Monday, January 31

Chevron Houston (half) Marathon Recap:

The Morning:

I woke up at 4am because I wanted time to shower, calm my nerves and warm up my muscles. I know, shower before a race??? I wanted to make sure my body was good and awake. Which really wasn't necessary since I had a restless sleep. I began my morning ritual as any other morning before a training run except I had some serious intestinal issues. I'm not sure if it was nerves but I knew this problem spelled disaster for my race if I didn't rehydrate. The temperature outside was a balmy 64 degrees with 80% humidity. Both my husband and I were pretty concerned about me getting dehydrated because of the severity of my bathroom issue. It was at this point I made the decision I was going to need to stop at most of the hydration station on the race course. I knew they would be segmented every 1.5 miles. I also knew this would affect my time but between the humidity and a serious intestinal case I would be in trouble. We got the kiddos up and left the house about 5:15ish. I had packed a bag (forgot to tell my husband that's where the camera was)of goodies and drinks for them the night before so heading out the door went very smooth. My husband is the greatest navigator and managed to secure a parking spot no more than 2 blocks from the convention center. The convention center was a buzz of anticipation and port-o-potties=) I made another quick stop to the bathroom and headed to the start line.

The Starting Line:

I was not too thrilled about the marathons suggestion to line up at 6:15 knowing that meant I would be STANDING in line for almost an hour before my race. Who practices for that?!?! Standing shoulder to shoulder with people an hour before you actually start running??? Fortunately this did allow me to get really close to the start so I knew the time on my watch was going to be close to my actual chip time. God provided a really chatty lady for me to talk to and before long another joined in on our conversation. We talked about everything and the hour passed quickly. The cannon went off and I started my watch when my foot hit the pad.

The Course: The rain had started before the race so the roads had a pretty slick feel. I saw one guy wipe our pretty bad. I was pacing myself pretty conservatively because of the roads and hills that I knew were over the next 5 miles. The first hill was less than a half mile into the course and seemed to go on forever. At the first hydration station I grabbed a cup from a friendly volunteer and kept on running. I don't like to stop and drink, too hard to get going again. The second water station was a different story. Being in the second wave of runners the first wave had completely wiped out the station. YES! there was nothing to drink not a single cup on the table! After a few minutes of looking I was handed a cup while this sweet slightly panicked volunteer filled it with Gatorade. This was the scenario that played out over the next 3-4 hydration stations. This really affected my time. Around mile 5 I saw my family. Oh what joy this brought me! They had made such effort to get out there and stood in the rain to cheer me on. I stopped hugged and kissed each of them. From mile 5 I just tried to stay focused and not trip or slip over something. Thankfully throughout the remainder of the race most of the water stations were full and I was able to pick up a couple of cups each round. The Chevron Houston Marathon is the largest race the city puts on and there were an estimated 18,000 runners that day. A race this large means I was never alone. I was constantly running alongside a big group and the crowd support was amazing. It was not difficult to pat someone on the shoulder as you passed and offer a word of support or high five spectators, all of which I did. I knew I was not going to achieve some great time, I'm not there in my training nor was this race about that. To my surprise the heat and humidity didn't bother me that much and the slight drizzle kept me feeling good I never felt overheated. My sweet family managed to make another appearance around mile 9. Again I stopped and fueled up on hugs and kisses. When I took off after seeing them I looked down and I was clocking a 7 min pace!!! Ha! I had to cool the jets and get back into a zone. By mile 10 I knew I could finish this race. I had run a smart conservative race up to this point and I was happy. The last 3 miles were really hard, harder than I thought they would be. As I turned into the downtown area the wind had a tunnel affect and it was against me. I saw a lot of people walking and for a few minutes I though I was going to have to stop. I saw the 12 mile marker flag ahead and that gave me some hope until I looked down at my watch and it was already showing 12 miles! That messed with my head a little but I just kept going. There was one last hill and it was pretty BRUTAL. When I made the final turn and saw the finish line the tears just started flowing. I had done it! all the emotions of the past, the heartaches, the losses, were now symbolically behind me as I was seeing the finish line up ahead. Even now the tears flow... I didn't know my husband was at the finish line and could see me crying. He told me later he was choking back tears himself knowing what this race symbolized in my life. I crossed the finish line at 2:27. My Garmin show my distance was 13.27. I'm sure the course is accurate, I'm kind of puzzled about that though.

