UCAN Half Marathon

Things have finally started moving for me in my first phase of building a better runner.¬†The scale is moving down – slowly – but it’s moving. My strength is building, and my run pace is dropping – a little. It’s progress.

Which is part of why I was frustrated with myself at the UCAN half marathon.

But I made a major mistake from the start, and there’s no one to blame but myself. I’m also frustrated¬†that I won’t have another half marathon to measure progress until late June, but the summer heat will slow that one down.

The race was well done, plenty of runners, pacers, and a mostly flat course through parks in McKinney. They had UCAN available before the race, and I had a backup GU if I needed it. I also carried my Nuun.

My first mistake was to line up behind the 2:00 pacers – and then try to stay with them! I did my Racing Weight 10k check earlier in the week, and my 10k pace is sitting right around 9:00 right now. Tack on temperatures in the 70s, and 85% humidity, and that was a rookie mistake I shouldn’t have made. The smart thing would have been to start out slower, and then steadily speed up.

The humidity was awful, and there wasn’t much of a breeze in the first few miles. If the humidity hadn’t been so unbearable, I would’ve enjoyed the scenery more. I started taking walk breaks in mile 6, and my race just went to pot (in my oxygen deprived state).

I’ve always held the opinion that I would rather walk in a race before throwing up, and that’s where I was. I had salt residue on my skin even with the Nuun, so I began dumping water over my head¬†at aid stations.¬†I tried to stay positive. I waved and called out to other runners I knew on the course, and I chatted with other runners around me. There were some out and back places which helped. I waited on the rain that was supposed to come¬†but never did. The sun came out and heated it up more. My sunglasses were in the car. ūüė¶

Then I finished

 

– and this is how I felt.

I found out later that my time (2:17 something) didn’t even show up on the results, but I didn’t care too much. I sent an email to the race director but it’s not that big of a deal.

I was upset, but after reading other posts on Instagram and Facebook, I started to feel a little better. I just need to realize that humidity does me in. Every time. FYI: This is not how your mile splits should look.

On a positive note, the race was well done. The medals were huge! The pacers were great. Free race photos! They just needed some chocolate milk for recovery. Fortunately there was a QT right down the road.

 

My next race will be a 10k on Memorial Day. What a great way to start a week off right!

 

 

 

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Family Traditions (SEF 5k)

Last week was a cutback week for me for marathon training, and I had some fun with it.

Even though the heat hasn’t let up much here, I still got out with the kids and ran to get ready for the 5k we were all doing on Saturday.

They wanted to go to the park to run and then play. Sure, why not?

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Then on Thursday we ran a mile and a half. My 13 year old daughter would run ahead and walk until the 10 year old almost caught up to her. Then she’d take off again. Nice, friendly competition between siblings. Two weeks ago, she decided she¬†was ready to start training for the 5k, and she made good progress in a short amount of time.

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Saturday morning, we were ready to race the Sherman Education Foundation 5k. This was my 7th time to run this race, and it wasn’t the first time for them either. I told them to make sure to run their own race the way they wanted to. Slow and steady, or run/walk – whatever is¬†best for them.

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After I finished a very painful 3 miles (I have not been training at sub 8:00 pace!), I grabbed some water and a banana, and headed back out on the course to run my kids in. With a little over a half a mile to go, I saw my 10 year old and ran with him for a minute. He went on to finish, and I found his sister a few minutes back. My husband was out on the course with his bike, to encourage them. When my daughter askedhow far she had left to run, I told her about 3/4 of a mile. Her response, “Really? I’m almost done!” Probably not many kids who think 3/4 of a mile is a short distance. My kids have a different perspective on what “far” is. ūüôā

I’m proud of the way they ran the race. My youngest ran faster than he did at the 5k in August, and it wasn’t much cooler. The humidity was high – still. I ran almost the exact same time I ran the race in last year (when it was rainy and a little cooler). This year my time was 24:23. I was hoping to get back in the 23 minute range, but I guess if I don’t train for 5ks, I really can’t expect to bust out a time close to my PR. I did manage to win my age group though. I guess I can’t complain about my 5k time if I’m always training for marathons.img_8239

This is my favorite local race of the year¬†because of the traditions around it as a family. The traditions are changing a little with our family – two of my kids had to grow up and move off. ūüė¶ But after the race, we visited the¬†Arts Fest and spent some¬†time at the different booths. And of course we had funnel cake. That tradition hasn’t changed.

With the 5k on Saturday, I got up planning to meet my running buddy for a 12-13 mile long run Sunday morning. This is what I woke up to:

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With the time constraints (and lightning factor), I reluctantly got on the treadmill. The storms weren’t¬†moving through anytime soon. By the time it started to clear up, I was up to 10 miles. I just finished off at 13, and that ended my cutback week. That was a rough run, but at least I had podcasts to listen to. Before Sunday, my longest treadmill run was 9 miles. I didn’t want to go that far on the treadmill, but I have goals that won’t be reached by skipping a long run. I learned for next time to put towels around the treadmill, because it was a gross sweaty mess. My body is just too efficient at cooling.

