2 days…

While I really like my job, and I overall enjoy working, I live for the weekends. I end up trying to cram as much as I can into 2 days. This weekend started off Friday night with cupcake carbo loading at Quack’s bakery (lemon meringue, and chocolate cream cheese), and then a 22 miler on Saturday. I griped about the Tour de Austin on every freakin’ street in town without an inch of trail, but it really turned out to be fun. A fluke cold front, made it a very chilly start, but then the run evolved into perfect temps. I had not done a really long road run since the marathon, and by mile 15 I could tell my legs were going to be sore. There is a really cool house on Far West that has a drinking fountain out front, prayer flags, and a zen rock garden. Gotta wonder who lives there and is nice enough to have drinking fountian put in for hot runners, bikers, and doggies. It’s a really pretty fountain too.

Finished up the run and rushed off to knock out the chores. A quick nap and we were off to a birthday at Nomad’s. Neighborhood bars are the best. And, you gotta end a long run days with a couple tasty Fireman 4s.

Mark had emailed me about a 5am start for Sunday’s run. I compromised by agreeing to it, but having him meet me close to my house. Even though I get up that early during the week, on a Sunday it was painful, to say the least. We made it through a quick 6 miles, and then I flew home, put on dry clothes, crawled into bed, and fell asleep for about 2 1/2 more hours. It felt incredible. Most long distance runners never get enough sleep, as we are constantly trying to cram a long run into the weekends, and still have plenty of time for other activites. Mike woke me up at almost 9am, to do another 2 miles with him and Pancake. Ok, I am offically sore now….

We then went out to Westcave preserve with some friends. It was a nice little corner of the Austin area. I recommend it if you are in the mood for a nice little nature walk…it is nothing too intense, but very pretty.

Got home and cooked up treats for the week…banana bread, a batch of parmesean mashed potatoes, and a huge asparagus salad. Now, I am catching up on a couple of DVRed shows, and I am pooped. It’s worth it though to end the weekend knowing I got some really good runs in, and got to get out and enjoy what Austin has to offer.

Only a couple more training weekend until Rocky Hill ranch….so I suspect next weekend will be another full one, but that is the best way to do it.


Summer running…

Can you find me? Hint…I am not the one in the flame shorts! Anyhow, I am very excited for Rocky Hill Ranch in a few weeks, but it marks the end of the running “season”. Here in Texas, our big runs start in Oct, and end roughly March/ April. The summer is scattered with fun run type races, but no real big “goal races”. Mid to late summer is a great time to kick off for a big goal, as those initial hot, muggy, torture runs are character building to say the least, and and mental money in the bank, when you are tired at mile 35 of a 50 miler and think back to 22 mile runs in 95% humidity in August.

I always have mixed feelings about the summer. It is fun to take a break from really big runs, and focus on other goals, but sometimes I miss the ritual of prepping for that long race. This summer I am lucky to be signed up for the Humpy’s marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in August. It should be a good first really long run for fall/ winter projects.

I was looking over all the various fun runs in the area this summer, and to be honest, the freakin’ entry fees are getting up there. It is really tough to justify spending $50+ dollars just to go out and run a route I do most weekends. Especially since most of these I don’t really “race”..they are not a big goal, just a fun run.

So, if any of my blog friends are interested, I would like to propose another “Sweaty 20 in the Pines”. This is a 20 mile out in back of some of the most beautiful scenery in central Texas. The month of June is gone for me with work obligations, except for the last weekend. It is a ways off, but start looking at your calendars if you are interested, and we can pick a date and put it on the calendar.

A couple other ideas I’ve had are the Tour de Springdale and the Town Lake 50K. I’ve always thought it would be fun to run from my house all the way down Springdale to Pleasant Valley, to downtown, through Hyde Park and back on 51st to Manor. And, since the Town Lake loop is 10 miles, 3 of them make a nifty little 50K with water stops already built in and car stops for Dr. Pepper and other goodies.

I hope I won’t be doing these alone….


The long haul…

This week my friends and I did a dangerous thing. We started planning the weekend run long run on Monday. Normally this won’t start until Wednesday or Thursday. It made the week feel longer than normal, and I was really looking forward to 4 hours or so on the greenbelt in what sounded like perfect weather. In the future, I’ll try not to start thinking about the weekend run so early. The week really dragged!

What is it about the long run that makes it fun and torture all at once? Planning it means Friday night’s plans are slim to none. It’s hard to get up at 5 am and run for 4 hours if you’ve been out all night. It means getting all kinds of snacks and gels ready the night before, and filling bottles and camelbacks. The alarm goes off around 430-500 Saturday am, and I always cringe. How on earth did this sound like a good idea the night before?