Post Race:
After crossing the finish line I saw my family right away. I gave my husband a big thank you and kiss for being such an amazing husband, spectator and supporter. I would not have made it through this race without his love and support of my running and training! The kids had big smiles and wonderful attitudes considering they had been hanging out in various circumstances for hours. I feel so loved. Kudos go to the Chevron Houston Marathon organization for putting on a well organized race and for giving the average runner like myself a very special feeling. On the way home we picked up some eats at Chipotle while I rehashed the entire 13 miles to my husband who just kept telling me how proud he was of me. I called my folks and got to talk to my brother also. I have an amazing supportive family. And to those of you who have offered your prayers, support and encouragement thank you, thank you, thank you – a MILLION TIMES – for all of your support. Finally I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior (It sounds like I'm receiving some kind of award-dorky, I know-lol) but seriously without Him I am nothing. It is by His mercy and grace that I have a race to run at all. I owe Him my life and I am so grateful for the race He gives me to run everyday. I offer Him my every breath in praise for His greatness and faithfulness.

The Road Ahead:

I'm already registered for the Dallas Rock-n-Roll half on March 27th. I hope to begin doing some hill work and loose that stubborn 20lbs before then. Ultimately my goal is to run a half in under 2 hrs. Dallas RnR is another big race, so it will be interesting to see how much time I can shave off. I am looking at a smaller half marathon in May as a potential race to see some dramatic time improvements. I'm familiar with the area as it is in Oklahoma as well as its a very small race. Until then I am keeping my eyes on the real prize which is Christ Jesus and running His race to win!

Friday, January 28

It's Official!

Picked up my bib at the Expo today. It was a lot of fun and I got a big bag of goodies. I stuffed my bag full of freebies! I also got a quick neck and back massage that was fantastic! The rain is definitely the talk of this race. We will just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Looking forward to Sunday!

Picked this up for my pup at the Expo. Since he runs with me most days he deserves an award too. What a handsome boy=)

Thursday, January 27

Singing In The Rain

This week has been crazy trying to figure out what I'm wearing on race day. Being new to Houston I have not had much experience with the up and down weather here. I have changed my out fit three times. I went from full length tights, to Capri's and now I have settled on a running skirt. I'm not too thrilled about showing my untanned old lady legs, but I will roast in anything more. What I'm really more concerned about is the 60% chance of rain in the forecast for Sundays race. I'm not afraid of a little rain, I'm not that much of a girly girl. As a matter of fact I ran Monday 5 miles in the pouring ran. I wore a hat on Mondays run but it was completely soaked through as well as the thin jacket I put on. I have nothing water proof to wear and it would probably be too hot if I did. Any suggestions on things you have tried with running in the rain would be appreciate?

Here's a preview of my something new for the jewelry box. I just hope I don't slobber all over who ever puts it around my neck as I choke back tears of victory.

In other news: thanks to a very sweet friends advice I have been in a more serious taper mode and have started carb loading. To my surprise I have been full of energy. Here was my Facebook status from this morning:
All this carb loading has me bouncing off the walls, but I am enjoying it a lot, really, I am, no I'm not hyper, just happy, oh I think I might dance, no wait I'm tapering no dancing, was that a squirrel, I think I need another pancake!!!

We are headed to the Expo on Friday I can't wait! Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, January 25

A Pain in The...

Toe!!! Since my 13 miler 2 weekends ago I have had lingering toe pain. During that run I got cramps in the middle toes of both feet. I tried to wiggle my toes while running to see if that would help but it only caused more pain. After the run I had some mild pain for a few days in my toes but it has since subside completely in my right foot but not my left. I have a single toe on my left foot that is tender to the touch. It is not swollen, blistered or discolored just tender and I can feel the tenderness when I run. I have no other toe pain except for the 1 toe. Does any one have ideas what could be causing this??? Should I consider wrapping the toe for the race??? I just so much want to avoid going through that pain again. HELP!!!

Sunday, January 23

Flat and Fast; It's All Relative?

We drove the half marathon course after church today and I would not call it flat! The first 5 miles are rolling. I had heard there were some "hills" but there were more than I thought! I know in comparison to some races with real hills its all relative, but this course is going to be a challenge... I now know that my goals and ideas about this race are going to be very different!
On a positive note the last 4 miles are on flat open streets. The finish line area looks like it will be a really neat place. I am glad we drove the course today as it has given me some real clear ideas of what to watch for and how to adjust my goals.

