Showing posts from 2009

There's Very Good

I really wanted to get out there and run today, and I did! It was 46 degrees - a shorts day!

After a two mile warm-up, I ran six fast miles, hoping for goal 1/2 marathon pace (8:20): 8:17, 8:21, 8:22, 8:13, 8:05, 8:04. I ran 8.4 total miles.

The first three hard miles were fun. I'm doing it! This is fun!

The second half was hard. Faster! You can do it! Keep going! That's okay, though. I like hard!

Saw some nice people out there on the Memorial Park loop trail. One runner told me, "HopeYouHaveAHappyNewYear" as he sped by. It sounded like it was a one syllable word, but I got it! And wished him the same!

Photo: Memorial Park loop trail at night

There's Not So Good

After running 8.4 miles, my right ankle started to hurt so I walked home. Do you know how long it takes to walk 0.6 mile with a hurt ankle? Too long!

Elderly people out for their daily walks were speeding by me. I tried not to look pitiful, but I couldn't cover up my slowness. One man looked at me and asked, "Knee or ankle?" and reminded me to ice it when I got home, which I thought was awfully nice.

Now that I'm home, I'm icing and I won't worry about the marathon in 2 1/2 weeks. That's plenty of time for an ankle to heal. (Do you hear that, Ankle?!)

Happy New Year's Eve to you!

Kind of Painful

There's nothing like a couple of painful runs to make you thankful for the pain-free runs. I had to cut back on my running the last few days because my lower left leg hurt during a couple of recent runs. You know that feeling where it feels like there's a boa constrictor wrapped tightly around your leg?

I had a good seven mile run yesterday and a good five mile run today, except that I might have felt a teeny-tiny pain at the end of today's run, or maybe I'm just a worrier! ; )

Maybe my high mileage caused my trouble. Maybe I should have taken the day off after the 20 miler. Hopefully, running fewer miles now will give my leg a chance to heal. With less than three weeks until the marathon, I'm trying take it easy without taking it too easy.

Photo: Memorial Park trail on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Geocaching

On Christmas day, my husband and I and two of our friends went on a treasure hunting hike in Memorial Park - we went geocaching. There's one of our finds. It was hidden in the hole at the bottom of the tree in the photo and covered with pine needles.
After climbing over tree stumps and poison ivy and up hills and around the bayou, we found four geocaches, even finding one that my husband and I were unable to find on a previous trip. With the four of us on the search this time, this cache would be found!
One of the geocaches was filled with European travel maps and postcards and our friend, who was raised in Germany, read aloud in German from one of the brochures. We worked up an appetite with all of that hiking and headed back home for dessert - homemade apple-and-carrot cake and Dewar's taffy
We had a very merry Christmas and I hope that you did, too!

20 Mile Run #3

Today I ran my third and last 20 miler of the year. It was a humid 70* - one of those days where you're dreaming of a white Christmas.
I did a progressive run where I sped up the farther I ran, after a nine mile easy-paced warm-up! I did run some easy-paced hills and then there was the speedwork to the upcoming water fountains, though. Too bad I couldn't hit any marathon paced miles (8:47).
My average pace was slower than it was for my other 20 milers by about 25 seconds per mile, coming in at a 9:35/mi average today. The bad news: I wanted to stop running and sit on a park bench. The good news: I never did.

8 Mile Tempo Run

After a two mile warm-up, I ate a gel, got a drink of water and started off down the path for an 8 mile tempo run. Today I didn't start off like I was running a 5K like I did last week. Maybe I'm learning! Tempo miles 1 & 2 - 8:10, 8:16/mile.
In the third tempo mile, a runner was just behind me. I could hear her steps and we ran fast like that for awhile, helping each other, maybe? Then I checked my Garmin and saw that I was running at a 7 something pace. Gasp! Maybe I'm not learning anything after all! I knew I couldn't keep that up for long and wisdom overcame the desire to run fast for a short distance. Or maybe it was exhaustion. Tempo miles 3 & 4 - 7:52, 8:14/mile.
The last four tempo miles were the hardest. Knowing that the first half of my tempo run went well and that I only had about one three mile loop to run around helped - just one loop left! Maybe stopping for a quick drink and a gel helped, too. When I saw a man running backwards who ran right into a…

Gingerbread House

What a difference the sunshine makes! We had great running weather with temps climbing to the mid-forties. I was comfortable wearing two shirts, pants and gloves.
I ran two miles to the park water fountain and then it was time for the hard work. My goal: to run three marathon paced miles (8:47). Then I ran easy for a mile and ran three marathon paced miles again.
The first time I did this, my Garmin was turned off for two of the three miles - user error I think. I think I did fine, but I know that I hit my goal the second time around. I wish running the marathon paced miles had felt easier, though - like I was out for an easy-paced run.
I ran over to the bridge and did eight one-minute-uphills at 5K effort. I'm glad the goal was to run at 5k effort and not 5k pace! I meant to do more hills, but I ran out of time. I had a great 12.5 mile run! Have a merry weekend!
Photo: My gingerbread GU house masterpiece. You've seen it here first! All the rest are only imitations!

I Love Lucy Show

I met my husband for lunch at Cane's fast food restaurant. When I arrived, he had our food at the table.

