The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One Where I'm Official

I'm so excited!! I have gone back and forth forever about making The Unlikely Runners a domain name or not. Then I took a break from blogging and so obviously it didn't seem practical to spend money on a domain name. However, during that break I realized just how much I would like to document what I'm doing as far as life and running go (although really more running than anything else, I'm pretty boring, or just assume the world has no interest in my daily activities....anyways, I've been sidetracked...) So all that being said, I finally did it! I forked over the huge sum of $10 and made The Unlikely Runners a dot come address. I no longer have to type that ridiculous word "blogger" when searching for my blog (but thank you very much Blogger for hosting me, we have had a great relationship and I will continue to be appreciative of what you do!).
In case you are out on the world wide web searching, you can now find me at www [dot] theunlikelyrunners [dot] com!
Have a happy Wednesday!

The One About January (A Challenge Completed, A Family Vacation and A Disney Photo Dump)

*This post ended up being really long and I almost put it into two different post but  decided just for simplicities sake I would just keep it as one post, so I apologize for the lengthy post!

On New Year’s Day we had part 2 of the New Year’s Double race – there’s nothing like waking up to a new year and setting out to run a race! I loved the idea of the New Year’s Double events and it’s such a great way to get people involved in all different kinds of races and to get people excited about racing – whether they do a 5K or a marathon, whether they do both days or only one, I LOVED the idea.

After a stressful experience the day before I had told mom she didn’t need to come out the next day and I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she didn’t, however, she’s a tough lady and decided she wanted to finish the challenge and go back for more! I had also signed up for the 5K for the second day (since I had never raced back to back days before) and so I decided that instead of running the 5K I would just walk the whole thing with her. It was nice to spend that time talking with her and even though she was all bandaged up I was so proud of her for going back out there.

We both completed the 2 days and so we had gotten a medal each day (something really nice about this race was there were medals for all finishers in all distances BOTH DAYS!). Each day was half of a circle that would fit into a larger “plate” at the end of the second day. We each got our second medals and plates and decided to call it a day to relax! 

I know that I said yesterday that I was frustrated on New Year’s eve at the lack of medical support and personnel at this race – and while that is something that was bothersome, this race was a really fun race and a great idea. I have had the pleasure of meeting the race director and I know she works hard on the events she does and overall I would say this was a great turnout and everything was done very well. I loved the t-shirts and still wear mine all the time!!!

The rest of January was actually a really hard month for me – the weekend after the New Years Double I went out to run an 18 mile run and only made it 13 miles. I was experiencing full body pain that I had never experienced before and after 13 miles I couldn’t take it. I figured out later that I hadn’t fuelled properly during the first part of my run and that really took a toll on my whole body. Lesson learned! However, that run left me mentally shaken and questioning my abilities to actually run a marathon.  I had been running hard core since October and had at least 2 more months are hard marathon training ahead of me and my body was just refusing. I unintentionally decided to take a 2 week break from running and only do cross training. I really needed to listen to my body and let my head reevaluate what I was doing and where I was going. This may or may not have been smart but I feel like it was worth it to listen to my body and not push it (besides, I came back stronger than ever in February to run one of my best months ever!).

I had had hopes of making it to Houston for the Marathon Olympic Trials but sadly that didn’t happen. I had family in town and had been so busy travelling and racing all fall that I just needed a break. I know I did the right thing then and don’t regret my decision but man I’m sad I missed out on that experience!!!

My “running break” may have lasted longer than two weeks had I not had a half marathon at the end of the month; but thankfully I did and I was able to get my booty back into gear! In January of 2011 I had signed up for The Four Season Challenge – that was where you run a half marathon in each season for a special medal and t-shirt. My first half marathon, Big D (readabout it here!) was the first race of that challenge I ran. Then I ran the Hottest Half (here) in August and the Tyler Rose Half (here) in October. This was the last race and I was very excited to finally see a goal come to fruition.

*side note – I would have never imagined when I signed up for this race that I would have raced so many other races in between! I remember signing up for this challenge and questioning my sanity in running FOUR half marathons in a year. Silly, silly me! If only I had known…..

