I am officially a Marathoner! That's me crossing the finish line with my hands up at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco this weekend. I still feel like it was a dream! More details to come, but it was a great weekend and I had such an awesome time!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cool Shirts

Sunday is my first marathon! And first big race where I've coerced some friends into doing it with me. Sunday will be mine and LA's first marathon and my 3 Houston friends' first half marathon. So of course, we have to do it in style! We had shirts made for the occasion, so if you see any of us on the course, be sure to say Hi!

The front:

 The back: 

 Don't worry, we know we aren't really fast - it's to entertain the runners behind us. :)

My flight leaves this evening for San Fran. I'm so excited I can barely keep my mind thinking about the work I'm supposed to be doing before I leave!

1,635 Miles by air to Oakland
18 Miles on BART
26.2 Miles to the Finish Line!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4 Days to Go

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. This taper couldn't have come at a better time. Work has ramped up to completely consume my life right now and I haven't had any time for running. Not even a quick 30 minute run. I finally had time on my lunch break yesterday to tackle a nice run in our "fall" weather here. I was excited to lace up my shoes and get outside. My legs have been antsy! However, once I started running - they were mad! It had been a full week since my last run and I could tell. :(

My calves were extremely sore and no amount of walking or stretching was helping. I tried to take it as a nice, slow run, but even that hurt. It was everything I had in me to do 3 miles. I made it back up to the gym in my office building and hit the foam roller. I have no time to get a massage between now and the marathon, so rolling will have to do. I feel kind of defeated. I was feeling pretty empowered after my awesome 16 miler, but this time off has really taken a toll on me. I'm hoping that the rolling and stretching will be enough to complete my marathon on Sunday.

Ready or not, San Fran here we come!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quick Update

Sorry I've been a little MIA recently! Things over here have been extremely busy! Here's a few of bullet points to catch you up:

  • I was not feeling very good about my marathon training after my 20-miler. I mean, I knew I could do it, I just didn't think I'd be able to do it well. So I set off last Monday night for a 16 miler by myself. I haven't run any of the long distances alone and I really needed to do it to show myself I could. I rocked it! I kept an awesome pace the entire time and although I was hurting, I felt that I could have kept running after I finished the 16!
  • Last Wednesday, I attended our running group "Good Luck" party. The first group of marathoners leaves for Chicago this week, so we had a few beers to celebrate our upcoming races. People that had previously participated in the marathons we are training for got up and spoke about what to expect, do while we are there, etc. Let's just say I totally want to run Chicago, NY, and MCM now and I haven't even run my first marathon yet!
  • I took a long lunch break on Thursday to go grocery shopping for our weekend trip and to get in a run. I ran hills and felt great!
  • However, when I came back from my run, I was greeted by a garbage truck, cop car, ambulance and tow truck on our street. It was garbage day and one of the annoying cars that constantly speeds up and down our block ran smack into the back of the garbage truck while they were collecting trash. How do you not see a garbage truck!? This was the last straw from us and our neighbors and we are petitioning the city for speed bumps on our street.
  • Friday morning was another excellent training run. I hadn't done a tempo run in weeks and it felt great!
  • I spent the weekend diving, eating bbq and drinking beer. It was my last "free" weekend where I allowed myself to eat bad food and drink. No more ding dongs for breakfast!
  • 2 more weeks till my marathon! I'm getting excited!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taper Time!

With my 21 miler behind me, the looming marathon doesn't seem so bad anymore. I've been enjoying my weekday runs and extremely enjoyed my 10k last weekend. My schedule from here on out is a little iffy since I just have a lot of stuff going on in life, but I think it will actually be fun not really being on a set schedule. Case in point, N missed her long run on Saturday to do the 10k with me, so I offered to run her long run with her on Monday night. I mapped us a course that she hadn't done before and we had a great time running together. Each of us took it really slow since we were a little sore still from all the hills on Saturday. She ended up running 9.3 miles - a distance record for her.