The last time we were there, they gave our lunch to the guy who came in after us, who had the same name as my husband. So today he came up with a unique name for himself - Fred Mertz.
My husband sat down and waited for our food. After awhile, he heard them call out Fred Martinez a few times. Finally, he walked up to the counter and found out that they had written Fred Mertz on the receipt, but they were still calling my husband Fred Martinez! I'm just glad that I got my lunch!
But what about today's run? I splashed through the puddles in my neighborhood and the park for 6 rainy miles of puddlework. I wore shorts, but halfway through, my legs were starting to feel numb. Yesterday we had the same temp and shorts were fine, but I ran faster yesterday and it wasn't raining. Today I was a nearly freezing (40* out there), muddy runner. Next time - pants!
~Ethel Mertz ; )

18 & 9-1-1

Today when I was in the last half mile of my 18 mile run, my cell phone rang. Was that the police officer calling me back? Maybe I better back up a bit...
I ran two miles, got a drink at the park water fountain and crossed the street when someone back on the other side of the street yelled out to me, asking if I had a phone.
I looked over to see a small crowd looking at me, standing beside some cars. The lady told me that they had been in an accident, ran out of gas and didn't have a phone. Would I call the police for them?
I called and then I ran up and down the hills, pushing hard. And then my phone rang. I tried not to sound out of breath. The police officer needed more directions because he couldn't find the car from just the cross-streets. I wondered if I'd been tricked and if they'd driven off. How much trouble would I be in for a false alarm? I'm usually not a trouble-maker!
When I ran back to the street where the people-in-distress had been, I was happy to see…

Gingerbread Gu Run

During my two mile warm-up, I worried that I wouldn't be able to find any speed in my legs today. Last night I taste tested 15 - 20 desserts - part of my job as dessert judge at a church party. Somebody had to do it! ; ) Last week I ran 63 miles, more than ever... Seemed like good reasons for sluggish legs.
After running two warm-up miles, I stopped to eat a vanilla gingerbread Gu. It tasted like cinnamon and pumpkin to me, but it's been awhile since I've eaten gingerbread. I'm glad that I have five more. Update: I ate another gel. It does taste like gingerbread, but because it's a gel (more like a pudding consistency), it reminds me of pumpkin pie rather than a gingerbread cookie. A nice change from the usual flavors!
Okay, tempo run time... In the first mile, I reminded myself that the first one always feels hard and the second one did go a little smoother. Pace for tempo miles 1 & 2: 8:03, 8:06.
I got a quick drink and started off again. I tried to stay close b…

My 1st 5 Marathons

Years ago, I read about a woman who ran a marathon and I thought, Wow! I wonder if I could run one of those someday, too? Finally, I did run my first marathon in '06. I had one goal - to finish! I finished in 5:07. I was a marathoner!

In '07, I ran my second marathon hoping to beat 5:07. Did it! 4:58 finish! (Pre-blogging days so there aren't any posts to link to.)

Then in January '08, I got a 3:54 finish! Maybe because...
I ran more miles (1739 in '07 vs. 1442 in '06). My weekly highs got up to 55, averaging about 40-50 (vs. 30-40 in '06).I ran three 20 milers (vs. 2 in 2006).I started doing some speedwork in '07.Then I ran two more marathons. When I ran the hilly Seattle '08 marathon, I had high hopes for a 3:50. Instead I came away with a 4:10 finish. A good time, but no PR or BQ. Still, I did have a great family vacation.The Houston '09 marathon was only seven weeks later. I had foot trouble so, just like the first one, I was happy just to fini…

Christmas Time

Last night my husband and I went to Rice University for a music concert and enjoyed seeing wonderful displays of Christmas lights on the way home. Then today I ate peppermint bark cheesecake - the best cheesecake I've ever had - and watched some costumed children ice skating at the Galleria mall. We're enjoying some of the special things that are only around at Christmas time.
I ran 12 miles yesterday and I ran 7.5 miles today. I heard one person describe the weather as a mess, but I liked it - almost 50 with a drizzle. I wasn't too hot or too cold, but just right and I was wearing shorts!
It's great to be surrounded by runners when I first start out running down my street. When I'm alone, my thoughts tend to be, I'll warm up soon, I hope, but not today. There was a group of maybe 100 runners all coming towards me within about three blocks, many of them greeting me - a happy way to start my day.
About posting miles and pace on my blog... I know that I like rea…

Hills & Stress Fractures

First off, no, I don't have a stress fracture. I'm just going to write about it. There! Didn't want to worry anybody! After warming up with a couple of easy miles, I headed over to the new hill area - a bridge with hills on both sides. I started out easy and progressed to the "I think I'm going to blow up stage" after a few minutes. One word kept coming to my mind on the uphill part: burst, burst, burst! That's what I thought my lungs would do! I sprinkled in some easy-paced, flat sections, too. A girl's got to breathe, ya know!

Then I ran on the flat loop to recover. The thought of too many more hills made me feel a little nauseous so I made a bargain - just do a few. I ran fast up the hill and there was that word again: burst! I think I'm going to burst! But it was over quickly because the hill wasn't very steep. Someday I'll post a picture of these "mountains" I'm running on and you and I can both share a good laugh!Why, oh …

Shorts Weather!

Please don't hate me, but today I ran in shorts and a sleeveless shirt under sunny skies! The temperature was around 50 degrees. I was chilly at first - the kind of chilly where you keep telling yourself how smart you are for wearing shorts and you so hope that you will be thankful two hours later. I was!
I ran 16 miles with hills added in for fun. After a warm-up, I ran 3/4 mile up and down an over/under pass. The change from the mostly flat trail was nice.
I did a little more hillwork. There's a hill on the mostly flat trail and every time I came to it (every three miles), I sped up. The first time, a speedy runner raced up it and I tried to run as fast as he did. My 'current pace' at the top of the hill was 7:35! Zoom! The next two times I ran up it alone and my 'current pace' was only 8:00. Wanted: hill racers!

I ran behind a blind runner with a guide towards the end of the run. They have to stop a lot because they have to be especially careful when they pass …

BSIM & Hills

I signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon last night! We're going to a family reunion in CA the day before the BSIM.
Great timing!

So today when I was running on the Memorial Park trail, I crossed the street to a new hilly path (too bad it's concrete) and ran up and down the hill slowly. Have you heard about all of the hills at the BSIM? I'll go back later this week to run up and down the hill faster.

