Too Hot to Handle 10k

Saturday, I ran a 10k in Dallas. In July. In the middle of summer.

Thank goodness I didn’t do the 15k.

I’ve run the Too Hot to Handle race several times, and yes, I pulled my friend Leda along for the ride again. Since I had the injuryĀ and training for the tri, I hadn’t done much running. I talked it over with my coach and we decided the 10k was a good option. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would go since I’ve only had two runs over 6 miles since April. I’ve been doing plenty of fast running for shorter distances, so I was a little concerned about my internal pacing guide.

But the goal was to have fun.

Still dry at the start! Not really. I was sweating.

Starting temperature was 82 degrees (real feel of 88). I decided to not pay much attention to my Garmin, and use effort (breathing) as my guide since it’s been a while since I last ran a 10k. Apparently, I forgot how to line up in the start corral too. I spent a good half a mile trying to weave my way around runners to settle into my pace. I felt like I was holding back, and that was probably a good thing. The course was an out and back at White Rock Lake.

I did see my mile splits when my Garmin buzzed, but I didn’t really focus on them. I just enjoyed the race. I made it to the U-turn, and was so grateful that I wasn’t running the 15k. I was starting to heat up. At the turn around, I sipped some water and dumped the rest over my head. I was feeling pretty good. Then, the heat started to set in, and I was searching for the next water stop. It was after an incline that felt like a mountain around mile 4 and a half. That’s when I knew I should have carried my bottle with Nuun. I was starting to heat up, so I took one of the cold towels they were handing out and wrung it out over my neck and shoulders. I picked up the pace a bit to make up for my slowdown. The course was mostly shady, but there were some stretches in the sun, and I was hot. I would take walk breaks, long enough to slow my breathing, and then pick up the run pace again. As I came around the last turn, I heard the blip of a siren, and I knew the 15k leader was coming in. I ended up crossing the finish line the same exact time as the 15k winner. I hope I didn’t mess up his finish picture. šŸ˜‰

After I finished, I was grateful for a cold towel, and then I headed to the Nuun table to rehydrate while I waited for my friend.

Red-faced and drenched in sweat!

I honestly was surprised when I saw my splits for the last two miles. I kept my running fast enough that my walk breaks didn’t destroy my pace. Actually, I was surprised about the splits for miles 2 -3. I felt strong through mile 4 (strength training is paying off) and if I had been smart enough to carry my bottle I probably would have been able to go faster. But a runner is always learning…

 

Did I mention that I was glad I ran the 10k?

Leda was glad we ran the 10k too. šŸ™‚

 

We cooled off and refueled with our post race goodies.

The real reason I run races.

Then, I found out I placed 3rd in my age group, and got a trophy. What?!?

 

 

I like running races year round. They keep me motivated to continue training, and it adds some fun to summer running. This is a well done summer race with plenty of sprinklers, cold towels, and hydration. Next up on my schedule is a local 10k in August. I’ll be more prepared to pace that one.

 

Stay hydrated!

 

 

 

 

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Kicking off 2018 and Some Cowtown Training

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, and I wanted to do a year end post like have in the past. But honestly, I was kind of frustrated with my 2017 year of running. I spent the first half of the year trying to figure out why my “speed” was missing, and working to bring it back. The second half of the year was almost all training for the Dallas Marathon. My biggest win of the year (in my mind) was getting Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio under 2 hours. But at least I felt like I didn’t lose any more ground. My shorter distance times are mostly the same they were a year ago, and that’s okay. On a positive note, I replaced the battery in my scale the week after Dallas and I had lost 3 pounds! That never happens while marathon training, and I really think it was the SAM (strength and mobility) work done as part of the Simple Marathon Training. I am definitely keeping that up.

After Dallas, I took a bit of recovery time, and then it was time to get to work for Cowtown.

I won an Instagram contest for a free month of coaching from RunRelated. Hiring a coach is something I’ve talked about with my husband for a while, so this was a great opportunity to see how it would go. I decided to continue with my coach after my month was up, because what I’ve been doing isn’t working for me anymore. It’s nice not worrying about what workout to do, or what the long run should be. I just check the schedule and go do it.

