Monday, March 29, 2010

20 Mile Run: Done!

I ran 20 miles today! When I got to the end of the 7th mile I felt like speeding up. I pulled my earbuds out from my visor headband, put them in my ears and ran all but two of miles 8-19 between 8:30-9:00/mi pace - that's 10 miles at that faster pace. 

I ran a lot of hills today. At first, I just ran with a medium effort, but by mile 8, I sped up them. It was hard, but it felt good and it made me happy to be running hard. That difficult running - that's going to make us stronger, faster.  

I had a Gu gel/Gatorade plan that I had to change along the way, taking in less than I thought I would because I felt full. (I don't take those two at the same time - I take the gels with water.)

I felt some leg achiness in mile 11. I noticed that my hands were retaining water like they have one or two times before. I shook them out as I ran and then they didn't feel so tight and puffy. And then when I slowed down in mile 20, my legs ached, but overall I felt good on this run. And to write that about a 20 miler - happiness!

In the Hubble movie I saw last Friday, an astronaut talked about how stressful it would have been to focus on the 36 screws he had to unscrew with his bulky gloves while trying to stay steady out in space. That's why he focused on only one screw at a time. Today I usually focused on just 2 miles at a time. And sometimes I had happy thoughts about the 20, as in, "Wow, I'm really going to run 20 miles today!" 

My average pace was 9:04/mi for the whole run and it took me 3 hours and 1 1/2 minutes. : )

Saturday, March 27, 2010

11 Miles, Space, Kids

What I Saw at the Museum

Friday morning, my goal was to run 7 of my 11 miles at an 8:30-9:00/mile pace, but you never know... After five miles and a water/gingerbread GU gel stop, I ran over to the bridge/hilly part of my running route. So far, I'd been able to run at my goal pace, but now I was adding hills.

Running up and down the hills was more interesting than running on the flat path I'd started on. I powered up the hills reminding myself to look up. I powered down the hills, staying in control, but not holding myself back and working against gravity. I finished smiling! It feels good to finish something hard! 

I ran 2 warm-up miles, 7 miles at an 8:36/mile average pace and 2 cool-down miles, getting an average pace of 8:58/mile pace for the whole run. I'm getting used to hills, but these are just small hills - not Big Sur hills so I'm a little anxious. Since I'm not running Big Sur expecting to PR, that takes the pressure off, though. I just need to finish the Big Sur marathon!

Later on Friday, my husband and I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we watched the Hubble Space Telescope IMAX 3D movie. It was great. God created such an amazing universe. I want to be an astronaut when I grow up! ; )

And to top that great day off, my daughter called to say the Reese's Pieces peanut butter cookies and strawberry cupcakes that I baked for her on Tuesday arrived. And after hearing from her, I feel better! No, she hasn't been sky-diving or anything like that. Well, not that I know of, anyway! I'm just a mom and I worry sometimes. You know how that goes!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hill Workout

Hills today! I ran over to them (a two mile warm-up) and then did about four miles of hills. I ran up and down and back again, running on level ground for breaks, stopping for water and to take a picture of the bluebonnets (TX state flower) - will post one later.

I looked up towards the top of the hill when I ran uphill, rather than at the ground. I think that helped me to run straighter, not hunched over. I got the idea from the Cool Running forum thread I started reading before my run. Another perk to looking up is that the scenery changed at least a little when I looked up.

I started feeling tired and hot, checked my Garmin and saw that it was time to run home already. Suddenly, I felt much better. Hill workout and 8.5 mile run completed! : )

Photo: Even on an overcast day, these azaleas brighten the view outside my bedroom window.

Monday, March 22, 2010

16 Mile Run & Roll Catching

Happiness is completing a 16 mile run at your goal pace on a beautiful morning! I stayed close to a bridge to get some hillwork in. Since my hills were short ones, I picked up the pace to make them harder. Sometimes I checked my pace on the hills and was pleasantly surprised. : )

 Except for the 2 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down, I kept my pace between 8:30 and 9:00/mile (that was my goal) and my pace for the 16 miles was 8:51/mile. I stopped at the water fountain every two miles and ate a GU gel every four miles. I think the cool, but not cold, weather (45-50*) helped make this a great run. Plus, it was a shorts day!

This weekend, we ate at Potato Patch because we heard they throw your dinner rolls to you. Here's the roll thrower throwing a steaming hot roll to a customer...

I caught mine without any trouble (I heard someone yell out "It's a two hander" and maybe that helped me!), but a friend told us about a customer who reached for a thrown roll, fell back in his chair onto the floor and seconds later stood back up with the roll in his hand! Saved the roll! : )

Friday, March 19, 2010

10 Miles with Hills

Houston at Dusk: Palm Trees and Speedy Cars

I've been adding more hills to my workouts, even some slow hills on easy days. I don't think I'll ever get enough hill work in to fully prepare for Big Sur. Today I ran 10 miles with hills and my average pace was 8:56/mile. I had an orange burst Gu gel - tasted good.