My hillwork plan is simple... Run hills at least once a week. Increase the number of hills I run up and the length of the hill as my training continues. How do you do hillwork?

Today's workout: 8 easy miles followed by weight work
Photo: runner on the snowy trail in Houston last Friday
Just came across this article on hills:

Snow Pic #2

Here's another snowy photo taken Friday beside the running trail. It was fun to run in the snow Friday, but I was glad that the temperature was up in the mid-fifties today. Hello, Shorts!

I ran 12 miles with 7 hard. My goal for the 7 miles was 8:20 (1/2 marathon goal pace). When I ran slower than 8:20, I changed the goal to 8:30. Then I had a good mile so I went back to trying for 8:20. My 7 mile average pace was 8:24. I was glad when that was over!

Here's hoping you meet your speed goals this week!

Snow Run!

I ran ten miles in the snow today! Afterwards, I was out shopping and saw nearly everyone in Houston out taking pictures of the snow. This is only the third time in the last dozen years or so that it has snowed. Here's a photo of the trail I ran on today.

Today's plan - warm-up, 1 mile at 8:15, drink stop, 2 miles at 8:15, slow jog rest, and 1 mile at 8:15 before a cool-down.

During my warm-up, the snow began to fall. I wanted to say something about it to someone, but the first people I saw were deep in thought. Finally, a runner said something about it to me! Unfortunately, my first words to him were slurred. My lips were numb from the cold! (About 35* with a feels like temp of 27*.)

I only missed my goal for mile 1 by two seconds and then I took a break. When I started my hard two mile part, I had trouble with my new Garmin - it was including that four minute stop where I blew my nose, ate a gel and got a drink with this supposedly fast part of my run!

I just wanted to quit when…

BQ Questions

I've got two questions for you.

The 2010 Boston marathon is full. Wah! Wah! OK, I'm over it! ; )

I'm 44 and will turn 45 next October. The qualifying time for a 44yo woman is 3:50 and for a 45yo is 4:00.

The qualifying results you get from late September (for example: 2009) until the next year around November (for example: 2010) or whenever the marathon fills up will be good for the next Boston marathon (for example: 2011) and the next (2012). Am I right on this part?

When I turn 45 in 2010, even if I qualified when I was 44 (like in January '10 at the Houston marathon), I only need to qualify with a 4 hour time to run in 2011 or 2012. Am I right on this? 'Cause when I cross the finish line, I want to know if I BQ'ed and I might not make it in 3:50. I've read the FAQ page at the Boston marathon site and it looks like I've got it right.

I'm still trying for 3:50. I'm not giving up!

20 Chilly Miles

The short story: I ran a 20 mile progression run (ran faster in the later miles) mostly on a three mile loop in 45 - 50 degrees (felt like 40 - 43). Have I mentioned the cold wind yet?

And the long story...

Last night, the weatherman said it might actually snow on Friday (long run day) so I decided to run 20 miles today.

I wore my Spibelt which held three gels, my phone and two tissues and was comfortable around my waist.

At mile 14.4 I wanted to quit, for not really the first time, but it was the worst time. It was cold and windy and sometimes I was even hot. I was tired of running. I ate my gel early and got a drink. Okay, why am I doing this?I want to! And I am not giving up! Ok, pity party over and done with!

Just then a speedster ran by. See? Just do what she's doing!

And then I realized that I was on my way home. There's something wonderful about knowing that you've almost finished running 20 miles. I ran the last five miles the fastest of all. Hello 8:43-9:03 pace! I felt…

Homemade Arm Warmers

I bought some black tights with a gray paisley design at Marshall's for $7 and cut off the toes and the top section. I'll probably hem the edges later, if I'm not too lazy. ; )

It was a rainy and cold 50* this morning so I slid my arm warmers on, took a picture and was off down the road for an 11 mile run.

My arm warmers worked great. I slid them down over my hands at first. Brr... I slid them up high when I was warm and I slid them off and tied them around my waist when I was hot. They stayed in place on my arms the whole time and I don't think I sweat any more than I do when I wear my running gloves which are probably made with a special fabric, especially since I took them off when I warmed up.

Seven mile tempo run today... I didn't set my Garmin right (still learning!), so I don't know my mile splits, but that's okay. The point was to warm-up, run 4 hard miles, run for 5 minutes easy, run 3 miles hard and cool-down. And that I did!

Updated on 11/10/10…

Can You Hear Me Now?

I'm not anti-ear phones, but I'm thinking about running my next marathon without them - for the extra challenge. Yeah, just running a marathon is not enough of a challenge! ; ) Anyway, I ran 20 miles a couple of weeks ago sans music. It really wasn't any harder, but I had to slowly wean myself off of the music.

And there's the sweat in my ears. After very long, hot runs, my ears fill up with sweat making it hard to hear. I could do without that. After races, to stretch your body in all sorts of crazy ways - that's normal, but to shake your head hard to one side to get the sweat out of your ears - kind of funny. ; )

Today I was running down the street behind a walker who was wearing ear phones when she started walking into the middle of the street. I had to tell her three times that there was a car behind us before she heard me and got out of the way, shocked to see the car right behind her.

Today's accomplishments: Ran 9 miles at a 9:06/mi. average and saved one l…

10K Race Report

Yesterday I finally ran a six mile tempo run at 10K pace - in the form of a race. I ran my first 10K, the Houston 17th Annual 2009 Sheltering Arms Turkey Trot! The race results can be found here. I'm bib number 2033.

