Saturday, January 28, 2012

This & That

Racers Ready for the 2012 Houston Marathon to Start 

I wanted to run on the hilly trails today, but another runner who had just come from the trails said they were so muddy that it wasn't worth it so I ran 12 miles on the flat trail instead. I drank Gatorade which they'll be serving at the trail half marathon that I'm running on Feb.11 - practicing my race fueling. It was a nice run on a sunny morning.

Robin tagged me for 11 Random Things. I've changed the game a little and made it 11 Answers instead. So here are her questions and my answers.

1) What is the worst thing you've ever eaten? black licorice 
2) What is the most exotic place you've ever visited? Hawaii for the Kona Marathon 
3) If you won the lottery, what would be the most important thing you did with the money? Running related: I'd give away running shoes and short dog leashes.
4) Biggest pet peeve? Long dog leashes. I ran towards one and the owner was on the left side of the path, the dog was on the right. I didn't see the long leash and was trying to figure out whether I should around them or through the middle. It's a good thing I chose not to run through the middle... On blogs: no paragraphs in a long blog post. 
5) Are you a commuter to work? No. 
6) Favorite TV show? I like cooking shows.
The Finish Line the Day Before the Kona Marathon 2011
7) Do you get enough sleep? I wouldn't mind more, like everybody. 
8) Have you ever experienced what you think is a miracle? It depends on what you mean. If everything is a miracle, it takes away from the truly miraculous. Getting a parking spot is not a miracle. Being changed by God's love for us is a miracle.
9) Biggest goal for 2012? A PR! That would be a miracle! Just kidding.
10) Winter or summer? If I'm in Houston, which I am, winter. I wore shorts today (in January!).
11) Favorite person? Running related: I'm inspired by runners who run for fun and PR's.

Extra stuff: Here's a video of 47 year old (I'm 46) four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck speaking after running in the recent Olympic Trials marathon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Training for a Trail Race

Days like this - one reason I run.

I've gotten in a few short runs this week since running the Houston marathon last Sunday. Today I did a little bit of trail running - only half a mile during my 8 mile run.

Even though my pace slows down on the trail, the time passes quickly because I'm busy looking out for roots, turns and dips in the trail. The birds were singing and there was a light rain to cool me off on this humid morning.

I'm training for the Orphan Hope Half Marathon Trail Run which takes place in three weeks. It will be my first half marathon on trails and I can't wait!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Houston Marathon Recap

Wearing My Marathon Finisher's Medal!
Today I completed the Houston Marathon! It was my 7th Houston marathon and my 12th marathon. Thank you for leaving encouraging comments during training!