On race day Alex had the pleasure of being my race chauffer for the day and we had an early start. The weather was cool and overcast that day – perfect running weather!  I really thought this race might be a disaster, however I didn’t care, I just wanted my 4 seasons medal and to be done! I hadn’t been running in two weeks and mentally I was still a bit of a mess. This was a smaller race and it was at White Rock Lake so I knew the course fairly well but was also not too excited to run around the lake yet again. I wound up running this whole race with Michelle which was awesome! I was so glad for the company and I hadn’t seen her or run with her in a long time. We ran the first 8 miles which is much more than I anticipated running. We walked/ran the last few miles and both decided we wanted to be in under 2:45. We had to push it the last mile but I crossed the finish line in 2:44:xx. I was happy with that and was glad to have my medal and extra dry fit shirt!

After the race Alex and I ate a quick lunch and then I had to hurry home because I was flying out with my family that afternoon to go to Disney World! I had never been to Disney World before and I was so excited to be spending a week there with my family (thanks Dad and Denise for footing the bill on this mini-vacation!) I will try to do a whole post on Disney World, I mean how can you not spend 6 days in the Happiest Place on Earth and NOT have lots to say about it?! But for now, enjoy a few pictures from the trip!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The One About December

December started off cold and rainy and with my first ever marathon relay. Actually, this was my first relay ever. Lisa, Michelle and I had decided that we wanted to run the White Rock Marathon Relay and we needed 5 people to run so I asked my cousin Ryan and his wife Abby if they would be willing to run 4-5 miles each.  I was so happy when they agreed because I love spending time with them and I love sharing running with others in my family. 

The forecast for the day was less than spectacular with rain, rain, cold rain, and more rain. Lisa ran the first leg of the relay and Michelle ran the second part, so I never went to the starting line or any part of the race area before the race, it was very weird. Both Lisa and Michelle had 5 mile portions and they were both finished very quickly. Thanks to my mom who was our amazing race chauffer all day long I got to sit in the warm, dry car until it was my turn to go. I decided to just go for it and get wet that day and took off without my rain gear for my 6.5 mile portion along White Rock Lake. I went out pretty fast and maintained a good pace for me. I was at mile 11 of the race and it was an odd feeling to be quite literally jumping into the middle of a race. I was running with people who had already gotten their second and third winds and who were just maintaining a decent pace, all the while I’m still trying to settle into mine. About mile 15 it started POURING on me and rained pretty hard for a solid mile. We were running on a bridge at this point and it was pretty cold. I couldn’t see very well either because of the rain in my eyes. I was approaching my exchange point where I was giving the ankle strap to Abby for her 4.5 mile portion, however, due to my exchange point being in a neighborhood slightly off the course I was sitting at 7 miles for the day. I was glad to hand off to her and go find my mom in the warm car! I rode with her and Ryan to the final exchange point to wait for Abby to pass off to Ryan so that he could finish us out with his 5.2 miles. After dropping Ryan off and heading back to the car with Abby, mom drove us to the finish area so that we could wait for Ryan and watch him cross the finish line. It was so cold and still raining and I remember being excited but also miserable. Once Ryan finished we were able to get into the runner finisher area and get our medals. There was some confusion and we actually lost Ryan for a bit because he dropped off our timing chip and got our medals and then walked out of the building and once you walk out you can’t get back in. He also didn’t have his phone with him so by the time Abby and I got into the building and met up with Lisa and Michelle, Ryan had left and we couldn’t find him. About 20 min later we finally realized what happened because he called Abby using someone else’s phone. At the time it was stressful but it’s funny now!

The rest of December was spent just trying my best to follow my training schedule and slowly building up my mileage for marathon training.
On December 10th I ran my first ever trail race by running a 5k with Alex. This was Alex’s first organized race. I also ran 7 miles before this race and finished up with 5 treadmill miles after the race for a total of 15 miles for the day, my longest distance yet.

On Christmas Eve I had probably one of my favorite runs during all of my marathon training. The weather that day was perfect running weather in that it was cloudy, overcast and cool. I set out about 7am with a plan to run 16 miles as best I could. The first 13 miles were great! I remember feeling strong and comfortable and kept my pace right below 12 min miles. I knew the last 3 miles would be the hardest but I kept at it and ran 2 more miles. I walked some during the last mile but I finished 16 miles in 3:11. That was another personal best for me and my average for the day was under 12 minute miles so I was so happy with that.
On New Year’s Eve I had a half marathon, part one of the New Year’s Double. 