Before the race, I ran easy for ten minutes. It felt good to run because I was cold - it was 46*. At the beginning of the race, there wasn't any problem with going out too fast because it was too crowded for speed. I didn't even get up to an 8:00 pace until the 0.3 mile mark. I stayed steady for the first five miles and then sped up a bit in the sixth mile.
It was in the sixth mile that one runner said something about pumpkin pie (Happy Thanksgiving!), but the thought of eating anything sounded anything but good at that point. Another runner encouraged me with "Go, Green!" (thanks to my green shirt). One runner yelled out "Push!" long and loud as he and the rest of us were closing in on the finish line. With that, I forgot how tired I was an…

Garmin Forerunner 310XT

There's my new Garmin Forerunner 310XT! That's how I wear it when I run - backwards. Besides, you could see photos of the front of it all over the net, but how many folks show you the back of it?! ; )

My Garmin 205 wasn't working right. Memories of the January 2008 marathon ran through my head and there weren't any sugar plum fairies floating around - just my Garmin 205 that said my pace was great when it really wasn't.
So Monday when I was at Luke's Locker for the 10K race sign up, they showed me some new Garmin watches. I liked the way the 310XT fit on my small wrist. With the 310XT, you can view four data fields on one screen in easy-to-read numbers and there's a vibration alert for mile markers (or any distance you like) - helpful during a noisy race. There's a $50 rebate on it.
Unfortunately, the 405 didn't fit my wrist as well as the 310XT. I probably would have had to put my Velcro strap on.
Tuesday I went back and bought myself a Christmas pre…

Garmin Woes

I ran 16 1/4 miles or so today. My Garmin Forerunner 205 lost the satellites numerous times, showed my pace was crazy fast and crazy slow and finally stopped adding miles even though I was still running. I was able to figure out my distance because I ran a route I'm used to. I had a goal of running 16 miles. The last four were supposed to be faster. I can only hope!

I reset my Garmin and updated the software. I'll see how it acts tomorrow. Hopefully, it was only a fluke.

If not, I'm looking at the 310XT (I like the four data fields at one time) or maybe the 305, but I don't know. I wonder if the 305 gets better satellite reception than the 205, which I have.

I think I took a Powerbar gel around mile 4, 8 and 11 (meant to take one at 12, but my Garmin said 12 when I hadn't run 12 yet, and I didn't figure it out in time). Bad Garmin! It also told me I ran a 6:57 mile.

Silly Garmin! If you're gonna lie to me to make me feel fast, you're gonna have to make …

Drip, Drip, Drop!

I thought about running on the treadmill because it was raining, but instead I put on my hat and ran 6 miles outside. There were only twelve runners on the normally crowded park trail, but I have never seen so many smiling runners.

Like a little kid, I ran through small puddles and around big ones. The peaceful and nearly empty path was quiet except for the sound of the rain falling down around me. I had forgotten how nice a run in the rain can be.

Templates at Shel's Scraps

Yep, you're really at Gotta Run Now! I changed my blog template. The cheerful yellow rays remind me of sunshine. The vines remind me of being outside where I do most of my running.

If you'd like to see the other free blog templates at Shel's Scraps, just click on today's post title.

I ran an easy five miles today and then came home to pick up Zoe, my dog, who ran a mile with me. I'm almost over a cold I've had all week. Fortunately, it hasn't stopped me from running 'cause that would be no fun, no fun at all. : )

Garmin Velcro Wrist Band

The wrist band that came with my Garmin Forerunner 205 was knocking against my wrist bone and bruising it. Ouch! My husband found one for me at for about $20, including shipping.

Because the new band is Velcro, I can adjust it to fit my wrist. I don't have to remove the strap to load my workout onto my computer, but it's quick to remove (now that I've done it a few times) and I do have to take it off to wash it.

When I noticed the wrist bruise I did some experimenting. To keep the heavy watch face from hitting my wrist bone, I twisted my watch around so that it faced me. Since then, I always wear my watch backwards. It's easier for me to look at the inside of my wrist than the outside while I'm running.

Pic: That's my Garmin Forerunner 205 with the Velcro wrist band and my dog waiting for her doggy treat. Good dog!

5 Mile Tempo Run

Time for another tempo run... Once again, I tried to get down to 7:52 for four miles.

I started out with a two mile warm-up. Then I sped up hoping to run four fast miles. In the first tempo mile I only got down to 8:15 so I decided to run five fast miles instead of only four. It sounds like some kind of punishment, but it really wasn't!

Then I ran the second tempo mile at 7:51. This was good, but it was hard to do. The last part of the mile I had one thought: stop at the next water fountain. That helped.

Word of the day? Persevere! I reminded myself to keep going, not to stop. Per-se-vere! Per-se-vere!
Tempo miles 3 and 4 were run at 8:01 and 8:16. When I saw the 8:16, it made me try really hard to speed up. I can do anything for 8 minutes. I can run fast for 6 minutes. I can do this for four minutes. The last and fifth tempo mile was tough. Pace: 7:49. So I ran two goal pace miles this week. Not my goal, but it's two miles better than I did last week so that's good. Pic: Ple…

How To Put a Smile On Your Face

Set a goal. Make it doable, but challenging. Mine was to run 20 miles today at a 9:15 pace or better. That's about 30 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace.

Be prepared. I've slowly added miles to my workouts. I was pretty sure that I could run 20.

Eat. I took a tangerine Powerbar gel at miles 5, 10 and 15. I like the taste and this sweaty runner likes that it has 200 mg. of sodium, too. Today's temperature was 60- 70. I drank water every 2-3 miles.

Towards the end, when you know you will accomplish your goal, just try to wipe that smile off your face! : )

Pre-run: cinnamon raisin toast
Post-run: hot chocolate
Average pace: 9:09/mi.

