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Friday, April 18, 2014

The One Before The Kentucky Marathon

I made it to Indianapolis last night and I enjoyed a nice dinner and relaxing evening chatting with the Thomases. I got to sleep in today, in an amazingly comfortable bed! And I am currently enjoying a bagel (edited to add, my second bagel) while jotting down some thoughts for tomorrow.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a long time now mainly because I just really have no idea what to say. For the first time ever I don’t have any concrete thoughts per say about how my training went and I just really don’t have many expectations for tomorrow. I expect to finish the race but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Marathon training started out pretty rough actually; I was coming off of an injury and I was supposed to be training for an Ultra marathon. I didn’t put too much initial thought into marathon training because I just figured if I trained for and completed an ultra then this would be no big deal. Then when I decided to pull out of the ultra I still intended to run the full marathon on that same day but that also didn’t lend itself to be the case.

By the end of February it was safe to say that while I was getting a few good workouts in here and there I wasn’t overly thrilled with my running. In fact I was downright frustrated. Between the months of January and February I only logged 125 miles. After Cowtown I really got my act together though. I forced myself into better eating habits (which resulted in an 11lb weight loss over the last 6 weeks!) and I started trying to incorporate the Hanson Marathon Method into my training.  But mostly I just kind of let go and tried to enjoy running. I stopped worrying about pace and times and I just ran.

March ended up being the best running month I have ever had. I logged 130 miles in March alone. And while my pace wasn’t comparable to what it was a year ago preparing for my marathon I had more good runs than I did bad ones. I can’t say that I successfully followed the Hanson’s marathon plan but I like the idea of it and in the future I plan to try to utilize it more. I actually didn’t really follow a specific plan for this marathon at all, I just ran.

I think that’s why I really don’t have too many expectations for tomorrow. While I can see that I’m not undertrained necessarily I also don’t really have a plan to look at and to give credit to, or blame should things go wrong. Well I guess if things go wrong I could blame it on the lack of a plan… Either way I feel oddly comfortable with my fitness level and preparedness heading into tomorrow.

It’s been a year, exactly, since I’ve run a marathon and while that wasn’t my intentions it’s just how it happened. That does make me a little nervous. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten just what I’m in store for. But on the other hand that may be to my advantage.  I’m sure you can see by now that I really have conflicted feelings about this whole thing.

I am actually excited to run a marathon tomorrow; as much as I absolutely love the half distance there is just something so rewarding about completing a marathon. I know this will not be a perfect race for me (and if it is I’ll gladly come back and say I was wrong!). My goal originally was to go sub-5 (as was my goal last year…) and I would like to come in as close to 5 hours as I can but my real goal for the day is to just run as much of the race as I absolutely can. And, to just enjoy the day. The weather is supposed to be beautiful tomorrow (mid-40’s at the start!) and I’ve never been to Louisville so I want to enjoy the sites.   

So, do I think I’m prepared? Physically I may be slightly under-trained but I honestly feel great. No injuries, no pain or soreness and I’ve been running well the past couple of weeks. Mentally is where I’m not sure if I’m totally prepared or not but I think in this case it’s to my advantage. Since it’s been a year I’ve forgotten the mental struggle and battle and since my plan is to go into the race and have fun I think I’m in the best position mentally I can be in. I do wish Alex was going to be there tomorrow but I will be with the Thomases, and that’s just as good as family.  

Here’s the marathon #4!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday’s Weekly Happenings (4/16/14)

This past week and weekend has been busy as normal but we also had a chance to spend some quality time together as a couple and with some friends.

This past Friday night Alex and I took our friend, Jason out to celebrate his birthday. Jason is Alex’s best friend’s younger brother. Jason moved to Texas last September to be a part of a program here in the area that trains individuals on the autism spectrum about computer programing and how to build and design games. This was a HUGE deal for Jason to be able to be a part of and required a lot of major transitions in his life. He moved all the way from Indianapolis and this was his first birthday away from home and his family so we wanted to make it special for him.

He has done so well in the program and here in Texas and we are so proud of him and all his hard work. We took him to a place called Love and War in Texas and enjoyed a really yummy dinner. 

Then we took him back to his apartment and had cake 

(I made the cake per his request and he told me “it’s just like mom makes it” so that made my night for sure!) and we played Cards Against Humanity. I have never laughed so hard in my life and I most definitely haven’t ever seen Alex laugh so hard.

