Every race teaches you something

Spectrum Trail Race - Ft Davis - 151-(ZF-10099-30378-1-003)I have completed many races since I posted here last. The above photo was Sky Island 50k. In my last post I said that I was gong to only run trails in 2016 and I did just that! What a great year it was. The fun thing was that each race got progressively more challenging for me as I got braver and begin to choose races with more technical trails and longer distances. This year, 2017, I have cut back on racing in order to save money and have more time to train between races.  Here are a few things I wrote down as lessons from two of my races.

Bandera 100k 2017

  1. Drink pickle juice before , during and after the race for cramping.
  2. Drink more water!
  3. Bring my own food because you can’t depend on aid stations to have your favorites or even anything a gluten free person can eat besides fruit.
  4. When the temperature drops below freezing, your water in your hydration pack tube will freeze.
  5. Make hotel reservations early!
  6. Buy new shoes way before race day.
  7. Extra clothes in a drop bag for cold races.
  8. Have a plan to help your pacer can arrive at race on time.
  9.  Buy trekking poles for this race.
  10. Bring plenty of extra headlamps and batteries.
  11. Practice jumping down from things.
  12. Be brave.
  13. Take more photos !

Rocky Raccoon 50 miler 2017

  1. Run your own race, don’t wait for slower friends, you’ll regret it later.
  2. Bring extra clothes if it’s hot.
  3. Push yourself in the last loop.
  4. Don’t plan to drive home right after a 50 miler.
  5. Check your tent bag to make sure all parts are in the bag.
  6. Get a hotel instead of camping, lol!
  7. Do more extra long runs in training. bandera2

And some general stuff I’ve learned since my last post.

  1. I don’t mind running and training alone.
  2. Podcasts are my friend.
  3. Hill training is worth it. Find the biggest hill!
  4. Stairmaster is good training for steep climbs.
  5. Don’t overeat after a long run.
  6. Treadmill hill workouts aren’t as boring as flat treadmill workouts.
  7. GOOD POSTURE is important to running form
  8. Never take your running for granted or over-train.
  9. Family must come first.
  10. Pacing is as much fun as racing!
  11. I like GU Rocktane Endurance drink,  but not Tailwind. I like GU gels AND Spring Energy.

Off-road adventures

Hello again. Guess I’m not much good at blogging. But I feel like writing, so here  goes. A  little over a year ago, I was depressed and defeated after an unexpectedly poor marathon in Chicago. I never blogged about it because it was just too much mentally. Long story short, dehydrated, major leg cramps, death march, 6:05. That was after a training period of much struggle with the Texas summer heat.

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I may be smiling here but I had just finished bawling on the phone to my husband. “It hurt so much!”, I cried. And it did. It was only because I had spent so much money to get to that race, it was my 50th birthday after all, and I was not going to be defeated, that I trudged through mile after mile with leg cramps, giving myself the option to quit at the next mile if necessary. But I kept going. I actually revived a bit and ran the last couple miles very slowly.

So, I was supposed to run two more marathons after Chicago. Bryan/College Station in December and Houston Chevron in January. I couldn’t do it. I cut back to the half. I felt pretty good at both of them and had fun. Then I ran a fun trail half marathon in February and another one in March. And so on and so on. I earned all these medals just in 2015! Some are actually Age Group awards. Turning 50 means it’s easier to place! Woohoo! I slowly healed and regained my confidence in my ability to run. I increased my strength training and worked on my health. I gained 5 lbs, some muscle, some fat.


My training changed and my attitude toward racing changed. I’m still a little bit competitive, but I also just want to enjoy the experience. I know what I can do and I’m okay with it.  My training buddies also went through some changes so that meant more solo running for me for awhile. Then I started training with a slower friend who wanted me to help her get ready for a marathon ( She ran it yesterday!). I had to adjust to all these changes which is not easy for me. I get comfortable with a routine and don’t like for it to change without my control. I started sleeping later which was nice. I ran where I wanted to run. I began doing a lot of hilly runs which no one else liked doing and got stronger mentally and physically. Eventually I accepted that life is constantly changing.

My greatest take away from all these races is this: I prefer trail races. After running nearly 100 races, I’ve refined my race/run preferences. Not only do trails hurt my body less, they are just more fun, more scenic, more social and more intense. Road racing seems a bit dull after doing a technical, hilly, muddy, rocky, root-covered trail race. But not only that, the community of trail runners, even if you don’t know them, just seems more down to earth. I like the vibes, the energy, the beards and the colors. I’ve never seen so many tattoos in a road races. The features I once sought in a road race, like the medal and the after-party and extra swag and just any kind of gimmick, I no longer care that much about. Sure it’s fun to get those things, but I don’t choose the race based on that. Trail races are usually pretty simple, with less fanfare. In fact, I didn’t understand that at first. I’m good with it now.

