My 5 mile recap and a Labor day Virtual run link up

Happy Labor Day!  I am swimming in recaps and photos from the Labor Day Virtual run, and loving it.  Thanks to all of you who participated! Tomorrow is the last day to get your run in, if you haven’t already.

I am trying to be patient and build my mileage back slowly, so I opted for the 5 miler with a few warm up and cool down miles.  I got up early Saturday and was met with lovely Texas humidity and heat… I don’t think I’ll ever fully adjust to running in the summer months here.

After a slow mile and a half, I pushed my pace for 5 (at what I’m hoping will be my 10-mile race pace in October) and cooled down for another few miles.

3 7:37.4 1.00 7:37
4 7:28.0 1.00 7:28
5 7:31.3 1.00 7:31
6 7:25.0 1.00 7:25
7 7:21.2 1.00 7:22

Either it’s the heat, or I seriously lost some speed this summer, but I was struggling that last mile or two. I loved the challenge to find a little pace again.  I’m ready to start training again!

I stopped at home (dripping wet from the humidity), showered and headed to the gym to teach my spin class.  I can pretend that makes it a double digit running day, right?

This is my intense face. I make them work hard and attempt to look intimidating.  Ha.

We ended the day with a spontaneous trip to the beach, to enjoy the final days of summer.  It started raining on our way there, but settled at a drizzle and we braved the weather in exchange for an empty beach.

If you ran the Labor day Virtual 5 or 10, I’d love to hear about it! Those of you who wrote a recap on your blog can link it up below. Links will be accepted for several more days. Be sure to check out some of your fellow virtual runners links as well!

My first triathlon- recap

My first triathlon is in the books!  Overall, it was a great experience.  A bit more challenging than I expected, but I’m so glad I did it.

I didn’t post goals in advance, as I had no idea what to aim for… but I was hoping for something in this range:

  • 500m Swim: Less than 10 minutes
  • 16.6 mile Bike: 55ish minutes
  • 3.24 mile Run: 23ish minutes
  • Total (with 1 minute transitions): Approx 1 hour, 30 minutes

So here’s the recap:

I was able to carpool with a neighbor, so I got up at 5am and rode in with him and his wife arriving by 6am. After a short walk to the start, so I had about fifteen minutes to set up transition before it closed at 6:30am.  Then we walked 500m along the water to the start.


I was hoping to warm up in the water, but ran out of time as the first wave took off at 6:45am.  My wave left at 7:23am.  We treaded the water for a few minutes until the gun went off.

I’m not sure what happened, (maybe I started too fast?) but suddenly my breaths were coming much too quickly to match my 3-stroke breathing pattern.  I started panicking a bit and decided to flip to my back to float and calm myself down before swimming more.  I had to do this twice before I finally decided to breathe only on one side, after every two strokes, to allow my heart rate to slow down and my breathing to normalize.

Once I finally got in the groove, I felt like I was moving along okay, but I knew I had wasted a lot of time in the water. I now understand how people can have a mini-panic attack in the open swim!

Thankfully, we swam along the shore the whole way, so I always knew where I was.  I was thrilled to see those finish buoys.

The wonderful volunteers pulled me out, and later I confirmed my slow swim- 12:33.

Transition 1: Thanks to all the advice I got in advance, the transitions went pretty well.  I opted out of cycling shoes, as I’m too new to be comfortable getting clipped in.  So I threw on socks and sneakers (love those stretchy laces!), buckled my race bib on, clipped the helmet and grabbed my bike-  T1: 1:10.


My heart was still racing from my swimming experience, so it took me a mile or so to start to feel better and focus on the bike.  I had decided to opt out of a watch and had no idea what pace I was going.  I was passed by a few seriously speedy ladies, but also passed my fair share.

It was a two-loop course, so we got to ride past the spectators half way through.  My husband and Lil were cheering at every transition and snapped these lovely pictures.  It was so nice to hear their voices!

I tried to pick up my pace for the second half, but have no way to prove whether that actually happened.  The loop was a “T” so I slowed down a lot at all four of those corners, but overall was happy with my time.  16.6 miles- 50:41 (19.7 MPH)

Transition 2: All I had to do was run in, drop off the bike and helmet, and run out.  I also took a second to drink water, as I hadn’t worked up the nerve to grab my water bottle on the bike ride.  And I grabbed a few Honey Stinger chews for quick energy.   T2- :43


Ahh, finally- I had made it to my favorite part! I ate two chews and tried to find my legs under me.  I was not moving very quickly for the first half mile but neither was anyone else.  With each mile, I began to find a little more speed, but my legs didn’t have a whole lot left.