I got up early the next morning to go run but actually wound up sleeping an extra hour and half and then Kristie and I had to rearrange our running plans a bit. But we still managed 8 really good miles.

I got home from running and after taking the dogs on a 2 mile walk I made a new recipe for lunch and it was really yummy.

I also made play-doh for the first time!

Alex and I were invited to a “Super Hero and Tiaras” Birthday party for  Danny and Clare. 

Danny had just turned 5 and Clare just turned 3. I made them each their own play-doh and put together some really cute little gift bags with coloring books and they each got their own little tiny pot with a plant to grow.

Danny actually wouldn’t pose for a picture so his younger brother, James was the fill in. Don’t we look good with kids? Just saying…

Saturday evening Alex and I just enjoyed a nice evening on our back porch watching the Ranger’s play and talking.

Sunday the weather was once again crazy and we did our normal church thing and a nice lunch together. Sunday lunches have become one of my favorite times each week because it’s one of the only times throughout the week that we can sit and just enjoy each other’s company.

I took a couple of hours to relax with the doggies and then it was time to get to work.

We’ve been in our house for 4 months now but I have yet to organize our master closets. It was pretty much a disaster and I was honestly just so tired of digging through piles of clothes each and every time I needed something and I got fed up. After about 4 hours of work and 1 trip to Target my closet is all clean and organized with folded clothes and just the kind of organization I like. I still need to do Alex’s closet for him (since I’m nice like that) but that will be another weekend project.

My sister Rachel also came over and had dinner with us. Her and my sister Sara got me a giant chalkboard frame for my birthday and I finally decided what I wanted written on it and since Rachel is our family artist she took care of that while she was here. I absolutely love how it turned out!!

The rest of the week has been pretty normal. Last night we had these delicious breakfast tacos for dinner. They were so good I had to document them.

I’m off work tomorrow and heading to Indianapolis and then on to Kentucky with the Thomases for the marathon!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The One About the Fairview Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran the Fairview Half marathon; my 30th half marathon! This is a race that had been on my mind for quite some time now. I actually volunteered on race day last year and then got to run the course for my medal a few weeks later but I was really looking forward to running it on race day. I also had every intention of this being my goal race in which I ran for a PR. In hindsight I’m actually really glad that didn’t play out for several reasons but I’ll get to those in a minute. This race is a small, very local race that’s super close to me and where I grew up and I know the race director personally and there are always so many runner friends around that you can’t help but feel excited and encouraged on race day.

Believe it or not I still get nervous on race day, every single time. Every time. But this race was actually a little different, for the first time in a really long time I a) felt like myself
as a runner (no injuries, no pain, well prepared and at a pace I like being at) and b) had no expectation on myself other than to have fun. The last one was a true blessing and something that is actually really hard for me to do. No matter what the circumstances are going into each race I always tend to expect a great deal from myself or I’m already aware of the fact that the day won’t go as planned and I’m negative before the national anthem is even sung. But this race was completely different - I knew there was no way I was hitting anywhere close to the goal I had originally set for myself but I was not even bummed about that at all. Like I mentioned several weeks ago God has really been working on my life in a lot of ways and showing me what balance is really all about. It’s very refreshing to get up and run just for the pleasure of running (I promise, that’s a real thing).
Race morning was super easy, I was up, ready, had breakfast and out the door, with a husband (who was putting his best efforts into not being cranky!) in tow. 

Getting to the race site was easy, parking was SUPER easy and there were NO PORT-O-POTTY LINES!! I think I screamed with excitement over that one. It actually turns out that there were indoor bathrooms and that’s where everyone else was lined up. But heck, I prepare myself to use a portable toilet on race morning so no lines is totally worth it, you guys can wait for the indoors all you want. I got to pee twice while you were just waiting in line!
Race morning weather was perfection for me - a little chilly, overcast and the most gorgeous sunrise I could have imagined.

After peeing twice, singing the national anthem and telling Alex bye the race started right on time. I easily found the 2:35 pacers and my plan was to just hang out with them. I felt great and knew I was capable of more but I haven’t raced as much as I normally do so I wasn’t entirely too sure what the day had in store for me and I wanted to be comfortable and enjoy the race. I also knew the course was hilly so I figured a safe bet was to hang with them as long as I could and speed up later if I wanted to. I say I didn’t have a goal but we of course all know that’s a bunch of crap, I definitely had a finish time in my mind and it was somewhere between 2:30-2:35.