I took Tuesday off to rest my legs and enjoyed a day of studying outside and a much needed haircut. I wanted to run Thursday and Friday, so Wednesday I took the bike out for a spin. I didn't really have a route or distance in mind, but it was a really nice evening.
The view from one of the parks I was exploring was amazing. I tried to practice a few of the skills I learned in my mountain biking clinic, but I was still having the same problem as before. Oh well. It'll come with more practice I'm sure. I ended up riding 9 miles and made it home just before sunset.

Happy adventures everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Toughest 10K

I woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful day - it was slightly cool outside and overcast! I loaded up the car with my breakfast and other necessities and headed to pick up the girls for our 40 min trip down to Kemah.
Geared up and ready...after quite the speed bump...
See those sneaks? Those are NOT my shoes. What did I leave the house with you ask? I was wearing my Ryder sandals as usual. But guess who turned the lights off and walked out the door without her running shoes? Oh yes, that was me. How can I call myself a runner if I can't even remember to bring my running shoes to a race?!?!

Luckily for me, a nice lady that parked across from us at the race start heard my friend C yelling at me for forgetting my shoes and offered to help. Since the running store was 20 minutes away and not open anyway, I was grateful for her. She lived 5 minutes down the road and called her hubby to bring me her old pair of shoes. Lucky even more for me - they were only half a size too big and the same Asics that I normally run in!

C, N and I waiting for the start with our scared faces on. This 10k was going to be 2 complete passes over a mighty tall bridge!

See the bridge? Yeah, I have to make it up to the top of that 4 times.

Self portrait just after I've climbed the first pass. I'm a little winded, but feeling great! Getting ready to charge down the downhill side and make up some time.

The view looking out into the Gulf of Mexico. The sun mostly stayed behind the clouds and the temperature stayed around 80 the whole race. Heaven for those of us who live in the South!

Starting back up the bridge at some point. You can see the runners are really starting to spread out. Somehow I managed to continue passing people - on the uphill and downhill. I'm still crediting my leg strength and speed to the 21 miler.

2 trips over the bridge complete! I finished!

Mile 1: 9:20 (I was trying to hold back a little and save energy for the uphill portions)
Mile 2: 9:03
Mile 3: 9:06
Mile 4: 9:20 (Starting to tire out, but trying to keep my form intact.)
Mile 5: 9:19
Mile 6: 8:29 (Wowzah!)
Last .2: 1:17 (or 7:39 pace)

Final time: 55:58. I came in 10th in my age group! Yay me! If I could shave off a full minute, I could have been in 7th place. I'm so excited at how fast I'm getting. I mean, I just PRed a very hilly course - there's no telling what I could do if it was flat!

Toughest 10k complete! Maybe we will all be ready for the hills in San Fransisco after all. We all made excellent time!

I've been so focused on marathon training this summer, that the fun was starting to wear off. It was great to get out there and rock a 10k to put a little spring back into my step. Sometimes I forget how much fun racing is - especially with friends!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Something to Celebrate

Didn't I just say how I felt stronger after that 21 miler? I think this weekend just proved it - I PR'ed my 10K! An extremely hilly (4x over a crazy tall bridge hilly!) 6.2 mile course. I'll get the full race report up as soon as Hubby reinstates the internet at home so I can use my laptop again. I got lots of pics!

New 10K PR: 55:58!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's This?!

I remember back 3 years ago to when I was first training for a half marathon. The runs were crazy long! I remember still being sore on Monday from Saturday's run and not wanting to go for my recovery. Those 9 and 10 milers really wore me out. Now here I am down the road and I've just finished a 21 miler. And I have no problem walking - not even running!

Monday night I figured I'd have a tough time getting my feet moving, so I made a running date with a friend. She needed some encouragement to do her first 8 miler, so I offered to get her started.  We met at Memorial Park and took off around the 3 mile loop. It was a steady 11min/mile run, but I felt good. A little tired, but good. I even tacked on an extra mile just for the hell of it. I felt like I could have gone the whole 8 miles with her, but I didn't want to take any chances. Recovery run = success!

