Saturday, May 21, 2016

12 Mile Run and Links You'll Like

A 12+ mile run - now that's a great way to start the weekend! I ran around the neighborhood and through the partially open park where I normally run. There's a lake there with water lilies.

Today's run of 12.5 miles was fueled by two pieces of toast with honey and an egg at about 4AM. I'm starting to naturally wake up about then every day since I started getting up earlier Tuesday through Friday. Early morning workouts are easier for me than afternoon workouts. How about you? I don't eat before my early runs - no time, but whether I ate or not didn't seem to make any difference.  

During today's run, I brought along some snacks I don't usually eat on the run -  a small amount of each: Sun Chips, pretzels, crispy M&M's and banana. No cramps or tummy troubles for me. I ate every 3 miles when I stopped at a water fountain.

I was glad when there was a bit of a breeze today to move around the suffocating feeling of the warm, humid air.

My Workouts this Week

Sunday: 8 mile easy run, 30 min. strength training (hips, arms, core video)
Monday: 16 mile run with last 4 miles faster after eating only 1 piece of toast with honey because I didn't set out to run so many miles, but it was fine, small snack during run: small cookie and salted raisins
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 7 mile run w/last 4 miles faster, PM: 30 min. strength training (back, arms, legs)
Thursday: 5 mile easy run
Friday:  30 min. strength training (15 in AM, 15 in PM - fitting it in when I can!), 30 min. ride
Saturday: 12.5 mile run (10:18/mi ave., last 1.5 miles faster: 9:25, 8:39)


Running miles: 48.5
Time on the bike: 30 min.
Strength training days: 3

My Fave Links of the Week

Long Training Runs on an Empty or Full Stomach What's your preference?
85 year old Ed Whitlock, who recently ran a half marathon in 1:50 thinks he should have been faster.
Recap of Running R2R2R (at the Grand Canyon) Laurie doesn't sugar-coat her epic adventure.
Out for a Run Podcast I listened to the show with new mom of 4 adopted older girls, Sara Hall, today.
Cocoa Pancakes Recipe - One of Sara and Ryan Hall's favorite recipes. I want to try this!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Two 15 Mile Runs This Week!

Time to run 15 miles! After some toast with honey and a banana, I started the Strava app on my phone to track my run. It's fun to see the running others are doing (especially if they start running at 4AM 'cause than I don't feel like a crazy person when I do that, too) and to give a thumbs-up to other runners. Today I posted a photo of the deer I saw hiding in the woods on Strava and Twitter, too.

I had half a Pop-tart at miles 5.5 and 8.5. In the last mile, my side ached and my eyes stung from sweat, but those pains stopped just as soon as my Strava app alerted me to the 15 miles completed! 

Although it was warm, I didn't have it very bad compared to those who were swimming, riding and running in the Texas Ironman. My husband and I walked around the local triathlon race route in The Woodlands today. The "real feel" temperature was over 100 when we were there after lunch. I'm in awe of anyone who can complete a triathlon, but to add the heat to the mix... I don't know how anybody finished that race! 

My Workouts this Week

Sunday: 8 easy mile run, 30 min. strength training (back, arms, core)
Monday: 15 mile run (10:25/mi ave.)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6 mile 4AM run, 30 min. strength training (glutes, arms, core)
Thursday: 6 mile easy 4AM run, 30 min. PM bike ride
Friday:  rest
Saturday: 15 mile run (10:31/mi ave., last 3 miles faster: 10:02, 9:52, 9:55), 15 min. strength training while my husband and I made plans for lunch at Lupe Tortilla and Ironman spectating

That's 50 miles of running. I don't usually do two 15 mile runs in a week, but it's supposed to rain on Monday (my long run day) so I did my long run today. I'm not training for a race, but I like to keep my miles up. Besides, I'm hoping to run 2,016 miles this year. 

How about you, any running goals for the year? 
Any triathlons in your past or future? 
Do you use any exercise apps like Strava?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Snow at the Grand Canyon

I recently visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon (April 25) on an unexpected trip from our home in Texas to visit family in California. I was surprised when it started to snow as we parked in the Grand Canyon parking lot. The snow made visiting the Grand Canyon extra special because I don't get a chance to see a lot of snow.

Snowing at the El Tovar
We walked around the visitor centers and the Grand Canyon rim viewing areas before we went inside the historic El Tovar. We had lunch there in the restaurant of the hotel. The chili with lots of cheese on top was good, but the view from our table of the canyon with the snow falling was even better.

My Husband Getting the RV Ready to Leave for California 

My husband and I stayed in our RV at the Williams/Grand Canyon KOA that night. When we arrived there, I ran 15 miles on a dirt path near the RV park. The morning that we left, I was surprised to see snow outside when I opened the RV door. My first thought was to hurry back inside to tell my husband, but then I decided that it would be more fun for him to be surprised like I did so I kept my little secret - that was hard for me, but I was glad that I did.