Since I was running without my watch, I was guessing that I had run most of the 3.24 miles around an 8 minute pace.  Although it wasn’t the pace I had hoped for, this was definitely my strong point of the day.  I was finally passing some of those speedy biking women, and didn’t get passed at all.

Amazingly enough, my shin muscle/tendon felt fine! I wore my Tommie Copper compression sleeves the entire race. Stylin, I know.  Final time- 24:18 (7:30 pace).

There’s that end-of-race-I’m-tired arm swing again

I was so ready to be done at the finish, I stopped over the first line and didn’t realize it was the second line that recorded chip time.  I lost some time before I realized everyone was yelling at me to keep going, and I finished the run.

Final overall time- 1:29:36 (6th age group)

I came in just below my estimated time of 1:30:00, but I have plenty of room for improvement (the swim being the obvious one!) It was actually a lot more fun than I expected… the adrenaline that I normally get at the start of a running race was kicking in through each transition period as well.  I enjoyed the challenge of something new, and am loving that I can cross this off my bucket list now!

For local runners, I would definitely recommend the Shadow Creek triathlon.  It was well-organized, and the swim and bike courses were ideal for a newbie.  This was only the second year, and they had about 650 participants.  I liked that it was large enough to have action around me at all times, but small enough that it wasn’t overcrowded or overwhelming.

I definitely can’t say I’m “hooked” on triathlons the way I am on running.  But I also won’t say it’s my last!



Too-hot-to-race Astros 10k recap

Hope you all had a great, long weekend! We enjoyed lots of grilling and good food, time with friends, and L’s first blueberry picking outing this morning.  I also enjoyed struggled through a 10k race on Saturday… here’s the recap!

On a whim last week, I signed up for one final 10k before summer was in full force- the  Astros 5k/10k.  We left our house at 6:45am, and it was already 80 degrees and humid.  I knew it was going to be a tough run, but had no idea what to expect.

My goal was to maintain a sub-7 minute mile pace.  McMillian predicted a 42:56 based on my recent 5k, and I was hoping for anything under 44 minutes.  But things didn’t exactly pan out.

In retrospect, there were a number of things stacked against me: I didn’t taper, I taught a hilly spin class the day before and, obviously, the full sun and hot temperatures.

The race start was delayed ten minutes to 7:45am.  We were already sweating just from standing around,waiting for the race to begin. I warmed up with an easy mile, and felt a little sluggish, but okay.  Finally, we were off!

We started up over a few bridges, and I felt strong.  I was trying not to think about the fact that we would also be finishing over these hills on the way back! Mile one beeped: 6:52.

I maintained my pace for mile two, and found a nice rhythm.  6:53.

As I watched the 5k runners heading back, I was suddenly doubting my decision to sign up for the 10k and was feeling hot and tired.  My pace began to drop.  Mile three: 7:03.

Mile four was a struggle. Without the 5k runners, the course felt empty.  We were in full sun, and I started feeling wiped out.  I had slept well and fueled well, so my only guess is that it was my body’s reaction to the heat.

Three more miles felt like an eternity.  I was no longer having fun, and wondered who in their right mind would race a 10k…in May… in Texas!  Beep! 7:22.

Mile five was worse.  We were headed back up over the bridges, and I was losing the mental toughness battle, with a series of negative thoughts.  I felt like I was working hard, but my watch was not reflecting the effort I was putting out. I wanted to go lay down on the side of the road.  I’ve never had such a strong urge to quit! Maybe the heat was messing with my head?  Mile 5 (with small hills that felt like mountains), 7:49.

Hitting the mile 5 marker was encouraging-  1.2 miles to go.   I knew my sub-44 goal was now out of reach, but I no longer cared.  A few people passed me, which was discouraging, but I just wanted to get to the finish.  I felt a little nauseous, and focused on the guy in front of me and his bright yellow shoes.  I watched each shoe hit the pavement: right, left, right, left. Mile 6- 7:39.

The race finishes on the Astros field, so the final stretch is down a ramp. I was so happy to be close to the end, I let my legs fly down it with the final quarter mile clocking in at 5:55 pace.  Final time: 45:12, average pace 7:15.