Tuesday, I was still feeling good! No soreness from the day before. I figured I'd try to get in a little hill training since I have a super hilly 10K coming up this weekend. I set off from work with my new shuffle motivating me along to "No son of mine" by Genesis (awesome running song IMHO). I was trying to run a light warmup mile, but when Marvin the Garmin beeped at my first mile it said 9:03! I hadn't meant to run that fast and it sure didn't feel like I was pushing myself at all! I started running up and down the bayou hills until I didn't think my legs could take any more and then started my cool down mile back to my office building. How fast was my cool down you ask? 9:49. And I felt great when I got back.

Maybe I need to get my butt kicked by a 21 miler every now and again to put soem spring back into my step. Haha, right. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm loving my runs this week!

Happy Running!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Day I Ran 21 Miles

I'm still trying to figure out why I decided to sign up for a marathon. 26.2 miles. Was I temporarily insane at the time? And am I still insane for continuing to train for it? The jury is still out on that one.*

After a pretty decent sleep Friday night, I woke Saturday morning and got ready for my run. I did the big no-no and put on all new clothes, but I wasn't really worried about it. I managed to remember everything - even charged Marvin the Garmin. I was set to take on my 21 miler (even though I was shaking in my Brooks!). The morning was hot and stagnant, but nothing out of the ordinary for us Houstonians. Before we started, we held a nice moment of silence for those that have and still are suffering from 9/11.

The first 7 miles went by really fast. It was still really dark out, but we all managed to make all the correct turns and made it back to our starting point before sun up. I didn't even notice my watch for most of the first part. At the water stop, I refueled my handheld with water and ate half of my Margarita shot blocks. I didn't feel that I needed a GU yet, so I didn't take one. My friend E and I just kept chugging along. I felt really great until the sun really reared its ugly head and the heat got worse. Heat + already exhausted legs = no good. Our last water stop was at mile 17 and I started walking as soon as it came in my sight. I felt so tired! I ate and drank everything I saw. Peanut butter filled pretzels, pringles, shot blocks. Ugh! That was such a bad idea!

When we started on the last leg home, my stomach was sloshing. I had overdone it with the food and fluids and was even more miserable than before. Next time I'll know to stay away from all the yummy stuff until the run is completely over. It really made the last 4 miles killer. I managed to stay up with E until mile 19 or so when I slowed to a jogging crawl of sorts. I'm not really sure how I pushed through those last two miles and made it to the end, but I did. I ran 21 miles. It still feels like it was a dream, but then I stand up and feel the soreness in my hips and knees and remember that I really did run 21 miles. My ice bath afterwards actually felt amazing (and so was the glass of champagne).

Nike is in 4 weeks. Bring it.

*As much as I complain, I'm still having a great time with my training and am excited about the race. I'm just a complainer by nature. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I guess since everyone is doing it, I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon and start doing 3TT posts too. (I just love conformity! lol)

1. I've been a bad runner lately. Today was my first run in a week and 2 days. Crazy! And it wasn't planned, I'm not injured or anything. I'm just busy and/or lazy (depends on the day). I did get in a spin class last week and a nice long bike ride last night, so I haven't been missing out completely.

2. On my bike ride with Hubby last night, we rode along the bayou on the paved trails there. On the way back, it was starting to get towards dusk and the gnats came out. I could feel them hitting my face as we rode through the swarms of them. Somehow, Hubby didn't notice them at all. This is gross, but since I was pretty sweaty from the long ride, some of them got caught by the sweat on my chest. Yes, those tiny disgusting little flies were stuck to me! So nasty!

