3M half marathon and winter running…

Let’s start by saying that I have been happy NOT training for a winter marathon.  My longest run since October has been 14 miles and it’s been great to not have long runs hanging over my head that need to be done in mostly darkness…you know, the 5 am start time with the need to be done by 7:30 where 18 miles or so gets run alone in cold and dark.  I did too many of these runs the last few winters and they are not what I would call joyful.  I prefer joyful runs that leave me happy to be a runner and not merely obligated to check off an arbitrary 20 mile box.

3M was about 3 weeks ago and was my goal winter race.  My goal was just to tie last year’s time (1:41) or to beat it…..and continue to recognize the fact I run much slower than I used to and to be ok with that.

I was cool as a cucumber going into this because it was a weekend of hanging out with friends.  Stephanie flew in with her sister in law and Meghan was also running. A running reunion of sorts.  Sure I could have forgone a glass of wine the night before at a girls’ dinner or planning brunch for a large group post race, but is any of that really worth it as a mid pack runner that does this for fun?  And would a glass of wine really do much damage to my midpacker’s time?  No to both.

The weather had been awful that week with school closures due to ice and a 15 degree morning.  Race say saw a radical change with 65 degrees, 100% humidity, and misty weather coating the streets in a layer of slime.  I don’t think the weather really affected me, but slick streets on a net downhill did.  I always felt like I was running with a “skier’s” gait and not how I normally run.  My hamstrings and shins were  all sorts of tight.

This course has undergone many changes over the years, and I found myself fully morphed into an old person as I lamented for the course of days past.  The current course is just really dull for the first half (strip malls, industrial office complexes and overpasses, I mean who doesn’t love all that for scenery.  Luckily it went by very quick for me, but I was hitting zero of my splits.  I’m being completely honest when I say I just think it was the slick roads.  I was close on each split and wasn’t slowing down or anything, but always finished each mile outside of my goal pace.  The effort was there so I didn’t stress.

The second part of the course is much better.  I chatted here and there with other runners, and was getting tired, but maintaining.  When I got to mile 11 I “took off” and try and start kicking it in a bit…..but I didn’t go any faster.  I think my perceived effort of being faster was really just allowing me to maintain.

Finished in 1:44.  Although 3 minutes off last year, I don’t feel bad at all.  I think the times translates for the conditions of the day.  One cool thing is I ran 3M as my first race in Austin 20 years ago.  The fact that I finished in the same time (I believe my time then was 1:45.  Not sure though, it’s so old it’s no longer posted online!) makes me happy. Perspective here….just happy to still be racing this thing 20 years later.

And time with friends was wonderful.  Post race brunch at my house barely came together with all the post race logistics, but it did come together.   I didn’t get in the shower that day until 2pm and was absolutely wrecked with soreness the next day.  The soreness confirmed I really was pushing myself.

Speaking of soreness, I broke down and got an Air Relax. Laugh if you must, but I had tried it a couple times, have two friends that raved about theirs, and my threshold for spending money on my body is significantly lower at age 45 then at age 25.  I love, love, love it.  I can’t really say if it’s making soreness less pronounced, but I’ll be able to test it after the Austin half marathon in about 10 days.  So far I’ve been using it almost nightly, and loving it.  Worth. The. Money.

Spring marathon, aka Vermont marathon, training started last week.  I’m meeting my group for track and tempo Tues and Thurs and doing the Hanson marathon plan the other days.  I was mainly drawn to the two weekend runs instead of one big long run.  The slower I get, the harder a 20 mile or more run is…they just take so long.  Make no mistake, this plan is not low mileage, as there is more running all week, just less on the weekend.  I’ll have to do a full post on how it worked.  I’m a little nervous to do something so different, but there are testimonials all over the internet about it….so time will tell.

Next up:  Austin half marathon, and hopefully some spring days!


End of an era…


Over the Christmas break, Mike cleaned out the garage and I gave my mountain bike and my road bike to my neighbor.  This set up in the picture is the last time I really rode the road bike.  I used it on the trainer when I injured my back while pregnant, almost EIGHT years ago.  So, yeah, it hasn’t seen much use lately.  It was bittersweet.  I was glad to clear some space but sad to let it go.  My relationship with cycling never turned into what I had hoped.