Now, not all long runs are created equal. I find it much easier when I have some partners in crime, rather than setting out to run 4 hours on my own. This weekend’s run was the rare treat that I get company on the trail…most of the time I get no takers when I ask if anyone is up for a trail run. It also meant we could start in the pitch black of early morning (I won’t run out there with just a head lamp on my own). I always find it fun to start in the dark, because as it lightens up it seems like a totally different world than the dark one, and suddenly you are on an entirely different run. We had a nice little group and 2 of us had headlamps. It was just lovely out, and always a treat to see a sunrise. The run really flew by and we were onto loop 2 pretty quickly. Both Steve and Meghan took tumbles on loop 2 for which I hope they are not discouraged from future trail runs. I don’t think you can beat the recharging it does for the psyche after a long stressful week. I enjoy the hike and bike trail, but with the crowds, it just doesn’t give me the feeling a long greenbelt run does.

So what is it about the long run? The bonding with friends is huge. The feeling of setting a goal for the day and seeing it through. The chance to feast later in the day, as you can say, “I ran 4 hours today, of course I’ll have fries with that!” For me, it’s like a little mini vacation, where for that time, I am don’t think about work, chores, and other worries (until I am done at least). There is also the anticipation of whatever event that we are using the long run to prepare for. I think most people enjoy having a goal and working towards it…I know I do. Somehow mentally it makes doing those long runs easier….I have to be out on the trail for half a day Saturday, I signed up for some ridiculous event that will be very unforgiving if I am not prepared.

So yeah, I really like the long weekend run. Sure there are some that are just hard, and end up not being fun. But most of the time it’s not a bad way to spend Saturday morning.


Signs of spring…

These photos were all shot around town lake. I liked the prayer flags someone put up. A lot of folks were out in the 3-4 brief hours of sunlight we got this weekend. Can’t complain about the rain though since we needed it so badly. It should make next weekend’s trail run just gorgeous. Finally there will be some creek in the creek!

Not a very eventful weekend. I am continuing to train for Rocky Hill 50K, although this weekend as somewhat of a lesser weekend. I’ve been trying to get out and enjoy the spring scenery on my runs. I am always torn between living in an urban versus a rural area. While I love uninterrupted outdoor scenery, I also enjoy a lot of city slicker activities: good food (ate at Pho Saigon again this weekend…best tofu in town), movies, and all the neat festivals that come through Austin. We are lucky to have a lot of parks in town full of wildflowers this time of year. The only place I’ve ever seen better wildflowers was in the Rocky Mountains. I guess my point is, I try to make the most out of what I’ve got. Who knows where I’ll end up one day, but for now I am here, not going anywhere soon, so I do my best to find my own little sactuaries around town.

This am was one of my favorite runs. I run the undeveloped part of Mueller, where it has been reclaimed by native grasses and birds. Then I head over to the older neighborhood that is next to Mueller, and hunt for peacocks. There is a house there with a bunch of peacocks. It’s pretty cool to run by and see one with his tail fanned. No luck today. Next, I finish up on the developed part of the hike and bike, and if I am early enough, Pancake gets to accompany me off her leash, as no one is out yet. It was a beautiful morning, with some cloud cover, but that makes it my own private hike and bike.

Followed the run with a yoga class. I’ve done this the last couple Sunday’s and it kicks my butt, but like I keep saying, going to yoga once a week makes such a difference in my running.

Hope everyone has a good week and are able to get out and see a little springtime.


Red Velvet run…

There were a couple of 50Ks I would have liked to have done this weekend, but I had an extra busy week with 2 back and forth trips to southwest San Antonio, and I simply could not will myself to hop in the car and do another 4 hour round trip drive to run this weekend. Instead, I met up with some friends and spent a blissful 4 hours on the greenbelt. Spring is here in Austin, it is already 80 degrees, and this morning I noticed almost overnight the bluebonnets are here.

The run didn’t firm up until Friday, but Steve, Meghan, Joe and I hit the greenbelt at 700. It was warm but not unpleasant, although we all underestimated we would be drinking a lot more water. We joked, we ran, we moaned and groaned up the hills, we dodged the trail clean up project (whoops, not being on the trail running list serve means I am totally out of the loop on this stuff), we gave each other a hard time, and we marveled at the good, the bad, and just plain weird we experienced out there. 4 hours later, and Meghan and I hit Rudy’s barbecue and slammed icy cold water from the drink “trough” they have there. I am so glad I got a group out with me, because it is rare I can find anyone to run with on the greenbelt. I got home and Mike had generously left me a couple tacos from Quack’s with my new favorite combo: beans, avocado, and shoestring potatoes. Next I did my least favorite house cleaning chores, a Cinderella style, on my hands and knees, SCRUBBING, of all the floors. Whew, I was pouring sweat and hungry again.

I’ve been wanting to make Red Velvet cupcakes for awhile now. I am such a homemade snob, Austin has a lot of bakeries sprouting up, and sometimes I try them and think “For $3 a cupcake, I can do better.” So, I did just that. Homemade cream cheese icing……Mmmmm…..Mike and I ended the day going to Pho Saigon at the China shopping center. This place is incredible, and the shopping center offers some of Austin’s best eating. Plus, it is a steal to get a meal that there is no way I could duplicate at home, at those prices. We watched a great documentary when we got home, “No End in Sight”.