Ladder Speedwork

The ladder workout I did this morning was fun. It was hard, but I liked the variety in distance. I was glad that the distances became progressively shorter.
2 x (800m-600m-400m-200m at 5K - 10K pace w/1 min. recovery)
5 min. recovery between sets
The second time I ran the 600m was the toughest of all. I could hear myself breathing loudly and I should have relaxed my arms. My left arm was sore for about 15 minutes afterwards.
Today is Veterans Day. God bless America! Land that I love! Thank you to all who have served and are serving our great country!

4 Mile Tempo Run

I did a four mile tempo run today - four miles at half marathon pace without stopping.

I had hoped to get down to 10K pace (7:52), but I was happy that at least I got down to 1/2 MP (8:20). I was probably running a step or two below all-out - like I think I should for a tempo run. I've tried to think of some good excuses for my lack of rapidity.

But I couldn't come up with one. That's okay. : ) Maybe next week I'll get down to 10K pace for a tempo run.

Pic: I ran on this trail on the way to my usual park trail loop over the weekend.

Running With My Eyes Open

I was in my second mile of running on the trail when a runner came up beside me and said, "Awesome, isn't it?"

"What?" Did he read the back of my marathon finisher's shirt? Oh, wait! I was only wearing a plain, blue shirt. Did he think my easy pace was speedy? Nope!

"The blind runner with the running guide," he answered.

I didn't see them this time, but maybe they are the same two runners I saw a couple of weeks ago. Yes, they are very inspiring!

How'd I miss seeing this pair of runners? I was looking down. The same way I do when I run by this Sam Houston statue along the Houston marathon route around mile 10. At least, I think I pass it. I'm not sure. I look down a lot!

I looked up as much as I could for the rest of the run. (You do have to look out for a few rocks and holes.) I saw so much more that way: peoples faces - some struggling (yes! we have to work hard to get faster), some smiling : ), and even a possible hill for hillwork. And …

18 Miles: Done!

The park trail was quieter than normal. Perhaps we were all thinking of yesterday's Fort Hood tragedy so close to home.

I ran without music, only listening to my breathing and my feet hit the dirt. Midway through when I felt tired, I looked at people's faces instead of the path. A woman smiled, her long white hair blowing in the breeze.

Another runner ran behind me for miles. When I didn't hear her feet hit the ground, I wondered if I'd lost her. Come on, runner! Don't quit! She didn't. In fact, she ran ahead when I stopped for water. Too bad I couldn't catch up!

I tried to because my goal was 4 MP miles (8:47), but I could only reach 9:09, 8:57, 9:15 and 8:51 (this was mile 17). I used vanilla orange Roctane Gu today. The temperature climbed from 53 to 68* - great at first, but a little warm later. Maybe the extra sodium in Roctane gel (125 mg.) was helpful.

18 miles: done! And besides missing the MP goal, a small cut on my ankle and two tiny blisters, des…

9 with 5 Miles at MP

What a nice day for a run! 52* today with a clear, blue sky.

After eating a piece of toast topped with peanut butter and raisins, I went for a run. First, I ran two warm-up miles. I ran by some trees with pink clusters of leaves that look like flowers until you get up close.

Then I stretched, drank some water and ate three Clif Shot Bloks before I started my marathon paced miles. The Boston Marathon training plan I'm using for ideas suggests a lot of MP miles. (I'm in Week 10.)

My Garmin beeped at the two mile mark and I sped up. At first, I was pretty sure I was going to miss my goal of 8:47. It's hard to jump from a ten minute pace to 8:47. (But look at all of the races. You go from standing still to running fast in a few seconds!) Anyway, I ended up being surprised: 8:50.

Same pace in the next mile.

I finally felt comfortable in the third mile, like I could finish the full four MP miles I had planned to run. Pace: 8:45.

The fourth MP mile was 8:33 and made me want to run an…

Tinalocks and the Three Hills

Once upon a time, there was a runner named Tinalocks. One morning, after some easy running, she went for a drive in Houston in search of a hill. She wanted to be able to outrun that big, bad wolf her friend had warned her about. She knew that hillwork would help.

Soon, Tinalocks came upon a hill. She ran up the hill, but it was too rocky.

Tinalocks ran to a second hill beside the bayou (pronounced BYE-oe in these here parts! and it's a river) and tried it, too, but it was too quiet there.

On her way home, Tinalocks came upon a third hill. She zigzagged up the smooth sidewalk three times. This hill was just right!

A little tired now, Tinalocks went home and ate some Apple Oatmeal, which wasn't too hot or too cold, but just right. The end!

P.S. Last Friday, I really did visit three hills. Today, I drove straight to the one that was just right.

Apple Oatmeal

I dare you to make apple oatmeal faster than I can!

Put 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup diced apples (I used a Gala apple this time) in one of your favorite mugs. Microwave this for one minute.

Stir in 1/2 cup oats (I used old-fashioned), raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar and milk.

AG 2nd Place at the 5K!

The Great Pumpkin Fun Run 5K race (in Houston) results have been posted! I came in second in my age group! It's my first time! (Twice, I came in 3rd - in Sugar Land and Pensacola.) I am so excited! So excited that I got out my energy gels and made a great, big beautiful 2 with them. Second place! : )
My chip time was 23:32! (Chip time shaved a second off my Garmin time.) Average pace - 7:35. Here's my race report, in case you missed it.
Oh, and next time... Yes, next time, I'll try to be more humble about it! ; )

Great Pumpkin Fun Run 5K

I just got a 5K PR! Chip time: 23:32.

Yesterday I signed up for the Great Pumpkin Fun Run 5K because it sounded like a fun way to get my 5K pace tempo run done.

This morning, I drove into downtown Houston, shivering from the chilly 52 degrees. I parked and ran towards the start line with the race map in my hand. With only 15 minutes to find the start line, that was my warm-up.