It’s probably been about 15 years at least since I thought I’d give cycling a go.  I couldn’t decide between a road bike or a mountain bike so I got both…..a nice entry level mountain bike and a used road bike from a friend.  I loved mountain biking the easier trails but was never enough of a daredevil to really get good or even a little decent.  I was a horrendous road cyclist and quickly discovered I preferred to keep my cycling leisurely as opposed to making it a workout.  My cycling was the equivalent of going for a walk, intensity wise.  I had fantasies of 50 mile rides out into the hill country,  going on one of those bike tours that I was suddenly getting catalogs in the mail for (they seem to appeal to a more senior crowd, but sounded fun), and riding my bike to work.   The bike really started to die when I started ultra running.  I couldn’t cram in a long bike ride and a long run.  I always held onto the idea of hopping on the bike trainer before dinner for a quick spin (happened once or twice) but the truth was working full time, running 6 days a week and starting up yoga was enough for me.

The bike was my saving grace when I hurt my back.  I couldn’t even go for a walk.  I needed something for an outlet.  I worked up a sweat every morning on a bike with all the gears frozen up but one, and then was over joyed when a bike shop mechanic managed to fix it.  But as soon as I had Jasper and my injury healed, I was back at running.  There was no way I could manage working, baby care, running and biking.

I told myself I start up again when Jasper started riding and we could do family bike rides.  Jasper never really showed interest in biking.  So, his bike too, was given to a neighbor. I have no complaints, he loves riding his scooter, swimming, trampolining, gymnastics, and basketball.  You can’t do it all.  So my bikes both continued to sit collecting dust.

I haven’t given up entirely.  I figured if I really want to try again, it will be in another season of my life.  A time when there are no kid sports on weekends and no one in the house cares if I’m gone and I’m not in the middle of other projects.  That seriously may be in retirement.  Bike riding is sorta like golf to me.  I need a lot of leisure time to do it.  And by then, I’ll just invest in a new bike.

I’ve also thought that maybe spin classes are more practical at this point and time for me.  Maybe if I did decide to ride again a home spin bike would be a better choice.

I’m happy someone could use my bikes and my neighbor seemed so, so happy to recieve them as a stay at home mom with kids that enjoy riding their bikes.   I was still sad to let go of those bikes that had seen a lot of memories but never any hardcore riding.

Guess I’ve got some retirement plans now.


Running in 2017…


It is really cold and nasty for the year’s end, so a perfect time to catch up the blog before I haul Jasper out to the arcade.  Need to get out of the house….

It was a good running year.  I stayed injury free for most of it and just at the very end started battle with my chronically angry left hamstring (Grrrrr).  Overall, I felt like the speed workout continued to pay off and paces I couldn’t run a couple years ago I am able to run now.  I started this last year, but this year I was able to fully enjoy not having a very young kid anymore and not feel the constant guilt of heading out to run.  Jasper is still frequently up before 5am, but he entertains himself.  A couple years ago he did not entertain himself and I either ran on the treadmill or felt like a jerk for waking Mike up so I could run.  Now I get him breakfast if he’s up and head out.  It’s much nicer and I actually run with people quite a bit!

I raced the 3M 1/2 marathon in January, paced the Austin Marathon in February, raced the 10/20 in April, a 5K in May, another 2 5Ks in Sept, did the Zilker Relays for the first time, raced the Chicago Marthon in October and the last race of the year was a low key 5 miler.  My favorite race was Chicago and the runner up is the Ranger 5K in my neighborhood.  My next favorite was the Zilker Relays which was really expensive but worth it.  I said farewell to pacing duties and so far have enjoyed not having to marathon train in the coldest weather of the year.

I was consistent with my body pump class and started Pilates.  I sorta had to let yoga classes go, as there is only so much time.   Pilates has been a lot of fun as I almost always meet a friend.