What an experience! I found myself thinking a lot about the Boston marathon this year- similar temperatures, but I was only running a quarter of the distance! I am amazed at the physical and mental strength it took those marathoners to finish.

It was disappointing, especially because it’s my last 10k for awhile, and I wanted to go out with a bang! But I did learn that my body does not like hot weather racing, and I’ll be avoiding this run in the future, at least in terms of a “race” with a time goal! It was still a fun family morning.

After all my complaining, I was shocked to learn late Saturday night that I was first place in my age group, and will get a $50 gift card and the opportunity to be involved in the pre-game ceremony at an Astros game next week.  It’s my first “cash” prize, so I’ll stop whining. :)

Side note: The online results are divided into first half and second half average paces, and I was encouraged to see that nearly everyone averaged a full minute slower in the second half (like me), so I’m relieved to know I wasn’t the only one struggling!

Have you ever raced in the heat?  How do you handle a disappointing race?

Last minute 5k- Sprint 4 Life race report

After my 5k a few weeks ago, I was planning to back off racing that distance until we had some better weather.  But I got a lot of encouragement to do a few more, even if they’re just for fun, and use it as speed work. So at the last minute this week, I came across another 5k near our house and signed up.

My goals:

  • Stay positive and have fun!
  • Hold back just a little in the first mile
  • Maintain a steady pace
  • Break 21 minutes

I knew it was going to be hot and humid again, but since it’s been consistently warm the last two weeks, I was hoping my body would be more prepared.  I stepped outside and was pleasantly surprised to find a bit of a breeze masking the 72 degrees and 99% humidity.  I jogged almost 2 miles to the start line, barely breaking a sweat and feeling encouraged.  What a difference from the last 5k, where I was already struggling to breathe in the warm up jog!

As we lined up, I tried guessing who would be a good pacer.  I’m always amazed at how difficult it is to gauge this!  All body types and sizes were lined up behind the 6 minute pacer, and I could only pinpoint one all-muscle girl who looked like she would fly!

As we took off, I purposely held myself back to find a comfortable pace, a lesson I learned after sprinting out in the last 5k and feeling zapped 1/2 way through.  I gradually increased my pace and found a group of similarly paced runners as we thinned out.  Success! Mile one beeped at 6:34.  This was really close to the time of my first mile last time, but I felt so much fresher and stronger.

Another perk to this race- there were 2,000 runners (as opposed to 200+ in the last one) so there were a lot more people (and spectators) to distract me and keep it interesting. I focused on two or three women ahead of me, and tried to catch them one by one.  That solid muscle girl was no where to be seen.  Having people in sight really helped me push myself to hold the pace.  Mile two was a few seconds slower, but still where I wanted it, 6:42.

As we started the last mile, I found myself using spinning cues and positive coaching messages (“keep your upper body relaxed, feel the rhythm, push hard-you’ve got this!”) They are so engrained in me right now! I knew I could hit my sub-21 goal if I held the pace.  Mile three was actually my fasted mile at 6:32.

The course was nice and flat until the final tenth mile, when we went up and over a bridge and down to the finish line.  There were finally lots of people cheering and I used their energy to sprint the remaining stretch at 6:17 pace.

Final chip time- 20:46 (6:40 average pace)

That’s 23 seconds faster than the race two weeks ago.  I’ll take it! It made such a difference to go in with less pressure on myself.  I was even thinking of ignoring my Garmin and running on feel, but I did check it at each mile and probably at least twice between miles.  My cheering squad:

I heard L and daddy at the finish, and was informed I was the second overall woman (behind Muscle-girl who ran a 6:05 pace!), and first in my age group.  So we hung around for the awards (a medal) and then they headed home on the bike and I finished my (not very) long run day with another 5 miles, for a total of 10.  I still felt strong and finished the last 3 miles at 7:46, 7:42 and 7:32.

Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to keep trying! This was only my 3rd 5k (ever), so I definitely feel like I’m learning a lot from each one, and I’m starting to understand the joy of racing this distance!


April recap

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

I’m a little tired today, but 18 hours of training and 90+ spinning miles later, I am officially approved to teach spin! It was a powerful experience– I was really impressed with our trainer and I soaked up a lot of new information from him, both related to RPM spinning and coaching technique.  It was simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating.  The last step is to videotape myself teaching one class in its entirety and sending it in for a final critique.

I’m on the far left… sweaty, but still smiling!