Within the first mile I saw a friend of mine and we chatted for a little bit. She is coming off of an injury yet has continued to run/walk marathons and halfs. She even did a walk/run for the entire Dopey Challenge at Disney this past January! Totally amazing to me! At about the 1 mile marker she sped up and I got back into the 2:35 pace group. The hills started pretty early but weren’t too bad. I chatted with one of the pacers for a bit. She commented on my shoes and we started talking about how much we love our Brooks running shoes. She was 27 weeks pregnant so we chatted about that too. I seriously hope I can be running like her at 27 weeks pregnant!!

I actually had a bit of a cramp in my side for the first 3 miles which is really unusual for me but I just took a lot of deep breaths and right as I saw the 3 mile marker it just all of a sudden went away. I also started to pull away from the 2:35 pace group a little bit as well. I wasn’t planning to leave them that early but I was feeling awesome and my legs were feeling antsy to move so I just dropped the pace ever so slightly.

One of the perks of this race is the small town country roads that the course is run on and with that comes awesome houses, lots of great scenery and some interesting pets, like longhorns and llamas. I kid you not, within the first 3 miles we passed both a herd of longhorns and llamas. I’m telling you, this race does not disappoint, y’all!

At mile 3.5 we got a nice little downhill portion along the highway and that felt nice. I have to take a moment here and also mention that since this course is on country roads and through neighborhoods there are a lot of volunteers and police officers and they are just awesome! I cannot stress enough how awesome all of the volunteers and law enforcement for the race was. So nice and friendly, very professional and the water stops were great and frequent. I never felt like I was running a smaller race when it came to the necessities of racing.

Right before mile 4 we turned into an awesome neighborhood with amazing houses. I don’t know about you guys but I love house hunting while I’m running, love it! For several miles we wound our way through awesome sprawling neighborhoods with cool houses and lots of little ups and downs. Right about mile 4 I saw a guy sitting in his driveway cheering people on and I realized as I approached him that I knew him and his family. I waved hi and asked about the family. That’s one of the fun things about this race - it’s just so down home and friendly.

Right as I hit the 5 mile marker I was still running strong and I could actually see the 2:30 pacers in front of me. They were still a ways off but since I was feeling so good my goal now was to slowly catch them and hang with them as long as I could. I was feeling good but I’m not sure I actually still believed I had a good race in me at this point. Over the next 2.5 miles I kept them in sight and slowly, slowly, slowly gained on them. This middle portion was fairly even with only a few slight hills here and there.

By mile 7.5 I was at the back of the 2:30 pace group and exactly as we hit the 8 mile marker I passed the pacers. I’m not actually sure who the pacers were because I passed them and kept moving on but I do have to say that the guy pacer was by far one of the coolest and best pacers I have ever seen. He was having the time of his life out there and he was telling a story about one of his race experiences. I only heard bits and pieces of the story but I could tell it was a story that was going on for miles. He was very animated, very funny and quite entertaining; exactly what you want in a pacer!

It was right after I passed the 8 mile marker that we were coming up on a right hand turn that would take us back out towards the highway and there was a big hill coming up. I realized then that I still hadn’t taken any GU or water so I quickly grabbed my GU and actually took my time taking little bits of it over the next mile and a half. Once we got up the hill there was a flat portion before we made another right hand turn to go back up the hill we went down at 3.5. It was a pretty long hill and it was then that I realized I really need to get back to consistent hill training. I never walked though! Once we reached the top of the hill at 9.5 we were heading back through the same neighborhood we did the first 3 miles in. It was exactly the same just in reverse. I know some people were dreading it because of the hills but I actually kind of liked it because I knew exactly what to expect and I knew exactly where I needed to give a little extra push and where I could relax a little bit.

Mile 10 came along and I started to pick up the pace just a little bit, the thought of catching the 2:25 group ran through my head but I didn’t actually have them in sight so it really wasn’t a possibility. However, I did want to come in under 2:30 now. At this point it was pretty much a mental talk for myself: I was telling myself that if I could keep this pace at exactly where it was I would be done in about 32 minutes and I just ticked the minutes off. Mile 11 was the hardest, there were a few hills and I really wanted to stop. I was still ahead of the 2:35 pace group and I wanted to keep it that way but my pace dropped a little bit. Finally I saw the 12 mile marker and we climbed the very last hill!! It was a flat course the last mile on the highway and I knew I could do it. Right at mile 12.5 the 2:30 pace group caught me and they were running strong. I didn’t let it bother me because the time on my watch showed I was coming in well under 2:30. But I also didn’t want them to get too far ahead of me either.

