Houston Marathon training update 5 weeks to go

Five weeks people! Things are starting to get pretty intense over here. I’d say it’s time to get serious about the whole training thing, but five weeks out is probably a little late for that. Also, the fact that I have stopped taking my training too seriously means I’m not freaking out about marathon day rapidly approaching. Instead I’d really like time to speed up so that I can be done stressing over super long runs and always being tired. Oh and constantly being hungry, we can’t forget that part!

Always hungry marathon training

There’s never a wrong time to use this.

Now that I’m nearing the end of this training cycle, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the last few months of running. And I’m feeling pretty good about where I am right now compared to where I was in September. Those summer long runs were miserable and soul crushing, I lost all confidence in my ability to make it through training to even toe the starting line in January. However, over the course of the last 6 weeks I’ve gotten a lot more confident and might even be thinking about setting a time goal. I’d hate to rush that, ya know? Why would I even want to do that before January anyway? 

I was lucky enough to con the Amazing Julie into running 18 miles with me on Saturday, December 6th, the day before she ran the San Antonio RnR full marathon. Yes she is a special kind of crazy to agree, but I am so thankful she was able to run with me. Not every single one of those miles was fantastic, and there may have been a point where I said we had to stop running and reevaluate our life choices. However, after the run I was very happy with our average pace, and the relatively mild soreness from my legs. I do not fully understand how Julie managed to run a full marathon the next day, because standing around cheering for four hours was pretty draining. 

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning, and then run 1.5 miles if you want to snag a good spot on the RnR course.

Downtown Run Group Water Station RnR San Antonio

The marathon course was rerouted right by where one of our group member lives. So of course we set up a water station.

I am the luckiest, or perhaps I’m just very wise when it comes to making friends, because Julie agreed to run with me again this last weekend for my scheduled 20 miles. I’m even luckier that she is still speaking to me after I planned an incredible hilly route; I’m not sure what I was thinking but we pretty much ran straight up (and into a headwind and barefoot in the snow) for the first 13 miles.  As miserable as I was, and no matter how much I complained and asked to take a walk break, Julie stayed positive for me. I’m not sure I would have survived this without her. 

This guy and I are sympatico, because after that run I fully understood how he felt.

This guy and I are sympatico, because after that run I fully understood how he must feel. I may have stayed in this position for a full five minutes after we took the picture because I was just too tired to move.

I have one more 22 mile run on the schedule, and I’m already lining up volunteers to keep me company. So if you’re in San Antonio on the 27th, I’ll be running for a long time and wouldn’t mind if you tagged along. And after that it’s taper time!

Though if we’re being honest, I think my brain has already turned the corner and started in on the taper craziness. Over the last two weeks I have thought about changing my hotel reservation no fewer than eight times. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my current reservation, but rather that I just can’t stop second guessing myself. “Is it too far away?” “Will I regret not having a free breakfast option.” “What if I trip on the way to the expo and break my ankle? How will I run!” So the upcoming taper should be full of laughs if this sort of internal dialogue keeps up.

Despite being unable to fully commit to a hotel reservation, I’m really looking forward to marathon weekend. I’ve decided that running a marathon isn’t challenging enough, so I’ll be running the ABB 5K on Saturday morning. I think we all know the real reason I’m doing it is to get two extra medals. The Amazing Julie will be hanging out all weekend with me and we’re going to run the 5K together at a very relaxed pace. 

Over the next week or two I think I’ll probably try to commit to a time goal, and I might even go crazy and share it with other people. I keep saying “I’ll wait until my long run goes this weekend” before really deciding on anything. But now that I’m feeling a little better about running in general I’m ready to get this whole marathon goal figured out. Give me a few days and I’ll probably change my mind.

Five for Friday

There’s no need for a long introduction, let’s just get right to it!

