Monday, June 28, 2010

Droppin down the mileage

This week's long run was set for 9 1/2 miles - a nice break from the ever-increasing mileage we've had lately. As per usual laziness with me lately, I missed my Thursday tempo run. No worries, I decided to run a quick 3-miler during lunch on Friday. And by quick, I mean 9:10 average pace. It felt great! I had a slight issue halfway through of my toes going numb, but that passed and I was back to running. I guess my legs were trying to tell me that I shouldn't skip those tempo runs!

Saturday morning came bright and early as usual. I was up, dressed and having my breakfast (espresso protein drink and 1/2 whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and strawberries) by 5:30am. I'm still missing two of the lids to my fuel belt bottles, so I loaded the only two I had with water and Gatorade. I figured that with only 9 miles and a water stop halfway, I'd have plenty of fluids to make it through. The run started off fairly well. The sun was coming up and we were enjoying our time with the city before the traffic picked up and the "normal" people started getting out of bed and on the roads. My left thigh is still extremely sore from who-knows-what, so I was really starting to look forward to the water stop and a small break around mile 4. As we made our turn into the business district where the water should be, we started really looking for it. Coach Felix had said it was nestled in between two of the buildings. Mile 6 came and we left the business district and there had been no water stop. All the runners around us missed it too. Most of us were almost out of fluids. My friend and I decided to stop to walk and take our GU/energy beans, but to ration our water as we could. It was hot, and there was not that much fluid left between the two of us but we figured if we took small sips, we could make it all the way back to base. About mile 8, I was really starting to hurt. My sore leg was giving out, my lower back hurt and my form was failing - again. I was tired and thirsty and I really didn't want the Gatorade that I had left. I wanted ice cold water and I wanted to stop. I knew at that point that it was just mind over matter and as long as I didn't give in, I could finish.

And we did. We even finished pretty strong considering. I threw back about 16 ounces of water immediately and used an ice cold towel to cool myself down. There was a lot of talk after the run about where the water stop was. No one seemed to know, even some of the coaches. Looking back at the map now, maybe one of the other runners was correct in saying that we missed a turn. I guess I'll learn from my mistake and follow the route more closely instead of just following the person in front of me.

This week starts a new first for me in my training program - 5 days of running. Previously, I have only ever run 4 days a week (if that) so this will be an obstacle that I'll have to overcome. Here's hoping that my legs are ready for this. My half marathon is in 3 weeks and I'm really excited!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Everyone loves a deal, right?

So I don't know about all of you, but I have had a really hard time finding a sports bra that I like. I'm a little on the heavier-chested side, so I need a bra that is comfortable, but that doesn't make me bounce if you know what I mean. I really love the cheap ones by Champion at Target, but really, I can only wear those for activities like yoga. My running bra needs to give me support and it needs to have a good material so that it doesn't wear away my skin. I've tried many different brands and styles, but each so far has had their own problems. I finally found a blogger a couple months ago raving about the Kalyx brand. But she was a small chested girl, so obviously I don't need the same one she recommended. I liked the sound of their products though, so I contacted their customer service and asked for their help to find something for me. I ended up ordering the Embrace Marathon Runners Sports Bra and am loving it. I have completed several runs wearing it (long and short, fast and slow) and have no complaints about it whatsoever. It's comfortable,  keeps the bouncing to a minimum and it doesn't chafe my skin. I actually just ordered two more. The nice customer service lady also recommended the "Uplift Max". They are running a summer special with See Mommy Run and you can get 25% off your purchase at Kalyx with the code SMR25. If you are looking for a good running bra, I'd recommend giving this brand a try.

Catching Up

I feel like it's been forever since I posted. I've been rather lazy while Hubby has been away, but he comes back next week so I better get my butt in gear soon!

Last weekend I travelled back home to visit la familia and tackled an 11 miler on my own. Tyler has just extended it's running/bike path and I wasn't sure how long it was now. It's an out-and-back type trail, so I figured I'd just run until my watch told me I could stop. I started the run at sun up (my dad had little faith in me actually getting up and going - I showed him). About half a mile in a couple pulled up in a van and stopped me to ask me about the park. I told them what I knew, but that I wasn't really sure since I didn't live in town anymore. They thanked me and I went on my way. The route took me into the woods and then along Grande Road (which is laden in hills). The one way trip was 3.75 miles. It was already so humid and hot and I was getting close to exhausted. I turned around and headed back, running through water sprinklers along the way. I passed my out of town friends again and took a GU much earlier than I'd planned - at mile 6. I was wearing my fuel belt with a bottle of water and one of Gatorade and both were empty. Only the first mile and a half of the trail had water fountains on it, so I filled back up as soon as I saw one. Most of the people out on the trail were walkers and I desperately needed a runner to come up from behind me to push me harder. I put my headphones on and pushed through as hard as I could.

