SEF Arts Fest 5k (Number 8)

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been running for over 7 years. Other days, I can’t remember much about my life routine before running.

This past Saturday was my favorite local race of the year. It’s a 5k/fun run for the Sherman Education Foundation in conjunction with the city’s Arts Festival. It has become a family tradition, and even though the number of how many of our family attends has changed, some things have not. Like funnel cake. :)My friend and I had discussed throughout the week how we were going to get the long run done for our Dallas training. We decided we didn’t want to give up the rest day on Sunday, so we ran before the race. I ran seven miles, and then went home to put on dry clothes and get the kids.

My youngest son was running the 5k. This was his 4th year to run the 5k. Every year before that, he did the fun run. I’m trying to encourage him toward cross-country in high school without pushing too much. I want him to see running as fun. My youngest daughter is now in the high school band, so she missed running to be part of the Arts Fest kickoff with the band.

We had a good-sized group of Texoma Runners show up to run.

It wasn’t the nice fall-like weather we had the week before. In fact it was muggy and warm for our run before the sun came up. At least there was a bit of a breeze for the race. It was still hot though. I like to tell the newer runners in our group that their goal is to pass a few of the high school cross-country runners during the race. I’m kidding.

No, not really. 😉

My plan was to run based on feel. Without changing the training around the week before the race, I wanted to put in a solid effort, and hopefully not bonk in mile 3!

When my watch hit the first split (7:43!) I knew I was either in good shape or big trouble. The second mile was 7:50 with a slowdown for water at the aid station. Whoa! I didn’t run that fast in my 5k in July when I was training for speed. What the heck?!? My running buddy and I had stopped any chitchat long before. I reminded myself “don’t step off the coals.” My 3rd mile was 7:56 so overall I ran faster than I did in July even though the time was almost the same (Garmin differences in distance showed this one to be a faster pace). Total official time was 24:38, and I did pass a couple of cross-country runners. 🙂

After I finished, I headed back out on the course to find my son, and he was less than half a mile from the finish when I found him. His finish time was almost 10 minutes faster than he ran in August. He had started with me and held on as long as he could. He was proud of his first mile.

After the 5k, we all got our capes for the Hometown Heroes fun run where they were honoring first responders. I had my son run it with us, even though he was tired. He said, “I already ran 3 miles!” I told him he would get faster by running more. He had fun. 🙂


I checked my results and I couldn’t believe I actually won female masters, although the one who usually wins masters, won overall female! I want to be like her when I grow up. I have never won money from a race, because if I win masters it’s because it’s a smaller race. Not to mention that this was after 7 miles that morning in week 8 of marathon training. I looked back on the past few years and my time for this race has been around 24:30 3 years in a row. At least I’m not getting slower.

We had a lot of age group places from our running group, and I am so thankful for them. They keep me motivated.

It’s a pretty awesome group.


We finished out the morning with our usual funnel cake over at the Arts Fest. We didn’t walk around or do anything else, because we were all pretty tired. I totaled 12 miles for my Saturday, and I was ready for a nap.

This finished up week 8 of Dallas training, and now marathon training moves into the longer long runs. Time to buckle up!






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?


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.


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.


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. 🙂

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. 😦 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:


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.


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?





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.

photo 1

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.

photo 2 photo 3


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.

photo 4




A Nice Surprise – SEF 10K

Forgive me if this post is longer than usual, but I want to give Saturday the justice it deserves.

Do you set goals for yourself?

I’m not talking about ideas or wishes using words like “someday” or “maybe.” I’m talking about setting specifics. Timelines with steps.

Saturday, I nailed one of the steps I set toward a big goal of mine. The funny thing is – it surprised me.

It was our family’s fourth annual trip to the Sherman Arts Fest and Sherman Education Foundation run. The first and second year we went so I could run the 5k and the kids could do the 1 mile fun run. Last year and this year I ran the 10k and then did the fun run with my two youngest (active recovery).

My goal was to at least break 50:00. I set a PR in August with a time of 50:08 on a hilly course. With the nice cool front that blew in the night before – Hello Fall, nice to meet you – this cold weather runner was ready.

My first mile landed on 7:39. Whoa, girl, I thought, back off a bit. For perspective, my 5k PR from Labor Day was 7:33 pace per mile. I felt strong though, so I just tried to run steady the next few miles. I kept my Garmin screen on my pace, and used the lap button for each mile. I didn’t check my overall time, and about halfway through the race I decided not to check it until after I crossed the finish. I knew my splits were strong, but I’m an English major so calculating my finish time while running at that pace was not going to happen. When I saw the race clock as I finished, I couldn’t believe it.

I saw my husband and kids right as I switched my Garmin screen to check my finish time. I was immediately overcome with emotion.

My official race time was 47:50. 1st in my age group, and 4th female finisher. My pace for each mile split: 7:34, 7:49, 7:39, 7:36, 7:41, 7:37. Not perfectly even, but the first time I’ve had all 7s as the first number at this distance. My time was over two minutes faster from a month ago! (Again, thank you Fall for showing up when you did.) But that’s not what got me emotional.  It was the realization that my dream – the “somehow, someday” idea of qualifying for Boston – is slowly becoming a realistic goal.

Put those steps in place. They are important. Small goals along the way give you motivation to continue.

The fun run with the kids was just as rewarding.



My seven year-old was gone in a flash.

I ran/walked with my 10 year old daughter Abby who always wants to run a 5k until we start running. I encouraged her to at least run by the race photographers and smile to make good pictures, then she wanted to walk again. I managed to get a few running pictures myself.


The best part was on the last straightaway when we passed another young girl walking. I told Abby we should run in to the finish, and she started encouraging the other girl. “Come on, let’s go. You can do it,” she said. “There’s food and water at the end.”

That’s my girl!

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)