Category Archives: Running/races

Boston, Houston, Chicago. No fear!

What a difference a year makes! About this time last year I was agonizing over the decision to register early for the Chevron Houston Marathon. Even though I had completed one full marathon (26.2 miles) about 4 months earlier, I had not finished feeling strong and it took a long time to recover, so I was scared of doing it again. I was afraid of the physical pain, the recovery period, the months of training, running for hours alone on boring streets, the sheer size of this particular race, the concrete streets. But something told me to go for it, and I clicked REGISTER.

After that came the Boston Marathon and the bombing. I had watched the elites race live and it was so exciting! Then I turned off the TV or computer , I forget. Then my sister called and said excitedly, “Did you hear about the bombing at the Boston Marathon??” I was like, What? NO! I had FRIENDS there! I was freaked out. I turned the TV on and watched the coverage. Just typing this brings back the outrage I felt at that time and the sadness for the dead and injured and the runners who couldn’t finish or were scared and wandering at the finish line. I began trying to get information about my friends and thanked God that they were all okay. However one of them had been near the finish line getting her medal and she was deeply affected by the senseless act, as were many people.

As you may know if you weren’t on the moon at that time, runners were moved by the thousands to gather together to Run for Boston. In most cities and towns people ran one or many miles, bought t-shirts, raised money for those affected by the terrorist acts, and supported each other and the sport of running. Facebook groups were formed, photos posted by the thousands.  During this time, I don’t remember how, I connected with a woman in town that I just barely knew. We decided to meet at a park for the Run For Boston event and do some miles together. Well, a year later and we are still running together and have become great friends. I also made another great friend through her and we call ourselves the BAMRs, Bad Ass Mother Runners. We three began running regularly together during the summer and I became a much more consistent and disciplined runner thanks to having running buddies. We encouraged each other and we all got stronger.

Eventually, one of my two friends and I decided to train for and run the Houston Marathon together. So I was thrilled that I would not be doing those long runs alone as I had feared. We got up early and ran and had long conversations about a stream of subjects. We ran hills, and we did speed work. Along the way another friend in another state decided to fly down and join us for the race. Race day came and we were both slightly injured but we finished and I felt pretty good about it. I did take a little time to recover but not like the first marathon.


Return to the present. Today I got the email stating that I could register early for the January 2015 Houston Marathon. I immediately went to the website and signed up. Then later I got a much anticipated email saying I had been selected in the Chicago Marathon lottery and could now register. I will be signing up. Tonight it occurred to me how much I’ve changed since a year ago. I’m no longer afraid. I KNOW I am a strong, determined, disciplined person. I KNOW a marathon is difficult but that I can do it. I can handle the training and I have learned a few things about it that will help me. For example, I think 3 20 mile training runs is too much. And , I will not do too much speed work during taper.  I KNOW I can run with other people and not be shy. I might even join a group! I’m so thankful for the lessons of the past year and the people who had a part in them. I look forward to what this year of training and racing will teach me.

The Boston marathon is next week. The terrorists couldn’t stop it. Instead, the race will be better than ever and runners more full of love and determination. I will be with them in spirit!



Every Race is a New Adventure

Life goes along routinely for weeks, then one day , you change one thing and from then on, you lose the routine. Same way with training for races. While training for the Houston Chevron Marathon, I had a plan, I followed it with some changes to accommodate other people’s needs and my own body’s aches and pains. But I felt good that I was moving forward with the plan. Since then I have felt a little lost about my goals. I want to reach a certain goal in a 5K, sub 27:00, but I also want to keep my long runs comfortable at a distance of 10 miles so I can run a half anytime I feel like it. So I have to achieve a delicate balance of speed work, long runs, easy runs, strength training, cross training and rest! I know you other runners understand. And then I have three friends I run with that are trying to deal with their lives and keep up their training and I want to run with all of them. Running with my friends makes it so much better! But sometimes I sacrifice a speed or distance goal just to run with someone. Or I might do a trail run which is a great workout and fun, but not fast. So , all this to say, I was not really sure how my last race would turn out.

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Plans had been made for this race, The Biggest Loser Half Austin, but life had other ideas. So what I thought was going to be me and my fast and wonderful friend rocking this race together became me running it alone. I had big doubts!  Could I do it without her speed pulling me along? Was I out of shape from so many easy runs? Was the lack of cross training in the last few weeks going to hurt my time?  Had my cheats on my Paleo diet ruined me ? Darn corn tortillas! So, I went to the race with a big question mark, but also determined to do my best. I read in a book called Second Wind, that the Japanese runners encourage each other with the phrase, “Do your best!”. I keep thinking of that during my race, haha!

How did it go? I know you’re dying to found out, so here is my report.

PR city!! 1:55:56, 5th place in 45-49 age group, unbelievable! God was with me. The weather was perfect. Some other friends showed up. My sister dropped me off at the race so I didn’t have to walk from the parking lot. I had good luck in the portapotty before the race, if you know what I mean. This was a Biggest Loser event. That means it was not very big and there were lots of beginners. That made me feel like an elite. Hehe! I was able to line up in the first corral! So awesome! The first corral was for 10:00 pace, lol. We took off. I was concentrating on not going out too fast so I looked for a person to follow. I found a lady doing a perfect 8:50 pace. I stayed with her for a long time, it really helped. Once she slowed to get water and I waited for her and told her that I wanted her to lead because she was  my pacer. She laughed! She did end up finishing a little ahead of me in the end, but her help was greatly appreciated. I lost her when I slowed to eat my gel and take water. So then I found another runner to pace with. I also just kept the main group of about 8:45 pace runners in sight. There was also a race official in a bright pink shirt on a bicycle that was encouraging me at each mile. After I would catch up to her, she would move on up the road another mile. I started thinking of her as my ‘pink angel’. Thanks , whoever you are!

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I had told myself that even though it wasn’t hot outside, I had to make myself drink water and take a gel at approximately one hour in . I did that . At the half way mark I was feeling good and felt like I could keep up that pace til the end. I did walk briefly  for water breaks but otherwise, I ran the whole thing! My avg pace was 8:51. I had two slower miles while drinking and eating gels. I could go on and on, but I will just say I felt pretty happy at mile 10 when I saw that even if I dropped down to 10:00 pace I would still get a PR and sub 2:00! I was getting tired and I told myself, these last miles are the ones that really count. They show how badly you want that goal time. Don’t poop out now! Push, you’re almost there. Stay focused on form and not tensing up. It’s a huge mental game. If you’re reading this and you’re not a runner, just think of anything hard you’ve had to do that require much determination and perseverance.

So lessons learned . You may be better trained than you think, but be sure to get your speed work days in so you feel confident. Pacers are very helpful! Fueling properly works. I used Salted Caramel Gu and Chocolate Outrage Gu, as well as Endurolytes pre-race, and plain water. I ate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar and half a banana pre-race and water. The day before I ate rice and grilled fish twice. Also chocolate turtle candy, turkey lunch meat, banana, pork jerky, Cherry Larabar, Coconut water, pineapple juice and maybe a few other things. I don’t eat gluten, so no bread. Another lesson, I need to believe in myself more! I discovered I could run fast even without my fast friend beside me. The race itself helped me along. I also made sure to remember my friends and family in prayer along the way and devote my run to those who can’t run. I ran with a thankful heart that my husband and children allow me to enjoy my sport without guilt. I thanked God for the stream of blessings he pours out on me daily.

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I look forward to the next adventure, this weekend! My first 25K Trail race. Very few expectations, other than to have a blast. Will let you know how it goes!