At mile 8, I ran into the running couple again. I took a short break to stretch with the woman and chat. Her husband happened to be training for Chicago this fall (one week before my marathon) and they live in Katy! What a small world it is sometimes. I wished them both well and hoped they enjoyed their stay in Tyler. Back on the trail, I realized it was almost 7:30 and I wanted to finish my run before 8am. I had 3 miles to go. 3 miles is usually a piece of cake, but after already running 8 in the heat, it was dreadful. I sucked down water at every fountain I passed (it was colder than what was in my belt). I had to mentally focus on my form since I was so exhausted and just wanted to quit. I started to envy all the walkers because they didn't have to run 11 miles. I refused to let myself stop until my watched beeped 11. I thought it would never happened - but it did. And I immediately walked to the car to grab a towel and my iced down Gatorade. I was too tired to even stretch.  I got in the car and drove the 20 minutes back to my parents house dreaming of a nap.

Of course, by the time I arrived, I was energized again. I pulled my yoga mat out onto the back porch and stretched and did ab work. My lovely mother even had a delicious breakfast waiting on me when I finished. Runs at home are usually much more fun, but I persevered through it. I am definitely looking forward to running with the group tomorrow (and praying that the humidity here is not as horrible as it was in Tyler).

God bless Texas! :) Happy running everyone!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I've found a race medal that I have to have! Remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned that I'd love to do a race that served crawfish at the end? Well, this is like that. It would just tie in things I love and so I don't think there's any way I can not do it. A little bit more background on me to help you out: I grew up in East Texas where several of our school trips were to the East Texas Oil Museum, practically my entire family works in the oil field, I even used to collect trinkets related to oil (one of my favorites was a tiny bottle of oil from the museum), and of course I'm a petroleum engineer. I think it's destiny that I run this marathon:

This medal is awesome! I actually feel a little left out that I didn't even know this was going on an hour from here last month. I need this! It would go so well next to my tiny bottle of oil and my derrek full of black jelly beans. Or maybe it will go well in my office at work next to my picture of the rig and the pumer jack. I'm such a dork when it comes to silly stuff like this, but I honestly think this may be one of the coolest medals I've ever seen. I will definately be running this race next year (half or full) so that I can get me one. Here's hoping they don't take the derrek off of the medal!

On another note, I've got 11 miles on the calender for tomorrow morning and I won't be able to run it with my HF buddies. I'm hoping I can still pull it out running alone!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To be or not to be...Mad?

Ok, so I've let the dust settle, but I really want to bring this up here. Last week was a very sad week in Houston running. We learned that our hometown marathon will now be incorporating a lottery system. I was too insanely mad about it last week to post, but I did sit down and write a letter to the marathon planning committee about how I felt.  Here's my letter:

I have to say that I am very disappointed in this decision to create a lottery system. If Houston does not have the capability of hosting more than 22,000 runners at once (but is actually even less than that since we are no longer allowed to switch race entries with someone if injury or something else occurs) as the 4th largest city in the US, then I think other action should have been taken first. I realize that registration day is hard on the website, but I think Houston has proved itself loyal to the race and we deserved more warning. I would not be as upset if we were given a year’s notice or even if we had found out in January about this decision. Now July 27th doesn’t mean very much since we get almost 3 weeks to register in the lottery. By the time the drawing is held and we are notified, the running groups will have already started training and other marathons at the same time will have already sold out. I myself look forward to this race every year, whether to race it or be a spectator, but with this new lottery system being dropped on us and the outrageous increase in fees, I will not be applying or spectating this year. Houston is trying to encourage more and more people to become active and fit (and one of the great goals of doing that is running a marathon), but it seems the Houston Marathon is not doing anything to allow more people to run a marathon or half in their own hometown.

Previous Houston Half-Marathoner,

And the response I got was:

Thank you for your email and comments.
We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and will take this information into consideration.

Houston Marathon Committee

Well, at least they acknowledged that I wrote in. Not that it makes me feel any better, but I did what I could by writing to them. I'm still very disappointed in the way they have handled the situation, so I'm torn as to whether or not I'll be signing up. I feel like I should boycott and just go elsewhere, but there's also the part of me that loves running in Houston and wants to beat my PR here. I love travelling to races, but I always thought I'd reserve January to run Houston. What should I do? Should I be satisfied that I did what I could to show them I did not like their decision and try to race? Or should I stick with being angry and find another race around January?
Decisions, decisions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

9 Mile Saturday

This past Saturday found me getting up early again for a 9 miler with HF.  It was another hot, humid, sticky day here in Houston. The sun was up by the time we started, but at least there was a slight breeze. My two buddies were out this morning as well. We started off at a great pace, chating and enjoying all the beautiful houses in River Oaks. It was really a highly uneventful course and run. We ran up the hill at mile 14 of the Houston Marathon and I listened to the girls rehash how they felt at the time. All I could think of was that it was good training for SF. I felt great going up the hill, but the other side brought us the water stop and the turn around. 5 miles were complete. I took at GU here and restocked on water, then started to tredge up the hill again. The second time was much harder than the first. I really think my legs were enjoying the rest they had, but I had to push through and tell them who was in charge.  The rest of the course was flat, but the sun was getting hotter and hotter. I have to say that I do kind of love running through the neighborhoods in the early morning because the sprinklers are on. A little cool water on our legs felt so great! In true tradition, with a mile left to go, I sprinted to the end. It was a great sprint - I still had quite a bit left in my legs and I'm feeling really good about my half marathon coming up in a month. We followed up the run with some pushups, stretching, and tough core work. All in all, not a bad way to start a Saturday!