Anybody else more tired than usual? I've needed more rest lately, since I've been adding on the miles. (You can see my training log at the bottom of my blog.) Next week is a cut-back week and although I like the challenge of running lots of miles, it will be good to have a bit of a breather.

That's the gecko I found in my kitchen sink. He turned a pretty green when I took him outside. Speaking of wild creatures, here's a video of my husband catching a snake in our old backyard in the Houston suburbs (we sold our house last fall - FSBO). Since living in Texas, I've found two snakes inside, yes inside, my house. I haven't found one in the house I live in now, though - yet!

Monday, March 15, 2010

21.2 Mile Run

Today I ran 21.2 miles - my longest training run ever! I ate 4 GU's (vanilla gingerbread, mint chocolate and two tri-berry), said hi to 6 or 7 people, saw a lady walking while reading a book and a man walking in a kilt and ballet-like shoes. I ran for 3 hours and 17 minutes (9:18/mi ave) and finished with three (supposed to be four - oh well!) 8:33/mi paced miles.

Sometimes I ran on the wooded trail beside the regular path. There were more roots to watch out for, but I liked the change. It doesn't run alongside the whole loop, though, so for most of the run I was on the 2.93 mile Memorial Park Loop, a dirt and gravel path.

Now I just need to pick up the pace, add five more miles, some really long hills and wind and a grand piano and well, that would be the Big Sur International Marathon. Only 6 more weeks!

Saturday, my husband and I drove downtown to see the fun at the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, a 15 mile kayak and canoe race. Lots of color! Perfect weather!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies

I made these easy no-bake oats-chocolate-peanut butter cookie today. I left out the wheat germ and flax (didn't have any), used old-fashioned oats (I had that) rather than quick and decreased the vanilla to 1/2 tspn. Thanks for posting the recipe, Kate! Find the nutritional info here at The cocoa, oats and PB taste great together.

Sunny and 50*F/10*C this morning! I warmed up for two miles and then I planned to run 6-7 marathon paced miles (8:47/mi) with hills included. These are just short, easy hills so it was really no big deal - no mountains here in Houston! I ended up running 7 MP miles at an average pace of 8:42 and a total of 10.6 miles which was supposed to be an even 10, but I had some mathematical confusion out there!

No Bake Cookies
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ (heaping)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  1. Heat the first three ingredients in a pot until it boils. 
  2. Take the pan off the stove and stir in vanilla and PB. 
  3. Stir in wheat germ, flax seeds and oats.
  4. Drop cookies onto waxed  paper.
  5. Let cool and enjoy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shoe Tags

Yesterday I blogged that my cell phone # is on my shoe tag. I meant to write that I had my husband's cell phone # on my shoe tag. But today while lacing up for my run, I noticed that I actually do have my cell phone # on my shoe tag. My husband and I traded numbers a few months ago and I never updated my shoe tag with his cell #. 

I'm picturing me unconscious in an ambulance and emergency personnel calling the number on my shoe tag and the phone in my pocket ringing!

On today's easy 6 miler, I added in some slow and easy hills and some fast sprints at the end. I had to take one of my new socks off 1/2 mile from home because the rough toe seam was rubbing my toe raw. As soon as I got the sock off, my toe was fine. Glad it was a short run!

Carrot Cake Cupcake from Crave Cupcakes

My husband and I made a cupcake stop last night. : ) Speaking of cupcakes, have you heard what Meg Runs is doing? Sounds like fun, but please don't tell the birthday girl! ; )

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's a Shoe Tree!

Today I ran 9 miles with 4 x 1600m. I was trying for 10K pace (7:50/mi) and was able to get down to that or pretty close because I had a rest after each mile. A light rain cooled me off during my cool-down - perfect!

I used to leave my running shoes on the front porch to air out for a few hours after running, but I've started hanging them in a back yard tree. This way they won't offend the mailman, they won't walk off and no one can get my name and cell # off my shoe tag. Just hope my dog doesn't see this as a fun challenge. ; )

Monday, March 8, 2010

Big Trees, Big Miles

First, you walk across this lane, covered with tree branches from only two trees! Have you ever seen such a grand restaurant drive-thru lane?

Then you find a table to eat at underneath one of the trees. 

You look up in amazement at all of the branches overhead.

The sign says the trees are over 400 years old.

