Saturday, December 17, 2011

Honolulu Marathon Race Report

Let me just start out by saying Hawaii is awesome!  I had such an amazing time on this vacation.  I hadn't seen my friend Deanna in about 8 years and we picked up like we hadn't lost a day with each other!   I could write a whole, very long, post about the vacation itself.  But I am just going to move on to the race.

Saturday night before the race one of Deanna's friends was having a party.  Even though we had the race the next day, we did stop by and stay for about an hour.  It was hard to leave, as in college both Deanna, Ann (my other friend from college, and who also lives near me in TX who came on the trip as well) and I were always the last ones to leave the party.  But we headed home and went to bed to get a good nights sleep before our 3am wake up call.  Yeah, did I mention that the race started at 5am!!  Here in TX our races start at 7-7:30 so I was a little worried about this early start.  However, it ended up being awesome and I am going to petition all of the races here to do that from now on!

Sunday morning my alarm went off at 3am exactly.  I could not believe the race day was actually here.  It really seemed like just yesterday Deanna and I were planning this whole thing.  Anyway, I got dressed, put my race bib on, ate whole wheat English Muffin with peanut butter and we were ready to go.  One quick picture and we were out the door.

Deanna is lucky enough to live about a half a mile from the start of the race, so we were able to walk over so we could loosen up a bit.  We also did a little big of a jog just to make sure everything was feeling good.  We got to the start line and headed, no not to our pace group, but to the VERY front with the Kenyans.  This was hard for me to do, as A. I am a rule follower, and B. I knew Jeff would not approve.  I didn't want to be the jerk who people had to run over to get going.  But Deanna assured me for this race this would be our best option so I listened.  Our Sherpa Ann and personal paparazzi snapped a couple more pics and then we were going to be running a marathon!!

Deanna and I planned to run the race together, and to try to negative split.  We started out, planning a warm up for the first two miles and were pretty successful at this.  I am not the best at pacing so it was nice to have Deanna to do that for me.  There were a couple of times we were going to fast for the first few miles of a marathon, and had she not been there to pace us I probably would have killed myself in the beginning, as I was feeling pretty awesome.  The first 5 miles were pretty dark, and uneventful.  I was not looking forward to mile 6 as I knew this was going to be the first hill I would have to conquer that day.  I typically do not do the whole, drive the course thing before a race.  However the day prior I decided it would be a good idea to see the hills at mile 6 and mile 25.  Yes, mile 25.  I am very glad that we did this.  I was able to mentally prepare ahead of time for both of them.

Since Deanna runs these hills all the times I was pretty sure that she was going to drop me at mile 6.  However, I hung with her and survived the first hill!  Don't get me wrong, it kicked my ass, but not as bad as I thought it was going to.

Miles 6-15 were pretty uneventful.  I was enjoying the beautiful scenery on the run, and we were trucking along.  One thing I did differently during this race was run through the water stations.  Typically I walk them, but Deanna doesn't, and since my training was much more this year I decided last minute to hang with her and run through them.  Overall I think this was one of the reasons why I had the great time I did.  However around mile 15 I was feeling the effects of it, I think more mentally than physically.  I told Deanna that I didn't think I had much more and she might have to go on without me.  She wasn't ready to do that, and told me to walk this water station to see how I felt.  I did, had some water and was feeling much better.  But the real life saver at mile 15 was Deanna's friend Angie, her boyfriend and cousin.  Angie is from Pittsburgh and had an awesome sign that said "Yinz better run faster than dat"  but more importantly they had peeled and cut up oranges for us and real Gatorade.  Not the watered down crap the water stations had.  Angie and her oranges were life savers and gave me the boost I needed to keep up at the pace I was going for the next few miles.

I knew I was well hydrated during this race, because around mile 18 I really had to pee.  I asked Deanna how she felt about stopping.  She didn't have to go and really didn't want to stop, so I decided to try to make it the last 8 miles.  However at mile 19 I just knew I couldn't, and I think she did too.  I had just asked her what we were on pace for, which at that time was about a 4:05.  She must have seen a look on my face because she asked me if I had anymore and I told her no.  I told her to go and she took off.  I ran a bit longer, and then just couldn't wait anymore.  I had to pee, so I stopped at the potties and went.  What a relief.  It was hard to get going right away again, but it was so much easier to run!

I would say around mile 20 I hit a small wall.  Not quite as big as I have in the past two marathons, but still a small one.  I really need to figure out what causes this.  Is it all mental?  Nutrition based?  I really want to figure it out.  My hips were really hurting at this point, but I looked at my watch and knew I had to keep running if I was going to hit my goal of 4:15.

I don't know how I did it, because to be honest I was hurting, but I kept on moving.  I did walk a couple of the last water stations too.  I took a Popsicle from someone on the side of the road because I felt like I needed sugar.  And I kept on moving.

And then the HILL.  Mile 25.  I was determined not to walk this hill.  And I didn't.  A lot of people were, but I knew the end was near.  And why give up when the end is near.  Plus I knew I had this waiting for me at the top of the hill.

After that gorgeous  scene I got a little  bit of a downhill to gain some momentum before the final stretch.  And what a long freaking stretch is was.  You hit the end of the hill, turn a corner and then feel like you are still running forever.  You can't even see the finish line when you make the turn.  I looked at my watch and knew I had to pick it up if I was going to hit my goal.  So I did.  And I crossed at 4:14:53.  A 25 minute PR!!

I have to give a shout out to Deanna, who pulled me for the first 19 miles.  And for also having a 1:20 minute PR.  She is a freaking rock star!!!  Also to Ann, who was an awesome Sherpa, and photographer!

A few other notes about the day.  We had perfect weather.  It was in the 70's, overcast, and most importantly there was NO HUMIDITY!!!!!  I could not have asked for better weather.  Also, most of the other participants were Japanese, so most of the supporters were, and most of the signs I could not read.  I only saw two barefoot runners that day, expected more than that in Hawaii.  Due to the overcast conditions I actually had goosebumps during some of the race.  The medal is a key chain, which is so awesome.  We also got shell lies after the race.

Yay we did it!!

Getting in the ocean after the race.  Best.Thing.Ever!

Holy Crap, I can't believe I have another one of these in 4 weeks.  What the hell was I thinking???