I had a few things I wanted to do today and I actually did them all!
Hit start and stop on my Garmin when I cross the mats.Start closer to the front.Beat my PR of 24:01.Run a 7:36 average pace.Even if it feels really hard, keep running strong! In the first mile, a purple grape and Superman both passed me and then I actually passed Superman in the last mile! And you know he was running faster than a speeding bullet! ; )

Part of the race route was on the half marathon route I ran last Sunday and the running route I ran yesterday so the streets were familiar. So were the hills! I only had to run up a couple today…

Hello, Humidity!

My first thought when I started running today was that I should have posted yesterday.

Yesterday I had one of those great runs that makes you glad you are a runner - aches dissipated and people were smiling and singing along the running trail. Singing? Yes! : )

And I didn't think a post about today's run would be nearly as happy. It's the same old story... Hello, Humidity!

But then I crossed the street to run on the bike trail (south side of Memorial, for you locals) and the new sights helped. It was woodsy and quiet. After a couple of miles, I crossed the street again to run on the usual trail where I felt safer. I'll try that bike trail again when there are more people on it.

After awhile, the humidity didn't bother me and I was able to speed up. You never know what will happen on a run. Sometimes you just can't speed it up and sometimes you can. Maybe it was because I took in more fuel than usual: Gatorade every two miles except for mile four where I had Gu and …

Pre-race Anxiety Remedy

To do away with pre-race nervousness on race morning, do something scarier than running a race. Catch a ride on the back of your husband's speedy motorcycle! (OK, so he says he was going the speed limit, but it felt really fast!)

When we hit the road bumps, my hands were clenched in mortal fear around his waist and the rest of my body was flying through the air. And not with the greatest of ease! Yes, except for my hands, my whole body was hovering over the motorcycle!

And worries about the race? What worries?!

That photo was taken just after I finished running the Houston half marathon last Sunday and it was time to get on the motorcycle again... And I was smiling! It's the challenges! Isn't life fun?! Well, except for the helmet hair!

~Still Recuperating! Kinda Sore!

Koala/Luke's Locker Houston Half Marathon Race Report

Yes, I had fun, but I didn't PR. My gun time was 1:55:26 and I needed to beat 1:50:57. My Garmin says 1:54:01, pressed a few seconds after I crossed the finish line, but I don't know my chip time yet. The race site states that time corrections are being processed for specific runners. I'm one of them. And now, let's carry on with the race report... : )

It was hilly! So that's where Houston's been hiding the hills! There were some clouds, but it was warm (63* at the start) and I was drenched in sweat! It was windy! I know... So where's the fun part?! First, I have to tell you my little sob story... Don't worry. It's very little.

Just after eating a Gu gel at mile four (ate one at mi. 8, too), I meant to get two cups of water (because I knew I'd spill some), but I got a cup of water and Gatorade - my fault. I went forward anyway, then ran back, and then changed my mind and went on. Unhappy about that time waster and missed water, I put one ear pho…

Racewear & New Chip

Have you seen the new chips like the one on my shoe? I can keep it after the race, but I don't think I'll leave it on my shoe like I did the small round one I received at the '08 Houston marathon. This one is kind of big.
That other one was on a retired running shoe that I wore to my first visit with my new dentist a couple of weeks ago. He saw it when I was up in the chair and asked me about marathons. I had the water tube in my mouth and a couple of hands in there, too, but somehow I managed to tell him all about running marathons. Well, he asked!
The weather forecast for the Houston Half Marathon race day keeps getting warmer (66-80* that day) so I'm dressing for warm weather. See my race day outfit on Winnie the Pooh? Original layout? No?
I'm hoping the colors will make me easy to spot. That's what I thought when I wore an orange shirt, too. I was wrong. Orange was very in!
I ran four miles this morning and it was a chilly 53 degrees. I don't think I real…

Half Marathon Race Goals

There are only three days until the Houston Koala/Luke's Locker half marathon. Sunday, it's supposed to be partly cloudy (clouds are good!) with a low of 63*. That's a little warm, but compared to some recent runs, maybe it will feel nice.
The last time I ran this race ('07), it was about 55* and my finishing time was 1:50:57. My main race goal is to PR, but my next goal is to run at an 8:14/mile average and finish in 1:48. If I feel fine after mile 10, I'll speed up.
If I feel really good, I'll start out at an 8:10 average for a time of 1:47:04. Someday, I'd really like to run the half marathon in 1:45 (8 min/mile average). Here's the tool I used to get all of those numbers: Cool Running Race Pace Calculator.
Photo: A butterfly enjoying the flowers in my yard. Pre-race butterflies in my stomach aren't too bad for me this time. It's my third time to run this race and my fourth half marathon. It will be fun!

Taper Week Mid-Week WO

Today I ran my last hard run before the Koala/Luke’s Houston Half Marathon this Sunday. I wanted to run two half marathon paced miles sandwiched between two warm-up and two cool-down miles, but the humidity slowed me down to closer to marathon pace.

If it's humid on race day, I'll need to revise my goals. Maybe I could just call it a long marathon paced training run. But really, whether it's humid or not, race days are fun days and I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for all of the encouraging comments!

Another Armadillo

I headed towards my usual running trail at the park and spotted an armadillo coming out of the woods. It ignored me and crossed the street where a patient driver slowed to a stop and let it pass. Armadillos are funny looking animals. This is my second sighting since we moved into a house a few blocks away from Memorial Park in Houston.

A few days ago I walked into the same woods that I saw the armadillo leaving and took a picture of this berry plant with clusters of purple berries - a black nightshade, I think. This is the first time I've seen this pretty, but poisonous plant.

I ran an easy 4 1/4 mile run this morning - conserving energy for that half this weekend.