Then right at mile 13 I saw Alex and I knew I had a sprint in me so I took advantage and pushed passed those pacers to finish. 

I saw a friend working at the finish line and she yelled and waved at me. I stopped my watch and saw I came in well under what I was wanting for the day! I finished in 2:25! I grabbed my awesome medal, some water and a few snacks and easily found Alex.

I attempted to take a picture in front of town hall but we actually didn’t get a good one. In my attempt to hold up a 3 and a 0 for 30 Halfs I accidentally held up a 3 and a 5….blame it on the runner’s brain! It’s funny now but I didn’t even realize until later I had done that.

After that I found the race director and thanked her for such an awesome race. I love how accessible she always is on race day, being right there in the action and available for you. We chatted a bit and I asked her about her awesome adventures from the weekend before on her trail races.

Overall this was such a wonderful event and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate 30 half marathons. From start to finish everything was well done, professional, detailed and above expectations. The venue, the shirts the medals and course, the details along the course, the volunteers and police officers and medical staff they were all so wonderful. The city of Fairview really hosted an awesome race and I will definitely be back for more.

Now, to the reasons I am glad this didn’t end up being a PR race… For starters, it was a hilly course, very hilly. Ok, not like the Austin half type of hills and not the I’m going to die type of hills but more like those hills are not really meant for a PR type of hills. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually know quite a few and when I saw quite a few I mean more than I can count on 2 hands a few people that did in fact PR at this race, so it is definitely a friendly course. But for me, even though I love hills I think it was better this way. I also when signing up and planning to PR this race didn’t realize this would end up being my 30th half marathon. As nice as it would have been to have a PR for 30 I really am glad I was able to just enjoy the day rather than worry about trying to go for a PR. So PR or no PR this race is definitely on my favorites list, thank goodness it’s local because it’s one I want to run over and over again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday’s Miles (4/14/14)

This past week was definitely a much better week than the last; my runs went well, I felt great, no extra rest days and believe it or not I was kind of getting a little bit excited for my marathon (those feelings go back and forth so my current feelings are a bit different). Here’s how the week panned out:

Monday: 5 miles hill repeats
Kristie and I don’t usually run together on Mondays but after such an off week we decided to meet and do some hills. Last year I was very diligent about doing hill work at least once a week and I saw a major improvement in my running. I also think it totally saved me from completely bombing the Garmin marathon last year. But it has been nearly 5 months since I’ve done any sort of solid hill work. I realize that 2 weeks from my marathon is probably not the time to start adding hill training back into my life but it wasn’t anything major and it was a fun workout. We did a mile warm up and then 3 half mile hill climbs at a steady pace with half mile recovery jog back down. Our miles were awesome for doing hill work and I felt great for getting that hill work in.
1 - 10:25
2 - 9:45
3 - 10:13
4 - 10:10
5 - 10:45
5 miles in 51:29 (10:18 pace)
Photo: Kristie and I quite literally out ran the incoming thunder storm tonight. 5 miles total with 3 half mile hill repeats #runhappy #marathontraining

Tuesday: 5 easy miles
We were at it again but this time at a much easier pace. It was hot a humid and my leg calf was bothering me thanks to the fact that I got to be a test subject at work that day. I’m not exactly what our splits were but we did 5 miles in 55:12 (11:02 pace)
Photo: Today at work I got to be a test subject for the PT student and I had my crazy left calf tapped up. Now I know some of you guys swear by this stuff but I found it weird and annoying. It definitely made those 5 miles feel like 50. #marathontraining #runhappy

Wednesday: Rest day
Wednesday was actually a much needed rest day because my insomnia was really bad this week. Monday night I didn’t get to sleep until 3:00am and then Tuesday night, despite the fact that I was horribly tired it was still after midnight before I got to sleep. Rest was appreciated. And also why I haven’t had time to blog about the Fairview Half marathon….

