Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

Miss me? With the stress fracture and the end of the year, there wasn’t a whole lotta blogging going on because I took the opportunity to take a break from blogging to devote time to family.

But, don’t worry! I’m back. ūüôā¬†I’m writing this Friday Five 2.0 post linking up with Fairytales and Fitness¬†and¬†Running on Happy¬†writing about my 2016 goals.

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This pic is from my last half marathon of the year in December, the BCS Half Marathon. I have no idea what I was doing in this pic, but I love it! It pretty much sums up me and how much fun I was having and a great memory despite being diagnosed with a stress fracture two days later!

I love this Stevie Wonder song featured in¬†the animated movie, “Sing,” that we saw over the holidays. Some of the lyrics:

Everybody needs a change
A chance to check out the new
But you’re the only one to see
The changes you take yourself through but don’t you worry ’bout a thing!

Here are my 2016 goals:

  • Continue to be consistent with running: DONE! I ran 1,667 miles! Not my highest yearly mileage but I was consistent. AND, I biked 260 miles, which I never dreamed of doing.
  • New races and PRs: DONE…kind of. I ran some new races: Chevron Houston Marathon, Republic of Texas Half, Buffalo Stampede Half, M2M Half Marathon, and NYC Marathon! I got some fantastic age groups awards at many of the races, and even got first female overall in one race (shocker!!). My goal was to conquer a PR in the half, but I didn’t. I got one PR in my 5K in March: 21:54, which I’m very proud of.

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  • Get a BQ: NOT DONE. Maybe, MAYBE, someday I’ll get a BQ, but I don’t want that to be my only focus. I really want to just run and be healthy. It would be great to run Boston in the future, I’m not going to lie, but that just might not be in the cards…ever.
  • Get back to eating better: Meh. I am really good at eating well part of the time, but when I’m in the middle of marathon training or ravenous, it was really easy to grab a bowl of cereal or something processed.
  • Start a blog and write more! DONE. I wasn’t sure about the blog world at first, I really wanted a way to write creatively regularly, but I’ve really enjoyed “meeting” and getting to know so many people and runners through blogging. It’s encouraging and inspiring to hear what others are doing. And I’ve been blogging for 1 year! ūüôā

So, stay tuned for 2017 goals. They’re currently a work in progress!

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June Runfessions

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I’m joining¬†Marcia for¬†her monthly Runfessions link-up–a time of cleansing and confessing. ūüôā Check out her awesome¬†blog and others!
I runfess that this is my first time linking up with the link-up and I was supposed to do it yesterday and I’m already a day late. ūüė¶ I’m barely keeping my eyes above the¬†water lately…
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I¬†normally don’t run on vacation or if I do, it’s maybe once because it usually involves a treadmill and I HATE¬†that. This time I enjoyed some beautiful weather back home and I ran¬†multiple times on vacation (yay!) as well as¬†tons of walking and hiking, but I felt some sharp pain in my heel during two hikes and my hip had a nasty painful tweak after a full day of walking. And that freaked me out with NYC marathon training starting.
The family fitness challenge of doing sit-ups, burpees, pushups and plank I started in June lasted a whopping one week until we went on vacation. The kids’s enthusiasm fizzled out big time, and no amount of cheerleading from me would persuade them. I also gave up way too easily. Something about being out of your routine makes it so hard to do a burpee.
I ate way too many desserts on vacation‚Ķand felt it immediately. I don‚Äôt normally indulge in dessert quite as often, but when it was offered, I was like, um‚Ķ.yes‚Ķplease and don‚Äôt skimp on the portions. ūüėɬ†And then when I got back from vacation, I made a vow not to eat desserts, and I had a birth WEEK¬†celebration. So, I had ice cream and then more ice cream, plus cookies. I was just making sure they didn‚Äôt go stale. You can‚Äôt leave an open package of Oreos in the pantry!!! AND THEN, my running club buddies¬†asked if I had tried a local bakery‚Äôs homemade cinnamon rolls, and I was like, I can‚Äôt even.
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The heat is killing my mojo. I haven‚Äôt yet crossed the 10-day threshold of adjustment that will make it slightly easier to run in this weather.¬†And¬†although I’m excited about the NYC marathon, I‚Äôm having a hard time finding the positives… let‚Äôs see I‚Äôm¬† sweating out all that water weight I‚Äôm retaining, and I’m testing the saturation point of many tech fabrics…

I’m also linking up with the DC Trifecta bloggers¬†Mar,¬†Courtney¬†and¬†Cynthia¬† for the Friday Five linkup.

