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!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Back!

I've finally made it back from my little excursion to California. I had a great time with my bestie driving up the coast, wine tasting, eating amazing foods and running! Life does not get too much better than that - except that I didn't get to share it with the hubby. Here's a pic to sum up our trip. I'll be back later with more details and a race review!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Question to fellow runners

A lot of people that are running bloggers post pictures from their runs. So for the few of you that read this blog, what do you run with (phone/camera)? And where do you carry it?

I don't really like to hold anything in my hands (although a water bottle on a short run is okay) and my fuel belt is pretty annoying. What are my options if I want to be able to take pictures?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A celebration of a run

Yesterday was my last long training run before my half marathon in 2 weeks. It's a holiday weekend and the weather has been awefully rainy and wet here, so most of the HF group did not show up to run - including my two friends. I figured I could use this to my advantage and try to see how hard I could push myself. I started at the front of the yellow group (9:00 to 10:00 min/mile pace) and was feeling pretty good with a 9:38 pace. The head coach for the yellow group, whom I'd never officially met before, was on pace with me, so we talked for a few of the first 5 miles. It made the time fly by and helped me get up the huge overpass on TC Jester. One huge overpass like that really makes me wonder how I'll survive in San Francisco for my full marathon. I mean, I can handle one, but multiple?!?

Our first water stop was at mile 5, where I also took my first (and only) GU. By the way, my friends have been talking up the GU brand, so I decided to try one - I had the Jet Blackberry that was utterly disgusting. I will not be trying that one again, but my friends rave about the chocolate, so I guess I'll still have to try that one. For the next 3 miles I ran with a guy that is training for his first race ever, which will be a full marathon. I applaud his courage from never even running a 5K to training for a marathon! At mile 8 or so, we had our second water stop and I caught up with the coach from before.  She kept me going until the 3rd water stop at mile 10.5. I didn't want to stop long there because I was afraid I wouldn't want to keep going. I pulled ahead of the group and started the last trek in by myself. It was pretty tough, still laden with small hills and uneven surfaces. I finally stopped to walk at mile 12, trying to convince myself just to pick up my feet and run the last mile in. Two ladies training for the half gave me the motivation that I needed with thier sweet words. I managed to sprint it the rest of the way in. 13 miles complete!

I had planned to celebrate with a bottle of champagne that I had at the house, but I forgot about the World Cup games. Instead, I met Hubby and some friends at a bar as soon as I'd showered for a breakfast buffet and some celebratory beers. I chose a wonderful Lousiana beer to start the day:

A yummy Andygator from Abita brewery.

Happy 4th Everyone!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A preview

So, just in case there was any doubt about my post yesterday and how really dreadful it is in Houston right now, here's proof:

I took this pic right after my run last night. You can't even see the tops of the buildings downtown because the clouds are so low! We'll have to deal with this for at least another week, ugh.

But, on a better note, my run last night was awesome! It was only a light rain when I got home last night with no lightning or thunder, so I decided to run outside (yay! no treadmill). I think I've only run in the rain twice in my life - once was my first 10K which was completely miserable stormy and cold and second was one of my training runs for my first half. I had a 40 minute tempo run on the books. I planned to do my fast pace at a 9:00min/mile, but I was feeling so good that I managed an 8:45min/mile for the full 20 minutes of my tempo. It was definately one of my best runs in a while.

I'm totally pumped for my 13 miler in the morning. Only 2 more weeks until my half marathon in Napa!

Happy Running!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I thought it was summer??

This rain is really starting to get me down! I thought June/July was supposed to be sunny and hot and beautiful, but no, damn hurricanes and rain. It has rained everyday here for the last 2 weeks, and guess what's in the forecast for at least the next week? Rain! I usually love living less than an hour from the gulf because the small rains we get in the summer keep us cooled off a little bit. But this is getting hard to take! It rains in the morning, it rains during the day, and it rains when I get off work. I was so pumped on Monday to come home and go for a run. I laced up my shoes and took off out the door only to be faced with sprinkles. Sprinkles that turned into a thunderstorm in less than 5 min. So much for that.  Tuesday morning I got pretty lucky (if you can call torture lucky) and we got to finish our last hill workout with clear skies and a gorgeous sunrise. But the evening hill training had to be cancelled because of the thunderstorms.

So here's hoping that the weatherman is wrong today and the skies will let up just long enough for me to power out a tempo run tonight. My legs are getting antsy and I'd hate to have to put them on a treadmill!