This am, I hit Mueller with Pancake, to enjoy the wildflowers, then rushed to yoga since I forgot to change my clocks last night. I am sore now!

Sometimes it is good just to have a weekend doing things around town that make me remember why I enjoy it here. Earlier this week, I was about to get out a map and pick a new place to live after spending 5 freakin’ hours in I35 traffic 2 days in a row. Ok, we do have a serious traffic problem, and the sprawl here is horrendous, but, it still ain’t a bad place to call home.

Off in a couple hours to beautiful Gruene, Texas to see some more wildflowers, shop a bit, and eat some good country cooking.

Have a great week, everyone.



This is from Mark. It is way to interview your friends. Here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond with five questions (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Ok, here are Mark’s questions, and my answers:

1. How did you get into trail/ultra running and what keeps you coming back?

I always enjoyed trail running and avoiding cars.  I had heard about Sunmart, and read about Western States, and thought, “maybe someday, but who am I kidding?”  After I met some folks who had run ultras it seemed more doable, and I started training for Sunmart.

2. Regardless of the actual race, which of your many running trips was the most memorable, and why?

That is a hard question.   I think I would have to say the St George marathon.  I had the best prerace dinner ever, and afterwards, stayed at an incredible little lodge in the canyons of Zion national park.  My friends, and Mike both came, making it a very memorable trip.

3. 100 milers are notorious for your brain doing funny things in the latter stages. Some runners hallucinate, while I seemingly lost the ability to do simple arithmetic. What is the most bizarre thing that happened to you during (or after) your 100?

Magic Kitty.  Stephanie and I were running along a rock wall, which they seemed to have all over Vermont.  At the end a little black and white kitty jumped out, started purring and rubbing against my legs.  This was at mile 80 something, so he was a welcome visitor (and pretty cute).  The above photo is from Vermont.

4. What songs make the top of your running playlist?

I like all my old school music when I run.  It is the only time I really listen to it.  Currently, NoMeansNo, Minor Threat, Avail, and when I want to sing along, The Smiths.

5. Any tips for aspiring trail/ultra runners?

Eat a lot on your runs.   Pace yourself.  You literally have all day.

And now, my own running bio…

Favorite run done to date: MiWok 100K. It was beautiful, never got boring, and the food was good. It had it’s own microbrew.

Favorite local run: Like Teresa, it was Motive 1/2 marathon. I am not sure now.

Most embarrassing moment: Too numerous to count. Usually involves falling in front of others, or when someone looks at me and says “You run?” in disbelief.

What do I find ridiculous about runners: A lot. Actually, while I love that Austin is an active city, the running scene is quite clique-y. Sometimes it reminds me of Heathers. But, that aside, I have met some really nice folks through running. I do dislike when runners look down on those who don’t indulge in an endurance sport. We all have different hobbies and that’s ok.

Hardest Race: The Vermont 100. I want to run a 100 where I don’t cry.

Favorite running foods: Prerun I like just about anything hearty. During the run I like Dr. Pepper, PB&J, PowerBar Cola gummies, and lemon/ lime gatorade. Post run I like breakfast foods, coffee if it’s not too late, and if it is late then a good beer…

Long term goal: Western States 100


Guest Blogger Steve…

I ran with Steve a couple years before he actually talked to me. When he did, we hit it off partially because we share a similar love of sarcasm, and anyone who puts Manhattan in their list of favorite movies is ok in my book. Steve is also handy because he has become my chauffeur to any official sisters’ event, running or social. We do disagree on some things though…he loves running anywhere near I-35, while eating 1 little jelly bean on a 20 mile run. I prefer a run in the woods with multiple Dr. Peppers and brownies. Although with Steve’s newest endeavor into pastry chef school, I expect homemade brownies with imported chocolate now…

In his own words, the runner formerly known as Director Hall:

Favorite race: Decker Half Marathon. I like the fact that it is outside of town.
Favorite race for sentimental reasons: Cap10 – it’s the reason I started running in 1990 and I’ve run everyone since.
Pre-race meal: Peanut butter crackers, banana. english muffin, Powerbar, water, Gatorade.
Post-race meal: My favorite is after the Austin Marathon which is a burrito and Shiner beer at Chuy’s
My hardest race is any marathon. I always ask myself why I do them around mile 20 but I keep coming back.
My most embarrassing race moment was after my first marathon. The finish was in Zilker Park. I had severe leg cramps and I had to lie on the ground. People were actually stepping over me.
My most recent memorable race: The RunTex 20 miler in Georgetown. It was in the country, the weather was great, I ran the whole thing with Clea, we didn’t worry about a pace, we just ran. It was great.
Running ridiculousness: All of the focus and attention is on the winners and elite runners. Beginners and slow people are viewed with scorn by many. I wish it was the other way around. There is no shortage of narcissism in running. urgghhh
Why I run: The social factor, the fitness factor, the discipline factor and the chocolate factor (I can eat as much as I want since I run).
My next goals: Run a 50K. Complete 20 marathons (I’m at 17). Then we’ll see about 25.