Things at work haven’t really gotten any better. Well, I guess I can’t say that entirely, since I am no longer leaving each day feeling miserable and beaten down. But that might be due to a change in my apathy level and less with the actual work.  I am still working solo and responsible for more than I am being compensated for. I know it’s not ALL about the money, but if I’m responsible for things that are WAY beyond the scope of my job description, I’d like it to be acknowledge. And it’s not. So things are stressful at work, but fortunately it’s the kind of stress that I don’t take home with me. And, one of my coworkers sent me chocolates, and I love sugar!

Halloween Candy

It’s not all bad if there’s chocolate!

I had jury duty earlier this week, and what a fun and exhilarating experience that is! The day started out well enough, dropped off Tysen at school and had plenty of time to get to work. Work. You know, at the same time I was supposed to be reporting for jury duty. Whoops. A slight freak out ensued as I frantically tried to figure out if I was about to be hunted down and arrested, followed quickly by a manic drive downtown and a mad dash from the parking garage to the Justice Center. I was already late, so when I was told I wouldn’t be allowed to take my soup spoon inside the building, I was forced to throw it away. Ugh. My good spoon, from my silverware drawer. I’m still pretty angry about that. This is how the day went:

Halloween is probably my all time favorite holiday, followed closely by Thanksgiving. I just really love the holidays that are celebrated with food. I have the Timehop app on my phone, and all week long I’ve gotten to look back on the last few years of celebrating Halloween with the kids. I love dressing up, and being silly, and I’m fortunate that both kids seem to feel the same. In the past, we’ve tried to have a family theme, and I’m glad my kids let us get away with that. This year Kaleena was having none of it and insisted on being a fairy princess.  OK, kid, just get me some candy!


I couldn’t decide on just ONE photo to represent my love of costumes and candy. So your eyeballs are overwhelmed with a collage! You’re welcome.

Thursday was a schedule tempo run day, and I was not feeling it at all. My leg has felt kind of funny since Monday’s overly enthusiastic mile repeats. I can’t pinpoint the pain exactly, it’s in my calf, but I couldn’t tell you much beyond that. It’s sometimes painful to walk, sometimes not. Because I’m better at motivating myself when other people are involved, I texted a friend I have run with a lot in the past but haven’t seen much of lately because of our different schedules and training plans. He was meeting up with a group I’d run with once about two years ago and I asked him if I could tag along. I’m so glad I did! I nailed my tempo run (aside from the whole warm up and cool down part, but who needs that anyway?). The leg pain was there, but more of a whisper than a full on scream of pain. Afterward the group had plans to head for dinner, celebrating the fact that a bunch of group members just finished Ironman 70.3 Austin. It was so nice to be surrounded by these amazing people and honestly, if I owned a bike, I would have signed up for a triathlon right then and there.

On Sunday I’m running the San Antonio Road Runners Member Appreciation Race. Originally I signed up for the 15 mile distance, thinking to align it as closely as possible with my training schedule. And at the time, that seemed like a really good decision. I wouldn’t actually “race” the whole thing, maybe a few MGP miles in the middle, but overall I’d treat it as a really crowded training run…A couple months later though, my body is feeling pretty off and I’m needing a step-back week. I think the smartest thing to do is drop down to the ten miles, and just run it at a very easy pace. Over the last few weeks I’ve been pushing a bit harder on my long runs in an attempt to see if I’m capable of holding faster training paces. I think I am, but I also think it’s starting to make everything ache a little bit.

Houston Marathon training update

I know what you’re thinking, you didn’t even know I’d started training for the Houston Marathon, and here I am about to unload an update on you. Oh well, these things happen and we just have to move on.

Training actually started at the end of August, making for a pretty long training cycle. I know some people don’t like a long training cycle, but I prefer to have extra weeks built in to my schedule in case the wheels fall off and I need to change things up. Technically I have 22 weeks of official training, but the first few weeks were more base building than anything else.

