Feline Christmas Cheer and daylight…

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Jasper got a fantastic scooter for Christmas. He’s gotten really good at it, and he now loves to go on walks/ scooter sessions. Today we scooted around the neighborhood for an hour and twenty minutes. Hello, future marathoner. 🙂 The other night we passed a cat in someone’s yard that looked like he had at least one paw in the he grave. He was pretty pitiful looking. We passed the house and Jasper said ” we need to go back. I need to tell that cat Merry Christmas.” So we did. The cat was in the midst of pooing in someone’s yard, but I hope he still felt a bit of Christmas cheer.

I’ve been loving holiday time off. I’ve been working here and there, but taking off a day here and there. I’ve been running later in the daylight and on some on my favorite trails. It’s heaven. I realized I NEED an occasional run in daylight. And running on the treadmill with the lights turned on doesn’t count. Running in daylight is good for the soul. I had an incredible 16 miler at Brushy Creek this morning. How can you go wrong with a trail where you see lots of wild life, a graveyard from the 1800’s, the woods where the hairy man is rumored to live?

I say this every year, but for 2014 I hope to blog more. Not for anyone else really, except me. It’s a good mental exercise and my life is lacking those. I’ve got a few library books on order, but let’s face it, with very limited time in the evenings, and very full days, mindless activities often trump those that require some thought. And blogging give me the chance to tell the world things like wishing a decrepit cat a Merry Christmas. I need somewhere to file these stories!


Christmas in compression socks….

Smoothie pouch meal. I have read runners and triathletes are eating these now instead of GUs….Hmmmmm……….

This weekend was the practice pacer run for the Austin marathon. It’s 20 miles on the course with with the pacers leading their prospective times…so it’s a nice chance to practice for runners and pacers. I have a love/ hate thing with this run every year. This is my 5th year doing it. They haven’t all gone smoothly. One year it was pouring rain and 40 degrees and my group wanted to walk the last 8 miles. Another year I had one person. She was a perfectly lovely person, but it seemed a little sad to me that not more showed up. So I was nervous all week about this run and hoping for a good one.

Weather report was not good. 90% chance of thunder storms. When I went to bed the weather said 65 degrees though, so I figured I could handle warm and raining. I shouldn’t have bothered going to sleep as Pancake was loud all night with thunderstorm anxiety and Jasper woke up for good at 3:45am. So I woke up at 3:45 am, and also discovered it was 40 degrees and raining. Meh.

Drove downtown to the start in pouring rain. I. So. Don’t. Want. To. Do. This.

Luckily it turned into mild drizzle while I ran to the start, and it was almost hot. WTF! I was super bundled up. I also had a really big turn out for 4:40 pace. Yay!! Everyone had my same thoughts on the weather. Please don’t dump rain for 20 miles!!!!

I’ve done the pace enough now that it’s pretty easy to lock into. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s gotten pretty close to my “regular” pace. The folks running with me were really nice and the miles where flying by. We hit a massive blast of cold air and head wind around 11 miles. Around this point I absorbed some of the 4:25 pace group, as they had several runners turn back. By 13 miles, the group had some folks fall back, so I felt it was fair to run ahead with those who wanted to forge ahead. The miles flew by and before I knew it we were at 17 miles. My watched showed 19.5 miles. Our map said 20, but a big thunderstorm had just started up, so we all agreed to go with what the map said. I rushed home, took a fast shower, and was extremely happy that at least Jasper’s 3:45 wake up resulted in a nap. So I got a much needed post run cat nap. So all in all, a good run!

It’s nice to have something that I was kinda nervous about go so well. It was a whirlwind weekend after that with our first babysitter in ages so we could see The Hobbit, gingerbread house making with Jasper, a bounce house afternoon, and a much needed massage (which always makes me more sore the first day…dang it!). So yes, I’m pooped now. I’ve got Christmas Vacation queued up and my jammies on with compression socks. I am ready for Christmas! Bring it on!


2013, my year in running…

The real reason for running….chocolate.

And, cupcakes….

Who needs another ” my year in running” posts? Well, I felt like doing one, so you’re getting yet another.

