Playing Catch-Up…

Given that it’s been 6 months since I’ve updated, I’m sure you can imagine that I’m WAY behind on things like race recaps and training updates.  Life got in the way for a while, but I’m trying to get caught up and then STAY caught up for 2015 – it’s part of my “resolution” for the new year.

So, let’s get started.

DRC Independence 10K

After Rock ‘n Roll Seattle, my last race update, I needed to squeeze in a 10K or longer to get a good proof of time for some Disney races.  I registered at the last minute for the Dallas Running Club’s Independence Day 10K on July 5.  I needed to guarantee good corral placement for the Disney Avengers half, since I was flying to Vegas right after the run to run Rock n Roll Vegas as well.  In my head, that meant I needed to run a sub-54 minute 10K which would be a sub-2 hour half proof of time and get me in the first start corral.  On race morning, I hadn’t run a single step since getting home from Seattle, so I felt fresh, although a bit worried about my knee.  I had several running buddies there, so we chatted before the race.  I went out strong, and managed to maintain a really good pace through the 5K turn-around point.  I felt myself starting to slow down, so I used a GU (something I never do in a 10K) for the energy burst.  It helped, and I ended up finishing in 53:43, which was a PR of about 5 minutes since my last 10K race.  It was good enough for an age group award, too!


I looked back at previous 10K results, and discovered that I’d improved my 10K time by a full 10 minutes in a single year!  It was awesome to see the progress I’d made.

Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon

I continued to struggle to get runs in through the summer months, and although I had my eyes set on Rock n Roll San Jose as a PR run, getting in long runs was tricky at best.  At the last minute, about 2 days before the race, I decided to run the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon as a long training run – my longest run since Seattle.


This race is at the end of September, which is usually still pretty warm in Texas, and this year was no different.  It was much warmer than I’d like to race in – I want to say it was in the upper 70s at race start time, and near 90 by the time I finished.  I ran the first half of the race with my friend Alyssa, but got separated from her around the mile 6 or 7 water stop.  It was a gorgeous run, you could see the hot air balloons when they took off from the staging field.

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The course was beautiful, but fairly difficult in the heat.  I was pretty happy to turn in a time of 2:18.  And the medal is awesome.

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The plan had been to walk around at the balloon festival when I finished the race, but J & the kids had already done that while I was running, and the first thing mini-me said to me when I reunited with them was “Mommy done running? Good, let’s go home now.”  Then she screamed the whole way to the car, where she promptly fell asleep.

Up next: Rock n Roll San Jose, and my first experience as a pace group leader at the Showdown Half Marathon!

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And training starts again….NOW!

I haven’t been very motivated to do much of anything since running the marathon in Seattle.  I’m blaming the heat of the Texas summer.    The lack of motivation is rough, because I have a LOT of races on the schedule between now and the middle of January.  Races I’m actually registered for, some of which I have already booked travel for too.  So it’s time to get motivated again.

This morning, Pam, the founder of Moms RUN This Town, posted a link to a 12-week fitness challenge hosted by He & She Eat Clean and She Sweats.  It’s 12 weeks of strength training to go with the cardio I’ll already be doing as I train for the upcoming races.  So I signed up.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to update at least once a week during the next 12 weeks (although I’m going to aim for more often that that, but anyone who regularly reads my blog knows I’m bad about regular updates, haha).

The challenge requires beginning and ending photos.  And as much I don’t want to put half-naked pics of myself online, I think the accountability will be good for me… and hopefully the progress pics will be motivating for others, too!

So here we go.


Week 1 starts tomorrow.  Here’s the plan (not the details, just an overview)
Tuesday – Challenge start (timed mile, core work) + speedwork at track
Wednesday – Arm workout + 3 mile run
Thursday – Leg workout + 3 mile run
Friday – rest day
Saturday – Chest & Back workout + hill work
Sunday – Long run + core work
Monday – rest day
I modified the order a tiny bit so that it fits with my race training plans as well.  Hopefully that will work.