3. And finally, in keeping up with the last post, I broke down and bought the new Apple Shuffle. I figured the Nano would get very little extra use (besides running) from me so it wasn't worth the price. Plus, I worried about the touch screen getting sweat all over it. This morning was my first run with the new shuffle and I liked it. For once, I got to run for a whole 45 minutes without the volume turning itself down or the songs randomly skipping. There was actual music playing the whole time and it was exactly the playlist I wanted to hear at the volume I wanted to hear it. Amazing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Apple or not to Apple

That is the question. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you've probably heard me complain about my iPod shuffle (like there and here) - I hate the dang thing. Well, actually, I love it's size - I hate everything else about it. BUT, now Apple has come out with some new products that are catching my eye. Any one else see the release today? They've gone back to the original shuffle idea (with the buttons instead of the horrible remote-on-the-headphones). So of course, I'm a little giddy at the idea of replacing mine. So, do I get the new shuffle or do I get the new tiny, clippable nano? I think they are both very comparable (except for the price). The size is still easy on both, both have clips. The biggest plus to spending the money on the nano is being able to plug it into my car to hear the music.

So, what to do? What to do?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

7 Weeks to Go

Is it just me or is anyone else just ready to get their first marathon OVER with?! I think all the running and scheduling is starting to get to me. Don't get me wrong, I love the weekday runs. They are so relaxing and get me out of the indoors. But the long runs? I'm tired of them. I'm tired of the fact that I know say "oh, I'm only running 13 miles tomorrow - no biggie." Only 13? Since when did I say "only 13"? I need to step back here and remind myself that 13 is still a long run and still needs to be taken seriously.

Ok, off the soap box and onto fun things, I did run 13 miles this weekend. It was surprisingly slightly cool again here in Houston and it felt great. We had plenty of hills thru the course - great training for my marathon. I pushed myself a little harder than I would normally on a training run since I needed to be back at home before 8am. I think I made it home around 7:50 and jumped in the shower to wash the salt off of me. I put on new workout clothes, loaded the car with snacks and Hubby and I headed south. By 9am I was refueled and geared up on my new bike. The local mountain biking club was having a riding clinic and I was in desperate need of a beginner's course.

It was so much fun! I wish I would have gotten a few pics of me on the bike doing some of the skills, but like always, I forgot the camera. After about 2 hours of the leaders walking us through the skills and us practicing in a controlled environment, we headed out to a trail. I loved the winding through the trees and the curves and the roots we had to maneuver. All of it was great fun! I did not like, however, the many steep downhills on the second part of the course. I was exhausted by this point and walked every single downhill. Oh well. It was a great day and I'm looking forward to my next time out!

Alright, enough about mountain biking and back to running. I'm off to get in a quick 45 minute run before my class tonight. Enjoy your runs!

Friday, August 27, 2010

MCM Mama's Race Recap

Remember my post a few weeks ago where I said I was going to run a virtual race? Of course you do, since you all remember everything I say! :) J/k. Well, Wednesday was MCM Mama's birthday and to celebrate and honor her, I ran a 4 mile "race" (yes, I know, I'm slow to post).  Turns out that even though I had planned for this, I was still strapped for time (which helped make me speedy!). Prerun snack: 3 thin mint Girlscout cookies. It was the closest thing I had to a birthday (cup)cake!

I had an hour and a half between work and my next social event, so my only option was to run from work (my gym is in my same building so I can shower afterwards). There is a perfect loop around the bayou trail that is exactly 4 miles. Only problem is there is construction going on down there right now so I haven't been running it lately and didn't know what to expect. I changed my clothes, grabbed my iPod and warmed up on the way to the bayou. It was actually a "cool" 92 degrees with a slight breeze and full sun. For Houston, it was nice to be outside. At the right spot, I turned the Garmin on and started the race. Boy was I speedy! My first mile: 8:49! I did have to slow a few times for the tons of sand the construction guys had dumped on the trail, but other than that, my feet remembered the trail well. I had forgotten my sweat band, so by mile 2 sweat was running into my eyes and making them burn. Gah! Also by mile 2, my iPod (geez I hate that thing) had already taken it upon itself reduced the volume to mute 3 times. I tried turning it off and back on, but it refused to do anything else. I was left without tunes, so I shoved the thing in my pocket and tried to keep my pace up.