Saturday, January 22

Running: School Is In Session

Today was my last long run before the half next Sunday, I got in 9 miles. After two rest days in a row I could tell a huge difference in my energy and legs. Earlier in the week the thought of running nearly brought me to tears. I don't remember a time ever feeling like that. It was clear my body was saying REST! On the way to the park this morning I prayed and ask God to allow the run today to be a positive experience. Last weekends 13 miler was just so hard, I really needed a confidence booster. As soon as I arrived at the trail I turned on my Garmin and it flashed low battery, sure enough within 1 mile it went out. Then I was having some ipod issues and the fancy side pocket of my new tights made it a bit complicated to deal with. Also I was wearing my new hydration belt that I was having to fidget with trying to find the right spot on my hips. To top it all off I had tied my shoes to tight and had to stop to readjust. Within the first 3 miles I was starting to scold myself for my many rookie type mistakes. But you know what I decided instead of mentally beating myself up I really needed to check myself and attitude. Somewhere this week it all started becoming about my time and pace. As I grew more fatigued this week my pace slowed and my frustration built. Today I had a chance to regroup my mind. The fact that my watch battery died prevented me from obsessing about my pace. I had to just run with what felt natural...I had to let go of all the expectations...I had to be taught again its not about time or distance or any of those things. Its about learning... growing... thriving. By the end of the run my gratitude for just being able to get out there, put in the miles, enjoy God creation, learn to push through pain, overcome rookie mistakes and to allow myself to just be taught through the experience was all back in place. Running is a school and I am the student. I am so thankful for what running teaches me.

Thursday, January 20

Taper Trauma

My running schedule this week has been pretty tough. First because I have had very low energy and secondly my left calf/shin/hip area has been super tight. My plan was to begin to taper on Saturday and not a day before. I was scheduled to do a middle distance run of 8 miles yesterday but between running at an odd time of day for me the fact it was 64 degrees when I left wearing a long sleeve shirt and tights I stopped at 6 miles. I wouldn't be so concerned if my last 13 mile run had been a good one but it was suffering the whole way. This has not made me feel very good about my ability for the race. I know I have been pushing the mileage since getting back into running in October. I have gone from about 15-20 miles a week to almost 40 miles a week in 3 months. I expect to be sore and stiff right now but I think what worries me the most is my erratic pace. I have always been able to find that "cruise" zone and hang there but I have not found it yet. I am still wrestling with wanting to have a time goal but its absolutely nuts for me to even go there. My training pace has been so slow this week. The other day I watched a short video clip by Ryan Hall about what he does the morning of a race and I knew what he was going to say. Yep, he doesn't do anything different on race morning than what he does every morning for his training run. I know that's what is missing for me because I have had such a short time of training I feel like I'm still learning what is working. You know Ryan never mentioned being concerned with what he was wearing on race day! Doesn't he know how important looking cute on race day can affect your performance-such a guy thing=) He is suppose to race the Houston Chevron (half) Marathon on Saturday. If I see him at the expo I plan to let him know that these things are also important considerations-lol

Well, sorry to make you listening to my rambling. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Tuesday, January 18

The bee that hath honey in her mouth hath a sting in her tail.

"A study at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory in the USA found that honey may be one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to ingest just prior to exercise since it's easily digested and releases energy at a steady rate. Another study at the same university revealed that the sweet stuff significantly improved the time-trial performances of cyclists and significantly increased their power output.
Try it eat honey five minutes before a run for a steady supply of energy, or during races longer than 10K for a performance-boosting carb hit."
My original plan was to try some honey on my oatmeal or yogurt in the morning but I kept forgetting to try it. A few days ago I remembered to try this minutes before heading out the door for a run. So I thought I will just take a spoonful of it right now, what can it hurt. I got a regular size teaspoon out of the silverware drawer and filled it to the edges with honey. I had bought some locally grown honey that had been sitting in my pantry. First let me just say do not try this at home. I about gaged as the thick honey seemed to expand in my mouth. After a few moments of telling myself that I paid far too much money for this honey to spit it out I managed to choke it down. Not sure how I was going to react to this sugar boost I did the next wise thing and immediately headed out the door for a run. I will tell you I did feel more energy, I'm not sure if it wasn't from the rush of trying not to heav-up the honey or if I'm the perfect candidate for those drug test where they give some of the participants a placebo but I was thinking hmmmm this really has given me a boost. I felt good through the whole run, so interesting test.

I would love to know if you use honey or have tried it and what you thought?

The above title is a quote by John Lyly

Saturday, January 15

"Its Just Not Pretty"

That's what we say in our house when our dogs show signs of dominating one another (that's putting it nicely). Today's run well it just wasn't pretty. And not for the same reason-ahem! It was just a really hard run today. I felt on empty when I started and about mile 9 I was ready for it to be over. My pace was all over the place from 7:58-11 minute miles, just crazy. I got really bad cramps in my middle toes on both feet which stayed through the last 2 miles. I tried to wiggle them but it was pretty excruciating. I just had no energy. I manage to do 13 miles but it was one of the hardest runs I have done. I know this is good training, teaching my mind to push through pain and fatigue, but it wasn't fun. I am going to start tapering next Saturday and hope that race day will be a better experience. Happy its over and happy I got in my goal.