The major challenge for Cowtown training lately though has been winter.Ā  We have had so many below freezing days this year in Texas. I did a track workout in 16 degrees one morning, and was surprised when the buff I used to cover my mouth and nose came off in a frozen block. My Nuun bottle also froze! Rookie. Lesson learned. On a positive note though, I nailed those 800s! šŸ™‚

Then on January 13, I ran my coldest race to date. It was the Resolution Run half marathon in McKinney. A smaller race to give me a little motivation to start my year. My goal was to run under two hours again, because this will be the year of the sub 2 half marathons. The temperature on race morning was below freezing and it was windy which brought real feel temps into the teens. Brrr! We hung out in the car as long as we could, because the start was right by the parking. Love small races! I wore two long sleeve tops under a jacket, my long pants, CEP knee high socks, my buff, fleece headband, fleece mittens and hand warmers. I have never worn so much gear!

It was an out and back course, and I felt good starting off so the first few miles were a little faster than they should’ve been. Plus we were running into the wind. Dang it. But I did begin to warm up, and started to remove gear when we turned out of the wind. The buff went in one pants pocket, hand warmers in the other. I even took my mittens off for a bit and considered ditching my jacket at a water stop. I met another one of the Cowtown race ambassadors during the race, and we all ran together for a few miles chatting about Cowtown. That was fun.We were behind the 2 hour pace group, and I kept them in my sights planning to catch them in the final miles.

Then we made the turn around to come back, and I was glad I didn’t ditch my jacket. I was doing good to hold onto my pace, keeping my miles right around 9:00.

The plan was to run as hard as I could for the last 5k, but I couldn’t find another gear. I stopped looking at my pace and focused on catching the next person in front of me. I tried to reel in the pace group. They weren’t getting farther away, so I knew I was at least on target. Also, there were a couple of floaters (pacers) who were running along encouraging us at different points. It was nice to have someone alongside me telling me to keep it up, because it was getting hard. At one point I was seriously ready to chunk my heart rate monitor in the grass. It felt tight around my chest, even though it wasn’t. I was so glad to see that finish line, because I was ready to get out of the cold!

 

I met my time goal – barely. But I am okay with that, because I was probably carrying about 10 lbs of gear that I don’t normally run with. Plus, when I took my jacket off to put on dry clothes, my layers were soaked in sweat.

 

Last week’s training wasn’t any warmer. The temperatures hit the point that I had to go shopping for better gear. I went to TJ Maxx and found some fleece lined tights to wear under my pants, and a warmer fleece lined jacket that wasn’t bulky. I got to try it out at the track on Wednesday, and it was a better layering combo than what I wore in the race. I would rather run outside if I can. For the amount of money I spent, I won’t be too mad if I only wear them a couple of times a year. šŸ™‚

Thankfully for Saturday’s long run, temps were in the 50s. I was in shorts and short sleeves, and my visor! I was happy, because I’m just over sub-freezing weather. I felt so much lighter without all that extra clothing, and the sun was out! My legs felt good, and even though my stomach didn’t quite cooperate, I had a good day.

This week is a recovery week, and I’m going to take advantage of the extra rest. Recovery weeks are my favorite!

Quick question: What’s the coldest race you’ve ever run? Do you try to train outside when the temperature drops?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UCAN Half Marathon

Things have finally started moving for me in my first phase of building a better runner.Ā 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 frustratedĀ 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 flatĀ 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 headĀ at aid stations.Ā 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 comeĀ but never did. The sun came out and heated it up more. My sunglasses were in the car. šŸ˜¦

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!

 

 

 

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 sheĀ 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 isĀ 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. šŸ™‚

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 yearĀ 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. šŸ˜¦ But after the race, we visited theĀ Arts Fest and spent someĀ 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’tĀ 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?

 

 

 

 

Stick with It

When I set out on my long run lastĀ Sunday afternoon, I was instantly reminded of how hard runningĀ feels at times. As I wrote in my last post, I am moving the long run to later in the day so my body can adjust to running in warmer temperatures. That day, my first mistake was eating too soon beforeĀ I headed out. I wanted to hurry and get back so I had time to catch up onĀ yard work. That’s the other hard part about training for an endurance event through the spring. Everything is growing! I have crape myrtle trees that look more like shrubs because they need pruned. The English Ivy is creeping everywhere. The miniature rose bushes are thriving – thankfully.

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It would be a lot easier to keep up with if half my family wasn’t prone to allergies, but anyway… back to my training.