Mile 2: 9:13. I had slowed a little, but I was also playing with the iPod during that mile so I figured I could do better for the rest of the race. The hill up to the street for the turn around was torture, but I managed not to slow and even picked it up on the downhill. This trail is very hilly and really great for mountain biking, not so much for running (esp when you are racing against yourself). The second side of the loop was not as shady as the first. I kicked it into gear after a stop for water and didnt' even look at the splits on the last two miles - I just wanted to finish and have a nice cold shower. About a half mile from the end I passed a girl walking towards me with a big black dog, who at that point reached out to bite me. What!!? Lady, get your dog under control! I was pissed and my heart was racing since his fangs were inches from my butt. She didn't even apologize. But then again, I didn't give her a chance to. I wanted as far away from that dog as possible. Pretty sure it helped me sprint in that last half mile.

Mile 4 beeped on my watch: 38:40.

I forgot to take my phone, so I didn't get any race pictures, but I was a hot, sweaty mess anyway. No one really wants to see that. :) Happy Birthday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The heat is on

Another week has gone by and the temperatures seem to be here to stay. I've had more runs on the treadmill in the last few weeks than I ever want to have for the rest of my life.

Treadmill + dead iShuffle = misery

As mentioned in my previous post, I skipped out on last week's long run. But this week was a different story. This week 19 miles was on the books. 19 miles. I didn't take this run lightly - in fact, I prepared for it all week. No drinking, eating healthy and getting in all my workouts. Friday came and I met up some friends for happy hour (only water for me) then stopped by my favorite Italian restaurant for takeout. Hubby and I lounged on the couch with my feet up watching the Hangover until 9:30. I decided to make a few changes to my routine. I packed everything the night before in the car that I could, filled my water bottles with Nuun instead of Gatorade, had 3 different choices for GUs and then finally trudged upstairs to lay out my clothes. I laid down and actually went right to sleep.

At 4:08am the alarm went off. I got up, dressed, ate, and headed to the meet up. I was a good 20 minutes early which I love so that I don't have to feel rushed. As I put on my watch, I turned it on and it was dead. Dead! How, with all my preparing, could I forget to charge my watch!? Luckily, we are sponsored by a running store and they open up shop for us before the runs. So I ran inside and asked if they had a spare charger - score! So I let them plug in my watch and I ran back out to switch my flip flops for running shoes and get my fuel belt ready. When it was time, I went back in to get my watch and I was thinking such positive thoughts for the day. Turns out though that the sales person hadn't connected the charger correctly so Marvin the Garmin was still dead. Disappointed, I tossed it in the car and we started our run.

Our course was setup into 3 different loops. The first took us north for 7 miles. The coach had changed the route a few times throughout the week, so many of us made quite a few wrong turns. Somehow, we managed to pass a park where another running group meets up right at the same time that they started running. We all got jammed together taking a pedestrian overpass bridge - us running and them mostly walking. It is very poor running etiquette (and very annoying) for runners to take up the entire span of a running trail and not let others pass. I even yelled "runner back" a couple of times and they would not move. How rude!

Most of the next 5 miles I ran by myself. I didn't really plan to, it just kinda happened. I had my Double Latte Powerbar Gel at mile 10 - I loved the fact that it was very liquidy and mixed with my water well instead of the thick gooey mess of the other brands. (I picked more up while I was out shopping with the Hubby later.) I was really starting to feel tired around mile 12-13 and my motivation was very low. The group was so spread out at this point that I was only close to one other person and she was struggling too. We decided to walk, but had no motivation to start running again. The sun had come up and it was starting to get hotter. I think the only thing that made me move faster was the idea that it might be 100 degrees before I finished. I was gonna do everything I could not to let that happen.