Workout recap:

Monday: 14 mile run the day we got back home, 15 min. strength training
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6 mile run, pushed the pace
Thursday: 8 mile easy run
Friday: 30 min. bike ride, 15 min. strength training
Saturday: 12 mile run (3 miles faster mid-run: 9:50, 9:40, 9:30/mi. ave. pace), strength training
Sunday: 8 easy mile run, 30 min. strength training (back, arms, core)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Extremes: Running, Flooding, and RV Driving

We were hit with a lot of rain where I live north of Houston. Nearby Cypress Creek overflowed and flooded the park where I like to run, ride and walk my dog. That's a picture of the parking lot for the park - not so good for cars, but great if you have a boat. Our house was fine, but we had to take a detour to leave the neighborhood for a few days.

RV Resort

Unexpectedly, my husband and I needed to drive from Houston to Bakersfield in Central California last week. Running first thing in the mornings made me feel better for the rest of each day. 

One day, I ran 12 miles at the Bakersfield RV Resort where we stayed. A complete park loop is 1/2 a mile - I ran 24 loops. Since I started so early in the mornings and felt safe there, I didn't mind the loops. On a couple of other runs, I ran outside of the RV park and passed some nice neighborhoods on the outskirts of town.

RV Park Gym

After most runs, I worked out in the RV park gym. Then I stopped by the office for coffee. Coffee and newspapers are free for customers. The RV park has a large laundry room and grocery stores nearby, but the best part for us is that it's close to where our family lives - the reason for our trip. By the way, the weather was nice for running.

We drove the 1600 miles home from California to Texas in two days. Although my husband drove most of the way, I drove, too. I drove through wind, rain and even snow in New Mexico and Arizona. Wind is the worst!

Park is Closed!

We got home this morning at 3:30 am and I was asleep at 4. I woke up at 8 and ran 14 miles. It sounds crazy,  but it really wasn't that hard. Since the park where I always run is closed for now, I ran through a nearby neighborhood. I'm looking forward to running at the park again in a couple of months even though I enjoyed running down some streets that I've never seen before.

Running this week: 5, 10, 12, 8, 5, 0, 14 = 54 miles

Saturday, April 16, 2016

25K Brazos Bend Trail Race Report

What a great race day! The race started with high-fives from Rob Goyen, the race director, and ended with a hug from one of the other runners after I thanked him for helping me to run fast. He ran just ahead of me for miles and I tried to keep up with him. I only passed him because he stopped at an aid station.

Getting There: Easy drive! I live about an hour and a half away from Brazos Bend State Park, which is south of Houston.

Packet Pick-up: The Brazos Bend 50 mile, 50k, 25K and 10K had about 850 participants (a small race compared to many I've run) so packet pick-up on the morning of the race was fast. Rachel Goyen held my race shirt for me until after the race because I was afraid that there wasn't enough time for me to take the shirt back to my car before the race. Nice!

Weather: warm, windy, humid

Course: well-marked, flat 14.9 miles with a few rocky trails

Fuel Pre-race: waffles w/PB and syrup, banana, Gatorade at home, banana bread later (good thing I brought it for a snack to eat after the race!)

Race Director's Pre-race Talk

Fuel During the Race: I brought apple Gatorade and a Root Beer GU gel. From the aid stations, I had Coke, the yummiest lemon cake and Fig Newton cookies. Have you ever stuffed your mouth with two of those at once? Don't try this at home.

Fuel Post-race: It might be easier to write what I did not eat! There was lots to choose from at the aid station (AS) at the finish. I had a Gatorade slush (nice and cold!), Fig Newtons, peanut M&M's, a PB & J sandwich, grape soda, pickles and pretzels (a guy dressed like Waldo reminded me to take in some salt. I hate it when my feet cramp while I'm driving home from a race. No cramps today. Thanks, Waldo!) In the car, I drank the chocolate milk that I had brought because, you know, I hadn't had enough to eat yet.

Gear: Since my Garmin battery broke on Christmas morning (so sad), I've been using my Strava app to record runs. Worked fine today except that everyone around me had to hear my splits... My earbuds recently broke. Everything's breaking! New earbuds arrive today.

How many gators did I see? I saw one alligator after someone yelled out that he was in the water beside the trail. I would have missed it if she hadn't called out and I would have been so disappointed.

Later, the 50K winner, Cal, tweeted that he saw 2 gators and one snake. Score! After I saw my first gator, I looked and looked for another - nada! (Check out Cal's Twitter page for running inspiration!)

My Finish: I came in 3rd for female masters runners with a time of 2:30. I forgot to check to see if I placed before I left the park so I don't know if I won anything. That's okay, though, I'm just a little bit happy to have placed. Update: only awards given to the top 2, which makes me glad. I didn't miss anything!

This was my third race at the Brazos Bend State Park south of Houston. Here are my race reports from those races:

4/25/15 50 Mile Race Report
4/27/14 25K Race Report

You just can't beat running a race in the woods (and not getting lost) with friendly people while stuffing your face with cookies and counting gators!

Update: The top photo shows two other 25K runners, 79 year old Zhen Lui and his son. I want to be running when I'm 79!

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