Speedwork Before the Half Marathon

I ran over to the park, got a drink of water at the tennis courts and crossed the street to the 1/4 mile track, a new place for me. One speedster just finished flying around the track and left. So, clockwise or counter-clockwise? Inside or outside lane? I don't know what the 'rules' are, but I went with counter-clockwise (that's what the last runner did) and middle lane, unless I was passing and there was room on the inside lane.

I 'sort of' followed this plan: run 5 x 800m. with 90 second rests with the first and last at the fastest pace and the middle one at the slowest pace.

My minute/mile pace for the 800's along with interesting details ; ) :
7:497:10 I saw someone I recognized during this one and waved. Yeah, I'm running at a 7:10 pace and I can wave, too! 8:01 See what happens when you brag?! Let that be a lesson to me!7:317:20 Started this one smiling (because it's the last one), but ended up looking very, um, let's just say focused and dri…

It's Cooler!

Yesterday was a great running day! It was only sixty-seven degrees and it was a speedwork day. After a 1.5 mile warm-up, I ran a mile four times with four minute rests (get a drink of water and run easy) in between. My goal was 8:09/miles and I ran them in 8:00 - 8:08. I tried to memorize the feeling of running at that pace - my goal pace for the half marathon.

Of course, racing is going to be a little easier. Everyone else will be running their fastest. I'll try to be fast, too! The people who stand along the road and cheer will push me forward. I will listen to all of their encouraging words. And I'll believe them!

I ran 4.5 miles today. There were lots of people out there enjoying the cool 58*. Lots of cheerful smiles and hellos today. : )

Photo: After my run at Memorial Park yesterday, I went back with my camera to take pictures along my running route. There were a handful of butterflies there fluttering around these flowers.

My Happy Foot

Here are my comfy ASICS 1140's I wore today on my pain-free 6.56 mile run. : ) I only meant to run 6 miles, but I forgot to keep an eye on how many miles I had run when I was running up and down the hills.

That was the last part of my workout, though. I started with a warm-up and then I ran for 25 minutes starting slowly and ending at a faster pace. And then, a few hills.

But let me tell you how my morning started. (I'm really going backwards this morning!) My hubby found me at the computer (we just moved into a teeny-tiny house and somehow it's hard to find each other!) and he told me to be careful on my run.

"Oh yeah, I'll come back if it hurts," I told him. But he wasn't talking about my foot. He was talking about the heat! So he left for work and I started running down the street. It felt so humid - about 80*. My foot felt fine, but I forgot my wash cloth to wipe my sweaty face. My visor felt like it was strangling my brain! I turned around at the 0.05 m…

Probably No Big Deal

Yesterday at the very end of my run, the top of my left foot hurt and it hurt a little when I walked, too, later. I iced it and thought it was nothing, but I felt it again when I started out on my easy run this AM, so I cut my run short and walked home. Better to miss an easy day than to keep running and cause a bigger problem.

12 Mile Run at Memorial Park

I had a great 12 mile progression run this morning at the park. It didn't feel that humid and it was only 67*, but my legs just didn't want to go faster than 10:00/mi for the first three miles. The next three miles averaged 9:40. That's better!

I ate a tangerine with caffeine Powerbar gel at mile 4.5. At mile 5.5, I started my music. I haven't listened to music on the run in weeks so it was a nice change. At mile six, there was a short rain shower and a breeze that cooled me off and I wanted to run faster. Isn't that the best, when you would normally be tired, but you feel great and want to run faster?!

I sped up in the last six miles, with the last four miles averaging 8:39 - faster than I had hoped I could run, but I felt that good! Smiles all around! : )

Cool Run!

57 Degrees! I finished up my 50 mile week on a high note - a cool morning! Saturday morning runs are fun. We live on a popular running route (the bike route which leads to Memorial Park) and there are always lots of runners all along my route on Saturdays. It's almost like running in a race, but not as fast. Well, not today ; ) - it was just an easy-paced 4 1/2 mile run. Have a wonderful weekend!

10 More Humid Miles

This whole week has been so hot and humid. I had planned to run 10 miles with 6 fast miles (may have been too hard even in cool weather!), but when I saw that it felt like 90* at 7AM, I changed the plan: run 1 mile fast, run 0.75 mile fast, run 0.5 mile fast, and run 0.25 mile fast with slow running in between the intervals. Sounded doable even in the heat and if I felt good, I'd do the whole routine twice. (I didn't.)
After a 15 minute warm-up, I started on the fast mile, hoping for at least a 9:00/mile. Got it - 8:26! I gave all I had in the first mile, though - the rest of my timed intervals came out at 9:03, 9:05 and 8:24. I ate a gel, got a drink, and sat on a bench. I didn't really think about it - about sitting, but I was so tired - and there was that nice bench. I made myself get up and stretch. When I started running again, my legs were heavy - I sat too long.
I ran five more miles which included an unplanned run home for some cold Gatorade (it tasted so good) and …

A Humid 8.6 Miles

First of all, the humidity here in Houston was a big deal if you were outside this morning - it felt like 90-93*. Hot!

I stepped onto the road in front of my house and headed towards the park. A few runners ran by and I wondered how they could run so fast on such a hot day. I ran onto the park loop and I was glad that I wasn't the only one running in the heat.

I ran down the path to the downhill/uphill portion of the loop. The rest of the Memorial Park loop is flat, and today this is where I planned to get a little hard work in. I ran the downhill/uphill part 4 times (fairly fast) finishing with (fairly fast) strides at the end of each one on a flat part.

I was drenched in sweat and it was running into my eyes. I forgot to bring a wash cloth (I cut one in thirds for running with). I saw someone with a towel and thought, I'd pay her for that, but I didn't have any money. Probably a good thing!