Monday, November 14, 2011

San Antonio Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon Report

This is the second year that I have done this race.  And after looking back apparently I did not do a race report last year.  This is shocking considering how consistent I am with blogging.......  Well a quick recap of last year is in order to set this year up correctly.

In 2010 The weather was perfect in my eyes.  I do not remember the exact temperature, but I do remember it was cold enough to warrant me wearing a sweatshirt before the race, and to start the race with my arm warmers.    Jeff was not running, and along with him my mom, dad and some other friends and family were tracking me online.  The race started, I was off to a good start, and then not even into mile 2 a train crossed over the race course.  Yes, you read that correctly, a train crossed the race course.  Now, it really only held us up for about 30-45 seconds.  A minute at the longest.  But in my head it was 5 minutes.  All I kept thinking about was how slow Jeff would be thinking I was running.  I had to make up time!!  Which is exactly what I did and I finished in 1:55:32, according to my Garmin.  Because of the train we all submitted a time correction form.  I did't think they gave me a correction, but I just checked and the time said 1:53:52??  My first half before that was done in 2:01:56  Not too shabby either way.

Now to 2011.  The weather was not perfect.  It was about 70 degrees and humid (yes this race was just yesterday in November)  I did not have on my arm warmers!!  We headed over to the corrals around 6:30 with the plan to meet up with some of our running friends, including my friend Beth who is an awesome runner and was going to pace me for the race.  However there was only one other person there, our friend Garrett.  But no Beth!  We waited and waited but no other running buddies and no Beth.  I had kind of had counted on her pacing me so I quickly had to change my mindset. This race had a late start, 7:30, so it was a long hour before the race started, but it was time to get going.  Jeff was in coral 1 and I was in coral 4, so it was time for us to part ways.  A quick kiss good luck and  I headed into my coral. I circled around once in the hopes that I would run into Beth, no such luck.  But then at the last second I felt a hand on my shoulder and it was her!!  We talked about our plan, which was going to be to try to hit between a 1:45 and 1:50, and then were off.  We were off to a good start and were making our way through the crowds.  Mile one I was breathing pretty heavy.  I looked down at my watch and we were running a 7:50 pace.  A little fast for my pace, but I held on.  We ended up averaging about a 8:00 pace for the first 4 miles.  Unfortunately this was a little too fast for me, especially with the humidity.  I waved Beth on and slowed to about a 8:30 pace.

Also, I forgot to mention that we ran through the first 3 water stations, which I never do.  I just can't drink and run very well, and end up not getting much hydration.  Though I did dump a lot of water over my head!  Anyway, after I waved Beth on I made the decision to walk the rest of the water stations.  I think this decision helped me to keep pushing through because it ensured that I was getting enough water to stay hydrated.  However about mile 6.5 I was feeling rough.  My legs were tired, I was breathing heavy, I just didn't think I had enough left.  I started looking around and saw two pugs on the side of the road with some spectators and  seriously thought about stopping and petting them.  But right behind them a spectator was holding a sign that said "Can't stop, won't stop"  At that point I knew I could keep going, that I had to keep going.  I picked my pace back up and kept on running.  Once I hit mile 9 I was feeling halfway decent again, and was trucking along a little behind the 3:40 pace group for the full marathon.  We split off right before mile 11.  I skipped the next water station to make up a little time, but did hit the last one so I could grab some Cytomax for a final boost.

I hit mile 12, put my head down and ran as hard as I could.  I don't know what I was running, but just kept pushing as hard as I could.  I knew there was a hill coming at the finish and then it would be over.  I ran up the hill, saw the finish and gave it a final kick.  When I crossed the finish the clock said 1:56 and some change.  And my watch said....................1:53!!!  I was so psyched.  I beat my time from last year, with no train for motivation, in weather that was at least 20 degrees warmer!  My official chip time was 1:53:01.

I am hoping the motivation I had to dig in this race and push pass the same is an indication of how I am going to do in Hawaii.  I am pretty sure the weather will be the same!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Lots of weeks

Training is going great.  Knock on wood over and over and over again.  I actually knocked on a tree during one of my training runs this weekend.  I was running with a friend and we were talking about my training and my goals for Hawaii and Houston.  I was talking about how good my training is going and then freaked out.  99% of my runs have been strong.  I had one off day where I was suppose to do 14 miles but could only squeak out 5.  But other than that they have been good.  I feel great during them and after.  My pace is at least a minute faster, if not more, than it was at this point last year.  Yesterday I did 17 and threw in a little tempo in the middle.  Again, my legs felt great afterwards.  I even went and walked around for a few hours that afternoon.  Have I mentioned that this is FREAKING me out?  This did not happen last year, or the year before.  There were issues, knee issues, hip issues, sickness issues.  This year no issues.  I have even jolted awake during the middle of the night with a panicked feeling, or the feeling that I forgot to turn the oven off.  Only I don’t ever turn it on, so I know it isn’t that!  I am guessing the jolting awake has to do with how well my training is going.  Not that I am complaining.  It is awesome, and I love running more than ever this year.  I am just the kind of person that is waiting for the rug to be pulled out from underneath me.  Hopefully it will stay in place until January.

So what are my goals?  Well, I haven’t’ figured that out yet.  Honolulu is only 54 days away.  Everyday I waiver back and forth.  Should I try to race HI?  Should I just take my camera along the course and enjoy the scenery?  I just don’t know.  I would love to get my goal time at this race, but I don’t know how my body is going to react to the jam-packed winter schedule I have this year.  I don’t want to risk not being able to run in Houston in January.  And my run I mean at all.  Especially since I have a bone to pick with that marathon from my race last year.
Should I just go by how I feel on race day?  Plus let's not forget about this little gem I found to describe the Honolulu marathon:

 "Who wouldn't want to take a 26.2 mile trek through Hawaii? Hot, humid weather and MASSIVE HILLS are a small price to pay for the draw dropping views, firework displays and shell leis"

Sounds.............challenging to say the least.  So I am still not sure of what I am going to do.  I am hoping the answer will magically come to me.  Maybe in my sleep instead of the feeling of panic I have been having!

So I don't really have my official number recaps for the past few weeks, but I have been doing 30-40 mile weeks.  This week is the start of some high number long runs over the next few weeks.  That is about it for now.

