My Answers to 10 Running Questions

I know I’m throwing a curve ball by posting more than once in the same week, but as a mother runner, I had to jump in on this one. In response to a post on Another Mother Runner, I’ve jumped in with my get-to-know-me better post for 10 Running Questions.

1. Best run ever: In January, I made my first solid attempt to break two hours in the half. I held back in the first seven miles, then ran negative splits. It was the first race I ran a faster second half, and I ended up with an 8:30 pace for the final mile! My time – 1:59:58.

2. Three words that describe my running: Structured, purposeful, intentional

3. My go-to running outfit is: New Balance shoes, Nike shorts, and any tech top I have that is clean and fits. In the summer, I always don a hat and sunglasses.

4. Quirky habit while running: This mother of four never ventures too far from a restroom during training runs, but on race days, I make enough stops beforehand (you know, get right back in line), that way I’m good through the race and even a few hours after.

5. Morning, midday, evening: I always run in the morning after I drop the kids off at school. On the weekends, I try to start before anyone else gets out of bed. It helps with my eating throughout the day if I’ve already burned off my breakfast.

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: a drenching rain. It’s about the only time I use the treadmill at the gym. I also don’t run if it’s icy, but in Texas I don’t have to worry about that too often.

7. Worst injury – and how I got over it: Dare I say it? In two years of running, I haven’t been injured yet.

8. I felt most like a bad mother runner when: I finished my first marathon (where it poured down rain the entire time, was around 40 degrees, and North wind blowing about 15-20 mph). Even though I was proud of getting through it, the picture of me right after the race looks pretty rough.

9. Next race is: Tyler Rose half marathon on October 7th, which will prep me for the Dallas Marathon December 9th.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: Break four hours for the marathon. I want to qualify for Boston in the next two years. There, I said it. Now you can hold me to it.

Now that you know a little more about me, let me hear from you. What would your ten answers be?

Sherman Education Foundation 10K

When I was training for my first marathon last year, I discovered 18 weeks was a long time to try to go without a race. As I set up my schedule this year, I made sure to include two local races and a half marathon in my training plan.

The Sherman Education Foundation has an annual run in conjunction with the Sherman Arts Fest. I ran the 5k the past two years, and even placed 2nd in my age group last year. In the past, they have also had a 15k run, but this year they did a 10k instead. The distance fit into my training plan nicely, I just substituted the 10k for 6 miles of hills. I figured the few hills and the speed wouldn’t short change my training. Plus, I still have three more weeks of running hills in this phase of my training schedule.

A friend of mine asked me what my goal was. I just wanted to break my PR of 53:10 which I set on Memorial Day. She told me to shoot for 50:00. I laughed.  I tried a few excuses: I have only run a few 10k races, my confidence was a little shaken from my last 5k (I went out too fast), I ran my long run on Wednesday. She wasn’t having any of that. “Trust your training,” she told me.

I just wanted to better my time without killing my legs.

Saturday morning’s weather was wonderful. It was cool, a little chilly for my family/spectators, but great for running. I took off with a couple of members in the running group, and we ran an 8:23 first mile. I thought that was a little fast, but as I pushed on, I tried to hang on to that pace. My legs felt strong, my breathing was steady, and I found that I was steadily moving past runners.

Completing the fifth mile, I still felt strong – even after a small, but brutal, hill. I bumped it up through the last mile, and finished strong. It was the best I’ve felt during a race in a long time.

My Unofficial PR (official time was 4 seconds faster)

Not only did I set a new PR in the 10k, but I blew the old one out of the water by a whole minute and a half. My mile splits were: 8:25, 8:27, 8:19, 8:09, 8:13, and 8:03. Negative splits! What a confidence booster for me! When I sent this picture to my friend, her response was, “I knew you could do it!”

Do you have someone like that in your running? Someone to push you, drive out your excuses, boost your confidence, and cheer you on? It has made a difference in my training and performance, knowing I have someone else checking on me.

Receiving my 1st place age group medal (photo courtesy of my 6 year old)

Finishing Week 3 of Dallas Training

I completed week 3 of marathon training with my motivation still high, and yesterday I started week four with energy and excitement. Considering how I felt over the weekend, I’m looking forward to some energy.

I hit a rough patch on Saturday due to circumstances beyond my control and stupid mistakes. The first problem, I’ll blame on my children. It’s part of being a mom, and the pains of having a child in high school. Now, I will not deny my child participation in something because it will infringe on my sleep, but I might complain about it a bit.

I’ve been a homebody on Friday nights since I started running, but for the next few months, Friday night football will take its toll on my shut-eye. My daughter is in the band, which means someone will need to pick her up at the school after away  games. My husband started a new job this past week, so his hours were all over the place. Being the martyr compassionate wife, I volunteered to pick her up. 

The bus came in at 1:30 a.m., and my stomach was growling. When we got home, I popped some pancakes in the microwave and ate them dry. I was in bed by 2 a.m. Mistake number 1.

My alarm went off at 5, so I headed to the kitchen for my banana. I usually try to eat at least two hours before a long run, and the local running group was meeting at 7. On a whim, I decided to make a cup of hot tea to wake me up. Mistake number 2.

I felt run-down, but I didn’t want to miss a group run. It makes the long run go by so much faster, and keeps my weekly training on my own from becoming stagnant. Plus, the temperature was in the 60s with a nice breeze. After training through Texas summer heat, I wasn’t about to pass up a long run on the coolest morning in months.

So I ran. It was the worst I have felt on a long run. My stomach was cramping – from the tea or the pancakes, I don’t know. I put a lot of energy into just keeping up with a few of the group members. I was planning how to make a graceful exit if I got sick.

When I finished my eleven miler, I looked at my time and pace. A quick calculation showed me if I did that twice, and added four miles, my time wouldn’t be that far off from my first marathon time. That made me feel better. It also increased my confidence knowing that I could power through the run feeling awful.

Saturday was another late night spending time with friends, so instead of my usual cross-training on Sunday, I took an extra rest day. I needed it.

As a result, I woke up Monday morning refreshed and ready to run.