April Recap: I feel like I just wrote the March recap, but it’s time to revisit my 2012 goal post and review another month. Here’s April!

Running Related

  • April stats: 16 runs- total 100.25 miles; 11 spin classes- total 227 miles (plus training, so 317 total spinning miles); elliptical- 4 miles; 10 walking miles and weights 2x/week

  • Cross Training Challenge: New yoga downloads, I’ll share more later this week
  • Running Buddy: Yes! I met a potential buddy at the 5k

Personal and Family Balance

  • Evening quiet time: Yes, but I’m staying up too late to fit it all in, I think I’m going to join Terzah’s sleep challenge
  • Computer balance: Still managing to avoid the computer most of the time when my daughter is awake!
  • Reading: Finally read and loved “Run Like a Mother“; got half way through a potty training book… fun things ahead :)
  • Date Nights:  We took advantage of family visits and got out twice- once for dinner and some shopping; and then went to Rice for our track date

April turned out to be an eventful month! We had two extended weekends with family visiting, and I spent one entire weekend getting certified as a spinning instructor.  In between, I managed to squeeze in two shorter races and nail a new pr for each!

I would love to add in a few more short races in the next month or two. Unfortunately, local races really quiet down around here as it heats up. I may do another 5k in May, and am considering a triathalon in June, but the rest of the summer is still up in the air.

Last thing: I finally set up a Facebook page for Mommy, Run Fast, and would love if you would stop by and give me a thumbs up! Let me know if you have a page- I would love to follow you back!

What’s next for you? Any races coming up in May?

Sprint for spring 5k report

Happy Monday!  I’m excited to be tracking runners in Boston later this morning… I hope everyone runs smart in the heat!

On Saturday, I ran my second 5k.  Even though I’ve been running for years, I intentionally avoided the 5k distance until just this past November! Honestly, it just sounded painful.

But one of my goals for this year was to experiment with some of the shorter distances, and I’m actually enjoying it  (although it’s true that racing a 5k is tough!)

So, the race report.

The good: a new pr and a possible new running buddy!

The bad: 70 degrees and humid when I woke up.  Blech! And missing my goal time by only 9 seconds.  :(

The race: This was a small local race held through the local YMCA.  There were only a couple hundred people signed up. I jogged to the start of the race as my warm up (about 2 miles from our house) and was feeling hot and slow.

It was already over 70 degrees and muggy, which made me feel especially sluggish. I was watching for L and daddy, and they showed up about 10 minutes before the start.  Seeing them gave me a little boost of energy.

The race started at 7:30am and I pushed myself to start fast and find a good pace.  I looked down about 100 yards in and saw my pace in the 5:30 range, oops!

It took me another 100 yards to slow down enough to find a comfortable pace.  My first mile beeped at 6:39.

I was feeling better than I expected to, but as the race thinned out, it was really hard to hold onto a good pace with no one around to push me.  The heat made it difficult to get good deep breaths, and I found myself coughing a lot to get extra air.  I’m not sure why that helped, but it did.  Mile two was a little slower, at 6:47.

I could feel myself tiring out, and every time I glanced at my watch, I saw the pace slipping away and had to work to bring it back.  I knew the fast start was doing me in, but I hung on.  There were very few spectators, and the sun was beating down hard at this point.  That third mile is always killer! Mile 3: 6:53.

We rounded the last corner, and I finally heard people cheering.  What a difference it makes to have a little encouragement! I did my best to finish strong, with the last tenth mile at a 6:11 pace.

My goal was to break 21 minutes, but I saw the clock switch to 21 as I approached. It was disappointing, but I was just glad to be done!

Final chip time: 21:09 (6:49 pace)

Afterward, I started chatting with the woman who finished right behind me, and learned she had also moved here this past summer.  We had a lot in common and later I found myself thinking she would make a great running buddy, but I didn’t see her around.

We stayed for the 1k kids run (check out the video in yesterday’s post!) L didn’t last for long, so daddy ended up carrying her for most of it, and then she ran across the finish line at the end. She was so proud of her medal!

I also hung around to get my age group award- unfortunately, no massage this time:

Daddy and L headed off to the farmer’s market, and I ran home on a connecting trail to add another 6 miles on.  Guess who was also running home on the trail- my potential running buddy! So we stopped this time and exchanged numbers.  Yay!