This coming week brings me more hill training, my hubby going off to South Africa for 2 weeks, and an 11 miler at home by myself. It'll be a pretty hard week, but I think I'll make it through. Happy running!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hill Training - Take One

The alarm went off early this morning: 4:50am to be exact. I really thought about just turning it off and rolling over. But my concience won and I crawled out of bed, put my running clothes on, had a piece of peanut butter toast and walked out the door sipping a much needed caffiene jolt: Click.

Today was the first day of HILLS! Ha, nothing to get too excited about, but I definately need all the training I can get if I'm going to rock my first marathon in hilly San Fransisco this fall. I was perked up by the time the run started with a nice easy jog over to the hill spot. It was dark (I should have brought my flashlight) and the grass hadn't been cut in a while. There was long grass up to my knees! It was itchy and wet and once we started sweating the mosquitos came out. Talk about unprepared. I saw my bug spray as I was walking out the door this morning, but I don't guess my brain was awake enough yet to process that I might need it. We did 4 five minute repeats with a five minute rest in between. The first 3 hill repeats went really well - I felt strong and ready. But that quickly faded with the last round. My body was tired and starting to ache already. I sucked it up, pulled through and even finished with a nice jog back to the car. I dusted my legs off quickly and moved into the core workout. The various planks and bridges were easy compared to the hills I'd just done. I'll defiately be more prepared for next week - let's hope they cut the grass before then!

Edit: I was feeling pretty good around lunch, so I hit up yoga. I'm not so sure how I'll feel in the morning, but right now it's not so bad. We focused on stretching lunges and hip movements - it was pretty intense. I guess we'll see tomorrow if that was a good idea or not!


I have to say, the humidity in Houston right now is really killer. I really don't remember it being this hot and humid last year or the year before. The air is so thick at times that it seems I'll never catch my breath. The minute I walk outside, I start sweating. And cooling off? Forget it. I stay hot forever!

My first official run with HF went great this weekend. I even managed to get there early enough to catch most of the injury prevention seminar (don't worry, I've heard it all before).  I met up with V and her friend from high school and we all compared notes on which fall marathons we were going to run. They are both doing Chicago and I'm a little jealous. But then again, they won't get Tiffany necklaces, so I guess it's both win-win. They get a flat course, and I get something shiny for running the SF hills. We set off on the run with the rest of the group and settled into an easy 10 min/mile pace. The sun was just starting to come up, which was good since we were running along the bayou and it is a rather uneven trail. We had to run single file for most of the run. Without anyone to pace me, I ended up pulling ahead without realizing it. I figured I'd just run on ahead and wait for them at the half way point. It felt great with the slight breeze, even though I was practically soaking wet already from sweat. The humidity made me thirsty and by the halfway point I had already finished my bottle of water (which I never do). Thankfully, HF set up a water station for us, so I refueled and stretched while I waited. Once V and her friend caught up, we took a quick walk break, then resumed our jog. I forced myself to take the last half slower and paced myself with them so that I didn't wear myself out. (I did take the last 1/2 mile at a full on sprint.) We actually had to take a few more walk breaks due to construction on the course - better safe than sorry!

We finished the run with some core exercises and stretching. I have to say, I'm feeling really good in my training so far (I hope I'm not jinxing myself with that comment!).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catching up

Long weekends always put me a little behind the next week. Motivation is hard to get back, and I just want to stay in the relaxing, lazy mood from the weekend. Point proven again this week, but at least I've been busy doing other things. (Hubby's car broke down last week, so I've been filling my time with searching for a new one.)

We spent the weekend back home with our parents and siblings. The dogs were a little anxious to get there.

I started the weekend off right with a 7 mile run (great time too for as hot as it was) around the bare roads along the in-law's house. I sometimes forget how quiet and calm it is in the country. I only got chased by a dog once (he was a wiener, so I wasn't afraid), but I was quite afraid that the rooster might chase after me. Who has a rooster running loose in their yard anyway?!

After the run, we made the trip over to Shreveport for the Mudbug festival. I love me some mudbugs, and this is the best festival hands down. The music is awesome, beer flows freely and the crawfish are always tasty.
I think that was our third plate. Either way, it's the best post-running food I can think of! I'm thinking I should email the event's organizer and suggest adding a 5 or 10k to the festival soon. How cool would that be? I mean, Taste of Chicago has a 5k that kicks off their event. (The race shirt is an awesome Nike one with spoons and forks with legs running.) I would love a running shirt with a crawfish on it. Maybe I should get on that - design and sell one! Too bad I'm not very creative.

Oh, and just in case you are interested (I know you are!), the winner of the crawfish eating contest ate 16.25lbs in 15 minutes!

By the way, in response to my post last week about headphones, I ran a 4-miler yesterday without any music and I had forgotten how freeing it could be. It was just me and my shoes (and Marvin the Garmin) out on the trail and I had a great time. I've got another run scheduled for tonight (maybe I'll go for 5 miles) and I don't think the music will go with me again either.

Have a great week and happy running!