SEF Celebrate the Run 2015

Saturday was my 6th time to participate in the Sherman Education Foundation’s Celebrate the Run. One of my favorite things about this race is the goody bag actually has goodies every year!


The first two years I ran the 5k (they also had a 15k). The next three years they held a 10k in place of the 15k, so I ran that distance. This year there was no 10k. It was a 5k and a fitness challenge course (sponsored by the local Crossfit group). I was disappointed to see the 10k go away, so I ran the 5k. Out of my two youngest children (high schooler was performing with the band), only my littlest wanted to run this year.


The morning started off rainy, and I worried that my son wouldn’t want to run. But it did lighten up to just barely a mist by the time the race started.

We had agreed ahead of time that we would run our own races and I would come back for him after I finished. He hasn’t quite learned how to pace yet, so he takes walk breaks.

I ran my race without looking at my Garmin. I gauged myself based on effort. I knew I probably couldn’t run in the 23 minute range again yet, but was hoping I would be closer to the top of 24:00. My last 5k was in May with a time of 24:41. According to my Strava data, my second mile was the fastest. I didn’t have much of a kick at the end, but my official finish time was 24:18.

I grabbed a bottle of water from the finish, my Nuun bottle from my husband, and ran double-fisting the bottles to find my son. It took me about 3/4 of a mile to get to him. He was smiling and when he saw me, he told me that he was finding all the puddles so his socks were wet. Obviously he was doing okay.

We ran and walked and talked, then I stepped off the course so he could run fast to the finish.

The best part of the morning was when he realized that he won his age group – and that he actually finished before two others. There are not many kids in the 9 and under category who will give up a Saturday morning.


He had fun and wants to keep running. I think we’ve found something that we can work on together to improve, but only as much as he wants to. I will not push my kids, but I will help them any way I can.


Later that evening, he asked me if I keep all my bibs.  (I do.) Monday morning when I took off the shoe tag, he wouldn’t let me throw it away. (I toss mine though.) He’s a little sentimental like his mother, and he was joyful about it too.

After the race on Saturday, I continued my cutback week with my long run on Sunday. I planned to take it easy, and let my body dictate the pace. I was sorer than I thought I’d be from the 5k I guess, and had some trouble finding energy. That could partly be due to the Whoppers, candy corn, and brownies I ate on Saturday. Garbage in – garbage out. Think I’d learn by now.


This week I’ll do better.





Training: Weeks 1-3

Last week I finished up week 3 of Dallas Marathon training, and had my first 40 mile week in months. At this point, I’m enjoying a cutback week and am feeling pretty good about my training so far.

When I wrote about my training plan that I was creating for myself, I failed to mention the resources I was pulling from. I started right where my summer mileage left off and used the Marathon Own It plan from the Train Like a Mother book as my guideline. I then used the McMillan Running calculator to plug in my training paces and recommended workouts.  I have had the McMillan Pro for a few years to get the extras, and for $2 month, it’s worth every penny. These two resources are what I used to train two years ago when I set my PR. The main differences for this year though – lower mileage with five days of running (instead of 6), and I’m still biking and swimming.

Of the two hard days last week, the one I was most worried about went off without a hitch. Early Thursday mornings follow late bedtimes on Wednesday. Generally, we don’t get home from church until after 8:00. Then everyone needs a snack before getting ready for bed. If I’m in bed before 10 pm it’s surprising. So when I looked closer at the training plan, and started to add up mileage, I didn’t know how it would get done. 4x3000m @ marathon pace (9:09) with 800m recovery. That didn’t include the warmup and cool down. I converted the meters to miles beforehand and gave myself a little over an hour and half to get it done.

Surprise! Not only did I manage to get the math right (my lap button will track lap pace but not lap distance – try adding 1.86 miles each set – I’m an English major), but I also got all the repeats done, and managed under race pace for all of them. That felt pretty amazing.



I wish I could have captured exactly how beautiful it was to see the moon throughout this run. From an orange glow, to a white Cheshire cat smile, to the early moments of dawn, I watched the crescent smile the entire time.


At the end of my run, and I can still see the moon.


Saturday’s long run called for 16 miles, middle 6 at race pace. I thought about what miles I would be running with the group, and decided I probably wouldn’t be able to manage that pace. I also worried about pushing too far since my last week’s run was 13 miles. I don’t usually like to jump more than two miles up at a time. But then fall weather showed up, and there was a scheduling conflict too that needed me home earlier. The weather was wonderful! I forgot what it was like to be able to breathe while running. I posted this comment to our Facebook group after the run: Unless you have slogged through hot, humid summer running, I don’t know if you can truly appreciate how wonderful the weather was this morning. Based on the comments and feedback, others felt the same way.

Somehow I managed to get all 16 miles done, and ran miles 6-12 at 9:11 average pace. Not quite my race pace of 9:09, but gosh darn it was close enough!


My legs had forgotten what a long run feels like, and they were tingling all day to remind my brain. Compression socks were on and I was wiped out. But, boy did it feel good!

On Sunday afternoon, I took my bike back out for cross-training day. This time I didn’t fall, and no dogs chased me. The funny thing is, I wasn’t afraid of falling until I did. I also wasn’t really afraid of dogs chasing me until it happened. Now I’m more hesitant, but I suppose it gets easier with time.

I’ll be racing my first 5k since May this Saturday. I don’t expect to set any records, but I’m going to have fun. I love local races.

Oh, and congratulations to those who are getting to register for the Boston Marathon this week. I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. Someday, I hope to be there too.

Have a great week!




Teaching Moments

I know this is a running blog, but I believe this post applies to running and other areas of life as well.

Sunday I pulled my bike off the trainer and went to ride with my husband. It had been 3 weeks since I’d taken it outside. I have been on the road twice since I got the new pedals and shoes, and haven’t been back out since my first fall (which was the same ride I got chased by a German Shepherd).

So on Sunday when my husband and I went to ride, I felt a little off. I couldn’t clip in easily when we started. Then we went a direction where I thought there would be little traffic. There wasn’t. Nothing clicked, and it was making me nervous.

Back home to switch bikes to ride with him. Back on the trainer went the road bike.

That evening I practiced. Clip in. Clip out. Clip in. Clip out. Boring. Boring. Boring.

Yesterday evening, I decided to take a short ride on the road. My 9 year old son asked if he could ride with me. We decided we would go to an empty parking lot down the road. He could ride freely, and I could practice starting and stopping. Clipping in and clipping out.

At the end of our driveway, when we were ready to take off, I had my second fall. He dropped his bike and ran over to me to make sure I was okay. He helped me stand up, brush the gravel off, and check my wounds. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to go back in. “No, I’m okay. Let’s go.” I tried again. I started to get nervous. Then again. Come on Eileen, I thought. Finally, I got my left foot clipped in and we headed out. We rode in the parking lot until I was more confident in my ability, and he was tired. Then we headed home.

I realized later that was a teachable moment. I could’ve reacted any number of ways when I fell. But I chose to stand up, dust myself off, and say “Let’s go.” I’m hoping my son will remember that I didn’t give up when learning something new. He watched me keep at it until I got it. That’s the lesson. Of course then he told me, “I think you should leave the clipping in to Daddy.” Just because he didn’t like to see me get hurt.

One of the reasons I was hesitant to get into triathlon was fear. Fear of falling, fear of not being able to figure it out. Fear of moving outside of my comfort zone.

Will I fall again? I’m sure of it. Will it hurt? Of course. But I’m going to keep at it.

Hopefully my shoes (and bike) will survive the learning curve.