I’ve hesitated to make a time goal, and I’m sure my running friends are tired of hearing about it. When I registered back in the spring, I felt like somewhere around 4:15 was within my abilities. But then the summer happened…and I feel like I’ve only gotten slower. I’m not sure how hard I want to push myself in my training and on race day. I feel as though I COULD run a 4:15 if I put in the required effort to get there. But see, that’s the thing, I also feel like I could comfortably run 4:30…Do I want to be comfortable or do I want to make the training and time spent away from my family worth it?

 I’m using Run Less Run Faster again this time, because I like the idea of being faster and I like the idea of running less. I used this last year as well, and I managed to get to the starting line feeling 100% prepared and injury free, always a positive. I’ve already experienced a few setbacks with an ankle sprain (hello Ragnar Hill Country), some quad pain, and pain in my right hip flexor. Mostly these can be traced back to my slacking off on cross training days and strength training. I know this is not smart and I need to fix it before I get seriously injured, but I have failed to make it a priority.

Here we are 12 weeks out from race day and all I feel is a confusion about my running. I’ve yet to have a long run where I felt good the whole time. And on every.single long run I question if I should drop to the half instead of the full. Cooler weather is finally within our grasp, and I know that will have an impact. At least I hope it will.


Five for Friday

There is a lot of stuff going on in my life, keeping me crazy busy, but none of it I’m ready to share yet. Hashtag vague blogging.

Here’s a list of random stuff I do want to share! It has been so long since I wrote up a post that WordPress went and changed on me, so rude.

1. I saw this article yesterday and I immediately shared it with my Saturday running buddy. I can relate to every one of those, so I was reading it and cracking up at my desk. I’m sure that was highly appreciated. 

2. Who knew swimming was so great? I’m not exactly ready to turn pro or anything, but I have a very new found love for lap swimming. I’m 100% horrible at it, but I love it in a way that I can’t even explain. It’s never going to replace my love for running, but I find myself wishing I could get to the pool more often. I’m sure once it’s winter and cold I might change my mind, but for now, I’m very excited about it.

3. This is my kind of triathlon. I could do that in one sitting, so it’s pretty much perfect for me.

4. Um, hello August! Where did your friend July go? This makes me sad for many reasons; soon school will start and that means busy schedules and packing lunches, and even worse we are inching closer to official marathon training. I’m so not ready.  I attempted to run ten miles last weekend after not being consistent with long runs. That was stupid for so many reasons, but hey, we learn from our mistakes, right?

5. I mentioned this on the twitters (so sorry for repeating information, but a girl’s only got so much randomness in a day), but July was a much better running month for me. June was bad, really, really bad as far as consistency and desire to run. You know when people say “things can only go up from here,” well my running in June is a prime example of that. I ran SIX TIMES more miles in July than I ran in June. That sentence looks strange, hopefully you get my point.  And July was still relatively lower than many of my “average” months. 

Now go and get your weekend on!

Five for Friday

1. Today is an early release day from work, which means I get to leave at 2:00 and don’t take a lunch. I really like getting to leave early, but it always seems like these days drag on and on; probably because there is the whole no eating lunch thing.  I do like lunch. Hopefully I can get my mind off of food long enough to write the rest of this post!

2. I may have been whining and complaining last night that the South Texas area wasn’t getting any of the cold weather that the northern part of the state was getting. I think the weather gods decided to punish me by giving me a giant storm around 2:00 in the morning, complete with flash flood warnings and alerts on my phone. Yippy! I do love a good rain storm, and I’ll be the first to line up on the porch to watch the lightening roll in.  But I do not like it in the middle of the night when I am trying to sleep. I really like sleep. I forced myself out of bed to set up our improvised water diversion system so that the playroom doesn’t flood, which it usually does anytime we get a few drops of rain. I stood outside with lightning crashing all around me hoping that if I did get struck it would be quick and painless. But considering I was drenched from head to toe, I think it probably would have hurt pretty badly.  I’m going to need extra coffee today. 