Thursday: 7 easy miles
Thursdays have become our superstar running days in which all things work for a perfect and glorious run and we feel like we are floating on clouds the whole way. This run was no different. We usually stick with 6 easy but faster miles on Thursdays but I was feeling ambitious and did an extra mile (with the half mile hill climb I might add) and it felt awesome. I finished 7 miles in 1:15:36 (10:48 pace)

Friday: rest

Saturday: 8 miles
I originally wanted to do 12 miles and Kristie and I were planning to meet at White Rock but after sleeping an extra hour I finally made it to the lake to realize there was some event going on and there was absolutely no place to park. So we rearranged our plans quickly and just headed to the Katy Trail where we usually do all our evening runs. The trail only covers 3.5 miles so we usually cover end to end and back for 7 and I added an extra hill mile on the end as well for 8. This run felt hard for the first 4 miles but flew by in the end. It was actually pretty hot and humid on Saturday which made for lots of sweating, something I’m going to have to start getting used to again. 8 miles in 1:29:12 (11:09 pace)

Photo: After a few alterations in our plans this morning Kristie and I still got in 8 miles this morning. Only 1 more week till marathon day! #marathontraining #runhappy

Sunday: rest

So here I am 5 days from race day and I have a million thoughts in my head which will hopefully make it’s way into a blog post by Thursday…. Race week is here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The One About Why We Do What We Do

I had every intention of posting a race recap from the Fairview Half today but time got away from me and I wasn’t able to finish it. But I also really wanted to direct you to my husband, Alex’s blog anyways. He posted a great post this morning about why we chose to the live the way that we live.

As Christians, Alex and I strive to live each day with our focus being on bringing God glory and living out His will for our lives. One particular area that Alex is exceptionally passionate about is frugal living. This is an area that I tend to struggle with at times and while I fully believe in the principles and blessings involved with living within our means it is one area I find hard. Alex is much more disciplined in this area and in turn is able to bless my life by bringing his knowledge and passion into our marriage.

I know most of you that read my blog also read his blog as well, but just in case you missed it here’s the link:

If you care to see a more personal side of our lives Alex has described it for you very well.

I hope you all had a great Tuesday.

Are there certain things that you do in your daily life that help you live more within your means? If so please share, we are always looking for ways to broaden our scope of this topic and glean what we can from others.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The One With A New Weekly Series; Sort of…

I plan to start deviating a bit from the “The One…” titles and so I say sort of because my new weekly series will be called “Monday’s Miles”. I already sort of do this, or I guess have done this frequently in the past so it’s not entirely new but the title is new and hopefully will bring a fresh approach to my weekly postings. I actually have a few ideas for different types of series that I want to start incorporating it’s just a matter of getting myself organized and together…

Anyways, all of that to say I’m bringing the weekly workout recaps (as lame as they are lately) back! So here is the first installment of

I actually chose a pretty poor week to bring back my weekly workout recaps because well, I was pretty much a dud all week. I took 4 days off, 2 were unplanned, 1 was planned and the other day was just pure laziness. How’s that for some honesty. I always find myself getting close to taper time and just overall struggling. I can’t find my motivation, I can’t find energy, I feel physically AND mentally exhausted and just once I would like for a training plan to go well, as planned!

This go around marathon training has actually been really frustrating, really sketchy and all at one time both really good and terribly poor. Maybe I should just say marathon training has been a little bit bipolar…. I will update you later this week on this training cycle as a whole and my overall thoughts about it and why it hasn’t worked but what are some of the good things I’m gleaning from this time around.

But for now here’s what I did this week:

Monday: Nothing - I was debating making this a rest day after the A2A half - I was leaning towards a short shakeout run but my left calf muscle had other plans for me.

Tuesday: Nada - This was definitely an unplanned day because in my mind I was going out to do at least 6 miles but my left calf continued to spasm all day long. I was told (by a semi-professional) that I was dehydrated and needed to drink lots of water and take some electrolytes. I sat on the couch yet again (that futon, that I really hate, and I have become quite good friends lately) and guzzled some Nuun.

Wednesday: Nilch - this was a “planned” rest day. However, after 2 days off I really should have gotten my act together but goodness, it’s my planned rest day, it’s precious to me… Or something more along the lines of I just felt lazy and depressed that I had already had 2 rest days.

Thursday: Negative - the “I haven’t done a single productive thing so why start now” depression set in. Also, thunderstorms kind of prevented this run, at least the planned run outside that is. I have text message proof that Kristie and I planned to run, Mother Nature just had other ideas and I was too tired to argue and make my way to the gym instead.

Friday: 3.5 miles of sloth-like running with Kristie. We ran some and walked some; basically we just needed to get moving again.

Saturday: Fairview Half Marathon. A race report is definitely coming on this one.

Sunday: planned 9 miles but it rained all day long.

So, yea, it was a rough week but here’s to a much better week this week! Less than 2 weeks left until the Kentucky Marathon!!