Wish me luck! Are you participating in the challenge?  What do you do for strength training?  How do you motivate yourself to run when it’s a million degrees outside?

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Maybe the Craziest Idea Ever!

I’ve completely lost my mind.  First, I haven’t even run one full marathon yet, and I’m already registered for a second and am contemplating a 50K ultra race.  But that’s not even the crazy part.

No, the crazy part is that I’ve decided to run TWO half marathons on the SAME DAY, as a birthday present to myself.

avengers logo

First, I will run the inaugural Disney Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland, which starts at 5:30am.  Even with stopping for pictures, I should be done easily by 8:00 or so.  Then I’ll go back to the hotel, shower, and head to the airport, for the…

RnRLV logo

Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  This one doesn’t start until 4:30pm, so I should have plenty of time to get there, check in to the hotel, pick up my race stuff, and get to the starting line.  I’ll stay in Vegas that night after the race, and fly home on Monday morning.

This really might be the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

What’s the craziest (workout/running related) thing you’ve ever done?  Do you agree that I’ve lost my mind?  🙂

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Cowtown Recap & Review

Whew, it’s been a long time!  Life is definitely interfering with the blog again!  We’ve got about 9 weeks left in the school year, so things are crazy at work, and I’m working on my principal certification too.  It’s no wonder I’m struggling to find time to run, much less write about running.  🙂  I’ve got several important updates to do on the blog, so I’ll start today with a recap/race review of Cowtown back in February.

The Cowtown is run in Ft. Worth, about 45 miles from where I live, so we decided to make a weekend trip out of it and stay in a hotel in Ft. Worth.  We also had a visitor for the weekend — Waddles the Penguin, mascot of the coolest runner’s group on Facebook, Runner’s Corner.  Waddles went to work with me on the Friday before the race and helped out quite a bit in my classroom.

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(making copies; monitoring a U.S. History test)

Anyway, we headed to Ft. Worth after we got off work on Friday, since I was running on both Saturday and Sunday.  The Cowtown is a whole weekend of events, a 10K, adult 5K, and kids 5K on Saturday, and a half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon on Sunday.  If you complete one event each day, then you complete for the Cowtown Challenge and get an extra shirt and extra medal.

My plan for the weekend was a slow & easy 10K, and hopefully a PR on the half marathon on Sunday.

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My flat mama (+ Waddles) for the 10K on Saturday morning

Saturday morning, I was up EARLY.  I didn’t want to miss the shuttle from the hotel to the race site.  I grabbed a banana in the lobby and hopped on the shuttle.  The traffic was terrible and it took quite a while to get there because no one would yield to the bus.  Once we arrived at the convention center, I made my way to the start and ran into my MRTT ladies.  It was a chilly morning, so I held off on lining up at the start as long as possible.

Overall, this was a GREAT run for me.  I was planning on slow and easy, and ended up with a PR.

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Not only a PR, but in a large race, my best overall finishes EVER.  Top 10% of female and age group finishers, and top 20% overall.  I couldn’t have been happier about this one!  I guess penguins make you run faster.  🙂

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(Waddles with my 10K medal on the shuttle back to the hotel)

After the run, I spent some time walking around the race expo inside the convention center before heading back to the hotel.  It was a nice expo, but I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without, so I went back to the hotel to shower.  Then we spent the rest of the day at the Ft. Worth Zoo with the kids, before grabbing dinner with some friends who recently moved to Ft. Worth.

Sunday morning came much too early, following the 10K and all the walking at the zoo.  I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to run, but I was up early again anyway.

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(flat mama for the half marathon)

I was still hoping for a half marathon PR, but was pretty hesitant since my PR was on an almost perfectly flat course, and the Cowtown course was anything but flat.  The shuttle was much more crowded on Sunday morning, but the ride to the convention center seemed shorter.  I had a nice conversation with the people sitting around me about other races in Texas.

Once I arrived at the convention center, I set out to find my MRTT group for our traditional pre-race group picture.  They weren’t too hard to find, since there were so many of us that morning.