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Partly bad lighting, but yes my face probably was that red.

That ended my first cutback week of Dallas Marathon training, and now I’ll start ramping up the miles while I wait for fall temperatures to show up.

Anybody else?

 

 

 

 

Hustle for Health Reprise

Just over a week ago, I ran the United Way Hustle for Health 10k, and two of my kids did the 5k. This was my first standalone 10k since this race last year, but the outcome was much different this time around. I do this race every year, because it was my first 5k (2010) and that was the first time they held the race.¬†I love that it’s local, and have fun racing¬†with others from my running group and community. I did the 5k for a few years, then moved up to the 10k.

On race morning, we headed downtown and got ready to run. I have been running separately with my oldest daughter and my youngest son to prepare them for the race. They each had their own race goal. My daughter had been preparing for the physical fitness part of the Navy ROTC program, and my son wanted to run a faster 5k. I had to let him know the heat would slow him down some and not to get discouraged.

Photo Credit: Hustle for Health & Campaing Kickoff United Way of Grayson County (Facebook page)

Photo Credit: Hustle for Health & Campaign Kickoff United Way of Grayson County (Facebook page)

We started the race and went our separate ways.

What’s interesting about the 10k, is that it is basically two separate parts. A hilly, challenging first half, and the second half follows the 5k course which is flat. You can’t run it like a typical 10k, because you may blow all your energy in the hills on the first half and have nothing left to finish with. That was my mistake last year since I had not done much speed work with distance. This year I was prepared. I even ran some of the hills a few times in the weeks before to make sure I could handle the pace (which was easy because it’s in my neighborhood).

My friend and I were running together for most of the first half. I looked at the first two splits and tried not to get concerned (8:28, 8:16) but I had been running around 9 minute miles for training, and I felt good. There was cloud cover, it was humid, and low 80s, but no sun baking us. Coming into the 5k course (which is out and back), I started looking for my kids. I spotted my daughter first at a water stop where she doused me with the contents of her cup. I was starting to heat up, and that felt great. Not long after that, I saw my son. My husband was out on his bike, riding along the course encouraging him. He was smiling and I got a high five. Miles 4 and 5 were my slowest, but I picked up the pace to finish. The final mile was my second fastest.

I finished with an official time of 53:07, and though it wasn’t my¬†fastest, I feel like I’m in a good place going into marathon training. I was surprised to see that I was the second female finisher and the master’s winner. Small race perks.¬†My friend won the female grandmaster’s.

I posted this picture to our running group page, with tips about finding a good running partner.

1. Find someone who pushes and challenges you to be a better runner.

2. Make sure they’re in another age group.

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The kids did well too. I had to talk to my son about how his place in the age group does not matter. He was two minutes off of what he ran in March. In his age group, there are 14 yr old cross country runners. I put the focus on him working to improve his race times, and not on what others are doing. My goal is to instill in him a joy of running and pushing himself to improve. One of my favorite things about running is that the responsibility is on the runner.

My daughter came away from the race better prepared for the Navy fitness requirements. She may have not liked running with me much, but I hope she’ll find an appreciation of me pushing her in training. I am proud of both of them.

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The little one wanted a week off from running after the race, which worked out well because we moved his sister into the dorm last week.

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Now our house is emptier, so I’m going to pour myself into my training to keep from emotional eating.

School started Monday¬†as did my marathon training. My son and I went out for a mile run on Tuesday evening. He was energized and ready to run. The new running clothes helped too. It’s a reminder of how little breaks and rewards can recharge us when we need it.

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Yes You Can (SEF Arts Fest)

Saturday was my favorite race day of the year. This was the fifth year¬†our family has participated in the Sherman Education Foundation run. There is a 5k, 10k, and fun run. The schools get involved and it’s one of the biggest local races we have. The goodie bags are awesome – string backpacks, reusable bottles, etc… It’s also held in conjunction with the Sherman¬†Arts Festival. What better way to spend the day as a family than to run together and eat funnel cake?

This year we changed things up a bit. In the past I have run either the 5 or 10k, then ran the fun run with the kids as a cool down. This time, my youngest two decided they wanted to do the 5k. Since their first 5k in April – an untimed color run – they’ve been asking to do another. My parents planned a trip up. My dad was going to run the 10k, and my mom was going to walk her first 5k. My husband (who got his fill of mandatory running in his Navy career) was the finish line support crew.

Earlier in the week I decided not to change my marathon training around. I wanted to see how I could race on tired legs. I’ve run my fastest times when I was marathon training. Go figure. But since it was still warm and humid all week, I gave up hope on a PR. By Saturday morning I had been dealing with lack of sleep, busyness at work, busyness at home – helping translate Spanish homework at 10 pm – and general stress all week. My Garmin had quit, my appetite was blah, and running felt tougher than it should have. I needed relief and sleep. Oh, and this was an “easy” week for training.

Thank goodness there was no football game Friday night.