Oh, and as far as music goes  I haven't really been using my ipod too much.  I went without for most of my 17 miles.  Mainly because I really don't feel like I need it anymore, and also because my playlist is three years old and I need some new music!  

Happy Training

Monday, September 19, 2011

Travel and Training

 Well I have two more weeks of training under my belt.  It is weird, this time around it really doesn't feel like training, rather than just something I am doing?  I wonder, does that mean I am not working hard enough?  I don't think so.  I am following a more intense training program than the past two years, and am pushing myself pace wise.  I could probably   need to improve on my diet a bit.  Still eating healthy but am having a lot more slip ups than I am happy with.  Still haven't figured it out, but I guess it is working so far.

For weeks 5 and 6 of training were good.  During week 6 we were in PA and OH to visit family, meet internet stalkers, ride some rides, oh yeah and Jeff did a 70.3.  I was able to get in both of my weekend runs while we were there.  The grounds of Cedar Point were huge, but I only had about a 2.5 to 3 mile (If I ran the parking lot) loop to get my 6 and 12 miles in.  I could have gone out farther, but the road that I would have had to follow had  no shoulder, and was curvy.  Plus there was a sign posted that clearly stated no pedestrians.  I am a rule follower.  Saturday I got up and got the 6 in while Jeff did his practice swim and Sunday I got up early and got the 12 in before his wave of the race started.  I was really dreading the loop for the 12 miles, but overall it wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  First off, the weather was awesome, second I was running in a new place, and thirdly I told myself to suck it up because it was the anniversary of 9/11 and worse things could be happening to me.  Plus there was a whole group of people who were going to be racing 140.6 miles that day.  It actually turned out to be an awesome run.  Here are the numbers for the two weeks.

Week 5:
Total Distance: 29.17
Total Time: 5:40
Total workouts:7 (including one cross training day of spinning)
Treadmill runs: 1 (6 miles which had two be broken into two b/c the power kept going out at the gym)

Week 6:
Total Distance: 30.33
Total Time: 4.52
Total workouts: 5 (Including 1 bike ride in PA on the trails)
Treadmill runs: 0

There were a few songs that got me through when I ran this week, but the Foo Fighters stand out again:

Our trip "out of the country" was awesome.  We met some fellow creepy internet stalkers, and everyone was so nice.  I have decided that all of you need to apply for passports and move to the great country of Texas.  I had a blast spectating with Colleen.  It was so awesome and inspiring to watch MattyO and Heather cross the finish line together.  We for sure need to have a few more of these meet ups a year, and I can't wait till IMMT!!  Here are some pictures from the trip:

View from behind our hotel to Lake Erie

Jeff rode this.  I wimped out.

Of course I had to represent

With Tom and Colleen

The family came up to watch the race

Amazing tribute to the anniversary of 9/11/01

Jeff bringing it home

Bike ride

Happy Training!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just a quickie

Jeff and I have been in in PA and OH for the past five days, and we have had a blast.  We have had the chance to see family as well as meet some great new friends.  Cedar Point was awesome, well watching Jeff and Tom ride the roller coasters was fun.  I am way to much of a wimp for that.  It was so awesome to meet fellow bloggers and cheer everyone on during the half and full triathlon.  But I am ready to get home and I think this song says it all :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some training and a rant

Wow, I am already in week 4 of training.  Honestly, there really isn't a lot to report on weeks 2 and 3.  Except that I am training for a marathon in Hawaii!! And yes, I will mention this every chance I get.  This is a big deal, not only because I am going to Hawaii, and I get to see a great friend who I haven’t seen for years, read her blog here, but I get to do all of this in December!!  And why is going in December a big deal? Well my friends, because for the last 6 years I worked in retail.  Talking about, no, even thinking about leaving to go anywhere away from my store (even the bathroom) in August-January was unthinkable. 
Why August you ask?  Well, that is the start of the Holiday season in retail.  First, there is tax free weekend, which is almost worse than Christmas. 
This isn't even really that bad.

Plus, we were already loading up on fall and holiday shipments. Hiring for the holidays, running get rid of summer crap sales, planning holiday floor sets, having lots of meetings, stressing about numbers, and so much more.  It.was.miserable.
Then before you know it Black Friday arrives.  Oh, do I have some stories about black Friday…………Last year I got to my store at 4am and there was already a line of about 50 people outside of my door, and we didn’t even open until 6:00am.  Or the year I got yelled at because of where a customer had to park in the parking lot.  Believe me lady, I parked a lot further away then you did.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget that during this time period there were plenty of days with extended hours, so we could open early and stay open late for people who treated us oh so nice.  It was the season of joy after all.  My favorite thing about this time of year was people who did last minute shopping, and then yelled at us for being out of sizes.  Yeah, it’s my fault you waited till the 23rd of December to shop.  I’m telling you, I could go on forever about this topic.  I truly believe that everyone should work retail for a short time period of their life, just to see what is like.  But if you aren’t going to do that, then please read this book.

And then, 12/26 arrives.  Worst.Day.Ever.  Returns, returns, and more returns.  All those amazing sales you had the months and week  before Christmas go right down the drain.  And the holiday spirit is long gone by now.  And just when you think it is over along comes inventory.  This is where you get to count every piece of everything that is left in your store.  It is also where you get to see just how ripped off you got by the people you have to give customer service with a smile too.  These events usually take about 3 weeks of prep work, then an overnight shift to complete.  Awesome times I tell you.

Just a portion of what we had to count.

So anyway, yes, I am super excited that I get to go somewhere in December!!!!  And I might even decorate for Christmas this year.  (That stopped about 3-4 years ago at my house).  I can’t freakin wait!!!
So my numbers for weeks 2 and 3 are:
Week 2:
Total Distance: 27.17 Miles
Total Time: 4:34
Total workouts: 5 (Zero treadmill runs!)
Week 3:
Total Distance: 22.17
Total Time: 4:23
Total workouts: 6 (Zero treadmill runs, 1 cross day of spin)

  I didn't have any treadmill runs, but did wear my IPOD a couple of times to get me through the heat.  And weird enough, both weeks the same song pepped me up:

Week 4 is off to a good start so far.  However I am dreading my 11 mile run planned for Sunday.  Not because of the distance, but because of the temps.  But that is another post…..
Happy Training!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Training time

It's official, no more practice weeks.  I am training for my third AND fourth marathons.  As some of you may know, This year, I am attempting two marathons 4 weeks apart from each other.  I am super nervous about this, as after each of my other two marathons my recovery has been painful and long.  I usually wait a few weeks before I start running 3 miles again, much less 26.2.  But I am also super excited about it.  One reason being that the third marathon is the Honolulu marathon in HAWAII!!!  Not only do I get to run a marathon there, but I get to see my long time friend Deanna-you can check out her blog here  I am so excited!