All in all, it was a good run. I’m a little bummed about my time.  Part of me wants to sign up for another one soon and break 21 minutes, but it’s only going to get warmer around here.  So I think I’ll hold off on humid 5ks for a few months.  I can’t be unhappy with a new pr, right?!

Did you ever have a race that was both exciting and disappointing?

Any ugly trophies or race mementos on your shelf?

4 the Park Race Recap and JellyBean run

Saturday was the “4 the Park” race, a local run to benefit Memorial park and the tremendous loss of trees there since last year’s drought and heat wave.  It was my first time racing the 4 mile distance, and as I am still relatively new to racing shorter distances, I was nervous about pacing.

I was also coming off of a fairly light workout week and little running during the week my family was visiting, so I didn’t know if my legs would be shocked by a faster pace or itching to go.  My goal was 28 minutes, a 7 minute pace.

The race had an 8:30 start, so my husband and L came along to cheer and spectate.  We arrived with plenty of time, and I did a 1.5 mile warm up at an easy pace.

The kids race started at 8am, and L took off running behind them, even though she wasn’t registered.  People cheered her on and she was loving it… she didn’t last for long, and she’s only 26 months, but there were kids younger than her and I think she’s ready to do a kids run at the next race, if it’s short!

Our race started right on time.  I started near the front, and it was small enough that I didn’t have to do much weaving.  My first mile beeped at 6:45! I was really nervous that I would be able to maintain a sub-7 pace, but decided to do my best to hold on.  I settled in with two other women, and we were neck to neck almost the entire race.

(I’m the third one, almost cut off the photo, and wow- I need to work on my arm swinging!)

My splits for mile 2 and 3 were both 6:54.  The final mile was by far the longest.  I pushed myself and passed the two women I was running with.  In the final quarter mile, I heard one of the women catching up to me, and I did my best to sprint the final stretch.

Chip time: 27:29 (6:53 pace)

I found the final-sprint-woman afterwards, and thanked her for pushing me! She was really sweet, and we chatted for a few minutes.  Her focus is 5k’s, so I’m sure I could learn a lot from her– but I resisted the urge to ask if she needed a running buddy.  :)

I heard my husband and L cheering at mile two, and again in the final stretch to the finish.  It makes such a difference having their support at the race!

I was hoping to get in about 9 miles for the day, so I added on another 3.5 miles at the park (on a nice, shaded 3 mile loop) while L played with some other kids at the post-race party.

I also used this as my 10k run for Jess’s JellyBean run, so my final 10k time (with a short break immediately after the race) was 44:18… a pr, but with a break in there, so it doesn’t really count.

Avg Pace
Summary 44:18 6.20
1 6:45 1.00 6:45
2 6:54 1.00 6:54
3 6:54 1.00 6:54
4 6:51 1.00 6:52
5 :11 0.03 6:16
6 7:53 1.00 7:53
7 7:42 1.00 7:42
8 1:09 0.17                                                                                   6:43

As we were getting ready to leave, I saw the results were posted and went over to check it out.  I knew there were a number of women in front of me, so I was shocked to see that I placed second in my age group! Gotta love small races. I won a 30 minute massage, which I assume will be mailed to me.  Can’t wait to use it!

To make a great day even better, I got a nap in that afternoon while L napped, and then had the treat of a quiet house while L and daddy went to the pool.  (Yes, it’s already that hot here!)  It was a pretty perfect Saturday.

How was your weekend? Do you get as excited about a quiet house as I do?!  Do you think a 2 year old could do a kids race?


How not to run a 10k

I mentioned before that with the ankle set back, there will be no April marathon.  It’s just not smart.

Instead, I’m trying to stave off disappointment with several shorter races and virtual races the next few weeks.  So, first up was Ali’s Spatula Race:

Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as I had planned.

So here’s what NOT to do before your next 10k:

1) Do not race on your planned rest day-   I’m not sure what I was thinking… I had planned to run it Saturday morning, after resting my tired legs on Friday.  But for some reason Friday night, I thought it made sense to get it done.

2) Do not race in the evening when you’re a morning runner- Just because I occasionally get a second wind in the evening, does not mean it’s guaranteed to happen.

3) Do not fill up with as much fiber as you can find, including lots of beans, cabbage, dried fruit and popcorn-  Oops.  I know better, but as I was eating all day, I wasn’t planning to run that evening.

4) Do not race on a full stomach that includes unfamiliar food from a dinner out- For my husband’s birthday weekend, we went to a Jamaican restaurant Friday night.