3. Last night’s run was pretty miserable, due to the unbearable pre-storm humidity and 98* day. Here’s a breakdown of my mental process:
Mile 1 – This isn’t too bad, lots of shade and, hey, is that a gentle breeze I feel? As long as I just take it nice and easy I can survive six miles of this.
Mile 2 – Why is it so hot? I wish it would rain, I know those are rain clouds over there. Was that a drop of rain? No, just my water bottle leaking. Oh, crap, my water bottle is leaking and now I have no water. Why does it smell like horse poop?
Mile 3- I wonder if I can run to the rain, it doesn’t seem like it’s that far away. But then I’d have to run back. I don’t want to do that. Oh good, the sun came out. Now I can melt and die of dehydration all at the same time.
Mile 4 – Why is the car so far away? I should just run one mile out and back routes from now on, that way the car is never so far away.
Mile 5- Five miles is almost like six, I could just walk back to the car. Whose dumb idea was it to run six miles, that’s just a stupid arbitrary number. If I stop and walk maybe I will get rained on, that would be great. But if I walk, then it will take me even longer in this oppressive humidity. Keep running, maybe the wind will come back.
Mile 6 – Why am I still not back at my car. I suck at math.


Every time.

4. I’m not much for vague-blogging, usually if I have something to say I’m more than happy to share it. But this one is a little vague, but I feel like I need to share some parts of it, if only to hold myself accountable and follow through.  I’m looking to make some changes, professionally, and go in a completely different direction with my work life. Fortunately I have Justin’s support 100% and both kids are on board. I am not entirely convinced I’m going to be cut out for what might come from these changes, but it’s time to take control of my happiness. I’ve been pretty miserable during the 8:00-5:00 hours, and that’s seeping into my home life; I get home unhappy, I crankily make dinner while being short with the kids, and then I’m mentally exhausted so I sit on the couch and think about my miserableness. That’s not doing anyone any favors. Hopefully the promise of a better tomorrow will make me get through this challenge.

5. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the Runner’s World  cover contest, and you probably have your favorite friend who you’re already planning to vote for every day. Just in case you haven’t chosen an entry to support, I’d like to point you in the direction of Edward Lychik.  I wish I could put into words what an inspiration Ed is, but I know I’ll fail miserably.  On his 21st birthday, while serving in Afghanistan, a rocket hit the vehicle he was travelling in. The resulting injury made him a hip disarticulation amputee (you may not want to click that link if you are squeamish). Doctors told Ed he’d never run, that it was simply impossible, and yet he has completed four marathons as well as Spartan races, mud runs, ultra trail runs as well has many road half marathons since his injury. When I think of Ed, I don’t see an amputee, I see someone who has embraced life and all of its challenges, someone who refuses to listen to the words no, can’t, fear or doubt. 

hip disarticulation amputee, Edward Lychik

Shamelessly stolen from Ed’s Instagram account. You know you want to go see more, this man is amazing.


I think I’m ready.

Things have been pretty quite here lately, I haven’t wanted to bring my negative headspace to the inerwebs, and there has been a lot of negative headspace. This is mostly a running blog (HAHAHA!) and I for a while there, I lost the love I had for running and while I complained plenty to my friends, I didn’t think I needed to bring all that drama here.

For most of the summer, and pretty much all of the spring, running and I have had a pretty rocky relationship. A lot of it was due to a jam packed schedule that left me tired and drained of my will to live run. Then came the heat of summer (which in Texas happens in May) and with summer running came the running hangover, which I still haven’t found a cure for and has left me afraid to attempt running too often in the heat.  So, we were kind of on a break…and sometimes it felt like we had broken up entirely.

After one particularly miserable hot and humid run with Julie, the first week of July, I commented that I had run more in just four of five days than I had in all of June. Slowly, VERY slowly, I’ve worked on my mental game and I think I have managed to tune out the negativity I was feeling. I’m still not in love with running like I was at this time last year, but I’m not completely miserable every time I lace up my shoes. I know a lot of the current hate has more to do with the heat of summer and less to do with where I am mentally. And summer’s only going to last for three more months.