Friday, January 14


I was in the habit of not eating before a run, but since reducing my total overall calories for the day I thought it would be wise to fuel before a run. Below is my 250 calorie pre-run fuel.

1/2 c Greek yogurt
(Fage is the best IMO)
1/4 c Bob's Red Mill granola
15 fresh pitted cherries.
This article calls cherries a "Super Fruit" for their inflammation and antioxidant property's. Here's a small exert; A recent study from the University of Michigan reveals new evidence linking cherries to heart health benefits. The study found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered total weight, body fat (especially the important “belly” fat), inflammation and cholesterol-all risk factors associated with heart disease.
All I know is it is Parfait Perfection!

Wednesday, January 12

Wednesday Weigh In

I am happy to say I have dropped 2 lbs in the last week. Praise God! It feels so good to be seeing this weight come off. I really struggled with the idea of dieting while trying to build a solid training program, but so far it seems I am keeping a good balance of calorie reduction and maintaining energy for training. It can be done! It will be interesting to see how next month goes when I begin doing some hill work. I have already begun to push the pace a little harder on my weekly runs but hope that once the pounds start dropping the pace will get even better.

My running schedule for this week:

Mon. 6 Miles (done)

Tues. 6 Miles (done)

Wens. 8 Miles (done)

Thur. 6 miles (done)

Fri. Rest

Sat. 13-14 Miles

Monday, January 10

Hello Lovahhhh!

My new discovery, LARABAR! I love, love, the flavors, the fact that they are a yummy low calorie snack. Also they are Gluten free and made with ingredients I would eat naturally, such as nuts and dates. You need to try these for sure. And the best part I can get them at my local grocery store, so convenient! And the taste well, hello lovahhh!!!

In other news:

Have you heard about the one night showing of the movie Hood to Coast. I am hoping to go. I remember when Spirit of the Marathon came out for one night. The theater was filled with runners. It was such a fun atmosphere kind of like a race and date night rolled into one. Below is the movie trailer.

Hood To Coast Full-Length Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

Hope you all have a blessed week.

Saturday, January 8

12 MILES!!!!!!

This song blasted on my ipod the last mile and I just cried. When I hit the stop button on my Garmin I thew my hands in the air in triumph. The people on the trail must have thought I lost my mind but I didn't care these were victory miles! My time was slow 2:10 but its not about that, not now anyway. I am caught up in the momentum of His love!!!

Thursday, January 6

I Got Me A Six Pack!!!!

This belt is so making my next wish list! This can also double as a new hydration belt right.

Okay enough of the funny stuff.

This DVD is really what I want to talk about. I was going to list my top 6 thoughts about the dvd to be kind of cutesy with my post, but I'm just too blame tired so read through the list twice okay.

1. I really think this woman is on drugs! a single 3-10lb. dumbbell is required and used somewhat like a weapon in a self defense class.

2. I should have known with names like, mountain climbers, chops, planks, rotations, did I mention planks, this dvd was going to make me WANT to take drugs.

3. Okay enough of the funny stuff. It had a lot more cardio/tone element to it than what I was expecting. Jillian says about the program that, "it burns overall body fat while also conditioning your core"

I don't think I will have 6-pack abs in 6 weeks because a lot of that is accomplished through diet. I will say you do several different versions of the plank so you use arms a lot. If you want a good Ab workout that's fast pace and tough then try the DVD.

Tuesday, January 4


I am watching the countdown clock for the Chevron Houston (half) Marathon tick away and honestly I am becoming a little nervous. First, this will be my first race since 2006. That race was a difficult one, a 15k and I was under-trained. Oh, I finished but it wasn't pretty. I struggled the whole way. Secondly, in all my years of racing my primary goal was to better my time from the previous race. These are typical expectations of most runners. I have experienced the joy of crossing the finish line with a personal best. But I also understand the disappointment of these unaccomplished expectations. Many factors come into play during a race and sometimes it just becomes about finishing. Expectations can be frustrated when you haven't trained properly and/or unplanned conditions are such that work against these hopes and ideas. Webster defines expectations as:

1. anticipation of something happening: a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will happen, a mental image of something expected, a standard of conduct or performance expected by or of somebody.

