Monday, December 15, 2014

Race Log: 2014 Dallas Marathon Relay

The 2014 Dallas Marathon Relay was an awesome experience! Julie, Julie, Rachel and I headed downtown on Saturday, checked into the Omni, went to the expo to get our race packet and some great deals on other running gear (like my $160 shoes for $58!), ate at The Common Table and had Pokey-Os for dessert, then went back to the hotel for a good night of sleep.

We could see the Start line and all the activity going on for the race from our hotel window! We got ready, prayed, met Brian in the lobby and dropped Julie off at the start line. There was a lot of driving and walking to and from each exchange point, but that meant we could all be together all morning. There were a couple close calls, like Rachel making it to our exchange point about one minute before I arrived! They almost texted me to tell me to slow down ; ) Julie ran 4.25, I ran 6.4, Rachel ran 4.75, Julie B ran 5.3 and Amber finished us off in the pouring rain!

At Mile 21 Rachel and I helped two separate guys who had debilitating leg cramps. We got them water and gu, encouraged them, and helped get them walking again. The first guy told us he thought he was finished and almost had a car drive him to the end. We ended up seeing him at the finish line - the highlight of the day for sure! He saw us and said "My two angels!" We were so proud of him for finishing!

Though it was really fun to accomplish this together, I think I would run the half marathon myself next time instead of the relay. It was just a little too hectic when it was all said and done. But our team finished in 4:00:37 and placed 84th out of 338 relay teams. Not too shabby! We even got two medals, one from this year and the one we would have gotten last year if the race hadn't been iced out. Extra bling is always fun : ) Next relay with these girls is the Rock and Roll in March - can't wait!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Race Log: Deck the Trails 3 Miler

Deck the Trails is quickly becoming a tradition for our family. This year was the first time that Owen and Eli participated too and they loved it! I had taken them for a few training runs and knew they were capable of the distance, so I took Owen and Charlie took Eli and we were off! The course is a 3 mile trail run around soccer fields, baseball fields and through the woods in Coppell. It was a perfect morning for a run in December - shorts and long sleeves were perfect. Eli finished in 31:30 and Owen finished in 31:40, which was 12th and 13th place in their age group out of 24 kids. Their times actually beat the first place kid from last years race, so that shows how much more competitive it was this year! My mom and dad happened to be visiting too, so that made their first race extra special. They had so much fun and are already asking about when they can run their next race : )

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Race Log: That Dam Half

Race day has come and gone and I survived!

Rachel picked me up around 6:30 and we were at the start line by 7:15. I took ibuprofen and Imodium, at my Kix and vanilla stingers waffle, stretched out a little, took some pictures, found Charlie and the boys, lined up and took off.

My first mile was around an 8:30, which was too fast, but I felt pretty good. The first 1.5 miles were through the park, then we ran up Mill street and entered The Dam. It was 5 miles straight out, then turn around and run 5 miles straight back. The race finished with the same 1.5 miles through the park and back to the finish line.

My goal going into the race was to finish between 2:00-2:05, though I would have been ecstatic to finish in less than 2 hours. My final time was 2:04:09, 8/42 in my age group, 57/350 women and 178/618 overall. I beat the course, the foremost goal of the day.

Something happened during the race that I'd never experienced before. I made the mistake of thinking that the gu I ate on my training runs didn't really make that big of a difference so I didn't take any with me for the race. I had five chomps with me, but for some ridiculous reason I only ate one of them and by the time I ate it, it was already too late. My calves were cramping and my toes were tingling... definitely dehydrated. I ran with my water bottle but ran through the Gatorade stops without taking any. I honestly don't know what I was thinking! I hit a wall unlike I've ever experienced on any run ever and all of a sudden my finish time didn't matter at all - I just wanted to finish. Around mile 10 I almost quit. Like, for real. I considered texting Charlie and telling him that I quit. Remembering Owen and Eli running 3 and 2 miles on Friday night is the only thing that kept me moving forward. I almost cried at mile 12.8 because I couldn't see the finish line. I crossed the line, got my medal and promptly laid down on the ground because I was losing control of my muscles. Dehydrated for sure.

In the end, I walked 7 separate times for a total of about 5-5.5 minutes. I know that I could have finished in less than 2 hours, but that doesn't take away from my feeling of accomplishment, especially since I kept going when I wanted to badly to stop.

Some things I learned:

  • FUEL!! Fuel before I think I need to and take the sports drinks instead of just water
  • Bring something that I actually want to eat after the race. They had food, but it was cold pizza and chicken strips, which was the very last thing I could have stomached that morning
  • It was a great idea to have more than one goal/focus for the race. If I would have just had a rigid '2 hour' goal then I would have felt so discouraged after I realized that I wasn't going to make it. Having a goal of finishing was a great place to start!
  • Train my brain more for the course. I knew this was an out-and-back scenic race but I did most of my training runs through neighborhoods with tons of turns and things to look at and distract me. I wasn't ready for the boredom of running straight for that long.
  • Organize my play list before the race! I downloaded all kinds of new songs just for that morning but didn't delete old ones so I hardly got to listen to any of them : ( 
  • Reminding myself to run easy, light and smooth helped to distract me from the distance
  • Focus on one mile at a time, not the whole remainder
I was asked several times after the race if I would run another one and my immediate thought was NO! but even by the next day I knew I would run another one. If for nothing more than wanting to put my theories to the test about fueling and training. The goal for the next race is to finish, not walk, and hopefully complete it in less than two hours. Now I just have to find the right race!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Summary: Half Marathon Training!