Week one was pretty uneventful overall.  I was able to wake up and get all my runs done in the morning.  Even the dreaded treadmill run.  There was even one day when it was only 80 degrees at 5:00am.  Maybe we are going to get a cold front.  

Saturday was my treadmill run of the week.  This was my tempo run, which I have to do on the treadmill because I just can't get the pace I need in the heat and humidity outside right now.  It wasn't a bad run, and I felt pretty good at my race pace.  

On Sunday I did my long run, which was only 8 miles this week.  It was hot and humid for this one.  Wow, what a shocker.  Luckily two of my running friends joined me for the run, which is always a nice distraction.  We took it slow, but got it done.  And I got to get my first have to pee in the woods out of the way, which was nice.  I really need to stop drinking coffee before I head out.

Here are the totals for the week

Total Distance: 24:05 Miles
Total Time: 5:03 Hours
Total Workouts: 6 (Only 1 strength training session this week)
Total Treadmill runs: 1

And the song that got me through on the treadmill this week is  Tik Tok by Ke$sha.  Just because it is fun.

Happy Training :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marathon Training Week 1, again, Recap

This was the second week of my practice, or warm up to marathon training.  I officially start my training tomorrow, which happens to be a cross training day.  Overall I had an ok week.  I had to switch some of my days around, kind of inadvertently.  Monday I slept in, which is going to be my cross training day.  I was going to go to spin after work, but go stuck late and wouldn't have made the class in time.  Instead I went home and did some laundry and cleaning and had some wine.  Kind of like cross training I guess.

Tuesday and Wednesday I ran outside. Tuesday's run was outside and I didn't really want to go, but  got up and got it done.  Wednesday was five miles and was easier as I met a friend to run.  On Wednesday's we have been meeting at the Lifetime Fitness to run together and it is great motivation to get my butt out of bed.  The worst part about it is getting all my stuff ready the night before, like clothes for work the next day ect.  I have forgotten, let's say.....very important pieces to ones wardrobe for the day and it really sucks.

In my training plan I am suppose to run Tues, Wed, Thurs, off Friday, and then Sat, and Sun.  Well Thursday our alarm didn't go off in time (though I think someone in the house didn't REALLY want to go to swim in the morning) so I ended up taking Thursday as my off day.  We had dinner plans with friends that night, and I really wanted to keep them because I know once I am a few weeks into training that is just going to  be pretty impossible to do.  Well, let's just say there was some wine involved with dinner, so a Friday morning run didn't work out.  However, I was determined to get it done, and we have a treadmill at work that I haven't taken advantage of yet.  Well, now I know why.  I ran at lunch, just a short 3 mile run.  About a mile in I knew it was a bad decision.  I was doing about a 9 minute mile pace and was already sweating profusely.  I didn't want to stop though.  It was bad.  We don't have a shower at work, so I had to towel off and get back to work when I was done.  The other people I work with didn't chat with me as much as they normally would on a Friday afternoon when I got back to my desk.  That is something I will not being doing again unless it is a desperate situation.

On Saturday's we usually get up and meet our run club for our long run.  However this weekend we weren't able to to that.  There was a Spring Tri being held about an hour from us on Sunday that a few people from our Tri club were doing.  And on Saturday there was a Kid's Tri that one of our friend's son was doing.  So Saturday morning we headed out to watch the kids and drop off our club tent for the Sprint the next day.  It was just to hot to do our run outside by the time we got home.  Plus we had to get our weekend nap in.  So we headed to the gym Saturday night to run on the dreaded treadmill.  I had to do a 5 mile tempo run.  The first two miles felt like FOREVER.  However I am learning that after that two mile mark it isn't as bad.  I had to focus on my music a lot to keep me distracted.  Though I did watch the infomercial on the TV in front of me, and am totally convinced I now need a Ninja.  This thing is totally awesome!  Around mile 3 my legs were hurting as I haven't done a true tempo run in a long time.  I was very tempted to slow down the pace, but knew that continuing on with the pace will only make me stronger.  So at mile 4 I bumped up from 8:57 to 8:45 so I could push myself.  And let's face it, so I could get of that thing faster!

Sunday I just didn't have it in me to run.  We got up super early again to go cheer on our friends racing the Sprint.  It was hot and humid out and that just sucked the life out me.  Sometimes I really think spectating is harder than racing!  So overall it was an ok week for training.  Here are my final numbers:

Total Distance: 16 Miles
Total Time: 2:35
Total Workouts: 4 (Ahhh, and 50% of those were on the treadmill!)

And the song that got me through on the treadmill this week is

I plan on doing all my tempo runs on the 'mill until the temps go down a lot.  I want to be consistent with those runs, and I know I won't do it in the humidity.  So that being said, please share.  What songs motivate you and get you moving?

Tomorrow starts the real thing!  18 weeks until Hawaii!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marathon Training Week 1 Recap

Week 1 of marathon training is on the books. Actually, it is an unofficial week.  I chose an 18 week plan, which officially starts August 8th, but I was getting antsy.  I did week one last week, and will do it for one more week before I officially start.  Plus, I figure this will get me into the training grove.  And I do way better with structure.  I am not a wing it kind of person.  Doing this also gives me a chance to see if I want to move the plan around.  I plan on following the plan, but I am not sure if I am going to keep the days the same or move them around.  As of right now I am suppose to be doing cross training on Monday, run Tues, Wed, Thursday, off on Friday, a tempo run on Saturday and my long run on Sunday.  Overall I like this set up.  Jeff has his off days on Friday too, so we might actually get to see each other.  However, right now in this heat the thought of going on a long run without a group isn’t too appealing.  I changed the days around a little last week, but this week I am going to try follow them exactly and see how it goes.