Mom was doing the 5K that day and I was really excited to be doing this with her. I didn’t have too many expectations for the day other than to have fun. The weather was pretty nice, kind of warm by the time we started. The course for the half marathon was 2 loops of the parks paths. I don’t remember exactly what time I crossed thru the start area the first time but I do remember wondering why I wasn’t seeing my mom. My phone kept getting text messages and finally about mile 8 I decided to check all the texts. Apparently mom had tripped over the timing mat and fallen right at the finish line area. Her face and nose were scrapped up pretty badly and unfortunately the race site didn’t have proper medical personnel and equipment so she had to go home and get herself cleaned up. I told her that I would be more than happy to get off the race course if she needed me to but she was already on her way home. Thankfully she didn’t break her nose or have any teeth issues but I know it was very upsetting to us both. From that point on I was just worried about mom and frustrated with the race being unorganized and lost a lot of steam. I don’t think I ran much more of the race and finished right about 3 hours. I got the first half of my medal plate and headed to the car to check on mom. I knew we both had a 5K the next morning so we both spend the afternoon napping and watching movies, just taking it easy to ring in the New Year.
Part 2 of the New Year’s Double tomorrow – did Mom go back again for day two? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The One With An Actual Blog Post

So apparently this little blog is still around, who knew! And I’ve even had hundreds of page views over the last 5 months of my absences – I guess people want to see if I’ve died or not. Well I haven’t died yet and after furiously editing my pictures on picnik the past couple of days before they close up shop I decided I should go ahead and give the blog and mini face lift and attempt to revive this here little thing. I cannot guarantee I’ll be good at this, but I would like to continue to document all my running adventures.
I think to catch myself and everyone up on the blog I will begin by just doing a simple month by month update so that each month I’ve missed has its own post – that way you won’t get overwhelmed with reading. Who am I kidding? I don’t want to get overwhelmed writing it all!!!


So I didn’t actually run the 8Mile Turkey Trot, I only ran the 5K and it was probably one of my most favorite Turkey Trot/races all year long. I really did want to run the 8 miles but I had cowboy tickets for later that day and time just wouldn’t allow me to do both. So Dad and I jumped in the 5K corrals with all the fast people and took off and never looked back. I was sucking wind by the time we hit the 3 mile mark and turned the last corner but I had my eyes on a 5K PR and boy did I get me one! I will take it!

Two weekends before the Turkey Trot I was in San Antonio to run Rock N Roll San Antonio – it was a very hot and very humid day! While I do enjoy the Rock N Roll race series I’m not sure I would do this race again – there were so many, many people there and it took me 45 min after the first corral went for my corral to go!! 45 minutes! That is just crazy! The whole course I had to constantly watch my footing and make sure I wasn’t running into or stepping on people. The last 2 miles were the worst because the marathoners joined us again and so all the half marathoners had to be pushed to one side of the street. Then the finish line area was not organized well at all and it was too hard to get out of the area and it was so hot! I saw lots of people throwing up and looking like they wanted to pass out. I did manage a fairly decent time that I was happy with though.

The weekend after that I was in Tulsa to run the Route 66 Half marathon. This race was hands down my favorite race all year long. It was really cold the day of the race (49 at the start and 43 at the finish!) but I love the cold weather!! I had no plan other than to enjoy this race – I was a week off of RNR SA and had the turkey trot (what I thought were 8 miles) in 5 days, so I really just wanted to finish. I took off and started out a bit faster than I normally would at the time and powered up some early hills which gave me a big boost of confidence. I was feeling good and completely enjoying the cold weather. About mile 2.5 I was actually being passed by the 2:30 pacer and decided to just jump on the tails of that group. I had never run in a pace group before and so I wasn’t sure how it would be. But I told myself if I could stay with them for 5 miles then I would be really happy with that. The pace group was the best decision I could have made and technically I ran this race really well. I was entertained listening to the people in the group, I fed off their energy and I was able to draft off of them since there was some wind that day. My breathing, fueling and hydration were great. As I started approaching my 5 mile bargain I decided to hang on until I hit mile 8. At mile 8 I was still feeling good so I said ok, mile 9 then. At mile 9 I was still feeling good so I hung on with the pace group until mile 11!! I was so dang proud of myself. At this point I really wanted to stay with them but at mile 10 we had turned and were now running north along a river bed and the wind was brutally cold, I mean brutal! The pacer also started to get a big kick at mile 11 and since I had never run a race that hard before I just couldn’t hang on. I walked a lot between miles 11-13 but at this point I knew I would be in the 2:3x finish range and I was simply happy with that. I crossed the finish line against a huge headwind and my time was 2:33 and change! I was so happy! My mom and sister were there that day and I am so glad they were there to celebrate with me.