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5 Reasons I’m Doing Plyo

Happy Friday! The heat is on! Yup, right now my training is¬†all about that heat, ’bout¬†that heat, it’s trouble. Here in Texas, summer lasts from April to November. Good news: Cute singlets. Bad news: Chafing.

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And when it’s most humid outside at 5 am when I workout, it’s really easy to work hard and produce lackluster results. Like yesterday’s tempo run. Was I actually moving..I don’t know. lol Any run is a good run…I say…most of the time. Seriously, though, I’m trying glean some good things from the heat.

That’s why I’m planning to break up the summertime madness with some different things¬†like hills and plyometrics.

5 Reasons I’m Doing Plyometrics

I love being able to run outside all year here in Texas–¬†I¬†work up a good sweat without really trying. But, with the dog days of summer here, it can be challenging¬†not to get burned out (literally and figuratively) with running. I mentioned that after the Diva Half Marathon¬†last month, I don’t have anything immediate to train for until I start training for the NYC Marathon in November, so until then plyometrics are a great¬†way¬†to break up the¬†regular routine.

It’s no secret that plyo is excellent strength training without the dumbbells. I mentioned last week I hate the gym–being outside just gives me a high. Staring a metal machines, not so much. But¬†I know that I need to do all kinds of strength work (not just planks!) and work on some weaknesses. Strength training is also great¬†for becoming a more efficient runner, like this study showed.

Stronger body will (hopefully)¬†lead to less injuries. Strength workouts are filled with plyometrics to help keep injuries away. And when training for a¬†marathon, I’m going to need that, especially if I want to keep this tendonitis at bay.

More strength = faster speed. I like to run fast, no lie. Given any distance, I want to run it as fast as possible…for me, that might be not so fast compared to others, but¬†it would be nice to get faster. Plyometrics can help me with that too.

Plyometrics¬†get my¬†heart really, REALLY pumping…and usually get me chuckling at my poor form (something I’m trying to work on)…and dare I say, fun?? And I could use a little humor at 5 am, right? It’s best to do them after a warmup, and I don’t need to do a lot of reps, so after I run intervals or hills (#$%$@$#$@), I do a short set of plyometrics for about 10 minutes.

Here’s my routine:

  • Alternating lunge jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Single-leg hops, in place, side to side, and front to back
  • Skip hops
  • Bounds
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees

I can honestly say that burpees are not fun.

 

I’m linking up with the DC Trifecta bloggers¬†Mar,¬†Courtney¬†and¬†Cynthia¬† for the Friday Five linkup:

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and linking up with Angela at HappyFitMama.com for High Five Friday.

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A Four Letter Word

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No, not that four letter word. Or that one either. I’m talking about the dreaded HILL. #$%@!#

This week, I went back to incorporating hills into the weekly workout. It’s been a while, and I have to say, I never¬†really look forward to that workout. BUT, I know that it’s good for me, so it’s time to change¬†the hill from a four letter word into a friend.

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For the Friday Five link-up with¬†Mar,¬†Courtney¬†and¬†Cynthia¬†I’m giving¬†5 reasons to embrace the hills!