Then I ran over to find the Runner’s Corner people so Waddles could make it into the group picture.


(it was still dark, so the photo isn’t great)

Then it was off to line up in the start corral.  I took some pictures as I waited.

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(I wasn’t in corral 3, but I walked past it when I went to line up in my own corral)

This was a much tougher course than I expected.  I knew it would be hilly, but I didn’t anticipate how hard the rolling hills would be.  And I almost never train for hills.  I even had to walk some of the course, which I almost never do.  In the end, I was still pretty happy with my performance.

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I missed a PR by about 15 seconds, which is significantly better than I thought I’d do at the halfway point.  I was also in the top 40% overall, and top 30% in both women and my age group.  I think this might have been my best overall finish at the half marathon in terms of percentages to date.

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And look at the really cool medal!  Cowtown does a 3 year series of medals, and this was year 1 for the new series – a bronze star bet buckle-looking medal.  Next year will be silver and 2016 will be gold.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be running it the next 2 years, too. 😉

I really enjoyed the race atmosphere at this one.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging course, and I look forward to doing it again.

Up later tonight or in the next few days: my review of the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!

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February Fitness Survey! {Link Up}

fitness survey

It’s time for the February Fitness Survey!  Answer the questions for yourself, then link up over on Sarah’s post at How My World Runs.

1. Do you have a fitness board on Pinterest?  If so, share it!
I’m not all that active on Pinterest.  I do have a “motivation” board and a “training” board, but I don’t even know how to link them.  :/

2. What is your go to place for fitness questions? (friend, blog, website)
I get most of my fitness questions answered from friends or from other members of various Facebook groups I’m in.

3. What do you do to workout when the weather outside is too cold, snowy or icy?
I run anyway in the cold.  I don’t have other options for snowy/icy.  I don’t own a treadmill or have a gym membership. So in treacherous weather, I take an unscheduled rest day.

4. Latest song added to your playlist? 
Pompeii by Bastille

5. Share a link to your favorite healthy recipe.
My current favorite is a Paleo spaghetti squash carbonara that you can find here.

6. What’s your favorite fitness app?
It’s a toss-up.  I like MyFitnessPal for tracking nutrition and Nike+ for tracking runs.

7. Share a picture from a recent workout.

This was Sunday morning, early, before a long run with my MRTT mamas.

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Countdown to Cowtown


The countdown is on!  Less than two weeks until my next races – the Cowtown 10K and half marathon!

I’ve done a little bit better at sticking to my training plan this time around – I’ve managed to get in at least one weekday run each week, and of course I’ve done my weekend long runs.  My pace has even increased on my long runs, probably because I’ve been running with faster people.  I’ve managed to average a sub-10 pace on nearly all of them.

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(my 12 mile long run, 7 first and then 5 more right afterwards, with different training buddies)

So, there’s been definite improvement, but I’m still not training “right”.  It’s just so hard to run alone, in the dark, after work.  And even harder to find consistent training partners for the evenings – people just have too much going on!  But on Sunday, I did my long run EARLY with a group, and while it was tough to get out of bed, I felt awesome while I was running and afterwards.  So I think I’m going to start going two runs a week in the mornings before work.

Hopefully that will get me on track with a consistent training plan.  I need to figure something out that works, because I just registered for my first FULL marathon!  Training officially starts next week, and the race is June 21.


I’m terrified and excited, all at the same time!

What’s the longest distance you’ve ever raced?  What’s your favorite distance?  If you’ve done a marathon, what’s the best advice you can offer to a new marathoner?

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Healthy in 2014! Week 1 {Link Up}

My friend Victoria, who blogs over at Smiles ‘n Snuggles, has started a weekly “Healthy in 2014” Link Up party.  Posts will go live on Monday, and can focus on any aspect of health and fitness.  Posts don’t even have to be new!  Just share your tips, link your old posts or write a new one, and join the party!  You can link up on her post each Monday.

