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1,2 and 3…

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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!

 

 

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Cedar Park 5 Miler

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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.

 

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Since Chicago…

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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.