  • Wake up your routine:¬†Running the same routes and workouts over and over again is BO-Ring. Mix it up by adding hills to make it fun (not really!) and break out of the monotony. I know I need that because the same old thing every week, week in and week out, is dreadful.
  • Get speedy: The intensity of the hill workouts easily replaces the usual intervals or other speed workouts and can increase my endurance, stamina, and speed.
  • Improve form: When I’m tired, I slouch and my form suffers. Nothing like the end of the race shuffle when my arms are swinging side to side instead of forward to reinforce the fact that I need to continue to work on my form. Focusing on the hills this week, I worked on quick turnover, keeping my chest open and forward, shoulders back, and keeping knees high.
  • Get stronger: I’m so weak. Hilariously so. The repetitive motion of running doesn’t help. So, I need to get stronger, but I HATE going to the gym, mainly because I feel like an idiot, but also I ran into too many ¬†people like the Dude Perfect gym stereotypes video:

And the hubs balked when I suggested a home gym in the garage. ūüôā

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I do body weight strength training, though, and light weights at home. Running hills can replicate a strength workout because of the resistance of¬†the climb. Whether it’s a long gradual incline or a short steep hill, your muscles develop differently than when running on a flat surface.

  • Practice makes perfect:¬†It never fails. All the races that are billed as “flat and fast” never are. There’s a hill. Somewhere. Small or large. And it usually comes at about mile 11 in a half and at about 22 in a full. Good grief. And since I’m training for NYC Marathon with MANY hills, I need to practice.

Unknown-2 Hill: Four letter word or friend?

They Might Be Giants


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This Friday Five post is all about some special women in running history. It’s certainly not all inclusive–that would take volumes!¬†As the 50th anniversary of Bobbi Gibb’s amazing marathon debut approaches next week, I’ve been thinking of Gibbs¬†and so many¬†women who have shown courage and character in the face of adversity.¬†This list is just a few of the many women who’ve made running what it is today.
Bobbi Gibb:¬†Fifty years ago, she jumped out of the bushes, in a swimsuit, hoodie and boy shorts no less, and onto the Boston Marathon course. AND ran a 3:21. Proving once and for all that women wouldn‚Äôt break. Everyone talks about the next woman on my list, but Gibb’s courage, chutzpah, and persistence. Awe-inspiring.
Katherine Switzer:¬†A year later, in 1967, as we’ve all heard, Switzer¬†ran with an official bib and almost got pushed off the course by a race official. A move that took guts and grit.
Paula Radcliffe: Current world marathon record holder. On April 13, 2003 she set the world record of 2:15:25. 13 years later it still holds. And, now, she’s my age. Sheesh. Talk about setting the bar high.
Wilma Rudolph: First American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the 100m, 200m and 4×100 relay. I’m a sprinter at heart, and once upon a time, these were my events. If only I was half as fast as her!!
#5:¬†I think that collectively¬†runners now (those around the world, those I run with and myself included) all combine to make a “giant” force in the running community–the next running boom, as some have called it–pushing our own boundaries and moving ahead because of the “giants” in history who forged the way before us. Those¬†women all started out as average people who just had¬†an idea to run. And run fast. And they did.
 8760_1434556992Any other special women runners stand out to you? And why?
Linking up with the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday Five.

To Marathon or Not…

I’ve been a runner since high school, but all those many years ago, I was a sprinter. One mile was my longest distance ever. And I hated it. Maybe it was because I had to do it around a track, which classifies¬†as¬†low-level torture in my book, but nonetheless, when I ran my first 5K, I was ecstatic. I ran more than two miles…in a row…on purpose. And I got a free gigantic cotton shirt!

The first time my husband signed up for a half, soon¬†after we had our first baby, I remember telling him, “Why would you want to do that?” (haha!) The longest I had run at that point was a couple of 10-milers, and I enjoyed that distance. Fast forward a few years…staring down the barrel of 40 years old, I had just been diagnosed with rare type of blood cancer. With my health still good and the cancer very slow-growing, I thought, who knows what the future holds? Why not run while I still can??

A college friend signed up for a half and I thought it would be fun to run with her and a good excuse to see her. She ended up not running the race, but¬†I ran it. And, after¬†I crossed the finish line, I just kept thinking, I bet I can run it faster. Maybe¬†it’s the sprinter in me, but I like to go fast. I’m not fast, I just like to imagine it. ūüôā

After a few halfs, the question EVERYONE would ask was, “Will you run a marath–?”¬†Before they could even finish the word, I would say no. Non. Nein. Nyet. Never. No way.