For next year, I’d really just like to stay injury free and try to embrace some shorter distances.  I have two marathons scheduled but I’d like to otherwise focus on 5Ks.   My challenge is I’m a mileage junkie and I have to force myself to do shorter runs.  It’s a necessity as a runner ages.  Time and time again I read about successful older runners and none of them do high mileage and all do speed work.  Learn by example.

This year I also admitted to myself I prefer to have a group of running buddies.  I ran alone a lot when Jasper was younger.  Running is my social time and I give up happy hours, and shopping for running and gym time.  Even though sometimes meeting people was more of a “hassle” then just running in my ‘hood, I always tried to go for it and be social.   I want to keep that up this year.

Jasper did a couple fun runs but remains pretty uninterested in doing more.  If kids he knows are running, he’s all over it.  If it’s just home he’s pretty lukewarm.  I don’t push him.  I’d love to start a kids run group in the neighborhood, but he needs to show a little more interest first.  Maybe this will be the year.

I’m never one for resolutions (they never work!) and not huge on reminiscing.  Just looking for another year of health and the joy of hitting the roads. (And finding a sports bra that doesn’t chafe).


1,2 and 3…

Love this picture!

For the first time in many years I am not pacing the Austin marathon.  I’m not even running it!  I’ve done 17 Austin marathons (8 of them were pacing it) and would have had a streak, minus the year I had Jasper two weeks before the race.  Last year I crossed the finish line and knew it was time to take a break.  I loved encouraging and meeting other runners, but after many years, it had started to feel like a job, and was limiting me from doing other races.  My marathoning years may be limited at this point in my life, so I want to do all those bucket list races, and the timing of Austin in February kinda messed up plans for racing a spring marathon.  I’ve been worried I’d regret it and be sad but so far I feel relieved.   It was nice to go and schedule a late spring marathon, the Vermont marathon,  to visit running buddy Steve and not work around Austin.  So there’s planned marathon #1.  I’m signed up for the Austin half marathon and that may be my local race from here on out…

I got a marathon entry for my birthday from Mike.  There was a lot of talk of getting that one international race off my bucket list.  Lots of discussion lead us (well, mostly me) to agree that this isn’t the year.  Jasper needs to be a little older to either go, or find a good childcare option.   There is a marathon in my future over the big pond, but just not this year.  So I entered Chicago again, just before the entry deadline.  Yes, I felt silly planning something almost a whole year away, but such is the way big marathons go now.  I absolutely fell in love with that race and cannot wait to give it another shot.  So there is planned marathon #2.

Planned marathon #3 is Boston 2019.  I can’t imagine I won’t get in with an 8 minute buffer.  If I can’t get in with that I am done with trying!!  But all prior history says I will get in.  I tried for that silly qualifier for 5 years, so I suppose I really need to go.   So just like that I ended up with a year and a half of running plans.

Guess I better start hitting the holiday sales and stocking up on shoes.  I’ll be needing them!




Cedar Park 5 Miler

Photo courtesy of PhotoWolfe

No, I am not crying.  Just realizing short races are painful and wet wood bridges are potential hip breakers.  Note to self….relax your facial muscles.

Did the Cedar Park 5 miler today.  5 miles is a pretty cool distance.  With a warm up and cool down, it’s a decent amount of running.  It’s tricky pacing.  Faster than a half marathon, but not 5K pace.  I am still learning how to pace these shorter races.  Today I did better than last time, but still need some work.

It was a little sad, but this race seems to be going the way of a lot of smaller races…on the way out.  I did this a few years ago when Jasper was a toddler, and it was nice tech shirts, gift card prizes, activities for kids, good food, in other words, worth the time and money to come out and do it.  It’s gotten really small and no frills.  Sometimes that’s nice, but I think it’s how races die.  You don’t need bands on every corner, but there’s got to be more than a timed course and an ugly T-shirt.  I hope this race can find a way to survive.  5 miles is a great distance and there isn’t much in Cedar Park, and it’s a pretty area with a lot of potential for race courses.