It was a good year for running and racing. I kicked off the year with a 30k in January as a pacer, paced the marathon in February, ran a 50k in March, the Cap 10k in April, a mountain half marathon in June at 9000 feet, trained all summer for a Boston qualifier at my October marathon (fail), ran a birthday marathon in November and a cold,hilly half in December. When I type it all out like that, I realize I got to do quite a bit. And, yes, that list of runs means a lot of ugly tech shirts entered my world this year. While I failed at my Boston goal, I was really happy with how I did at my mountain half, and that I made it to marathon # 30 this year.

This year was all about working out at home. Getting a treadmill was a serious game changer. I can run whenever I want to now. Mike’s work travel went way up this year, and that treadmill kept me happy through many weeks of life with just me and Jasper and no fairy Godmother to watch him while I went out for a run. I also fully embraced yoga at home. I still try to make one class a week, but this year I committed and made home yoga a habit. At least 2-3 night a week, I do yoga core. This was hard to commit to, and still is hard. Who in the heck wants to do really hard core work in the evenings when there is HBO and a glass of wine? I still don’t want to . But I made it a habit and I’m proud of myself for that.

As far as not meeting my goal of running a Boston qualifier, I have somewhat of an excuse. Jasper gets up so early, that I very often had a buddy for my runs. When I don’t have a buddy, I’ve often gotten up with him at some point in the night, so yes, I am still using lack of sleep as an excuse for crappy running. Also, having my little buddy means a lot of stroller and treadmill running. While I am getting better at utilizing the treadmill for faster runs, the stroller gets slower and slower each year, and I predict in 2014 I will officially part ways with it. I guesstimate I put at least 1000 miles on it this year. I also did zero maintenance on it, so it has proven to be a well made stroller. I accepted this year that until Jasper is a little older and sleeping better I probably won’t be doing my best running. Despite having an almost 4 year old, and being waaaaaaaaaaay out of the baby stage, I am still tired a lot, and fantasize about sleep just about every day. In the future, I’d like to run with other people more to help me hopefully get a little speed back, but it’s also tricky to meet people when you’ve got a kid who’s up at 4:30 am. this year I stuck with the “it’s all good, I got my run in today” mentality, and that seemed to work for me.

So here’s my answers to the string of questions going round the running blog world:
-Best race experience: choosing just enough warm clothing for my 29 degree half marathon to make me look 20 pounds heavier, but not enough to look like Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story.

-Best run: any run where I either stepped off the treadmill or got home and everyone was still asleep and I had a cup of coffee while I stretched and everyone was still asleep. Didn’t happen often, but heaven, I tell you!

Best new piece of gear: compression shorts. Probably highly offensive to those running near me, but after losing multiple layers of skin on my thighs from chafing all summer, I could care less what anyone thinks.

Best running advice you received: once again, no one seems to give me advice. Does “you don’t look like you run” count as advice?

Most inspirational runner: Peter Sagal. Swoon……

If you could sum up your year in couple of words, what would they be: I need a nap.


The atrocious half marathon…

Ok,maybe it wasn’t quite this bad…

There’s something refreshing about running in atrocious weather. Not that I don’t love a nice 60 degree sunny run, but facing the elements gives one the clichéd ” feeling alive” sensation. I wouldn’t want to do it all winter long, but this weekend I faced the winter head on and loved it.

It’s no news the whole nation seems to be under a nasty arctic blast. In Texas that means freezing rain and 20-39 temps. You Minnesotans and New Englanders may laugh at me, but as much as I pride myself on my ability to handle 90 degrees and 90% humidity, I lack any fortitude when it comes to the cold. So misty and 29 degrees is my personal idea of brutal….and that was my weather for the Decker half marathon.

I scheduled this race back in June with a friend. We planned a “for fun, but let’s keep it pretty brisk” kind of run. But my friend had to do a last minute race bail. When I saw temps forecasted in the 20s, I gave serious thought to bailing too. But, 1. I already paid for it, 2. The alternative was 2 hours on the treadmill or loops in the he neighborhood in the he same crappy weather, and 3. I had cleared this with Mike ages ago and he already had planned the morning with Jasper, aka a kitchen pass. I had to gut it out.

Driving a short ways out of town to the county expo center where this race is always held, and there was freakin’ snow on the ground. This just doesn’t happen here! One saving grace was that we wait in the expo center for the start….as in heat and indoor bathrooms with hot water. Got my packet, dashed out to the car,made a last minute wardrobe decision,quick bathroom stop,then headed out for 13 miles of misty, sub freezing fun.