Ugh, it was a rough run.

I gave myself a couple hours to digest dinner (it was an early dinner, with L along) and headed out.  The first mile felt okay, and I kept expecting to find my stride and start feeling strong, but it never happened.  By mile 2, my stomach was cramping and sending me some warning signs.  I chose to ignore them and kept pushing.

At mile 3, I considered stopping and trying again another day.  But racing the 10k distance is not fun, and I forced myself to finish and get it over with, knowing I’d be happy to have it done.

I pushed through those final miles at what felt like a much harder effort than the first few, despite my pace actually slowing down.

I finally hit 6 miles, and tried to push for the final two-tenths.  As soon as I stopped my watch, my stomach began revolting.  I dashed behind the first tree I could find.  Thank goodness it was dark…that’s all I’ll say about that.

Avg Pace
Summary 46:47 6.20 7:33
1 7:25.6 1.00 7:26
2 7:30.5 1.00 7:31
3 7:34.4 1.00 7:34
4 7:34.6 1.00 7:35
5 7:37.4 1.00 7:37
6 7:40.8 1.00 7:41
7 1:24.7 0.20 7:07

Overall, not a terrible run, but not my strongest and certainly not a very fun one!

Ali is also doing a “Running with Spatulas” photo contest, so I need to submit a photo.  The first round of pictures didn’t turn out (couldn’t see the spatulas) so I tried again with L last night.  What do you think… A or B?

Is anyone else participating in this race?  And, if you’re up for sharing, have you ever had to dash behind a tree?  :)

Austin weekend and race recap

We’re back!  We had a short, full weekend in Austin and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it rained most of Saturday which prevented us from checking out a few of the parks we had in mind.  Instead, we hit the expo for my packet and free samples, and then checked out a nearby cafe for lunch at the recommendation of one of the Expo volunteers.  The food was good, and it had a nice Austin flair:

We walked back to the Expo and L crashed in the stroller while I met up with an running-blogging buddy, Clea from Pancake is Cute.  She was running the full marathon as a pacer, and it was fun to connect face to face.  We bonded over our toddlers who started life as poor sleepers, and hope to make plans to run together in the future!

We explored a little more of Austin and came across some fun food trucks, where we tasted a massive donut and found a local custom boot shop.

After checking into our hotel, we headed back out to meet some other runner-bloggers for dinner.  My husband and L tagged along and took some pictures for us.  The group from left to right is Laura, Lisa, Becka, Kim and I.  Most of them are trying to run a half marathon in every state, and it was fun to swap stories and get to know them better.  The running community is such a welcoming, encouraging group!

I got up nice and early to jog down to the start… unfortunately my alarm woke L as well, so we were all up before 6am, sorry daddy!! I was planning to use this run as part of my 17 training run, so I jogged two miles before the start to warm up.

Daddy and L came along later and saw me cross the finish line, and he got a few pictures of the race, but none of me.  Oops!  I was freezing afterward and jogged another slow 2 miles back to the hotel to hit my total for the day.

The race itself went much better than I expected.  The hills were challenging, but I felt relatively strong throughout the run.  Around mile seven, I realized I was on track for a pr if I pushed the pace, but that was on a downhill portion, and when we hit the next hill I talked myself back to reality and decided to finish smiling and not overdo it.

I’m happy with that decision! The race itself flew by, with great spectator support and lots of bands along the way.  Oddly enough, I have no soreness, despite the hills.  Weird.  Maybe that tough leg workout on Tuesday and all the hills in spinning classes prepared me more than I realized..

I ran it a little faster than I had planned.  I have a hard time not pushing myself in a race setting.  But I also didn’t race it all out, and I feel like I can pick right back up with my training this week with minimal recovery time.

You can tell from my splits where the hills were… we were on an incline for much of miles 3-6, and then a steep one at mile 11, and another long one on the final stretch.  My legs had a hard time recovering the pace in the last couple of miles, and I let myself relax and finish at a slower pace, and then picked it up for the final stretch.

Avg Pace
Summary 1:43:27.1 13.23 7:49
1 8:06.7 1.00 8:07
2 7:36.7 1.00 7:37
3 7:47.3 1.00 7:47
4 7:58.4 1.00 7:58
5 7:48.1 1.00 7:48
6 7:44.1 1.00 7:44
7 7:23.7 1.00 7:24
8 7:33.4 1.00 7:33
9 7:43.7 1.00 7:44
10 7:57.9 1.00 7:58
11 8:11.1 1.00 8:11
12 8:01.7 1.00 8:02
13 8:01.7 1.00 8:02
14 1:32.7 0.23 6:50

Final chip time:  1:43:19

I also used this race as part of Grandma Lil’s 10k/Half Marathon at Living the Fit Life… it runs all week, so there’s still time to sign up if you want to join the fun!