I ran back around the rest of the loop and stopped at the refrigerated water fountain…

Wildlife On My Run

I've been told to look out for coyotes in Memorial Park. Each morning when I start out running on the woodsy part of the trail, I look into the trees for coyotes, wondering if they'd watch me run by or if they'd run away. Once I saw one at Memorial Park in Sugar Land (Houston suburbs). It stood quietly watching as I ran by.

At the end of my five mile run this morning I saw something that I couldn't quite figure out trying to cross the street from the park into my neighborhood. I got out my camera phone, just in case it was photo-worthy. I got two pictures of the armadillo before it took off into the trees at the park - my first time to see an armadillo at Memorial Park in Houston - probably the first of many.

17 1/4 Mile Run

So the training continues and today I ran a little over 17 miles. I never had any pain (knees just felt a little tired when I started back up after a water break at 15 miles) and I never felt like I couldn't finish. I pushed myself a bit to get a 10:03/mi. average pace.

It was a warm 75*, but the clouds kept me from feeling too hot. And, of course, the trees along the path helped, too. I would have liked to have run a little faster, but since it was warm, I didn't push too hard.

I wore Drymax socks. Twice on my run, the air flowing through my shoes felt nice and cool like a fan was blowing on them. Maybe it was the occasional breeze. Nice.

I meant to just run 17, but my calculations were a little off. Told myself I'd stop at 17 if I needed to, but I didn't.

Clif Shot Bloks

Last Monday I ate 3 strawberry Clif Shot Bloks at miles 5 & 9 of my 14 mile run. Today around mile 4 I ate three cran-razz Bloks. Both flavors were good - they taste like candy.

I like the packaging, too - a long strip. It was easy to squeeze them out of the package one at a time while I ran. And I surprised myself - I can chew (with my mouth closed - that's important!) and run at the same time! Monday I noticed little things like that it was taking me 1/4 mile (a long time!) to chew three Bloks, but today I just ate them without even thinking about it - a good thing. They still take more time to chew than it takes for me to swallow gel, though.

A Great 9 Miler!

After a two mile warm-up and two fast miles (goal: marathon pace) with a four minute slow-run rest in between the miles, I ate three Clif Shot Bloks. Yay, candy break!

Then I ran two faster miles (goal: 1/2 marathon pace) with a four minute slow-run rest in between the miles. Towards the end of the first mile, I saw some Army men standing and waiting with stop watches. I imagined that they were timing me and I ran faster. What?! You don't make up silly stories to help yourself run faster?! And a little later I saw Army runners coming towards me. They ran in boots and long pants (humid today and about 80*). Go, Army, go! That was my fastest mile!

I ran easy for four minutes and a runner just happened to slowly jog up beside me and start running fast just as my watch beeped: Go! So there we were racing down the path together! We were side by side until the other runner suddenly stopped to walk. Seemed like a good time to turn around and say, "Come on!" So I did. The other ru…

Hard 14 Mile Run

I ran 14 miles at Memorial Park today. Ever since I started running at the park, I haven't listened to music while I run. I like to hear what's going on around me. Running without music has been surprisingly easy, but I wonder if it might have helped me in the later miles today.

If you lived in Houston, the first thing you would have noticed when you stepped out the door is that it was humid today. After I felt the humidity I decided that I'd be happy with ten minute miles. Somehow I was able to run the first seven miles with an average 9:30 pace. I wanted to keep it up.

That was hard to do in the second half of my run. The sun was out and it was hotter. I don't like to take walk breaks - it's hard to get going again, but I stopped often at the water fountains for a drink. In the twelfth mile, I changed my pace goal to "just keep running". The second half brought my total average down to 9:44, but I'm glad that I ran all of the way home.

Where would the …

What Would You Do For An Extra 6 Minutes?

I started out early, 6:51 AM to be exact. My plan was to run 6 miles at an easy ten minute pace, but then I started thinking...

I don't have a lot of time today, but if I run 9 minute miles, then I'll have an extra 6 minutes to clean up! So that's what ran through my head, six minutes, six minutes and look what I got for my splits: 9:14, 9:04, 8:44, 8:43, 8:56, and 8:58/mile.

Yahoo! I got my extra 6 minutes!

7+ At the Park

Today's running goal: seven miles with four of them "faster". And just how fast is faster? That depends...

Last night, I thought 8:00/miles would be mighty fine, but during my warm-up I decided that 9:00/mi. would be good, if I could. ; ) I just didn't feel like there were any fast miles inside of me today. Here's what I ended up with for my four "faster" miles: 8:59, 8:59 (like that consistency!), 8:35 (yay!) and 8:34/mile. So they weren't 8's, but they were faster than 9's! : )

That's a photo of where I usually begin my run at Memorial Park. The huge trees shade much of the path and the pine trees smell nice. After running about .3 mile here, I cross the street to run on the three mile crushed granite loop (really, it's just mostly dirt). After running on mostly sunny streets in my old neighborhood, I'm so thankful for the shaded trail and the water fountains. I'm spoiled!

Total Miles: 7.5
Today's temperature: 70*

How About 16 Miles? Today!

About 7AM today, I decided to run 16 miles this morning. I normally plan these long runs out a little farther in advance ; ), but there's a good chance for rain on my long run day this week (Friday).

Usually, I eat a healthy dinner the night before a long run, but last night I went to a baseball game. (Go Houston Astros! What?! You didn't know I liked baseball?! Me, either, but I had fun!) There's a lot of junk food eating that goes on at a game and I had it all including a huge ice cream sundae. No problems on my run, though. I worry too much!

During my run, I took a Powerbar tangerine gel at miles 5 and 11 and drank water, no Gatorade today. Normally, I'd eat more gels, but that was all that I had. Just two gels did the trick, though.

There was a cool breeze today and at mile 7, I remember thinking that I felt like I could run forever. Watch out, you know how those happy feelings fade fast sometimes! There was one part in the twelfth mile, where I felt hot, but soon I w…