I realized one mile into my 9 mile run, that my food wasn’t settled. By the second mile I adjusted my route. Mile 3 involved a few walk breaks and wasĀ my slowest mile. I thought I might throw up so IĀ headed back toward my neighborhood. I went in the house at mile 6.5 and asked my three kids who wanted to go finish my run for me. There were no takers. I forced myself back out to finish,Ā and it was between miles 7 and 8 when I felt like my food had settled and I was feeling better. I finally got it done after a quick chat with a neighbor who asked me if I was training for a 5k. “Yes, something like that.” šŸ˜‰

I was reminded of a few things with that run:

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve had to really talk myself through finishing a run. I wanted to quit so many times.
  2. Running later in the day requires better planning. I should’ve thought about how my meal would affect me running when the sun is beating down on me.
  3. Even though running is the easiest sport to me with triathlon, it doesn’t mean the run will be easy. I’ve got to break through the mental aspect of getting through a hard run.

Once I finished, I was glad I pushed through. These are the moments I will try to remember on race day when it gets hard. Getting through aĀ tough run reminds me that there are ups and downs throughout and an upward turn could be just around the corner.

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I was rewarded with my next run at the track on Tuesday when I was able to nail my 5k pace for 600m intervals. When I looked at the workout, I thought “yeah, right” but I did it! It was my first track workout in months, and it was refreshing to have some pep in my legs.

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I like the fact that you never really know how a run will turn out. It’s nice to surprise yourself sometimes – on the road, on the track, on the trail. Wherever your training takes you, just stay with it. You won’t regret it.

Marathon Recovery and Cookies

For the past two weeks, post Dallas Marathon, I put a concerted effort on recovery. In some ways this was harder than I expected it to be, but getting ready for Christmas helped out in keeping me busy.

The plan was to take an entire week off from running after the marathon. I made it to Saturday. My friend and I decided to show up for the group run because we were craving the company. A nice five miler was enough to get it out of my system. I spent Sunday at the pool, and then eased back into running a few days last week. I also swam a few more times. The swimming was a good way for me to feel like I was doing something, without taxing my legs.

The week of Christmas the weather was nuts here. My runs were done in warm, humid temps. One was a little too fast (because my legs told me so later in the day).

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Then cookie baking on Christmas Eve. What happens when I’m too tired from baking to finishĀ rolling dough and cutting out cookies? My 17 and 12 year old take over, and we get gems like this:

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Then the group run again on Saturday where I was the slowest one there and tried to keep up. I didn’t run as many miles as I planned, but my legs still got a good workout.

 

We later spent the day at my parents’ house, then drove through a few tornado warnings on our way home. That was scary, but it brought a weather shift.

Sunday was rainy and cold – and we had water coming in the crawl space in our house, so we were running the pump on and off, all day and night. I took this time inside to finish planning out my goals for the first half of 2016 and I’m excited about what’s coming.

This week, I was ready to get back to training. A combination of rest and too many cookies upsĀ the motivation a bit. On Monday morning, I started with the treadmill because of the cold and rain. By the time I got done,Ā we had snow.Ā Texas.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and will have a safe and happy New Year. I’m looking forward to connecting with you in 2016.

 

 

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Dallas Marathon 2015

The Dallas Marathon is my most anticipated race each year. It was my first half marathon in 2010 and my first full marathon in 2011. I have always said “I love the race, but it doesn’t love me back” because I’ve had kind of a rough run with it. (Unintentional pun)

For my first full, the weather was cold, windy, and rained the entire time. ThenĀ 2012Ā was warm and humid, 2013 iced out, and 2014 didn’t have the best weather conditions either (along with all of my other problems that day).

Needless to say, my standards this year weren’t set too high. I hoped for decent weather, and planned to run with my friend (who I talked into running her first marathon in Dallas). My goals became to run faster than last year and have fun. I still was hoping for the sub 4 hour race, but truthfully knew everything would have to go right for that to happen. But my friend and I talked about running together because that would help both of us pull through.

But first, let me talk about the expo because that was a big part of my weekend. Dallas has done a great job the past two years by bringing in elite ambassadors and adding some interest to the race itself with relay challenges. So on Saturday, we timed it to be at the stage for the introduction of the elites and then they gave some advice for the runners for race day.

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So much speed in one place!

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Desi!

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Deena! (My role model as a master’s runner.)

 

I soaked Ā it all in (foreshadowing), spoke to Josh Cox and Molly Huddle to thank them for being there, and got a couple of autographs on my bib. I was nervous being around so much running greatness. I wanted to meet Ryan Hall, but that line was longer, so maybe another time. I do love that in this sport, the elite runners that I’ve met are approachable and genuine. This totally made my weekend, no matter how the race turned out for me.