I am finally ready to take my running seriously again, I’ve even gone so far as to start planning my training schedule for the Chevron Houston Marathon in January. That’s right, it’s almost marathon training season again! I am 95% sure I’ve blocked out all of the pain and suffering from last fall and only remembering the good things like post run coffee and crepes. I’m planning to use the Run Less Run Faster/FIRST method again, and hopefully decide on a challenging yet realistic goal time. I still have to figure that part out, because when I registered I was much more confident in my running than I am now, but I’ll fill you in when I get there.

Over the six weeks I’m going to be working on building my base up again and adding in more strength training. When I compare my running this summer to where I was a year ago, I’m already way behind, but I’m trying not to worry too much about that right now.  My running group is starting up their official weekend training runs, and I know I’ll be dragging along at the back of the pack, but I’m excited to be with my people again. 


Five for Friday

You don’t want to know  how long it too me to come up with five things to write about. I was going to type out five “interesting things” but I’m not sure these can even be considered interesting. And there aren’t even any pictures to jazz things up, because I’m so lazy. Sorry?

1. I mentioned last week that I was thinking about signing up for the free 80s 5K. Well before even I registered, the amazing Julie signed up for it, so that meant I am required to run it too. Anytime Julie takes her running off the trails and onto the roads, you can pretty much be sure to find me there also.  So I have that to look forward to, yay! Now time to find some sweet 80s outfits! I am not signing up for the competitive race, because lately the only thing I can be competitive in is probably guacamole making and couch racing.

2. It’s been pretty quiet at work lately (I mean, more so than usual considering I work in a library), so I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to Pandora, specifically the musicals and show-tunes station. Surprisingly Pandora usually knows exactly what I need to hear. Even if it’s a commercial. My zip code is still listed as being in Seattle, so I still get commercials from all my favorite places in the PNW. I’m never changing it! 

3. Sometimes my coworkers are kind of less than friendly but every once in a while I will be surprised by a small gesture of kindness. If you’ve been around for long, you may recall my mentioning that I have zero in common with most people I work with, I’m not usually included in lunches out, or really ANYTHING. For the most part that’s fine, I don’t need to be best friends with the people I work with in order to be polite, though it makes me miss the amazing coworkers I had in Seattle. Anyway. Out of the blue this morning, a kind sole gave me a coupon for a free coffee. That is the way to make a BFF for sure! It’s the little things in life that make me happy. And considering the typical day to day actions of everyone else, I was so appreciative of his kindness.

4. Tysen’s still going strong with the swim team thing, although last Friday I had to be “that” parent. The last couple of weeks have been devoted to stroke and skill development, and Friday was the backstroke. Which is rough for Tysen, considering the kids still can’t figure out how to float on his back (tips anyone?). And while he’s done a lot of swimming, rarely is any of it backstroke. Apparently it was all too much for him because he sat on the stops of the pool and sobbed about how hard it was and how he just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take it anymore so I had to pull him aside and help calm him down. The coaches tried, they really did, and they were doing their best to be patient and explain that it was hard for all the little kids. But there are times when a 6 year old just needs a hug from mom, a pep talk and then to be told to get his little rear end back in the water. Eventually he did calm down and got back in the pool and tried as hard as he could and started having fun again. After much YouTube searching I think I’ve diagnosed his problem, but now they’re working on breaststroke and haven’t gone back to backstroke, so who knows if he’ll have an easier time.  

5. Let’s talk sunscreen! I need a new sunscreen for my face, that won’t cause me to break out. Right now I’m using Nuetrogena Clear Face Sunscreen, but it makes me break out something fierce! I guess I’d rather have pimples than skin cancer, so I keep using it, but if I can avoid both, that would be awesome. So what are you using? Also, I need a good sunscreen for Tysen in the pool. I know technically sunscreen can no longer be labeled “waterproof” so I don’t expect any great recommendations there. Right now I don’t even know what we’re using, but it’s not great for his face, just his body. His poor little face, under his eyes, seem to get the worst of the glare from the pool. Should I try a stick or something like that? HELP!!