I can hardly believe that my race is in FIVE days! I have worked hard for the last 9.5 weeks and it's almost time to see the payoff. My good friend Janice helped me to create my training plan back in July and it's been so helpful to keep me on track, motivate me, push me and hold me accountable. I remember how daunting the 12 miler at the end of the schedule looked, but honestly, by the time I got there I was ready for it! Here's my breakdown...

Mondays: Upper body (X3 Eccentric Upper usually)
Tuesdays: Speed, usually around 3 miles, or a faster than normal pace 3 miler
Wednesdays: X3 Yoga
Thursdays: Between 3-4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturdays: Long runs ranging from 7-12 miles with taper weeks built in
Sundays: Cross training, almost always biking or X3 Dynamix

Here's my mental state of my long miles, for the sake of reflecting : )

Week 1, 7 miles: Started off great but hit a wall around mile 5. Hips really hurt and the heat was a beat down. Felt like I was hit by a truck the rest of the day : ( Pace: 9:21
Week 2, 8 miles: Tried interval running. Run for 4 minutes, walk for 1. Felt great during because I knew that the pain was temporary and it left me feeling energized instead of exhausted for the rest of the day. Pace: 9:55
Week 3, 6 miles: Started running alone, which meant I wouldn't have someone to complain to. It worked! I ran the whole 6. Pace: 9:15
Week 4, 9 miles: Ran five miles to the park and felt really good the whole time. Stopped when I met up with my friend, ate a gu and never rebounded for the remaining four miles. Stopped for a total of more than 15 minutes to catch my breath, assess a blister (got a terrible one on my toe around mile six) and to generally complain. Terrible run. Felt like I wasn't cut out for long distances. Mentally beat. I felt like I just needed one good run to overcome these negative feelings. Running pace: 9:35, but actually much slower with all the stopping
Week 5, 10 miles: I HAVE ARRIVED! It was less than 60 degrees, I ran alone, I stopped for a minute to eat my gu and kept going. Pace: 9:32. Yes!
Week 6, 8 miles: It's amazing how 8 miles felt like a break when it felt like such an achievement only a few weeks ago. I used the virtual pacer on my watch for the first time and set it for 9:25, thinking that would be an improvement from last week's pace. Pace: 9:03!! What!? Maybe I'm fast afterall ; )
Week 7, 11 miles: What happens to my pace when I add 3 more miles? I set my pacer for 9:15 and set off. Pace: 9:05! I brought home donuts to celebrate : )
Week 8, 12.1 miles: I had to squeeze this run in on a Friday because Charlie competed in a triathlon this weekend. Pace: 9:11. I stopped twice to give myself a pep talk to keep going between miles 8-10, but my energy picked up again for the last two miles. Only need to add on one more mile and I'm there!!
Week 9, 7 miles: I was only supposed to run 6 but I felt awesome, the weather was perfect and I was with a buddy, so I kept going. Pace: 8:48!!! That was the perfect long run to end on before my race. I'm excited, I'm confident and I can't wait for Sunday! I think my quick pace had to do with running at the mostly flat park compared to the very hilly course I had run every week for training. The race is along a dam and will be all flat - hoping that's a great sign for things to come!

Week 10, 13.1 miles... stay tuned ; )

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Born to Run

... A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I just finished this book by Christopher McDougall and loved it! Inspirational, informational and interesting... a great combination! Before I return it to the library I want to summarize the quotes I liked best from the text.

  • 'We've got a motto here - you're tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.'
  • 'Think easy, light, smooth, and fast. You start with easy, because if that's all you get, that's not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don't give a sh*t how high the hill is or how far you've got to go. When you've practiced tat so long that you forget you're practicing, you work on making it smoooooth. You won't have to worry about the last one - you get those three, and you'll be fast.'
  • 'Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.'
  • 'Strictly by accident, Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner's arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you're not afraid of it anymore.'
and my personal favorite:
  • 'Just beat the course. No one else. Just the course.'
With only five weeks to go until my very first half marathon, these quotes and tips were much appreciated. Just one foot in front of the other!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Catching Up

Ugh. Did I really let a 2nd, 4th and 6th birthday pass without so much as a blog post?! I'm not even sure the best way to catch up, especially since so many things have changed since each birthday, but here goes nothing!