Storms moved in Saturday evening and overnight, so when I drove to Dallas early Sunday morning, it was in the rain. Of course. Thankfully there was no lightning and the wind wasn’t too bad. The temps had dropped though to low 50s with a forecasted high of 60. At least that part was manageable, and much improved from the oppressive humidity Saturday morning for my shakeout run.

I hungĀ out in my friend’s hotel room for a bit, then we made the five minute walk to the start corral. Dallas has three start corrals – A, B, and C. We were in B, and lined up between the 9:15 and 9:30 pace.Ā I’m always surprised by how fast time goes by in the corral! Before I knew it, the National Anthem was over and we were moving toward the start line.

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Rain, rain, go away.

I soon realized we should have started at the front of the corral. We both talked about how we needed to make sure we held back in the first few miles. I’ve got a history of going out too fast. There was no problem in holding back because I felt like it was bottlenecked for about five or six miles, but didn’t want to use energy trying to weave around people. The first mile pace was just under 10:00. We picked up the pace gradually and by the end of mile 5, we were averaging 9:30s which is where we stayed until just before mile 13.

At this point my friend started to fall back. I checked on her a couple of times and she finally told me to go ahead. She wasn’t feeling great. We had worked this out beforehand, that if one of us struggled the other one would go on.Ā But I still worried about her and second guessed leaving her side. We had put in so many miles together that it didn’t seem right to keep on, but I also knew that if I was the one struggling I would want her to go on. So that’s what I did, but I said prayers for her along the way.

I noticed the breeze had cooled the humidity and the temperatureĀ felt good. I tried to pick up the pace, but the hills kept me grounded. I ended up averaging 9:25 from 10-15, and 9:33 from 16-20. At mile 19, it becameĀ harder to hold the pace down inĀ the 9:30s. From that point on it became a fight to stay in the game. I saw the banner that I signed at the expo, and looked down at my Road ID that contains same message: Hebrews 12:1 Run With Endurance.

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I started counting down the miles from my Garmin (which was a half a mile over already). Each one that ticked off meant I was closer. I remembered what Meb said at the expo about his phrase “Run to win” which means getting the best out of yourself. I checked to see if I was doing my best, and the answer remained yes every time. I surged when I could and willed my legs to go faster. At mile 23, I felt like I was flying. I looked down at my pace – 10:05. Oh, well, at least I felt like I was flying. I repeated “I can do hard things. I’ve done this before.” My lower back started to ache. I would count down the minutes with phrases like “Only 25 more minutes, I can keep doing this for 25 minutes.” I used every self-talk positive phrase I could think of to get my through those last 6 miles, and didn’t let my pace frustrate me. I continued to smile (which may have looked like a grimace at that stage), thanked the volunteers, thanked the police officers, and tried to encourage other runners as I continued. I stayed hydrated with Nuun and I fueled just like I trained. As I came to mile 26, I started to get emotional. Coming through the finisher chute, the tears started. I felt like a winner because I had run strong, and finished the race givingĀ my all. There were no walk breaks, no talking myself out of my goals, or making excuses. As the announcer was calling out the finishers just ahead of the finish line, he gave me a high five and said “Way to go, Team Chocolate Milk.” Then I crossed the line.

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I saw Meb giving out medals, but he was busy getting photos with people too. I looked around but didn’t see any of the other elite ambassadors. I got all my goodies and moved to where I could check my friend’s tracking. I pulled my phone out and dropped a gel. I stood there staring at it on the ground, and another runner came over to pick it up for me. I thanked her and said, “I was trying to decide if it was worth it” because I couldn’t bend my knees.

I saw my friend’s finish on the tracker and went to find her. There was a hug and more tears! We had both done what we set out to do. She finished her first marathon in about the time she expected to. I ran a strong for me race.

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Meeting up with a fellow Team Chocolate member is always fun!

Meeting up with a fellow Team Chocolate Milk member is always fun!

I broke my curse. ThisĀ was my fastest Dallas race by almost 15Ā minutes, with a fairlyĀ consistent pace. The weather turned out perfect for me because I never overheated. But the fact that I was able to run the entire course gives me hope for my future goals, and a returnĀ to my speed two years ago.

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My mind is whirring with the possibilities of what’s next! šŸ™‚