Then you enjoy your delicious, grilled chicken sandwich and the scenery and wonder why you don't eat there more often.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Beck's Prime on Westheimer, Houston

This morning it was 60* and the rain cooled me off. My goal was to keep my hill running as fast as the rest of the run. Turns out, the hillwork was the fastest part - thanks to the downhills!

My shoe tongue rubbed one of my ankles raw. When I stopped at the 5 mile mark for a TriBerry Gu gel (Gu at mile 10, too) and saw blood on my ankle, I tucked the shoe tongue underneath my shoe laces. Problem solved! (I'll try to adjust the tongue later, but these shoes are about ready for retirement anyway, with almost 400 miles on them.) Other than being tired in the last couple of miles, it was a good 18 mile run (9:24/mile pace). 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Fun

I ran 9 miles this morning, running the four middle miles a little faster than goal half marathon pace (8:16/mi). My goal was to run the faster four miles at 10K pace or half marathon pace. It's good to have two goals, just in case. So I met one goal! ; ) 

Rainforest Cafe, Galleria Mall

After the run, my husband and I ate at the Rainforest Cafe for the first time, where they have animatronics perched throughout the restaurant. Tigers, gorillas and elephants came to life when we heard thunder and pouring rain. It was a fun change, out of the ordinary.

I had a delicious salad: pecans, strawberries, cranberries, feta cheese, spinach, red leaf lettuce with a vinaigrette dressing.

When I got home, I made some granola which made my house smell delicious. 

And then we went for a short motorcycle ride around Memorial Park - wish we could have ridden down this path, but we had to stick to the roads. I had some scary moments. We're going how fast?! 30, 30, the speed limit is only 30 here! (My husband was driving.) My legs were so sore when the ride was over - I held on tightly with them. And now we're home, safe and sound!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I like to make bruschetta - it's easy to put together, has some healthy ingredients, and tastes good, too.

2-3 roma tomatoes, diced (1 ½ cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
8 slices ciabatta bread

  1. Toss all of the ingredients, except the bread, in a medium bowl. Let chill an hour. I don't usually plan that far ahead, though. ; )
  2. Slice 8 pieces of bread off loaf. I freeze the rest for another meal. Optional: brush some olive oil on the bread.
  3. Place the bread on a pan and bake at 450 for 5 minutes or until the bread starts to crisp. 
  4. Top the bread with the tomato mixture.
Makes 2-4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2.

Today I ran 6 miles in the wonderful sunshine after 20 minutes of strength training. In the second mile of my run, I heard a honk and waved "Hi/Bye!" to my husband as he drove to work. : ) I didn't eat enough before I ran and was hungry in the third mile - glad to get home and eat some cottage cheese and 1/2 of a turkey sandwich. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

7 Yassos

Yesterday, I had a cup of tea and read a book. A few years ago, our family drove from Texas to Tennessee to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains and this tea cup was my souvenir.

This morning - time for Yasso's! First I warmed up for a couple of miles on the park path.

 Three weeks ago, I ran 2 out of 6 800's at my goal pace of 7:40/mi, and this time I ran 4 out of 7 at my goal pace. Exactly on every other 800, I slowed down, like my body was coming up with it's own little rest plan.

Memorial Park Track

 I took the pictures on a cloudy day, but today it was sunny and I ran in shorts, thinking fast thoughts.

I can run faster. I can run faster. I can run faster.

Because I trained for this. I trained for this. I trained for this. : )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Running in the Rain

What a great day to run 16 miles! It rained most of the time, but running by the pine trees with all of the needles on the ground and the rain pouring down reminded me of being in the Pacific Northwest. : ) Because I was expecting it to be a hard run since it was pouring and it really wasn't much harder, it felt easy! I wore shorts, a short sleeved shirt and a light jacket and I was just right in 55*. 

It wasn't long before I didn't have to run around the puddles anymore - I just ran right through them - my feet were drenched anyway. ; )  Then a bus passed by and I was soaked by a ten foot wave. That's okay - I'm washable. It was funny. I did hillwork - the hills weren't on muddy ground so it was a good day for those. With all of the distractions - the rain, the hills - my run was over before I knew it. (16 miles at 9:36 ave. pace)

Seeing that orange rock made me happy! That might be the rock I tripped on last week. After I tripped on it, I almost blogged that I'd carry some red finger nail polish and make that rock stand out, but park workers painted the rocks that stick out on the path before I got a chance to help out. ; ) Someone's taking care of me!

I'm looking for a breakfast I can easily carry when I travel. Today I tried an Apple Cinnamon Powerbar and a banana and all was good. I liked the flavor of the bar and although the texture was chewy (tired jaw halfway through), the oat bran made it oatmeal cookie-like. Later, I ate a tangerine Powerbar gel at miles 5 and 10. The breakfast and gels fueled me well. What do you eat before a marathon?
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