My healthy focus this week is on cross-training.  I don’t do enough of it.  I’ve always just run.  But I know that to get faster & stronger, I need to add to my workout routine.  I think I’m going to try the Insanity Core workouts, or possibly T25 Focus.

Have you used either of these?  Thoughts?  Recommendations for good cross-training exercises?

(I promise a more in-depth link-up post next week, I have students coming to my classroom shortly and need to finish preparing!  Have a great Monday!!!)

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Planning for 2014

(sorry for the lack of pictures in this update, I didn’t feel right about stealing copyrighted images off the race websites)

Why must races be so expensive?  It makes it hard for me to plan out my 2014 race calendar.  :p

Right now, the only races I’m registered for are our MRTT Winter Virtual – Start Your Engines 10K on Feb. 15th and the Cowtown 10K & Half Marathon on Feb. 22 & 23.

But there’s a whole host of events I *want* to run.

The Polar Dash in January.
The Hot Chocolate 15K in February (which I won’t run, because it would mean racing 3 weekends in a row, and that’s too much)
The Dallas Rock & Roll Half in March.
The Fairview Half in April.
The Divas Half Marathon in April (in Galveston, so probably a no).
The Disney Expedition Everest Challenge in May.
The Too Hot to Handle 15K in July.
The Niagara Falls International Marathon in October (what a great option for a full!).
The Disney Food & Wine Half Marathon in November.
The Shiner Half Marathon in November.
The Dallas Marathon (or half marathon or marathon relay, more likely) in December.
The Santa Hustle Half Marathon in December (also in Galveston).

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head!

To run all of them would cost me over $800 in race entry fees ALONE!  And there are travel expenses to be incurred for several of them, too.  All told, I’d probably spend $2000+ easily to run just the races on this list (not including Disney park tickets for the races at Disney!).  That’s just way too much money for one year of racing!  😉

Most likely, I’ll run the Fairview Half in April – it’s hosted by the same people who put on the New Year’s Double, which was a great experience.  I’ll definitely do the Shiner Half in November as long as falls on the same weekend it was held this year (the weekend before Thanksgiving) because that’s a good weekend for me to travel.  I’d like to do something at the Dallas Marathon, since my relay got iced out (and I’ll get a 2013 & 2014 medal if I complete one of the races there).  And I really, really want to do the Santa Hustle because it looks like so much fun!

But, if I decide to do a full marathon, the Niagara International Marathon looks like an awesome course and awesome experience.  Where else can you start a race in one country and finish in another?!?!

Ugh.  I need to figure this out so I can start budgeting for my race expenses.

What races are you running this year?  How do you decide how many races to run & which ones?  Do you overthink this as much as I do? 🙂

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2014 Goals

2014 is the first year since high school that I’m really starting the year as a runner.  So it seemed fitting to set some running-related goals for the year.

2014 Goals Check

1. Run 500 miles: This shouldn’t be too hard, given that I logged nearly 300 from April-December 2013.

2. Run a sub-2:00 half: This is my ultimate goal time. If I can get there, then I’d be comfortable starting the training for a full marathon.  It’s only 12 minutes faster than my current PR, so I think it’s doable.

3. STICK TO MY TRAINING PLAN FOR EVERY RACE! This is going to be the hardest one for me, I think.  I have a really hard time getting out to run on weekdays after work, I just don’t like to take the time away from my kids while they’re awake and I really don’t like to run alone in the dark.  But this is key for achieving goal #2 and goal #4, so I have to do it.

4. Run a sub-1:00 10K.  This shouldn’t be too hard.  At the 10K mark of the NYE half, I was right at 1 hour, and I was pacing myself for a half.  When I race a 10K, I should be able to get under that 1 hour mark fairly easily.  (I like having one goal that seems “easy” so I can see some success early in the year 🙂 )

5. Cross-train and/or core work at least 2x per week.  Again, this is going to be tough for me, but I think it’s also critical for the sub-2 half.  I need to build strength to protect from injuries and to improve speed.