Numbers for the week:
Total distance: 24.78
Total Time: 5:17
Total Workouts: 6 (I did one weight training session this week.)

Not bad for "week 1"
I did one treadmill run this week, which was suppose to be 3 miles, but I did 3.1.  I just felt more accomplished that way.  My outside runs sucked, mostly because of the heat.  No, not even the heat, because of the humidity.  Running in pea soup just isn't fun, but I now it is making me stronger. ( Hopefully one of my marathons will have cool weather, and from what I have read, that is probably going to be Houston).  The other suckage was due to women's issues.............which really SUCKED, but it is what it is.

Also I want to thank everyone who weighed in on my is running 20 miles enough question.  Pretty much everybody  thinks it seems to be based on reading and or experience.  Since I am doing 2 marathon's 4 weeks apart for the first time I am going to follow the plan I picked and have faith that it will work for for me.

Finally, when I started running I could not take a step with my IPOD.  However, since the Houston marathon last year I have barely used it at all.  Except on the treadmill.  I still need a distraction on the treadmill.  For my treadmill run this past week I thought for sure I had 3 miles in.  When I looked down I had 1.57 miles.  UGGGG.  I am going to have to get used to at least one TM run a week though, b/c until it cools down outside I am going to have to do my tempo runs inside.  So the song that got me thru this week was Foo Fighters "Best of You"  Because I need to give my best this training season, and on the treadmill.

Happy Training!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Is 20 Enough?

This week I am finishing my first, but unofficial week of marathon training.  Recap post to come.  I have decided to go with Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 program.  One reason I chose this program is because it has two 20 miles runs scheduled, and this year I am attempting to run two full marathon's a month apart from each other.

Yesterday on my "long" run of the week, 9 miles, I was running with the coordinator of our run club.  She also happens to be a level II USAT coach.  She is not coaching us in run club, she just coordinates the runs.  We started talking and my training plan came up.  The short story is, she believes that running only 20 miles is not enough for marathon training and thinks I should run more.  From all the reading and talking to other runners that I have done and I think 20 is enough.  Less risk of injury and you aren't running your race pace, so you are out there a little longer.

But her comments did get me thinking.  Should I try running more than 20 in these training runs.  I have a while to go before I am faced with this, but want to be prepared when the time comes.  I am hoping (knock on wood) that I am healthy for both of these races.  My first marathon I had tendinitis in my right knee and it started hurting 2 miles into the race.  My second one, I had bronchitis.  So my goal this time is to not just finish, but to have much better times.  I would like to run 4:15:00 this year, for at least one of the races.  Knee year I did a 5 hour(not to mention it was Austin, which is a very hilly place to be running with and injured knee), and bronchitis year I did a 4:40.

So I am asking you guys what you have done and think?  Is 20 miles enough?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Overall I think having a healthy lifestyle means having strength.  Not necessarily physical strength, but the strength  to stay committed to what activity you are passionate about.  The strength to go to bed early, wake up early, skip social events, make the right nutrition decisions.  You get the picture.  And lately I have been letting my weaknesses overcome these strengths.  Lately I can't seem to pass up:

Ice cream



Sleeping in

Extra snacks when I don't need them and justify that they are healthy, ie almonds.

Pizza (though it is whole wheat crust)

I had no problem passing these things up before and can't figure out what is going on!!!

I gotta get out of this rut!  So what are your weaknesses?  How do you overcome them?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekend fun

So after my whinny post yesterday morning I am sticking with this blogging thing.  Sometimes you just need to whine, right?  Or maybe you just need to wine??

Anyway, on Facebook last night I posted what an amazing weekend we had.  A friend asked me why it was so amazing, and I realized that we really didn't do anything special.  It was just one of those weekend that flowed really well.

Saturday morning the alarm went off super early.  No matter how long I have been getting up early to run that first second of hearing the alarm that early is still shocking.  Anyway, we got up and went and ran.  I did 6 miles and felt pretty good.  I could have gone farther, but had committed to doing 6 with my friend Jenn. We followed that up with a nice little recovery swim.  The cold water feels so good after the hot weather, and isn't as miserable as an ice bath.  After the gym we headed to Starbucks for breakfast.  If you haven't tried their reduced fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich I highly recommend them.  They are a great healthy option for a quick fast food breakfast.  At breakfast we ran into some friends from our Tri club who were finishing up a bike ride and chatted with them for a while.  We then headed back to the house to let the dogs out and chill for a bit.  Then it was off to the movie.  We saw 'Horrible Bosses' which was hilarious.  We laughed the entire movie.  I think this will be one of those movies that we watch over and over again and keep picking up on new funny things.  So go see it so we can all quote it on Twitter!  After the movie we grabbed a healthy lunch at Jason's Deli (and even passed on the free ice cream, which becomes relevant later in the day)  By the time we got home it was about 3:00.  We settled in on the couch, each with a pug to cuddle with, to watch TDF and promptly took a 2 1/2 hour nap.  It was once of those amazing naps where you feel awesome when you wake up.  We had a little dinner and then decided to end the day at Coldstone, which we did not resist.

Now when we were pulling up to the Coldstone we were behind a mini-van.  Most of you probably know how Jeff feels about mini vans, but if you don't you can learn here.  For the record, I feel the same way about them.  That is one reason Jeff and I knew we were right for each other!  Anyway, as we were pulling into the parking spot, Jeff said, we have to beat that mini-van group to the line, and busted out a "this is what we train for, go, go go!"  We jumped out of the car, and raced to the store, and we beat them!!  It was a good thing too, because it was a family with like a dozen kids.  Jeff and I high five'd each other at our "podium" and indulged.  It was so good, but I know I will pay for it on the scale this week.

Sunday Jeff did some crazy 100 mile bike ride, so I actually slept in.  Went to the gym, did some time on the treadmill and then hit up yoga.  Came home, got some chores out of the way, and then went downtown to Rice Village to meet a friend for lunch.  There is a place down there that has the best mango chicken salad that I was craving so bad.  My friend works down at the Loft there, so it was perfect.  The only bad thing that happened was I splurged again, and got Jeff and I a cupcake from Celebrity Cupcakes which were amazing, amazing, amazing!