I behaved and did very little running the day before to be rested.  It was muggy and misty but not too hot.  I felt like I ran fairly well but would still like to see my pace closer to 7:00 than the 7:24 average I ran.  It was fun to meet up with friends, but really this wasn’t much more than a time trial.   The course was pretty and in my happy place, Brushy Creek Park.  It looked like fall and that was nice.  Of note, I was very tight and sore after the race.  I took Jasper and we met a friend at a new indoor mini golf place.  Got home late in the afternoon and took Davinci on a short shakeout 2 miler.  Maybe I need to do that more.  Felt so much better afterwards.  Blood flow to muscles=good.

Cake is still in our thoughts all the time.  I’m glad…I don’t want to forget her.  But we are trying our new normal of life without her.  Keeping busy helps.  Sad things in life  help us appreciate the good things.  A run with friend and then a doggy buddy and being healthy enough to do so is a good thing.  Life is good, despite the expression on my face during the race.

A quick point.  Looking over my Pancake pictures I was really happy I had this blog.  There are a lot of memories here.  I was sorta drifting into stopping it, as sometimes I just feel I have nothing exciting to write about.  I realized the importance of keeping it up.  Memories are invaluable things and you never know when you’ll want to look back.



Since Chicago…


Life post Chicago was a blur.  I usually get the post marathon blues really bad, but I was too busy this time.  I immediately had to focus on my volunteer Coordinator job for Jasper’s school fall festival where I had 300 volunteer positions and 3 shifts to schedule.  It was like running a small company for a couple weeks.  I slowly eased back into easy running and just last week did my first workouts where I was all in.   Fall Festival was a whirlwind and a marathon in it’s own right.  Every year I swear never again, and next thing I know I’m recommitting.

In the middle of fall festival weekend, something we knew was coming but we were dreading happened.  We had to put Pancake to sleep.  We had 17 years with her.  Some parts of this whole process were easier then I thought, and some parts were harder.  The grief of losing a pet is very real.  For 17 years, I greeted her first thing in the morning, petted her when I needed comforting, and loved her like a family member.  Sometimes more, you don’t get in arguements with your dog.  She covered 100s of miles with me.   Mike and I have constantly been looking at old pictures and it has made me realize how old and frail she had become in the end.  She was my running buddy for about 14 years, then became Mike’s running bud for a mile here and there, and in the last couple years just walked.  Her last walk was about a month ago.  My only regret is on her last day, I wish I had known it was going to be her last day.  Each day since, the sadness comes in waves, but I am slowly transitioning to happy memories.  Having Davinci here has been a lifesaver.  His company eases the pain and we are super happy to have him.

There have been a lot of memories of her on my runs the last week and a half.  Running has been my therapy, as it always is.  I’m excited for upcoming races and also the quiet mornings where I can imagine my little running bud is still with me.



Chicago Marathon 2017 Race report…


Background:  I’d been trying to qualify for Boston since 2012.  I ran the 2012 race but had failed to get a qualifier.  I was always within 5-15 minutes of my time.  I had a couple races where the training was so far off the paces I needed, I scraped the idea of even trying.  My frustration peaked last year when I gave it all I had, qualified but not by enough to get in.  I examined why I wanted to do it and it was really the big city marathon atmosphere, not so much the prestige.  So I picked another big city.  Enter Chicago.  I got in on the lottery back in December, so this race does require planning your life out a year in advance.

After getting in, we booked a hotel right away, and most stuff was already booked, 10 months in advance, so a pro tip here, if you go, do book lodging immediately.  And book downtown where all hotels are walking distance from the start/ finish.

Training went well.  Long runs were hot and difficult, but I got through them.  Working with Team Apex still, we did lots of speed work which I think made my race.  My schedule was track work/ tempo run/ long run/ easy days, rest day.  I lifted weights at Body Pump once a week and started pilates once a week (love it)  I had to give up my favorite yoga class as there are only so many hours in a week, but the Pilates is a miracle for keeping the body injury free.

Tapered and ready, I forgot one thing:  to taper the rest of my life.  Two weeks prior to the race were really hectic for me with 3 days in a row of 3:30 wake ups for work.  I was a little cooked and got sick the week of my race.  I was pretty bummed.  It was just a hard cold but I really had wanted to go into this 100%.