What are your goals for 2o14?

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2013 Year in Review

2013 Year in Review


2013 was the year I started running again.  I ran in high school, and on-and-off from college until 2011 when I signed up for my first half.  I ran that half, slowly, while pregnant, and then didn’t run again until December 2012 – one very, very slow 2.5 mile run to look at Christmas lights.

In January 2013, I ran my first official 5K – the MRTT Winter Runnerland Virtual.  You don’t see it in my Nike+ Yearly Summary (above) because I didn’t carry the phone with me while I ran it.  Zero training, zero preparation, and only 2.5 miles logged in the previous 11.5 months.  It was ugly, with an official time of 40:59.  Yuck.

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(race medal for my first 5K)

I ran a little bit in February and March (Nike+ tells me I did 3 runs of 1.2 miles apiece in Feb and a single 1.8 mile run in March), but I wasn’t really serious about it.

In April 2013, I registered for the Disney Tower of Terror 10-Miler, held in October.  I knew that I’d need to run some other races between April & October to keep myself motivated to train, so I registered for the Patriot Half Marathon for May and the Too Hot to Handle 15K for July, and then I really started running again.

In April, I managed to get my longest run in over a year (5 miles) and in May I did training runs up to 9 miles before running the Patriot Half, where I set a new PR by 28 minutes in spite of the terrible hills and a LOT of walking from miles 9-12.5.  I also bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 210 as a Mother’s Day gift and started using it (in addition to Nike+) to track my runs.


(bad post-race selfie)

In June, the Texas heat and quite a bit of time out of town derailed my running, and I only managed one training run of just over 2 miles.  I kicked back into gear in July though, running several training runs and completing the Too Hot to Handle 15K without walking at all (other than at water stops) – the longest distance I’d ever run without stopping!

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(with my MRTT sole sisters before the race, the finisher bling post race)

I also completed my first-ever official 10K, the MRTT Running Mad Summer Virtual.

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(finisher cupcake & medal, my “flat mama” for the race

In August, I averaged 2 runs a week until the school year started and I was back at work… and then only managed one run for the rest of the month.  My training was officially derailed for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler at that point, but I also registered for another half, the McKinney Mini Half in early November.

I did OK in my training in September, since some of my sole sisters were also training for the McKinney Mini, and I got in two solid long runs going in to the Tower of Terror race.  October went pretty well – my time was not great at Tower of Terror, much slower than I would have liked, but it was a nighttime race & Florida is humid.

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(one of the coolest medals ever – the elevator moves!)

 I also did my longest-ever training run in October, just over 12 miles, with my runner girl Shelly, AND PR’ed in a 5K with a time of just over 28 minutes (and won an age group medal!!!).

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(age group award, baby!)

November saw a lot of great things.  I PR’ed again at the McKinney Mini, by 16 minutes this time, and then ran another 5K PR with a time of just under 28 minutes.  I also turned 35 and moved up an age group at races, LOL.

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In December, I almost got derailed again, thanks to an ice storm that took a solid 4 days out of my training (and led to the cancellation of the Dallas Marathon, which I was supposed to run as a relay team).  But I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do – I completed a long run BY MYSELF.  Ten glorious miles, alone with my thoughts and my music.

I wrapped up 2013 (and started 2014) by running the New Years Double Half Marathons.  I PR’ed AGAIN on New Year’s Eve with a  time of 2:11:03 (if you’re keeping count, that’s a new PR in every half I ran for 2013) by about 9 minutes, then got up this morning and ran the course again.  No PR today, but it was my 3rd fastest overall half marathon time at 2:31:13, and a great start to a new year with new running goals to be accomplished.  This post is long enough, so I’ll put my goals for the new year in the next one.

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(New Years Double: 12/31 run, the BLING!, and 1/1 run)

I finished 2013 with somewhere between 290-300 total miles logged, too, not bad for someone who really only started running in April.

Happy New Year!  What did you accomplish in 2013?

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