So there it it.  Just a nice relaxing agenda that held a lot of my favorite things.  Running, funny movie, spending time with Jeff, spending time with of my BFF's my favorite salad and a nap!  I hope to repeat next weekend.

Thanks for the inspiration to keep blogging.  Happy Training!

Monday, July 18, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog, that is the question

I think it has been about 3 weeks, or maybe more since my last post.  One reason is because I feel like I don't have the time right now.  I am blocked from all social networking sites at work, so I can't fit it in there.  When I get home from work there is dinner, and then honestly I just veg out on the internet doing stupid stuff before going to bed to get up early to work out.  Then there is the fact that I am not training for anything right now.  If this is just a blog about my work out, it would be pretty boring right now.  Ran 5 miles, ran 5 miles, ran 5 miles, ran 6 miles.  Not very exciting stuff.  I am just trying to build my base back up for marathon training.  And I don't think I can come up with any really interesting or funny posts like my blogging celebrity husband to fill in the gaps between training.

So I have been asking myself if I am going to keep blogging.  I like being part of this world, and have met some awesome people.  But I really feel like I don't contribute anything to this world.  So I am at a crossroads if I am going to keep blogging or not.  I guess like everything else, only time will tell.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Random thoughts early in the morning.

I haven't posted in a while, or for that matter had time to read anyone else's blog in a while either.  Any kind of website that is a social media website is blocked at work, so I have to wait until I get home to catch up.  Sometimes it just doesn't happen, after eating dinner it is time to go to bed for an early morning wake up.  But here is what has been going on.

A couple of weeks ago I babysat my friend's two year old for a weekend.  I decided you need more endurance a two year old than you need to be an endurance athlete.  By the end of the weekend I was EXHAUSTED!  Kudos to those of you with kids that still find time to eat much less train!  I will stick to being an Aunt.

A few months ago, on a whim, I signed up for the Honolulu Marathon.  I got a really great deal on the entry fee, and I have a friend from college who lives there that I can stay with.  I wasn't sure if it was going to happen, but last week I found an awesome price for an airline ticket.  So I am going to Hawaii in December to run with her.  The most exciting thing about this to me, other than getting to see my friend, is that I am actually able to go somewhere in December.  If I was still in retail that would NEVER happen!  The downside is I hear the race is hot and humid.  Will I never be able to escape the humidity??

And speaking of marathons, I am also signed up for the full marathon in Houston in January, not to mention a half in November and a half at the beginning of January.  So yes I am running a half 11/13/11 a full 12/11/11, a half 1/1/12 and a full 1/15/12.  Seeing this in print makes me think I really didn't plan out my schedule to well.  I *think* I have decided that of the two full marathons I would like to really kick ass at Houston.  I need to redeem myself from last year's bronchitis debacle and there is a slight chance for a little less humidity. After my last two marathons I have had the need for about a 2-3 week recovery.  I know EMZ runs like a marathon a week, but I am wondering if any actual humans have run two marathons this close together?  Any tips for training would be greatly appreciated.

With all these running races that I have committed myself to I think my triathlon season is over this year.  I really enjoy doing them, but I do not put enough time in on the bike.  Plus I don't know how I could possibly fit another race into my life right now.  I might do another spring in October, but will have to see how the training is coming along.  My plan is to then next year have a serious chat with my bike to work out our differences and shoot to do an Olympic distance in April of 2012.  We'll see how that goes.  My bike and I aren't even on speaking terms right now.....

Last weekend Jeff and I went to New Mexico for a family reunion.  It was a blast to get to see my brother's, dad and step-mom, and nephew and nieces.  We were even able to fit in a run with this view.

...........Okay, blogger won't let me post pictures right now, so I will have to add them later. Ugg.  Anyway, it was an amazing view.  It was so nice to run there, even with all the hills and the altitude difference.  I learned while we were there that Albuquerque is the same elevation as Denver!!

And lastly, I think I might have a little tendinitis in my knee.  So instead of getting up to run this morning, I woke up at 4am couldn't go back to sleep, cleaned the kitchen and am now icing.  I ran Monday and it felt ok during the run, but was a little tight afterwards, and going up and down our stairs was not pleasant.  I am hoping a couple days of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory meds will make it go away because I do not have time for an injury right now.

Happy training, and I will try to catch up on blogs this week

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tejas Race Report

Sunday Morning Jeff and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3am. At this time I was thinking how ridiculous it seemed to be waking up that early for a sprint distance race, but at this point I am not really equipped for a longer distance. For this race I had planned on skipping my morning coffee, but I just couldn't. I NEEDED it. So I had my coffee and a whole wheat bagel with some natural peanut butter. Then Jeff and I were off for an hour drive down to the race.

Once we got there we, well Jeff prepped the bikes and then we walked over to transition and got set up and then did a quick run to warm up. About that time it was time to head over to the start. My friend Ann came down to watch and we met up with her, as well as some friends from the Tri club before the race. Jeff was in the first wave, but I had to wait 30 minutes to start.

Now, I know this was only a short swim (600m), but when I saw the distance I started freaking out a bit. Before Jeff headed out he reminded me I had just done 2400m at masters, and 750 at Lake 288, but for some reason this distance seemed more daunting. Maybe because the last race I did was wet suit legal and this time I would be on my own, with a few other people knocking into me!

We killed some time by snapping a few pictures

My "age"

As a quick side note, my least favorite thing about triathlons is the age up thing.  When I was getting body marked I made a comment to the lady that I would not be 35 until December, so she put an astrix next to my age.  HAHAH

So we walked into the water, which felt like bath water, had a 3 minute wait, and went off.  I started swimming and got into a groove pretty early on.  I did much better than the last race, actually swimming freestyle the whole time and didn't do too bad sighting.  I still freak out a bit when I feel feet in front of me and haven't quite figured out how to power through the line of people ahead of me.  After I made the turn at the first buoy there were only about 200m left so I decided to do a little bit of a sprint.  Even though I felt good, I also figured that I was one of the last one's out of the water.  I found out later this was not the case. I was 10th out of the water out of 23, finishing the swim in 12:21.8, or an average of 1:52/100  Overall I was happy with my swim, though I may not look like it coming out of the water.

I ran up to transition, which took me 3:31 (I think Jeff and I need to work on a sense of urgency in transition) and tried to dry off a bit, and then was off on the bike.