Fun part:  My family came with me, which was really nice.  We went Fri-Mon.  Friday was the peak day of my head cold, so by the time we got there, I was feeling rough.  We checked into our hotel early and went to Maggie Daley park (which we found by accident).  It was the best playground I’ve ever been to.  Jasper agreed.  Our hotel also had a nice indoor pool, so Mike and Jasper headed to that while I headed to the Expo.

My cold peaked here.  I was running a slight fever and felt terrible.  Maybe this was good, as I just didn’t have it in me to wait in the lines for the super cool merchandise.  The expo had shuttle buses to get you there and this was the first hint of the fantastic organization.  It was a flawless operation.  The expo had a lot less of the trinkety, junk booths, and the big running gear vendors were all there with really nice mini- shops with lots of custom gear.  Nike basically created a village.  It was more like a Tokyo night club.  There was a Dj, a gazillion super cool selfie stations, and so much custom gear, all lovely with big price tags.  But the line.  OMG, it was huge.  I would have passed out waiting in it, so now I’m stalking the Nike website for a sale, but the custom gear (Chicago skyline leggings!) sadly won’t be on it.  The bib and shirt pick up was another flawless operation, and all runners got really nice Nike shirts and a race poster.

Back at the hotel, I remained in the fetal position, after getting winded walking a flight of stairs.  Not good.  Pizza and beer sounded awful so we found a healthy noodle place near the hotel, and Mike went to watch a Cubs play offs game at a bar and I slept 10 hours.

Saturday was much better.  I was stuffy as heck but had my energy back.  We tackled the Field Museum.  Swoon.  I need more places in my life with both expansive collections of South Pacific masks and stuffed Narwhals.  And, Sue the famous T Rex has her own craft beer.

Pre race dinner at the Berghoff.  I now will require hand made spatzle in an old German restaurant for all my races. It was the perfect carb loading meal.  Spatzle, a little pork, and a giant pretzel.  A second pretzel came back to the hotel for a pre race breakfast.  It was the perfect meal.  Apparently the Berghoff is a Chicago institution and I cannot recommend it enough.  Such a cool atmosphere.

Ok, race morning is here!  I was the first corral of wave 2 and an 8:00 start.  Here is one of the huge selling points of Chicago.  If you stay downtown, and there are a gazillion hotel options there, you have no race day logistics.  There is a short walk to the start and a short, but painful walk back.  No buses, no getting there 5 hours before your race, it’s very simple.  It was recommended in the race booklet I arrive at 6:00.  I left my hotel then and got to the start in no time.  There are security checkpoints to enter the start, but once again, the organization is flawless.  You are assigned a gate to enter and I sped through.  It felt like Disneyland with a recording explaining where to proceed, and the quick moving lines.

When I registered I splurged on $100 for the hospitality tent.  This is an add on where the funds raised go to local charities and you get a heated tent, your own portapotties and hand washing stations, a full breakfast and lunch buffet, your own gear check and the biggie for me, a post race massage.  I am not a huge eater pre-race, so there was no food for me, and the weather was mild, so I wondered if I had wasted money on this.  The race was so well done that gear check and bathroom lines looked pretty smooth.  But after the race, I can say this was money well spent.  I had zero lines for bathrooms, I had a post race massage with zero wait, by two therapists, and I was escorted to and from the start/ finish.  If I had been with a group of friends, I would have stayed for the post race buffet too.

We had to get to our corrals 300 minutes prior to the start.  That part kinda sucked as you were stuck there.  I small talked with a couple runners to pass the time, but everyone was just itching to go.  Once we started, I was only a minute or so back from the front since I was the beginning of wave 2 (perfect spot), it was pretty quiet and we exited Grant park and headed into a tunnel under Lake Shore drive.  As I had been told, my watch went nuts with the long tunnel and said my first mile was 6:48.  My goal pace was 8:30ish, but with no gps for a bit, I ran the opening bit on feel

We emerge from the tunnel and that’s when you hit a wall of sound and people.  The crowds what make this race.  I was really congested with a ton of pressure in my ears, but my body felt ok.  My watch was still all over, giving me a 6:50 pace.  From here we weave through downtown and insane amount of spectators.  There are a lot of bridge crossings in this race, and the bridges are grated, but they laid carpeting down over them for smooth footing.  The attention to details is just out of control.  The water stops were so easy.  They went on for so long and were all water first then gatorade either side of the street.  I never had an issue grabbing water and never had to stop.