I finally started running and made it to the water stop at mile 16 for a short break and some cold water. I finished my Margarita Cliff Shots here and E caught up to me. We ran in the last 3 miles together. It was nice powering through the end (not like my 16 miler where I wanted to kill over and die). We even managed to pick up our pace a bit (some of that might have been a little sprinting through the non-shady spots!). Finally we were rounding the corner and back at the running store. I had never been so happy to see that place in my whole life! We stretched and had popsicles while I waited my turn at a quick table massage.

I can't believe I ran 19 miles and I feel as good as I do. My knees hurt a little on Saturday, but mostly, I'm fine. I did a quick 30 min recovery run at lunch today and only my calves were a little sore. I'm thinking maybe I can finish this marathon after all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Missed Runs

I've been a very bad girl. I haven't run since last Tuesday. That's almost a full week. And I skipped out on my long run this weekend. I feel terrible, but it's so HOT here! I missed my group run on Saturday morning because Friday night was Hubby's birthday and we stayed up waaaayyyy too late. I could have easily gotten up Sunday morning to tackle the 11 miles by myself, but I just didn't. I had planned to atleast try for half of them Sunday night, but between the heat and my stomach acting up again, I didn't. I think my body really needed a little time off - I slept almost half of the weekend away. I'm really hoping this doesn't hurt me for my 19 miler this coming weekend. I'm hoping I'll just be well rested and ready to take it on.

In other news, my group was selected in the lottery for the Houston Marathon in January. I want to be excited about this, but I still think the lottery was a dumb idea (especially since I haven't heard of anyone who didn't get in yet). I definately paid a lot more for this half marathon than I have in the past which I also think is a little ridiculous. But, it is a race in my beloved town and I really don't want to miss it. So, here's to Houston Half #3 on January 30, 2011!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another week bites the dust

Another week into training and I've got another 12 miler under my belt. What did I learn this week? That having a stomach flu the two days before your long run makes for a really miserable run. I spent Thursday and Friday not eating much (ie nothing). I finally felt pretty decent Friday night, so I decided to eat a few carbs to whip me back into shape. I felt great (although I still didn't eat very much of it). Sleep came a lot later than I had planned, but I was pretty well rested from the night before. I think I managed a good 4 or 5 hours before I had to get up for my run. I had my usual breakfast and was feeling fine. I thought everything was behind me. Little did I know that at mile 6 when I would take my first GU, my stomach would proceed to turn in knots and scream at me for the remainder of the run. In the last two miles, I learned that walking was torture and running actually felt better. I hope to never have to do another training run like this one, but it did prepare me for the off chance if something like this ever happens in a race. Please don't let it happen in my marathon. I already can't imagine running 26.2 miles; I definately can't imagine running them with an upset stomach.

On another note, I've joined a little running group in the blog world: Distance Dreamers. I got lazy and didn't participate in the questionaire last week, but here's this week's:

What is your best running memory/experience?
Reaching my goal of running a sub 2-hour half marathon. When I first started training, I got this idea in my head that I could run a sub 2 hour half. I'm not really sure why that number came to my head, but I aimed for it. It took me 3 halfs to do it, but it was an amazing feeling to cross that finish line with a "1" as the first number. I was even proud that I beat the first full marathoner to the line!
What is your worst running memory/experience?
Gosh, that one I mention in the beginning of this experience really comes to mind. Let me see...I'm going to have to say my first 10K. I was right out of college and didn't train for it much at all. I had never been a runner - I had asthma growing up that still reared it's head every now and then. The night of the race, a huge storm blew in and the rain continued all day. My friend and I still ran the race in the rain, cold, in all our cotton clothing and me with a small asthma attack along the way.

Well, it's Wednesday (my rest day) and I'm sitting here watching Chariots of Fire (I've never seen it) searching ebay for a new iphone (mine was stolen yesterday). Happy Running everyone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Got plans for August 25th?

You do now! Join MCM Mama and all of her followers for a virtual race in honor of her 40th birthday! I've signed up for the 4 miler since it fits in with my training schedule. I love the idea of a virtual race, but I've never participated. There's no time like the present. :)

Happy Running!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Done and done!