The bike was an 11 mile ride, which was on a loop and half course.  I actually passed a few people on the bike, but I take turns very slow and I have a very hard time drinking on the bike.  I wore a camelback to hydrate on the bike, and really can't describe how I look when I am trying to get a drink.  During the bike I had no idea how fast I was going because I forgot to hit start on my Garmin.  I finished in 38:58, which was an average of 16.9 on the bike.  I am happy with this pace because it is an improvement from my last race.  My goal the next few months is to get out there and ride so I am more comfortable on the bike.  Because in addition to not being able to drink on the bike, I am not so great at getting off the bike either.  I can't really describe how I do it, but maybe this picture can.

I pretty much unclip both feet coming up to the dismount line and then wobble off my seat until both feet hit the ground.  It is not pretty.  But I safely got off of the bike with falling and headed to transition which took me  2:17.7 this time.

I headed out for the run feeling pretty good, but again I forgot to start my Garmin.  I actually stopped right before I crossed the mat coming out of transition to fix my ponytail and Jeff was yelling at me,   motivating me to get going since I was in a race and all.  I never really found my legs during the run, but I felt good the whole time.  I passed a lot of people who were walking, so I was pretty happy with myself for running the whole time.  I used the water stations for a couple of sips, but pretty much to dump cold water on my overheated head.  I ended up doing the run 3 miles in 25:47, which was an 8:36 pace.  Way better than I did in my last stand alone 5k!

This was a great race and I will definitely do it again.  I really love running, but am also really starting to love adding swimming and biking before the running.  I finished in 1:22:55 and was 15th out of 23 in my age group.

Thanks to my friend Ann for coming out to support and taking some awesome pictures(my first awesome pictures from a race, which is a whole other blog post!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not my best 5k.

This morning myself, Jeff (The Sherpa for once ;) ) and Ruth Ann headed to downtown Houston to meet up with friends to run in The Astro's Race for the Pennant.  Jeff and I did this race last year and I was hoping to beat my time of 25:59.  We met up with some of the group, introduced Jeff to the 4 kids he would be supervising and then headed to the start.  I did do a little warm up job before we got going, and was feeling a bit sluggish, but it was hot and humid out, so I just chalked it up to that.  I don't do well in the heat, but planned on sucking it up anyway.

The first mile sucked, not really because of how I felt, but it was just so freaking crowded.  I truly don't understand why people who plan on walking these races start up front.  Or when they do this, why they chose to form an line across the whole lane.  And then get huffy at people who want to pass them.  So the first mile was a lot of weaving through people.  Plus, for some reason, during shorter races I get super nervous and get a huge adrenaline rush.

About a quarter of the way thru the first mile I found an opening and was able to kick it in a little more.  When I looked down at my Garmin I was doing a 7:45.  I was hurting, but was determined to suck it up.  At about the 2 mile mark we started heading up a Texas hill, or an overpass for the rest of the country, and I heard a guy yacking.  Well that did it for me.  It was so hot and humid and I was feeling it.  I couldn't hold back, but I didn't want to stop.  So I threw up in my mouth, moved over to the side, spit it out and kept on going.  I slowed down a great deal for the rest of the second mile and the beginning of the third.

At this point my friend Ruth Ann, who was behind me for the start of the race, ran past me and said, well what I heard was "come on money", when she actually said, "come on bunny" which is a bit of an inside joke. I told her I had puked and to go ahead.  We rounded the corner to the finish, where I saw my friend Ann taking pictures.  I put on a smile and kicked it in for the finish.

Ruth Ann Finishing Strong

Not such a strong finish.

I kicked it in hard, crossed the finish line, and immediately turned right and threw up again.  So much so that a volunteer at the end of the race came over to check on me.  Luckily the race finished in a tunnel so the crowd of people at the finish didn't get to watch my wonderful finish.

I didn't turn my Garmin off until after I finished throwing up, so it said 28:01.  Ruth Ann said she finished in 27:13 and I was probably about 20-30 seconds after her.  The official results aren't up yet.

I didn't beat my time from last year, but am sure that a few years ago after the first incident I would have stopped running, so overall I am happy with my performance.  There were a lot of people walking today and the fact that I kept running means something to me.  Plus, it was great to get together with friends to run the race.

  I think the combination of the heat, and the coffee I drank before the race didn't mix well.  I typically drink coffee before races, well every morning actually, so I really didn't think anything about it.  The next 5k I am running will be during my second sprint triathlon that I am doing next Sunday.  I think I am going to skip the coffee to see how that goes.  I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ironman Texas: Spectating is Hard!

This picture is from when Jeff was on his 6 hour bike ride.  I had been up since 3am and was a nervous wreck. At this point I had no idea what to do and was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Ruth Ann made me sit down and have a beer.  She and her husband Patrick (who was seeing Thor at this time) had been at the race since the swim start.  Thank goodness they were there, to keep me somewhat sane.  I am using the term sane very lightly.  But let’s start at the beginning.  Ha, what a relative term as well.  The beginning could be the start of the race, or about a year ago when Jeff told me he wanted to do an Ironman……….
Anyway, Friday night after a nice dinner with some friends Jeff and I headed to bed.  We set 4 alarms and crashed.  Before I knew it the alarms were going off and it was 3am on 5/21/11.  A date I felt like was never going to arrive.  Jeff got up and ate his pre race fuel.  I had some coffee as I had made plans to have breakfast with the wife of our friend who was also doing the race, and our friends who were coming to tough the whole day out spectating with me.  While Jeff went back to sleep I made sure I had my entire “race gear” ready to go.  My phone, check, Jeff’s phone, check I-Pad (for twitter updates), check, camera, check, video recorder, check, sunscreen, check.  Jeff got up, got ALL his stuff ready, and we were off to transition for him to check on his stuff.  For me, Jeff had an awesome spot in transition.  At the end, near the gate where I could get great pictures and see him totally.  Even stand there and talk to him.  So while I thought he was just going thru normal checks on his bike I was snapping away with the camera.

