Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brazos Bend 25K Race Recap

I ran in a fun 25K (about 15.5 miles) race on Saturday at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston. The photo shows what much of the scenery was like for the Brazos Bend race: lots of trees and some lakes. There was also a 50 mile, 50K and 10K race.

  • 2:36. I hoped to finish in 3 hours, or maybe even 2:45, so I'm happy with this time. 10:11/mile average pace. 
  • 56th overall out of 180 runners 


humid and slightly warm, overcast, Skirt Sports Women's Adventure Girl Skirt (lots of pockets!), Target tank top, Nike cap, Asics Gel-Nimbus shoes 


I was surprised to find most of the course was on a wide flat dirt/gravel path and mostly free of roots. The hardest section was the short trail with hardened horse shoe holes where I had to watch my step and that wasn't too bad. 


I left home at 4:30 and was in a parking space by 5:45. Even with morning packet pick-up and two bathroom trips (real bathrooms!), I had plenty of time to spare with a race start at 7. Parking was easy since I was early and volunteers guided drivers.

A Rule I'd Never Disobey!

Fuel Pre-run (3AM): pancakes (added cinnamon & vanilla), syrup and a banana

Fuel During Race: 3 servings Tailwind Nutrition powder in my 22 oz. Nathan handheld bottle

Post-marathon Food: PB & J sandwich quarters and Oreos. Plus, chocolate milk that I brought with me.

To Improve: 

I used Tailwind drink powder in my bottle. It was great to not stop for anything along the way, but at my next race, a 50K, I think I'll drink more water if it's warm again. I felt a little bit off in the last mile or so. Hopefully, I'll get my fueling right at my next race. Update: Now I'm wondering if only using caffeinated Tailwind made my stomach feel a little uncomfortable in the last miles. Other than that, I loved how easy it was to use.

The Start/Finish Line

3 Things That Went Well:
  • Carrying a Nathan handheld bottleI prefer the bottle because it doesn't make my back hot like a pack might and I can see how much I have left in my bottle.
  • Food at the aid station near the finish line for post-race food. I only stopped at this table, but it had salt tabs, Hammer gels, chips, M & M's, Gatorade Endurance, Oreos and more. 
  • I didn't have to run around any alligators or wild hogs. After the race, I finally spotted an alligator in a lake.

What's Next?

I'm a little anxious and very excited to run my longest race ever - a 50K trail race on May 10! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

24 Mile Run, Then 10 Miles

I'm training for a 50K trail race that will be held on May 10. I've never completed a 50K race before, but since the 50K is only about 5 miles longer than a marathon, I think I can do it. Having a good training week like this last one doesn't hurt either!

This Week's 50K Race Training (60 miles of running)

4/14- 12 mile run (trails and hills), short walk (saw a bald eagle)Arms Video (Fitness Blender- good explanations on how to do the exercises correctly)
4/15-  6 mile run, Abs & Core Video (Denise Austin)
4/16- Strength Training
4/17- 24 mile run 
4/18- 10 mile run (legs felt surprisingly good, saw a bald eagle)
4/19- 15 mile bike ride; Push-ups, Planks, Wall-sits, Single leg stance squat and reach for balance (video
4/20- 8 mile run (1200m x 5), Myrtl Video (hips)

Long Run Details - 24 Miles

Pre-run: pancakes (added cinnamon & vanilla), 3 hours before running
During run: Tailwind Nutrition powder 
Post-run: blueberry kefir 

My 24 mile run took me about 4 hours and is the longest training run I've done this year. I used nearly 5 servings of Tailwind Nutrition powder (similar to 5 gels) because before the run I thought that the run would take 5 hours. In the 23rd mile, my stomach was slightly uncomfortable so I didn't finish drinking the last of the Tailwind and felt fine after a while. Lessons like this are great to figure out before race day so it's all good!

Update: Now I'm wondering if only using caffeinated Tailwind made my stomach feel a little uncomfortable in the last miles. Other than that, I loved how easy it was to use.