As I mentioned, I love this race. It’s not on the same downtown loop that all Austin races seem to favor. It’s out on country roads, super hilly, and very well done. There’s no gimmicks….just runners who want a tough day to run a little harder than we would on our own. Once I got started, I tried to enjoy the experience. As I said, sometimes atrocious weather is wonderful. I had a loving atrocious weather kind of day. I dipped way under my estimated finish time (1:54, goal was just sub 2:00). I had moments of being too toasty in the warmest fleece I own but a wind would hit and I was happy to have it. The volunteers for this race are some of the best out there. I probably was grimacing as I ran since the cold pretty much paralyzed my face, but I was smiling on the inside. Freezing mist, hills, occasional bits of ice, what’s not to love? It went by quick and I was so glad I sucked it up and gutted it out. I did make a mad dash for my car at the end, and called home to request a fresh pot of hot coffee….once I’m done running in the atrocious weather I am ready to get warm!

Despite my temporary love for all things tundra this weekend, I will be confined to the treadmill all week since Jaspy and I are flying solo. I don’t really think Jasper wants to sit in stroller in 28 degrees. At least I had one big, atrocious weather running moment before I spend the rest of the week running in 70 degrees inside with an iPad. Catching up on shows in a warm house while it’s 28 degrees out isn’t exactly a bad gig either…..


The running shoes were hung in the closet with care, waiting for another day, without Christmas cheer…


Forgive my horribly cheesy title. I read this the other day, and I agree with no races on Christmas. Run with friends or run alone, but as much as I love racing, let’s leave Christmas alone. I’ve pretty much run on Christmas Day since high school, but this year it probably won’t happen. I’ve always loved running on Christmas. I sleep in a bit, it’s nice and quiet out, and the few people you do see are extra nice. This is the first year Jasper totally gets Christmas and given that at he’s up by 500 on a normal day, I have visions of 3am gift opening on Christmas morning. Granted I could probably sneak out later for a few miles, but I think it may be easier to change my holiday run from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve. It’s fine….a little boy’s happiness is a good excuse to call it an off day.

Double whammy coming up: Mike is out of town and temps are going to be in the 20s in the morning. Hello, treadmill! I’ve got some shows lined up. Two seasons of American Horror Story. I watched season one and forgot about the other ones. Everyone says they are even better. I love scary and creepy. I am actually excited for treadmill running. If you want to make a runner really happy get them a treadmill for Christmas. 🙂


Just running, and glass half full holiday…..


Enjoying the cupcake bar

After San Antonio I enjoyed a couple days of nothing and then lots of easy running. A couple of yoga classes and some walking too. Today was the end of my easy running, as I’ve got 20-22 miles of marathon pace team practice running in less than 3 weeks. Today, I shuffled through 15 miles in perfect weather, after several days in Mansfield, TX (near DFW) of runs in 28 degrees. Next weekend is the Decker half marathon. I’m signed up as it’s one of my favorites. Always guaranteed horrible weather. It’s always hot or freezing, and it’s one of the few courses in Austin that’s not downtown. It’s a true old school race as well. While it’s very well done, it’s just you and the course. No bands, no entertainment, just hills and well run aid stations. Jasp had a little bronchitis and I am coming down with it,so as is typical for Decker not only will the weather be horrible, and I’ll likely still have crud in my chest. This is all said in good fun…..Decker is all about sucking it up. Luckily, I’m so slow these days there’s no pressure. Ahh, the joys of old age.

Today was our only holiday weekend day at home and it was busy. Besides 15 miles, I took Jasp to the new children’s museum, we managed to get a tree and get it up, put some lights outside, hit a playground, and get back to some regular eating. I soooo missed my green monster smoothies while away. I decided that family already think I’m weird enough heading out at dawn in the cold in ridiculous spandex looking outfits, so adding in drinking a giant green drink for breakfast wouldn’t really do me any favors. So I did the when in Rome thing, and had A LOT of kolaches. Kolaches are one of the best things about Texas.

Ok….Boardwalk Empire calls. TV, bed and some ice cream= a great way to kick off a busy holiday season. I’ll pretend I don’t see the box of Christmas cards that I’ve yet to do anything with. At least I’ve bought them, right? I’m going for a glass half full holiday season…..