At one point I asked Jeff to smile for the camera, when is when he informed me that he had a flat tire.  I can’t imagine how he was feeling, because at that point I almost threw up. He changed his tire, and was pumping it up (I had walked over to the trash to throw away the first tube) when I heard a loud boom.  I thought, man that sucks for someone.  That someone was Jeff.  At this point I really had to hold the vomit down.  Thank goodness his friend Patrick was there to help change the tire.  Crisis averted!!!  We then headed over to the swim start.
The mood lightened up a bit on the walk over and we snapped some pictures, the boys got body marked and then it was time for them to head off.  I told Jeff good luck (not that he needed it) and have fun and he was on his way.  While I was waiting for my friends to get there I had to go to the bathroom so bad.  The line for the bathroom was like 30 mins long, which just wasn’t going to work.  So, let’s just say there was some off roading (the first of many times) into the bushes.  Though the other times were to get good spots to watch the hubby!

We headed off to watch the swim start, which was crazy and exciting.  When the gun went off the fact that this was happening finally sunk in.  At this point in the day I decided to hand my camera over to our friend Patrick (not to be confused with the Patrick racing) who takes awesome pictures, and had a much steadier hand than I did at that point.  We watched for a couple of minutes and then started our trek, off the beaten path to watch him come out of the water.
I can't believe you made me walk thru the brush!

When the time he predicted that he was going to be out of the water approached I told Patrick to point and shoot.  I had showed him what Jeff was wearing from a picture on my phone, you know because we weren’t going to have enough pictures that day, to which he replied everyone is wearing that same thing Annie.  Jeff was about 5 mins past his time when I kept asking Ruth Ann, do you think I missed him, maybe I missed him, oh crap, I hope I didn’t miss him.  To which, she later told me, she was thinking.  Oh crap, maybe he got a cramp, I hope he isn’t out there hanging on to a canoe somewhere, or worse.  I am very glad she kept those thoughts to herself!

When I saw him get out of the water I experienced so much relief, and pride.  I took off and saw him grab his bike gear bike, then headed over to find a spot to watch him head out on the bike.  Ruth Ann was right behind me the whole time.  We staked out a spot, and and waited, and waited, and waited.  I had no idea Jeff was going to take his sweet ass time in transition.  Then finally we saw him.  At this point I was trying out the new Kodak video recorder we bought for the day.  It is pretty cool, but my movie making skills need some work.  I soon as I saw Jeff I got so excited I started jumping up and down.  Not such a good idea if trying to focus on one person!  

So he was off, and we had 6 hours to kill.  And even though I knew I had 6 hours to kill I felt like I had no time at all, and if I didn't get back to transition I would miss Jeff coming back in from the bike.  So, given how crazy my thoughts were at this point we met up with racing Patrick's wife and a couple of friends that were volunteering and had breakfast. 

After breakfast I went to charge my phone, I had twitter updates to send out after all, and then met back up with Ruth Ann, and that is when she decided I needed a beer to calm down.  If it hadn't been for her I probably would have been standing at the bike in staring off into space for 6 hours.
After the beer I felt  a little better, and we walked back to the hotel to get our signs and drop them off at our tri club tent. A quick side note on the signs.  I came up with some signs, and my friend Elizabeth helped me make them, but Ruth Ann definitely won the best sign award for the day.  Here are her signs

1. Hurry up, the world is ending
1.Jeff Irvin, do you still heart TX?
3.Specating is hardwork.
4. People are sweating out here
5. Run slower, get your money's worth.
6.Thank you Hilary Clinton, Love Jeff Irvin
7. Jeff Irvin: Fat Ass to Bad Ass.
Most of these are inside jokes, but thanks to her we all had a sign to hold at some point for him.

Anyway, after dropping off the signs  we headed back to transition and waited for Jeff to come in.  It was very exciting and inspiring to watch racer after racer finishing the bike.  When Jeff came in off the bike I ran along with him on the side of transition to his spot and caught him starting the run.  He came over, gave me a kiss and was off.  He was still looking strong, and I knew at that point that all the months of early to bed early to rise, of not making social events with our friends, of all the sacrifices, of all of his training had paid off.  I never doubted that Jeff would be an Ironman.  Not for one minute.  But seeing Jeff still smiling when he was about to start the marathon sealed the deal for me.  I can not express the pride that I felt in that moment.  And even though there were hundreds of other people around, just for one second I felt like it was just the two of us.

At this point we headed over to the run course.  The run course was so awesome.  I was able to see Jeff a total of 6 times.  He had a smile on his face each time.  It was so inspiring to watch him.  And even though I am pretty sure that I did at least a 10K if not more that day, it was so worth being there for every second of the day.  The rest of the Team Carrot support crew showed up for the run, and in between his loops we had a few beers and cheered for other racers.  They tired to get me to each, which I hadn't done since breakfast, but just couldn't seem to do.  To them I seemed very nervous and anxious, which I am sure I was, but I was also just so excited for Jeff that I couldn't stand still.  After seeing Jeff for the 5th time, which was the start of his third loop, and getting a great big kiss from him we took off for the finish.  As most of you know, he really picked up his pace at the end, and we made it just in time.  I saw him coming around the corner and tears started streaming down my face.  In my flip flops I ran along side of the finishing shoot with him and heard the announcer say "Jeff Irvin, you are now an Ironman."  And even though he was a sweaty, disgusting mess I gave him a huge hug and kiss.  It was such and awesome day and awesome experience, and I can't wait until he does his next one!

I know that Jeff had and extremely hard day that day.  But I know he was prepared for it and am so extremely proud of him, not only for that, but for toughing out months and months of training.  At one point towards the end of his training Jeff expressed to me his guilt for all the time he was putting in training, and that he felt like he was neglecting me.  I never once felt neglected and I hope he knows that.  I hope he knows how extremely proud of him I am.

Me and my Ironman!

And finally, some things I learned about spectating.

1.Don't forget tennis shoes, flip flops do not cut it for walking and running around for 12:19:51.

2.  Have one of your very good, very logical, and very structured friends there with you to keep you as sane as possible.

3.  Don't bring a book under false pretense that you will be able to concentrate and read it.

4.  Wear your Garmin.  I would love to know how many miles we did that day.

Thank you to all of our friends, Ruth Ann and Patrick, Jim and Elizabeth, Ann and Chris, Yvette and Steve, Dave and Jenn who came out to support.  You guys are so awesome, and may even see Jeff again now!