After I showered and warmed up, we headed back out to grab lunch and catch the band at the finish line.  L had a great time dancing and clapping for the band!

We finally decided to call it a day, and L and I crashed in the car on the way home.  A pretty successful weekend, all in all!

Houston Half Race Recap

Well, I already gave away the bottom line… I managed to get my A goal (under 1:42) with just a minute to spare!  Here’s a longer version, for those of you who like the details.

I was up before my alarm, got dressed, ate half a bagel with a banana and pb, and was ready to head out the door by 5:45 am.  I was driving in alone, and my husband and L were going to come later to catch me at the finish.  It was a short drive to the Convention Center, but the exit I needed was stacked up with a HUGE line of cars.  I could feel my stress level rising, but all I had to do was find parking, use the bathroom one final time, and jog to the corrals before they closed at 6:40am.  We crawled along, but I soon got off and whipped into the first parking lot I could find, settling for a $20/day lot instead of the free street parking I had planned on.

It was nice to have less time to kill waiting for the start, and I chatted with a girl from Austin in my pace group until the race began.  I started with an extra throw away long-sleeved shirt and throw away gloves from the Expo, both of which I tossed right before we started.  It was in the low 40’s at the start, so it was chilly when standing still, but perfect running weather once we got moving.

I was hoping to start with an 8:00 minute pace for the first mile, with most of the rest of the race at 7:45 or better if I was feeling good.  It never felt easy, but I managed to do pretty much just that:

Avg Pace
Summary 1:41:13 13.20 7:40
1 8:02.8 1.00 8:03
2 7:39.4 1.00 7:40
3 7:40.0 1.00 7:40
4 7:35.0 1.00 7:35
5 7:41.5 1.00 7:42
6 7:38.0 1.00 7:38
7 7:49.2 1.00 7:49
8 7:33.5 1.00 7:33
9 7:41.1 1.00 7:41
10 7:38.8 1.00 7:39
11 7:28.3 1.00 7:28
12 7:43.0 1.00 7:43
13 7:30.1 1.00 7:30
14 1:32.5 0.20 7:54

The first half flew by, and I was pushing myself a little to stick to the 7:40 pace, but was feeling pretty good.  The second half began to get harder.  I was mentally breaking up the race into a 10 mile run and a 5k, and found the countdown to the first ten helpful.

Around mile 7 or 8, the lead half marathoners started passing us on their way back after the turn around at mile 9, where we split from the full marathoners.  I was focused on reaching that split, and was so thankful I only had 4 miles remaining, rather than 17!

I hit mile 10 feeling pretty strong, and had every intention of picking it up a notch for the final three miles, but my legs weren’t cooperating (maybe this is where my minimal training came back to bite me!).  Mile 11 was actually my fastest mile, at 7:28, but I think I pushed a little too soon, because I had trouble keeping that pace for the final two.  By the last quarter mile, I had slipped back to an almost 8 minute pace… no final sprint for me!

My husband and Lily caught a shot of me in the last quarter mile, although I was so focused, I never heard their cheers.  I definitely look like I’m read to be done (in the blue shirt):

The last mile felt really hard. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t increase my pace and cut under 1:40, but I also know that I gave all that I had today, so that feels really good.

CHIP TIME: 1:41:03


I had to keep reminding myself that my goal was 1:42, not 1:40, so I am pleased to have met that goal. And now I have something else to work towards.  :)

Checking out the metal post-race:

Family shot:

After refueling and meeting up with my family, I headed back outside to catch the full marathoners finish.  I saw Amanda and Terzah cross the line, but the photos didn’t turn out.  I know Corey and Kathy had great races, too.  And I look forward to hearing about Holly and Kellie’s!

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments and words of encouragement. Knowing that many of you were cheering from home made a huge difference in getting me through that final mile.

I definitely had moments during the race where I caught myself thinking, why do we do this to ourselves again?! But as soon as it was over, I was thinking about the next one.  I can’t wait to push myself through another difficult race! No wonder people have trouble understanding runners. :)