The course runs in and out of different neighborhoods.  I didn’t always know which one I was in, but there were some highlights.  Boystown was around mile 8 and huge crowds with two stages of drag queens.   One thing I really loved about Chicago was the race itself doesn’t put out one bit of course entertainment.  Every single thing going on are people from the neighborhoods getting together and doing something.  I have no idea how the marathon convinced the city to buy into it so much.  It closes a ton of streets and locks up the whole day with runners coming through, but the residents seem to completely embrace and celebrate it like crazy.

The Willis tower was always a landmark on the course for me.  It sticks out above the other buildings and its at mile 13.  Apparently Mike and Jasper saw me and I missed them, as I was on the other side of the street scanning the crowds.  Dang.  My body check in at 13 miles was ears need to pop, but my body is ok.  My watch had normalized and I was cranking consistent 8:30ish miles.   Quads were feeling tight.

I sorta don’t remember what we went through until we hit Pilsen.  This is the Little Mexico neighborhood and was the best crowds in my opinion.  It was endless Mexican flags, DJs everywhere,  and absolute insane crowds.  I was totally lifted up here.  I think it was around mile 18ish and maybe my ears finally popped here.  Quads are definitely tight.

It started to hurt about this point.  As it should.  I was keeping pace though.  At mile 20 my watch died.  Maybe this was good, as I couldn’t stress about pace.  Mile 22-23 is Chinatown and it’s about as crowded as Pilsen.  I remember a spectator screaming “you’re going to turn that corner and hit the most fans on the whole course, all cheering for you, use that energy!”  He was right.  It was nuts.  There were a bunch of lion dancers but they were on a break when I came through.  A huge Korean drum troupe blasting “Gangam Style” and drumming along made up for it.  After Chinatown it was just a couple more miles.  I guess I have failed to mention to was up to about 75 degrees, not brutal, but too hot for a marathon, and people were cramping or walking everywhere.  “Keep it together” was what I told myself over and over.

Mile freakin’ 25!  Here’s where I told myself take it all in.  With my dead watch, I was taking off about half an hour of what was on the clocks (I started 30 minutes after gun time) and if guesstimated if I kept it together I’d qualify for Boston.  After FIVE years of failed attempts.  Also, I had this race on my calendar for 10 months, I had lots of 3:30 am workouts in those months to get it in before a 6:00 work day, I had lots of track workouts in 90% humidity.  I needed to soak in every minute.

There is a wonderful count down of signs starting at 800 meters to go.  When I hit 400, I thought just a 400 repeat left.  Run this like a repeat (we did those suckers all summer).  The finish was in sight sprinting towards it,my quads totally seized.  I crossed the line completely spent, as I should be.

There were hospitality tent volunteers that help me over to it and right away ushered me in for the massage.  I don’t think I could have walked back to my room otherwise.  My quads were totally locked up. I still wasn’t 100% sure if got my BQ.  The volunteers looked up my results for me, and there it was, FINALLY!!!   in by 8 minutes.  that should do it.

This was the best of all my marathons.  It’s really a toss up between this and Boston.  Chicago’s course is better, logistics are waaaaaaay better, and travel is better.  This race totally won me over, and I will do it again.  I almost cried when we had to leave.

The pain the last two days was pretty intense.  We did an architecture river tour post race (I got to sit and sip a coke and see beautiful buildings, it was a perfect activity) and I attempted to eat deep dish pizza but the combo of having a cold and destroying my body made food consumption a challenge.


Chicago marathon tidbits:

Best sign:  Life size cutout of the Night King with him holding a sign that said “Run fast, winter is coming.”

Best neighborhood:  Pilsen.  The crowds were unreal.

Best food:  pre race giant home made soft pretzel.  I’ll never eat a bagel again

Best Expo item purchased:  insulated Goose Island Brewery marathon pint glass

Best body part post race:  feet.  No blisters

Worst Body part post race and for the next few days:  Quads.  Painful to even touch.