Little Dilly Boy is incredibly amazing. He is probably the most adored brother of the bunch and best buds with Garrett. He is obsessed with Thomas the train and Curious George and wants to do just about everything on his own. His new favorite saying is 'No, I do dat!' He potty trained in less than a week, he loves to jump off the steps and into the pool, he loves to color, he calls dumdums 'poppops' and he is still a champion sleeper. His first day with all the boys at school led him to ask 'Where my bubbers go?' all day long. He uses no less than five utensils for every meal, loves to give hugs, loves to chase the boys all around the couch and makes a funny eye-roll face that cracks all the boys up. Two is a big year for this little fellow!

Garebear is a lover. He's sensitive and kind, giving and gentle. He loves to help and share and spend quality time with us. He's an attention seeker, highly dramatic, a giggler and will do anything that Owen and Eli ask him to do. When you ask him to do something or share something he'll respond 'Sore Mom, sore thing!' His teacher told me today that he makes her want to have another little boy because he's so sweet and kind. He has recently mastered his 's blends' that he couldn't say even a month ago. He loves school and learning, I suspect because he loves one-on-one time with me and having his own thing apart from the boys. He is in love with Dylan and 'pets' him all day long; hugging him, touching his cheeks, putting his arm around him, including him in his games and pulling all the blankets and pillows off our bed to jump into. How is this little blue eyed boy FOUR already!?

These boys that turned us into parents six years ago are turning into little men more and more every day. They are so smart, remember the smallest details about things, are thick as thieves together, 'forget' to meet other friends at Grapevine Faith so they can stick together, are obsessed with art, books, dinosaurs, ocean animals and legos, stay up way to late talking and playing together in their rooms, can't sit still for any meal, both lost the same bottom tooth within two weeks of each other and love Wild Kratts. Eli can be strong willed, especially when it comes to school and doing the nasal rinse that they have to do for allergies. Owen is more laid back in a lot of ways but also the more competitive of the two. It's hard to believe that after six years I can still basically lump them into the same paragraph because of how similar they are in their interests, personalities and milestones. We're so thankful that they are each other's best friend and love watching their relationship strength day by day. These six years have been a wild ride!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Race Log: Rock n' Roll Half Marathon Relay

The Rock n Roll is a half marathon series that races in cities all over the country. Every mile or so there's a band stage playing cover songs and the relay stick is a drum stick. I mean, it's just a cool race! Three of my running buddies and I signed up to run the relay half, a split of 7 miles/6.1 miles. Since this race was a Rock and Roll theme we decided to have some fun with it and bought Wonder Woman socks (with capes!) and made matching tutus. Despite our best efforts we couldn't get Brz to dress up with us, but we still had a blast. We left for downtown around 3pm the day before the race, checked into our hotel (bonus!), went to the expo, then to Meddlesome Moth for dinner and Pokey-Os for dessert. The dinner was amazing - split pea guac, moth balls (cheese and pasta in a creamy pesto sauce), chopped crab and shrimp salad, ribs and potato salad, shrimp and grits and ahi tuna with avocado and jalapenos. Delicious!! Dessert was make your own ice cream sandwiches (coconut chocolate chip with vanilla!). We headed back to the hotel to just relax and hang out, then hit the sack early for a 6:15 wake up.

The morning met us with 18mph winds and 48 degrees. Thankfully our hotel was just outside the starting line so Julie and I walked to the corrals while Julie and Rachel rode the Dart to the exchange point. We had about 30 minutes to kill before the first wave started but then we were off and running. We set a pace of 9 min/mile but hit closer to 8:30 for the first two miles. Something felt off for me but I pushed through for about another mile and a half before I told Julie to keep going and I walked for a second. I think the wind was getting to me mentally. It was also pretty hilly and cold. After walking for about 20 seconds I ran to the 4 mile water stop, drank a couple sips and kept going. I ran the rest of it and felt pretty good overall. My goal was to run the 7.1 with a 9:00 pace and I came in at 8:58/mile. I tagged off Rachel and off she went. The other girls all had amazing runs with paces between 8:45-8:55... unreal times! When we checked the results later we found out that out of 134 girls relay teams, the Unruly Julies came in third and The Foxy Ladies came in ninth!! We really did ROCK the Rock and Roll!! 

Julie and I took the dart to the finish, though we missed both of the girls crossing the finish line. Then we carted our four freezing heinies back to the hotel to change and pack up, then eat a well deserved breakfast at OHOP. I loved that this race was more of a girls trip than just a race. These are my peeps, and it was great to get away together!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Race Log: Dash Down Greenville 5K

This race was so fun! Leah was in town for a visit so we registered for this race together and dressed up like all the other crazies. It was supposed to rain that morning but, thankfully, it didn't. Leah didn't need another hurdle to overcome! The course was pretty flat with some good downhills and only 1-2 short uphills. It seemed like most people dressed up or were at least decked out in green. It was St. Paddy's Day weekend, afterall. I was so proud of Leah for finishing the race (and only breaking down crying once) and hope that she'll catch the 'race bug' like I did! I would definitely run this race again next year - if I put my PR time into the results I would have placed in the top 10 in my age group!