Results: 3:57:09, 9:02/mi average. Age group placement: 63 out of 349. In the last 4.5 miles, 14 runners passed me and I passed 269 runners. It's not a PR (need to beat 3:54:03) or a BQ (need 3:55), but it's my second fastest time. 
Waving at the Houston Marathon Start
Course: mostly flat with some bridges and underpasses
Weather: nice 42-57°, cloudy to sunny. I took off my sweatshirt and pants at the start. I wore arm warmers and gloves until about mile 4. I was comfortable in a tank and skirt the rest of the way.
Thumbs Up to My Husband at Mile 17! (I'm the 3rd from left.)
Volunteers: The race crew on Montrose were the very best at yelling your name and encouragement.
Spectators: People almost along the entire course yelled out your name, which is on your bib, like you were somebody special.
Running down San Felipe to Tanglewood
Race day tips for arriving at the race: We were downtown about 6AM for the 7AM start and easily found a street parking space - free on Sundays at the self-pay spaces. Traffic wasn't too bad and there wasn't a line at the porta-potties yet.
Fuel Pre-run: I increased my carbs about 100 grams a day to 300 for the 3 days before the race. The morning of the race, I had 1 1/4 raisin bagels, a banana and a cup of Gatorade.
Fuel During Race: I took 5 tangerine with caffeine Powerbar gels (200 mg sodium each) with water at miles 3.5, 8, 12.5, 17 and 21.5. I drank Gatorade Endurance 6 times starting at mile 6. In Maine, I took 4 gels and I drank more Gatorade and didn't cramp, but it was cooler. 
Post-marathon Food: 
They had lots of food, including Oreos(!), but I could only stomach some chocolate milk and half of a banana. 
That's Me Waving at Mile 21, Way Down the Road
Unplanned Occurrences: 
  • At 1.5 miles into the race, there was a confusing fork in the road. A bunch of us stopped, ran across the road and decided to go forward anyway where I finally saw race crew who said it didn't matter which way we went. 
  • I nearly missed my first planned stop because it wasn't where the map said it would be. Later, I had to run back to a Gatorade table.
  • My Garmin stopped about mile 21 for some unknown reason and I didn't notice it right away. I had been keeping a close eye on my pace up until then, but by that point, it didn't matter too much - I just ran as fast as I could. My Garmin only recorded 23.88 of the marathon. 
What Went Well: 
  • I ran a fairly even race with only an 8 second difference between 5K splits! 
  • I ran my first mile at 9:11 and my last recorded .88 mile at 8:24/mile.
  • I turned my music on halfway through the race which was nice in the very few quiet moments. Besides listening to music, I thought happy thoughts: I'm getting close to goal pace, I'm at goal pace and make it hurt - not so happy, but motivating at the end!
  • Sometimes I talked to other runners like Steve Boone (I met him and his wife at the Kona marathon and this was his 500th marathon!), Jack Lippincott (he said he's 38 in Houston marathon years, the number of times he has run this race!) and a runner who has run the 50 states three times! 
  • I ran a 10 minute cool-down in the downtown area after the race to keep from getting too stiff. People told me to stop running because the race was over! ; ) 
  • My legs didn't feel heavy in the last few miles like they have in the past, but I was tired around mile 21. However, when I saw the "you only have 1.5 miles to go" sign, I felt okay about it, unlike last year when I really did not like that sign at all!
  • I only walked through water stops when I drank and ran up all of the hills. 
  • They moved the pre-race porta-potties outside this year. I only had to wait in line once out of three visits and the line only had three people in it! This was a huge improvement from previous years.
  • I beat last October's Maine marathon time by 5:35 minutes! 

Mile 20-21 is Only a Few Blocks from Home, But I Kept Running!
To Improve: 
  • I have a huge blister on the bottom of my right foot like the one I got after a recent long run. I felt it forming and then I think I felt it pop at mile 18. I just had to ignore the pain. It didn't feel bad the whole time, though - it just came and went. I Body Glided that area (and other places, too - no chafing today!) and wore my hot weather Drymax socks (maybe the blister protection on my old socks has stopped working because I've never had trouble with blisters until recently), but now I wish I'd worn my new padded Experia socks even though they say not to try anything new on race day. The good part is that I could have a lot of problems much worse than blisters, but I don't.
  • I had a cramp in my right foot like I did at the Kona marathon, but not as bad. I had to try not to wiggle my toes which seemed to make it worse.
Expo: Houston puts on a large expo. You can find anything you need: Body-glide, gels and shoes and clothes sometimes at a discount. Parking tip: I park on the street and use my credit card to pay at the self-pay machines ($1/hour). 

My Garmin stopped, but the Houston marathon timekeepers got my splits, so no worries!


Splittime of dayTimeDiffmin/milemile/h
Finish Net11:05:49AM03:57:0912:3309:036.64

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Olympic Trials

Today I walked over to the marathon and was so excited when I saw these three ladies who ran on to win the race. This is the 14 mile point at Shepherd & Memorial Drive.

Here are the lead men, in the 22nd mile, looking strong. 