Here’s why:

  • Training for a marathon is looooooong. And time consuming.
  • Running a race for 4+ hours is mind-numbing and sickening.
  • One word: Chafing.
  • Two words: Black toenails.
  • Gels=blech.

And, finally, many friends who ran marathons to get in shape ended up the exact same weight as before or even heavier (now I know why). I was stubbornly trying to get rid of the five-ish mid-life post-baby pounds that were clinging for dear life around my waistline.

Then, with a couple¬†more halfs under my belt and feeling like I had gotten a good grasp of the distance, the marathon questions still came. I couldn’t kick this perception of that “half finished” mentality people like to joke about. I don’t do things halfway…hahaha. Half crazy, etc. Except I’m not half crazy. I am full-on crazy. Just ask my husband. ūüôā

I signed up for the 2,015 mileage challenge last year, and about a month into it I thought, well, I’m running so many freaking miles, maybe I should put these miles¬†toward something, right? For¬†Declare It Day¬†2015, my running friends gathered¬†around cups of coffee after a chilly Saturday run and wrote down what our goals were for the year. Palms sweaty. Heart beating in my ears. I wrote down my goal.

I will run a marathon.

Gulp. So, I signed up for the Chevron Houston¬†Marathon for January 2016. I really wanted my husband and kids to see my first marathon, but, because the logistics of staying with a husband and three kids in a hotel room in Houston would not be….ideal for me or my pre-race jitters. So, I signed up for our hometown BCS Marathon for December 2015 so they could cheer me on. I trained. I worried. I had black toenails. I chafed. And this was only during training.

And then, on a rainy, windy 50 degree day in December, I ran it. And I actually had fun. My husband and kids cheered for me every 4 miles in the cold rain. They high-fived, they waved, they held signs as they almost blew away. I cracked jokes. I people watched. I laughed. I choked down gels.

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And then I did it again.

Here’s 5 reasons why I’ll do it again this year:

  • Marathon training is long and challenges me¬†in ways I¬†never dreamed and ways I really enjoyed.
  • Running a marathon was exhilarating, exciting, joyous, painful, difficult and incredible. The experience strengthened my faith¬†in God. Period.
  • One word: Vaseline.
  • Two words: nail polish.
  • Gels= I made friends with the chocolate Huma.

And then people asked when I would do an ultra. ugh.

Linking up with the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia. Thanks for hosting, ladies!

5 Texas Halfs I Want to Run

There’s so many¬†races to choose from, so it’s hard to narrow things down. I’m fairly new to Texas, being here just over a year and a half, so¬†I haven’t gotten the chance to see and explore as many places as I would¬†like, so what better way to revisit a favorite place or see a new one than to sign up for race?? These are a few of my bucket list halfs.
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Alamo 13.1 in San Antonio
A race through historic San Antonio and the Alamo would be awesome. The race medals have¬†little canons. I wanted to run this one badly this year, but it didn’t work out. They also have a Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dash 5K and 10K. Yes, I said donuts. Done.
3M Half, Austin
Austin’s a cool quirky city. Period. AND, this is the course elevation chart for the race. PR, anyone?
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Run a race with hundreds of hot air balloons launched in the sky? Um, yea! This race coincides with the ballon launch on one day of the festival and would be a gorgeous way to start the race and the day!
Cowtown Half, Fort Worth
This running festival offers distances from 5K to the marathon. It’s a fun race in Fort Worth, home of the old stockyards and meat packing plants now turned into entertainment and shopping.
Did you know that Tyler is THE¬†rose capital of the country?? I know! Most of the roses shipped all over the country come from Tyler. This race happens during the annual Rose Festival complete with a queen. The course is notoriously hilly and…challenging…so I’ll stick with the half.
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(Half) Marathon to Marathon, Marathon
In a tiny, teeny town in West Texas called Marathon, there’s a little (less than 500 runners) marathon (and a half). With a gradual downhill course, the race is a BQ-qualifier. I’ve never run in the desert, and this scenery is breathtaking. The race fees¬†pay for public services like the school, library and fire department.
Any of these races sound appealing? Have any local bucket list races you’d like to run?¬†
Linking up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia and Jill. Thanks for hosting, ladies!