Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio with Team Chocolate Milk

I had the opportunity to run Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio this past weekend as a part of Team Chocolate Milk, and that race now falls in my top 5 for best race experience. A lot of factors went into making it a great weekend, where the only major hiccup was the 45 minute traffic delay 20 minutes away from home Sunday night.

I asked my best running friend along for the trip, and she was able to register with a good discount. We have been training for the Dallas Marathon together, so it seemed appropriate that we should do our last long training run together in San Antonio.

When I picked her up Saturday morning, we laughed about we looked different from our usual Saturday morning attire. Hair fixed, makeup on, regular clothes…mostly. We clean up well.

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This was her first experience with a large race expo, and it was great! We shopped a little, stopped by the Another Mother Runner booth and met Sara, walked right past Meb, and I picked up some of my favorite hydration, Nuun. We stopped by the Chocolate Milk booth and I helped my friend win a towel by answering all the quiz questions correctly. I was happy to see so many people at their booth learning all about the benefits of chocolate milk!

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After checking into the hotel, we made our way down to the Riverwalk in search of an early dinner. We found a nice little restaurant with no wait and split a pasta dish and bruschetta.

When in San Antonio...eat Italian?

When in San Antonio…eat Italian?

I’ve been to San Antonio a few times, but always in the spring or summer. The city and the Riverwalk were absolutely beautiful this time of year. Everything was decorated for Christmas, and I loved walking around just taking in the sights. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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After our brief tour, we headed back to the hotel for some time off our feet and to get ready for race day!

We made our way to the VIP area so I could meet up with the other team members.

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It’s neat to meet people in real life that I first met on social media, but I sometimes wonder if they think I’m weird. After a group photo, and some talk about the race and goals, my friend and I headed to the start corrals.

Our number one goal for the race was to have fun and run it together. I’ve never had company for an entire race. Usually when we go to a race together, we start together but run our own times. I wanted to be able to bring her in for her first sub two-hour half, but we kept our expectations light. We started off slow, and enjoyed the views of running through a new city. Downtown and running right in front of the Alamo were my favorite parts. By mile five we were averaging around 9:05 pace. I started to worry if we were running too fast, but my legs felt great – like I was holding back. Then THE HILL showed up around mile 5. We didn’t talk at all, and by the time we crested the top, my quads were burning. From someone who runs hills on a regular basis, this was surprising. For the next two miles, there was a series of ups and downs. One of the hills, by Trinity University, was loaded with spectators from the school. Their signs were great, and they were lined all the way up the hill. I focused so much on reading signs that I lost sight of the pain of the hill. A favorite said: TU Counseling-Tell me how you feel about this hill. Another was “You’re not over the hill yet, unlike us” from an older couple. I smiled all the way through. Then after mile 7, the course was flat again. Our pace had dropped to 9:09 average, but we gradually began to work it down.

The half split from the full course at mile 11, and I can’t tell you how glad I was to turn for the half. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I was running down the right side of the road, and I looked up to see a vehicle (like a gator) coming right toward me. I moved over and then realized Meb was leaning out of it giving high fives to the runners. I yelled for my friend to get over there and we both got a high five from him. I told her that was our speed boost.

And it was! At mile 12, I knew she would be under two hours, and asked her how she’d like a new PR. She said she hadn’t even looked at her watch, and didn’t want to know. As we crossed the finish, I congratulated her on smashing her old record. We picked up our medals and headed straight for the chocolate milk. If you’re new to the blog, or unfamiliar with the benefits of chocolate milk as a post workout recovery, take a look at this information. It has helped me with my training whether after speedwork at the track or a long run, or swimming, or biking, and it’s delicious! I love being a part of this team. It’s something I believe in, and they always make me feel important. 🙂

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Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio was one of my best race experiences, and the fact that it wasn’t tied to my own PR reminds me that racing can still be fulfilling as I continue down the road. Here’s a little data to go along with it:

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A successful training run.

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What hills?

Nicely executed negative splits!

Nicely executed negative splits!

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A beautiful medal!

Up next: Dallas Marathon on Sunday! Have a great week!

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Race Week – Dallas Marathon

It’s finally here!

On Sunday, I will be running the Dallas Marathon for the third year in a row. Right now, my biggest focus is to not obsess over the weather.

In 2011, it was my first marathon. Raining, cold (40s) and north winds made for a less than ideal first marathon experience – but I was still hooked. 2012 race day weather brought temperatures in the 60-70s with humidity. Dehydration for me.

The forecast as of Tuesday morning for this year’s race:

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I’m glad I ordered new gloves last week. They’ll be here by Wednesday. I hope.

I’ve been trying to evaluate my race day goals, and I’m kind of stuck. Since Texas weather can be so unpredictable, I am rolling into what I’m calling “my marathon season.” I have Houston in six weeks, and I plan to do the Cowtown Marathon again in February. I don’t want to knock myself out completely with this one race, but I also know that I’m capable of a PR. Just for the sake of putting it in writing, here are the goals I’m going with.

1. Don’t forget anything essential

Water bottle, Gu, Nuun, gloves. I will be making my list and checking it over and over. And over. It’s okay to be OCD on this one.

2. Don’t cry.

Seriously. This applies to before the start or during the race. I will allow myself to cry after I finish only if it’s because I’m so blown away with joy from a positive race experience.

3. Beat my February PR of 4:22:12.

I have been training for a four hour marathon, and I’ve used the McMillan running calculator to predict my marathon times. According to my recent 10k PR I should be able to qualify for Boston, but something happens to me in the longer distances, and I know how my body works with this. My legs need more experience at 26.2 to get faster. I’d love to run a sub 4:00:00 but I don’t want to overshoot and go out too fast. I’m going to stick with the plan of starting my first few miles slower than goal pace (9:20-9:30) and take it from there.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the week, I’m going to focus on my nutrition and fueling properly. Right now, I feel like this:

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I do feel rested after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I’ve been feeling slow with the cutback on mileage. I will remember the motto to “trust your training.”

I’m ready for race day!

Getting Ready for OKC

It’s the final days before the Oklahoma City marathon, and I’m suddenly seeing exactly how much housework needs to be done.

Actually, I look forward to tapering for a race because I need that extra time to catch up on mom things like cooking actual meals for my family, laundry, clearing out some clutter, and sleep. But what I most look forward to is catching up on reading.

Just a sample of the material I will devour in the next two weeks.

Just a sample of the material I will devour in the next two weeks.

This will be my last marathon for a while. I don’t have anything planned until the Dallas Marathon in December. We have been house hunting the past month, and the thought of high mileage training and moving does not sit well.

In preparation for Sunday’s race, I took a look back at my post from last year. With everything that has happened, I expect there will be a few tears this year as well.

On a lighter note, here’s my motto for the rest of the week as I begin to carbo-load for Sunday.

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What do you look forward to when you taper for a race?