Best feeling:  getting that stupid Boston Qualifier.  Finally putting it all together on one day for a 3:47.

Signing off, feeling tired (still) and thankful.  My heart is full.




A few short summer races…

I ran several short races this summer and I meant to blog about every single one, but time got the better of me, and I failed to get a single picture.   First off…summer training.  It was all about Chi-town, my fall goal race.  And the usual heat and humidity.  There are not longer races in central Texas for good reason.  It’s just too hot.  While I like longer runs better, these short races are a true test of fitness and I have a bone to pick with the 5K….

First off in August was Vern’s no Frills 5K.  These are in Georgetown once a month and cost $1 and kids are free.  The only real con is it’s a bit of a drive, but a lot of competition actually shows up and lots of high school kids.  The course is pretty and the park is a little oasis.  I ran the 100th race, which was more of a celebratory affair.  There was an elite division in which women needed to be able to run a 17 minute 5K to enter.  Seriously.  The men’s winner was a 14 minute 5K.  Not sure on the women’s but pretty close to the 17 minute mark.  The people’s race was super crowded since it was the anniversary race, so it was more of a tempo than a true race effort for me.  The verdict:  it’s nice there are people in the world who do things like this.  A nice way to test your fitness.

Next up was Zilker Relays.  Teams for 4 runners doing 2.5 mile loops for a 10 mile relay race.  This was crazy fun.  Expensive (most your money is going to a full taco dinner with local craft beer), kinda a difficult time (Friday at 6:30 pm).  So I had never done it.  But it was a blast.  Totally worth it to put together a team.  We had a freak cold front which made the early September date doable.  I don’t remember what I ran here either, but our team was 2nd overall masters women’s.

Next Jasper did the Casa Super Hero 5k.  We’ve done this every year since he was 2.  This was his first year to do the 5K instead of the kids run.  We ran/ walked and had a blast.  It was miserably hot and he thought it was awesome I told him he could dump water over his head at the aid stations.  I think we did this in around 45 minutes.  Jasper claimed exhaustion and then did the bounce houses and obstacle course for the next one hour until I threatened him with my own passing out due to heat and hunger…

Finally, my new favorite 5K, the Ranger Run.  This is our middle school’s main fundraiser and right in my neighborhood.  I had 20 miles to do the next day, so it was a huge running weekend.  I did a 4 mile warm up through my hood then went down to the start.  This one I really wanted to race.  It was miserably hot….again.  I did low 22: something, don’t remember exactly (dipping into 21:xx was my goal).  I took off way too fast and got my masters mile PR, and ran a big positive split.  A fire was lit inside me to get better at the 5K, so you will see more on my schedule.  It’s fun to have your neighborhood out cheering you on for sure.

And that’s it for the summer shorties…now onto the big one…Chi-town!!


Fit Foodie 5k…

Today Jasper ran his first 5k.  About 2 months ago a running bud sent me a text her favorite runner was coming to Austin.  Desi Linden and Ryan Hall were coming as part of a small 5k series.   It was a mystery to me why this race got such little promotion.   Anyways, I told her I would definitely do it.   It was more of an event than a race with cooking demos, lots of restuarants vendor booths, and snacks at each water stop.  I don’t think either of us intended to race it but rather we wanted to get autographs and celebrity watch.  When Jasper said he wanted to try a full 5k, it seemed like a good one, with it not being competitive.

After a long work day and tons of traffic, I picked Jasper up from school and we endured even more traffic to get out to the far ends of Round Rock to get our packets and get autographs.  Jasper brought his yearbook in hopes they would sign it.  With the food theme, the packet pick up was at a restaurant, but it was really small, and in a dull strip mall waaaaaaay out.  We pulled up and right away saw Desi and Ryan sitting in 90 degree heat with 98% humidity in a sorta sad strip mall.   It was a little embarrassing for Austin’s sake,  not a good representation of the city.  We got our autographs stat.   I will say Ryan Hall was extremely nice and relatable.  Desi indulged us, but was definitely all business and was either very shy or just not as into these sorta events, which like I said, seems hard to get jazzed up about sitting in the sun at a strip mall, so I couldn’t really blame her.     Also, no one really seemed to know who they were since  the race wasn’t promoted that heavily.    Desi was super tiny and thin in person and Ryan Hall was quite tall.   I went in the restaurant, got Jasper and I food and waited for some runner friends to have a beer with.   When they arrived there was no one really noticing Ryan and Desi at all.   We wanted to ask them to join us but we didn’t want to seem like stalkers.   I even avoided going to the restroom when I saw Desi go in because she would probably think I was stalking her since I asked her for 3  autographs.   Beer with friends is always good though, and Jasper was really good and got his yearbook signed.  