I did it! I ran 16 miles today! OMG I'm so completely sore and I totally wanted to quit - but I did it! We started at the asscrack of dawn this morning, so I made sure to go to bed early (although I was awoken several times throughout the night). I was actaully wide awake and ready to go when the alarm went off. I managed to eat all of my breakfast and drink all of my shake (which I never do). 5am came around and off we went on a race against the heat. It's supposed to hit 100 degrees here today. Thank goodness we run before the sun comes up! Of course there are pros and cons to running in the dark, but I really enjoy the fact that before about 7am the runners own the roads. It's so nice and peaceful while everyone is sleeping. It makes you forget that Houston is such a big city with so much traffic.

The run itself went very well. I had my first GU at the water stop at 6 miles. I was already starting to feel hungry so I went ahead and downed one to combat the hunger. It worked. I was tired already, but the GU gave me a little extra energy to keep up the pace. We made it all the way to the 10 mile water stop before we rested again. E took her first GU here and I had a few Cliff Margarita shot blocks (which are pretty tasty by the way). We started off again, me more tired than before and her continuously reminding me that we only have a 10K to go. We made it into Memorial park and I was really starting to hurt. At the stetching area, I convinced her to stop and stretch. My hips were tight, my calves were hurting and it was really strenuous to run. We were at mile 12 with only 4 to go. I honestly did not know how I was going to make 4 more miles. But I just took it one mile at a time and somehow we kept getting closer and closer to the finish. I can't tell you how happy I was for the run to just be over (and in less than 3 hours)! My whole body was immediately screaming at me and all I could think about was getting in an ice bath. For once, I actually craved the ice bath. So far, I'm feeling pretty good now that it's over and I'm home. I think it's nap time now. :)

Oh, and yes, I did! I think I deserve it.

Cheers to not being sore for the rest of the day! Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fear of the Uncharted Territory

This weekend marks my longest distance yet - 16 miles. 16 miles!?! How in the world am I ever going to be able to run that far? I've never run longer than 2 1/2 hours at one time, but 16 miles?!? We're talking about 3 solid hours of running! I'm just not sure if I'm cut out for this. What if I can't do it? My mind is really freaking out right now and I don't know what to do to calm it down. When I woke up this morning I was so exhausted even though I got close to 9 hours of sleep (although it was interupted several during the night due to barking dogs and drunk Hubby). I thought to Saturday morning and started wondering how I'm going to be able to get out of bed at 3am to run 16 miles. How?! Do I drug myself the night before? Do I sleep only the minimum tonight so that I'm exahusted at 6pm tomorrow?

I don't think I was ever this nervous or worried about any of my miles leading up to my first half marathon. I'm freaking out over what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. How many GUs to pack with me? Do I need to carry a sandwich or something in case I get hungry while running (which of course I will because I'm always hungry after 10 miles)? I think I really just need something to take my mind off of Saturday and bring me back to the present. I mean, I'm as prepared as I can be I think. I've got an ample supply of gels, chews and granola bars. The fridge is stocked with English muffins and peanut butter (my favorite pre-run meal). I've got gatorade in the cabinet and my water bottles are all clean. My running clothes are even washed and laid out already. And it's only Thursday!

But, to get off the subject of Saturday, I do have something new to share. New kicks! I went against what has been working for me for my last 3 pairs of running shoes (Asics) and bought a pair of Brooks.

Aren't they lovely? These are the Adrenaline GTS 10 and I'm in love. Not to say anything bad about the Asics because I still love them too. Of course, I won't be running 16 miles in these this weekend, but I have been taking them out on my weekday runs. The more I run in them, the more I like them. I haven't done any more than 4 miles in them yet, but am excited to get them worn in and try out a long run in them. I'm totally becoming an all-Brooks girl. My favorite shorts and shirts to run in are all Brooks. I guess it was only a matter of time until I tried the shoes. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010