I've upped my carbs about 100 grams a day to 300 on Thursday, Friday and I'm working on the same for today: oats for breakfast, spaghetti for lunch. I read here that increasing carbs might be helpful and probably won't hurt.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow! My Houston marathon bib # is 7369 and I think I'll wear a turquoise top and black skirt.

Houston Marathon Expo

Yesterday I was running my easy 4 mile run at Memorial Park when I saw a group of runners go by and I recognized Olympic hopeful Desiree Davila. I had to tell someone and telling my dog, who was with me, just wouldn't cut it so I stopped and called my husband.

I ran on and then, since, we were running on a loop, I saw her again and we smiled at each other. I ran two miles to the one mile that her group ran! I think I saw other elites, too, but she was the only one I can name without a doubt.

Amy and Tina at the Expo
Around 11AM I went to the Houston Marathon Expo. Standing just outside the convention center was an "Ask Me" volunteer who looked familiar so I asked her if she was ThatPinkGirl and she was, thankfully, 'cause she may have thought it was a funny question if she wasn't! She's running in the marathon on Sunday, like me, and training for a half Ironman, unlike me! Wow!

The expo was crowded early Friday morning so I can't imagine what it will be like today. At some places, I could hardly walk! I found good deals, though: ASICS GT-2160 shoes for $45 and ASICS shirts for $10.

I'm so excited that the Olympic Trials Marathon take place within walking distance from my home. If you see me and my Weimaraner and maybe my husband, too, come over and say hi! I'll be near Shepherd and Memorial around 9AM.

Monday, January 9, 2012

This and That

  • This will be an easy training week since I'm running the Houston Marathon this Sunday. If you're running in the race, too, you may notice some orange paint on the trees in Memorial Park. Those are dead trees hit hard by the drought. They'll be cut down and new trees will be planted.
  • I recently had a blood test and learned that after taking 2000 IUs of vitamin D each day for a year, I'm where I should be. Found this interesting: Extra Vitamin D, esp. in the Winter by marathoner Camille Herron.
  • Normally, I use a chocolate milk powder added to milk, but today I used my immersion blender and mixed 1 cup milk, and 2 teaspoons each of Dutch-process cocoa powder and granulated sugar. I liked it.
  • Only 5 Days Left to the Olympic Trials Marathon! - Read how Jackie Dikos will be fueling for the marathon.
  • Weight Change During a 100-Mile Race- "It’s evident that we need to adjust the conventional thinking that our goal should be to maintain body weight during an endurance event."
  • Mastering the Art of Slow Blogging- "When you take off blogging at a sprint, posting daily or even three times per week, your idea generating and writing muscles can cramp up pretty quickly."

Friday, January 6, 2012

11 Miles & One '11 Memory

I ran 11 miles today. I was hungry early into the run, in the third mile. That's unusual, but I only ate a Powerbar and a banana beforehand and I went to bed slightly hungry last night. So I went ahead and ate my very last mint chocolate gel (sniff, sniff). That's my favorite GU gel!

I ran home to get my dog for the last 5 miles and ran a marathon paced mile for the 10th mile. I didn't eat another gel or drink extra water on this hot day which might have something to do with a side ache in the last mile. After a short walk, the side ache went away. Average pace for 11 miles: 10:00.

There's a very slight chance that we may go to Norway and Scotland like we did in March of '11. My husband needed to work there and I went along for fun. (See my Travel Page for posts and photos.)

On one of my walks in Aberdeen, I stopped to take a picture of the flowers. An elderly man stopped to offer to take a picture of me and the flowers. I gave him my camera and smiled. And I smiled. And I smiled! He had a little trouble with my camera and kept taking pictures until he was satisfied with one. Most of the photos looked like this one, but it's a fun travel memory!

I ran 2097 mostly fun-filled miles in 2011. Not every run is perfect, but most are good ones, so it's been fun! Some of the miles have been in training for the Houston Marathon which is getting closer! January 15 predicted weather is 47-60° & sunny. I'd like it a little cooler, but that's not bad!
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