It poured race morning.  I got up early and ran on the treadmill but the rain let up, so we went.  The park that hosted the race was a sloppy mess.  Which was a bummer because there were so many great food tents, and a sunny day would have been better but at least it was still happening.  Jasper wanted to start right in front.   Since this was so casual, I thought it was fine.  Desi as Ryan were running which I didn’t expect (although it was clear this was a run with the people sorta thing for them).  Jasper took off like a wild banshee and was in the very front.  I suspected he’d do the classsic kid racing style of sprint like mad,the walk,then  repeat,  and I was right.  But sprint number one lasted a while, and we ended up by Ryan Hall.  We chatted for about a half mile.  Once again, he seemed so normal….we talked podcasts (he’s a serial fan!) and kids in running.  Jasper did great, doing walk/ sprint and finishing in around 30 minutes.   Pineapple shaped medals were a touch.  

The food tents were fun, and I was grabbing bites, but then the sky opened and it poured, so we rushed out.   

This was a fun event.   It was expensive….$50 each.   But the food really was worth it and if we had stayed we would have gotten more.   The packet pickup also had food, and I missed it but there was also a tent with beer and wine tasting.  The celeb element was really cool.  I felt sorta bad for them spending their weekend in round rock, tx, but part of me also say certainly they’re appreciative that there are actual fans of American marathoning out there.   I’d do this one again if the celebs were back, hope for better weather, and not not really think of it as a race but more of an event.   

And best of all was later at a birthday party, hearing Jaspy telling his friends he ran 3 miles and it was awesome. 😁


A Noble Run 5K…

Enjoying the best prize ever…..food.

If you want to experience community running and how racing used to be, run a neighborhood 5K.  Marathoners can tend to poo-poo them, saying not worth the effort, but it really is a very tough distance when going race pace.  With warm up and cool down it ends up being a pretty good amount of running.  But the spirit of doing something for a good cause, getting kids to participate and the all comers welcome vibe is something you don’t get out of the big races that really is running at its best.  What it’s all about.  A sport anyone can do…you don’t even need to be able to use your legs, even wheelchairs are welcome.   

I did the Noble 5K this morning.   It raises money for a great organization and couldn’t be easier logistically for me, heading right through the neighborhoods I do a lot of training runs in.  Originally I was going to just take Jasp to do the kids obstacle course but made a day before decision to run, and Mike generously offered to bring Jasp so I could race.   (Side note….I sorta hate asking to him to get up early on a Sunday for a small, quickie race).  

I did an inverse taper, running 12.5 miles the day before in 1:59 as an unplanned ode to the Nike Breaking 2 project occurring the day before.  I was with my group at Brushy Creek and the weather was stellar, so it happened.  Although you can note that my Breaking 2 was an easy pace. 

I really want to get under 22:00 for a 5K.  My PR is 19 something and that ship has sailed with a time like that, but sub 22:00 isn’t unreasonable.  Today was perfect weather on a flat course so I thought I had a chance for a good time.  5Ks go by so fast.  Before I knew it I was back at the high school start, rounding the track and crossing the line in 22:01.   Doh!   So close,   Next time….

I did manage to get some loot though, and now own a tiki mug and got a gift certificate to take the fam out for dinner.  These small races aren’t a bad deal.  

 The best part of the morning is Jasper wants to run a 5k now.   He regularly does 1-2 miles at school and will do things like swim or trampoline for hours, so I think it would be pretty easy for him.  So next race looks like I’ll have a partner…