I know I'm a little late on getting this post up, but here it is. Last Sunday I was in Napa, California for the Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon. My friend, Joe, and I drove up the coast from LA to Napa enjoying the sights and relaxing before the race. Saturday morning, we got up to do some wine tasting, lunch at Bouchon and the race Expo. Now, I've only been to one race Expo so I was really excited for this one. (By the way, the only one I've ever been to is Houston and it has an amazing assortment of vendors.) We picked up our bibs and race packets and I have to say I was a little disappointed. The swag-bag only had a Clif bar in it and a few fliers. Lame. The merchandise table had quite a bit of stuff but mostly cold weather gear - which I don't need since I live in Houston. Needless to say, I didn't buy anything. There were only about 6 booths setup outside for the vendors - sunglasses, sunscreen, book signing, belts, etc. We did however, find this cool sign that we took goofy pictures in front of.

"We're gonna rock this race!"

We woke up Sunday morning to a hotel lobby full of other runners getting ready for the race. I spent close to 15 minutes walking up and down hallways in my pj's to find the ice machine only to finally go to the front desk and find out that there aren't any on the first floor. But the nice man working the desk filled up my bucket from the bar so I could have my prerace shake. I don't know what I would have done without it! Finally, we were dressed and ready (shake in hand!).

We got dropped off at the starting line (or close to it) at 6:15am and headed straight for the potty line. It was pretty chilly (around 50 degrees). We lined up at the starting line at 6:45 only to be told that the course wasn't ready and we had a delayed start time of 7:15am. The sun was out already and it was starting to warm up. I know I'm from Texas and it's hot here, but I'm not used to running races in the heat. Eventually the countdown began, I swallowed my first GU and we were off.

See? It was really sunny at the start.

The first mile included a steep, 1/2 mile uphill climb. Most of the racers walked it, but I used it as an opportunity to pull ahead from the mass of people. For only 2,500 runners, we sure crammed together in the beginning. I felt great - although a little sweaty for the first 2 miles or so. The scenery was truely beautiful and I just enjoyed taking it all in.

By mile 3, a cloud cover had rolled in from the ocean and cooled us off again. I had to remove my sunglasses, but otherwise it became a comfortable temperature for a run. With the little breeze here and there, I was actually a little cold. I looked at my watch and noticed I'd been keeping up with an 8:30 pace. I felt great, but knew I should slow a little because there were still 10 miles to go.

The course was void of any spectators, but full of gorgeous views. And loaded with rolling hills. I have been doing lots of hill training with HF and boy was I glad I had. I managed to keep powering through them and even think I might have been close to my 10K PR time (based on my Garmin) but can't be sure since this race did not record any splits.

At mile 9, we went up another steep incline. At the top, I felt a pain in my right ankle. I'm pretty sure my run had just turned into a limping jog. It felt sprained and hurt to put any weight on it. But I refused to walk. I told myself that if I saw a medic, I'd stop and have them look at it. I didn't see one - I only saw one during the entire race and it had been around mile 5. About the time my mind is telling me just to walk, a lady noticed my shirt and started talking to me about Houston. We talked for a little over a mile and she encouraged me to finish strong (since she couldn't being injured). I knew I could do it for her, so I picked up my pace a little and the pain in my ankle went away. All that was left was fatigue.

By mile 11, my stomach was hurting from the last GU I'd consumed, my legs were exhausted from the hills and I was just plain done. But the sun came out and we passed more and more spots where there were spectators cheering us on.

I did everything I could to keep one foot in front of the other and keep my pace steady when all I wanted to do was collapse. Somehow, I still managed to make that last turn and sprint to the finish. When I crossed the finish line and saw the clock I was completely surprised the I was so close to my PR! I had a massage and some chocolate milk while I waited for Joe to cross the finish line behind me. She shaved 20 minutes off her previous time! After we rehydrated and snacked, we hit up all the wine tents for free tastings.

My final chip time: 1:59:52

Seven seconds slower than my PR! I can't believe with such a hilly course and for being so exhausted at the end that I did so well! It was definately a kick in the right direction to get me pumped up about my FULL marathon in October!