Saturday morning, I ran to the start as my warm up and met up with the rest of my crew. I also ran into my friend who was running the 5k as a shakeout run before her first half marathon the next day.

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The 10k course was hilly and tough – especially the hill between mile 4-4.5. It knocked the wind right out of me. That’s also the point where my legs said, “Hey, we ran 9 miles yesterday. What the heck are you doing?” Since I didn’t have a GPS watch, I had my iPhone tucked in my iFitness belt with the Nike Plus app going. I had the audio on, but my breathing was so awfully loud, all I could hear for the first three miles was “average pace 7…” I had no idea how fast I was going, but I had my eye trained on another runner from our group who is faster than me. Before the race, I told her I was using her as my rabbit. After the hill, I lost her. I did what I could to run strong, but I was so grateful to be finished. My official time was 50:54, and my mile splits on the app were 7:33, 8:01, 8:09, 8:10, 8:35, and 8:33. Oops. I went out just a little too fast.

After I crossed the mat, I heard my son call out to me. Then my daughter came running up. Her face was red from running, but she was smiling. “I finished before you.” I was so proud of them for finishing on their own. The look on their faces when I asked them if they wanted to do the color fun run was priceless. They were done¬†running for the day.

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I found my mom and congratulated her finish, then went to cheer in my dad while my husband headed over to the gazebo to hear the band (and our oldest daughter) kick off the start of the Arts Festival.

My dad and I both placed first in our age groups in the 10k. My mom was fourth in her age group for the 5k. Pretty nice¬†for a first race¬†and she’s a fast walker. My friend running her shakeout in the 5k: Grand Masters Overall female winner. (She went on to finish a great half marathon on Sunday.) Her mom ran her first 5k race and¬†placed first in her age group ¬†– at age 70.

I write all this because it goes back to the heart of my blog. I started this blog to honor my dad who ran his first 5k at age 61. He didn’t think he could run. He was walking 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, and I told him he could do a 5k. My mom, who can’t run because of knee problems, was walking 30 minutes on the treadmill at a time. My dad told her she could walk a 5k. So she did. At age 62. Yes, anyone can run. They can participate in many ways.

So many people can get started just because you put an idea in their head that they can do it. Don’t be afraid to say so.

 

And the funnel cake? It was worth it.

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Heroes of Midlothian 5K

I’m a little behind in posting my recap from last Saturday’s 5K, but it was a busy week for me. As a country, while we pause to remember those who have served and lost their lives, it seems an appropriate day to share about the Heroes of Midlothian foundation.

I am a member of the Midlothian class of 1992. I was a classmate of Chris Kyle. Some of you may have heard of him or read his book, American Sniper. As a former Navy Seal, Chris was well-known in the military community and soon became known throughout local communities as well. When he was killed in February along with another resident of Midlothian, several of my classmates took action to honor their memory.

The Heroes of Midlothian Foundation¬†was the result. This event on May 18, 2013 included a 5K run and benefit festival. While distance and scheduling kept me from participating in the planning or setup, I wanted to be a part of it. As a runner, I’m always up for a race, but I wanted to do more. So I signed up my 16 year-old son as a volunteer.

He enjoyed being a part of it and helping out where needed. Of course, what teenage boy wouldn’t enjoy free donuts and cinnamon rolls?

It was nice to see old friends, and I was impressed with the professionalism of the organization. With an inaugural race, you never know what to expect but this race was well executed. Over 500 runners registered, with 471 who started and finished the race. Along the straightaway near the finish line, one of my friends from was passing out small flags for the runners to carry through. It was an emotional event.

The perks:

Age group awards were awesome. I ran a PR, and my dad ran his second fastest time. I was in my hometown among many friends.

Me and My Dad

Me and My Dad

2nd in Age Group 35-39

2nd in Age Group 35-39

 

The downside:

I forgot how much it can hurt to run 3 miles all out. My pacing was off with each mile getting slower. I need to work on my quick turnover.

I’m glad I was able to participate in this event, and it will be on my schedule for next year. I’d like to see a fun run for those who think a 5K is too long. That would be a great way to increase funds raised.

I’m thankful for those who have served in our armed forces, including my husband who was in the Navy for over 10 years. As we celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary today, I am grateful to have him by my side.

In my next post, I’ll write about today’s run which was for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Just a few thoughts from Monday

Two days later, and I would still feel frivolous writing about anything but the Boston Marathon. There’s nothing I feel I can say that hasn’t already been said, but I wanted to put my thoughts into words, if only to remind myself of how I feel.

Qualifying for and running Boston is a dream of mine. Monday morning was my Super Bowl, and I was excited for all who were running. As the events unfolded, my joy turned to pain. My heart ached for runners, spectators, volunteers Рall who were there.

From all that I’ve read, I can say this: I’m proud to be part of the running community. I will not be timid to say that I’m a marathoner. I will continue to strive toward my goal of qualifying for Boston.

I will stand at the start of the Oklahoma City marathon on April 28, and I will run it with my heart. I’m sure it will be a run to remember.