See one colorful runner here. http://fitandfeminist.com/2011/10/18/the-girl-crush-chronicles-ultrarunner-catra-corbett/

My longest trail race so far has been Wild Hare 50K three weeks ago. It was somewhat a spur of the moment idea. The race course had some super muddy/wet areas but I really enjoyed it. Yesterday I ran a trail marathon (26.2 miles) at Brazos Bend State Park. I had a blast despite horrible humidity and warm December temps. I even placed 2nd Masters Female. This is what I like to  do now. For 2016, I’m planning to run mostly trails. Planning to run another 50K in February.  Still have one more road marathon I’ve already paid for in January 2016 and a 10K. But for now, I gotta let my toes and blisters heal. Oh yeah, I’ve also become a run streaker. I run a mile or more EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m on Day 227.



Chicago Marathon only 7 more weeks!

Yikes and yippee! Summer is almost over and I have one thing on my mind. Well, two things. One, we start back to home school next week. And two, the final HARD weeks of marathon training. I’m glad I’m in a Facebook group so I have some support for these runs. I don’t have a local group running this far during August in Texas. Well they are out there but they are crazy fast runners. And I have a problem with my sacroiliac that is causing me great pain when I have to drive more than 15 minutes, soooo, that means running close to home, not in the city with lots of other runners. I live in a rural area on a short street connected to a fairly busy road. So I can only do some many miles on my own street.

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I do have a nice town nearby, so I drive there and run in mostly shady neighborhoods. It takes a lot of loops to get in 15 or more miles! Here is a pic from the cemetery that I run through sometimes. I didn’t run through it when it was still this dark. Creepy!

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Today was a bonus mail day!! I’ve been excited to try a new fuel called Tailwind. And I also have been trying to get some new Asics, but I keep having to send them back for various reasons. Hopefully this pair is the right one! First I got these light colored ones that I never would have ordered on purpose, it was a mistake. Roadrunner Sports has been good about sending me new pairs.

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Today I got these awesome pink ones!

Iphone 876Tomorrow I will be running 16 miles. It has been SUPER hot and humidity here and I have wondered if I can survive it. But I made it 15 miles last weekend, so I can do it !

I just realized I haven’t blogged since May. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! I have ran a couple of races since then but I’ve mostly been training and also had a nice vacation with the family at the beach.  I was slightly injured but I still got in a few miles of running and biking. This is a pic on the ferry boat.

summervacation2014 051Please click the link below to see a fundraiser I started to try to raise money for a wheelchair van. My daughter is in a wheelchair full-time. Thanks!



Future thoughts

End of life issues. That is probably something most of us don’t think about very often unless we are in that stage of life either caring for an elderly parent or maybe being the elderly individual. For me, I am in what feels like my second childhood or maybe second teenagerhood. I’m living la vida muy bueno! Having more free time now that my children are getting older, discovered the fantastic joys of running, my body looks and feels better than ever, what more can I ask for? Well, for these days to last as long as possible for one thing! I will be 50 this year and I know that with age often comes health problems, life changes, grief at loss of family and friends even older than us, children leaving the nest and maybe not turning out the way you want, etc. As a Christian  who trusts that my life is in God’s hands and a person who generally doesn’t look too far into the future, I really have no 5 year or 10 year or 20 year plan. We have no IRA, no savings, truly no plan!! Our plan is that we hope at least one of our five sons will make enough money to take us in if we can no longer survive.

This is on my mind because why?,  you ask. Well, I’ve been visiting my 89 yr old father in law in the nursing home where he was moved a few months ago. I can tell he is not very happy there, but he does get pretty good care overall. He’s just bored , lonely, can’t see well enough to watch TV anymore, has lost his memory for the most part, can’t get out of bed, has a catheter and bag, wears diapers, you get the picture. He can talk but he doesn’t seem to want to chat much. I wish I knew how to bring him some sunshine and joy. I brought him cookies today and he actually said “these are good’. That’s a long sentence for him these days. I love him and it’s so hard to see him like this.

My own mother is mid 70s and still works full time and goes to casinos and is in amazing health. But we all know that life can change on a dime. I pray that she stays well until the Lord takes her in her sleep, many years from now. My health is good, but my husband has had some minor issues already. I can’t help but start to think of the future and the possibility of various scenarios. He is the only one working. I don’t even qualify for Social Security since I have been a stay home mom for 23 years and only worked part-time before that. With the current changes in our government and economy, if I think about the future too much, I might have a panic attack!  Guess I’ll go back to my happy place and keep trusting God.

God bless Grandpa


Confusing and, for many, annoying


Abel James’ latest podcast bashing Paleo has many upset with him for not standing up for what he says he believes and lives by. I must agree that I felt confused and a bit irritated that he did not ask the guest more questions or point out how Paleo and gluten free diets have worked well for many people and even healed some of various conditions. I will continue to eat the way that makes me feel good. For now, this is gluten free, grain free, dairy free and with plenty of good fats and protein.

Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear

I’ve been wanting to blog something, but my thoughts have been too jumbled. I’ve had some great experiences over the past few weeks, mainly race experiences. I wrote about one of them, Hell’s Hills 25K trail race. I didn’t write about the next 25k, Brazos Bend,  because although I enjoyed it  and did well overall, it left me injured and pretty discouraged. Actually, I probably had no business running it in the first place because my right leg wasn’t right. It’s so colicky! Always with the IT band and tight hamstrings! What the?? Long story short, I have a slight curvature of the spine that affects my pelvis that affects my leg when I run. But back to the race. My husband and friend decided to join the fun. Hubby did so well at his first ever 10K and first ever trail race and had such a good time that it helped me get through the extremely painful, unable to walk, get me some ice!  post-race period. You can’t tell in this picture how bad I was hurting but I was limping for two days.  My friend did her first ever trail 25K in 2:12, not too shabby! She’s awesome like that. Oh, by the way, that’s not a boo-boo on my hubby’s right leg, its a huge scar from many surgeries. So I think it’s extra special that he is out there running. 


My buddy found me some ice and here I am smiling through the pain. I have to say this race left the three of us with mostly good memories and we all talked about it for a week! We will do it again next year, maybe a longer distance. This park, Brazos Bend State Park was very nice and also full of wildlife and birds. Alligators everywhere! Weather was nice, overcast and not too hot. My biggest complaint was a long section of trail that had been used by horses and was difficult to navigate due to the hoof prints.


So , anyway, everyone said, okay the race is over, now rest and recover. I was attempting to do that when I hurt my back swinging a light kettlebell which is evidently a common way to injure your lower back. Never again! This threw me for a loop emotionally. First my leg, now my back?! I have three marathons to run in the Fall and Winter!  It hurt bad enough to scare me into not running. I lasted about 5 days. It started to feel less painful, so I just had to try it and I was able to run! Thank you God! This was awesome. My life was not over. I would not have to resort to other means to stay sane.

But during those 5 days without running, I did a lot of thinking. Not the happy kind. I pondered whether running is too important to me. I asked myself if it was an idol in my life competing with God for my worship. Did I spend too much time running and not enough with my family? Answers were not clear but that’s a good thing sometimes. I didn’t get a resounding, yes, running is your idol! But I did see that I was spending more time with my kids since I wasn’t running. This week alone I have taken my sons for three casual nature walks! I’ve also spent more time on homeschooling and housework and catching up around the house on tasks in the past couple weeks of rest and recovery. So maybe God knocked me down so I could realign my priorities? Running is still a priority but I have enjoyed the extra time. My family probably would like it if I was more focused on them.  This will be a light training month anyway because I will start training for my October marathon in June. Today I was able to run 3 road miles at 8:50 average pace. I feel good about that since I have only run a few times in the past couple of weeks. I have ridden my bike several times and I plan to keep that up as cross-training is good for me and I like it!

Next race will be a 5k road race. Hoping for a PR if I can get enough running in by then. My current PR is 27:40. I am pretty sure I can beat that at least by a few seconds or maybe even more…as long as nothing else happens!

Happy Running, God bless you and Yall come back now, ya hear!


Pets vs People?

Once again I have read a horror story of a runner being attacked while running by a dog in someone’s yard while the owner was there and did nothing. The runner knew what to do and took an offensive posture and kicked and screamed at the lunging dog until finally the owner called the dog. No apology from the owner. This is absolutely ridiculous. However I can tell you that it happens regularly to runners and cyclists. And NOTHING is done to punish the irresponsible pet owner. This has also happened to me on my own street and I no longer feel safe to run past a certain point due to those dogs. I was told by a police officer that there was nothing they could do if the dog chases me and barks at me, only if I am actually injured. And if I choose to take action myself, I could get in trouble. In some states and cities there may be more restrictive laws and consequences but based on the stories in my running groups, there are plenty of places where there are not.

Here is the meat of this little tirade. EVERY time someone posts a story about being attacked, MANY people jump to defend the dog as I’m sure some of my readers will want to do now. I don’t really care about ‘judging’ a dog unfairly as I do not consider them to have the mental ability to know that they have been the victim of prejudice. My concern is that these dog defenders have very little to say about the rights of the VICTIM. We now live in a world where animals have become more important than humans. You can abuse, rape,molest, abort humans, but don’t harm a dog or else!! People are choosing more and more to have so called ‘fur babies’ than human babies. Something is wrong with this picture. If it was just a small subset of people doing this, and there has always been a small subset like that, I would not be worried. But I am worried about so many people saying things like they love their dog more than people, etc. This is just one result of the increasingly isolated lives people consider to be normal. Humans are meant to interact with other humans, even if they are introverts. People need people as the song goes. The more that people attach to animals while neglecting to seek fulfilling human relationships, the less they value human needs, feelings and life. It’s really weird! I do have my theories on what is causing this situation and there are many factors. Do I think that things will improve any time soon? Sadly, I don’t . I see it getting worse as fewer people seek out  marriage, children and even friendships. Everything is temporary, disposable and replaceable, even human life.

Dog kills runner? Too bad. On to the next story.