Being confident and having realistic expectations is a fine line. There is a balance between being confident in your training and your expectations. I don't want to have such low expectations that it undermines all my training. Yet at the same time I need to be confident in all the hard work I have put in. I am not a highly competitive person. Often when I pass someone on a training run, I'll offer a kind word of encouragement to them. Silly I know. I really admire the competitive type. Considering my current pace on my training runs, setting a PR is not even on the radar for this race. I tried to run 11 miles on Saturday but my legs just felt empty and I stopped at 10.60. So maybe just finishing the full 13.1 is all the expectation I need to have for now. As I was running my 6 miles yesterday I was thinking how if I really push I might be able to come close to this time goal I have in my head. I am fighting not to have the expectation of a good race time. This is what I really want, a good time. Yet the reality of this expectation proves itself in my training runs to be unrealistic. My hope is that I can bring my expectations into reality while maintaining confidence in all the miles I have put in. So for now I am telling myself to consider these goals for race day;

1. Just enjoy the experience of being back in the excitement and anticipation of a race day event.

2. To use this race as a base to improve on for your next race.

3. To use this race to build my confidence in future races as I push myself beyond what I thought I could. (this one I think is really constructive in learning the balance of expectations and performance)

These three goals/expectations I think will give me a really great race day experience and not find me struggling with dangerous expectations.

So how about you? Are you the competitive type that loves smoking past people? How or what defines your goals or expectations on race day?

Saturday, January 1

2010 Recap:Excuse Me While I Blow My Nose

Okay this is fair warning, turn away if you don't like reading while I boohoo=) I'm going to start off with the emotional and physical side of this past year. As you know the year 2010 for my family was really tough with the cancer diagnosis and death of my beloved father-in-law. But what you might not know is that the previous year's were times of severe testing in my family. I will not go into the details because it is completely unnecessary but I will say that these were very difficult trials that effected my emotional, but more so my physical health. At one point I became so ill from the stress of these trials that I had to stop running completely. I started having anxiety attacks while running. Then, just about the time I was beginning to move forward again my husbands dad was diagnosed with cancer and died this past August. Even though I did some running this past year it was no where near the consistency or level that has been a mainstay most of my life. A lot of damage had been done from the stress and my failure to trust God in it. Running has always been a huge part of my life so for it to be such a struggle was just another aspect of how my life had fallen apart under the weight of these difficulties. Even in my unfaithfulness God was faithful through the years, but my health, weight and emotions had suffered. God brought me through it and taught me so much about my utter need for Him. Unexpectedly, our move to Houston has been like entering the promised land! God has brought so much healing through the change. As a result, my running has been getting back on track like it had been in the past. So, (deep breath here) to be able to be training for a half marathon after years of just struggling to find my way down the running trail has been a true victory! So here I sit typing with tired legs from a 10 mile run today yet with renewed strength in the path the Lord has us on. For me it has been more than just physical miles it has been triumph. And only by His grace! He is the One who underwrites my battles and through Him I overwhelmingly conquer. To Him alone belongs the victory!

So this leads me to where I am physically and what my short term goals are. First, the past few years and lack of consistent running have aided me in packing on some weight, sigh...I need to loose about 15-okay more like 20lbs. I am at a weight that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. A lot of what I have read about running to loose weight is not very promising. I know that I HAVE to loose this weight especially if I'm going to survive training in Houston's humidity. My plan is to view food as fuel, and to eat around my runs keeping myself fueled enough to continue working on my running goals. I am a relatively healthy eater, but I can't afford to feed any of my vices if I want to get this weight off. It is not an issue of vanity, it really is the last thing I see that is a painful reminder of a time of great failure in my life and I want victory over this. It remains the last thing to put behind me. I plan to talk about this more in future post's, share some of my eating strategies and may be so brave to post before and after photos. Secondly, and the part that really excites me is the fact that I am actually training for some races this year. I have not raced in a loooong time. Considering the years I have run overall I would like to be much farther along on my training but I need to be realistic and careful. So for now I have 2 goals with my training.

1. To build my base mileage in preparation for running the half-marathon distance.

2. To run relaxed while pushing my pace. (This is not speed work. I'm trying to find my cadence...)

If all goes well with these goals I hope to begin the hill/speed work phase possibly in February. I will see how my weight loss is going and how my legs are holding up. Well my friends there you have it! It has been a tough post to share yet one I hope brings glory to God. As He did in 2010 I know He will do in 2011 and that is to bring meaning, purpose, strength, hope, and grace to my life through the victories and through the failures. He is the reason I run. I think Eric Lidell described it best when he said:

"When I run I feel His pleasure."

I wish you all a blessed New Year.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.