This run had short hills, some rain, the last 10 miles on muddy trails and two deer at the 22nd mile. It's a good thing I'm doing some balance exercises like the "single leg stance squat and reach" because I needed to carefully run around mud puddles, sometimes coming to a quick stop. When I was done, I was especially glad that I never fell in the mud!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

50K vs. Marathon Training - 3 Differences

Bluebonnets Seen On My Run

Training for a 50K trail race, which is about 31 miles long, hasn't been much different from training for a road marathon for me. The main differences have been:

  • More back-to-back runs that are longer than usual: for example, I ran 18 miles and the next day I ran 15 miles.
  • I'm doing long runs more often.
  • I'm training on more trails.

My back-to-backs and long runs so far:

8 weeks out from 50K: 16/10 (I ran 16 miles one day and the next day I ran 10 miles)
7 weeks out:18/10
6 weeks out: 20
5 weeks out: 22/10
4 weeks out: 18/15

This Week's 50K Race Training 

4/7- Core exercises, 10 mile run w/middle miles faster
4/8- Exercise TV Target Tone  (1st half: arms, balance), 15 mile bike ride, 3 mile run
4/9- Rest
4/10- 18 mile run: hills, last 10 miles on trails, 3 servings lemon Tailwind
4/11- Exercise TV Target Tone  (2nd half: arms, abs), 15 mile run: last 8 miles on trails, tangerine Powerbar gel
4/12- Push-ups, Planks, Wall-sits, Single leg stance squat and reach (video), 6 mile run w/strides
4/13- Myrtl Video (hips), 8 mile run: (1 mi., .75. mi., .50 mi.) x 2

Totals This Week

Run- 60 miles (highest this year!)
Bike- 15 miles
Strength Train/Core- 5 short sessions
Nature- armadillo, turtles, rabbits (no snakes this week!)

How It's Going

I'm happy with how training is going - no major problems and niggles go away quickly so I feel good about the upcoming race, In fact, I'm looking forward to running two races: a 25K trail race in about 2 weeks and then the 50K trail race in about 4 weeks. Fun stuff!

Monday, April 7, 2014

50K Training, Snakes & I Won a Giveaway!

50K Training Links

I'm training for a 50K, which takes place in less than 5 weeks. Here are some sites that have been helpful for making up my own training plan.  Thanks to Running on E for the idea of posting info about my training plan!

50K Training Plan Based on Your Race Date
UltraLadies 50K Plan
Running Competitor: Training for Your First 50K

Running in Texas and Snakes

I nearly stepped on a venomous copperhead snake when I was running last week and the next day, I saw a dead baby copperhead. (Thanks to Turkey Runner for letting me know that the babies can be more venomous!) After that, my husband told me about the four common Texas venomous snakes so I'll be better at identifying them. (Here's a video of my husband holding a snake we found at one of our previous homes.) 

Just learning a little bit about snakes makes me feel better about venturing into the woods for a run. Thanks for sharing about the animals you see on your runs in the comments in my last post! It was fun to read about what you see. 

Summary of This Week's 50K Training

3/31- 1 hour walk with my husband and our dog
4/1Core Circuit Video (Runner Dude),10 mile run (worked on speed today), 1 hour walk 
4/2- bike 1 hour
4/322 mile run with 11 trail miles 
4/417 Free Weight Exercises for Toned Arms (Skinny Mom)10 mile run with hills
4/5- Abs Video (C Tolle Run)5 mile run with sprintsbike 30 minutes, 25 minute walk 
4/6- Arms workout w/weights and 8 mile run, followed by one of the many Cascadian Farm granola bars I won from Happy Being Healthy. Thanks, Melanie! (CF sent me a personal note with the granola bars and some other fun goodies. I especially like the peanut butter chocolate chip bars.)

Run- 55 miles
Bike- 1 hour and 30 minutes
Strength Train/Core- 4 sessions
Nature- 2 copperhead snakes (1 dead), 2 deer, 2 bald eagles (two of each, it's like Noah's Ark!)

My apologies to all of you who were scared by the snake photo in my last post! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wild Animals On My 22 Mile Run

Since I'm training for a 50K trail race, I decided I'd try for 22 miles today. After running 11 miles on the asphalt trail, I ran into the woods for some trail training. I saw two deer run away from me.

Not long after that, I spotted a snake in my path. I backed up and took some pictures that you can see up above. The trail was covered with leaves and branches that made it hard to see snakes so I ran to another section of the woods to finish running and I felt like a trail loser! After the run, thanks to Google research and my husband, I realized that it was a venomous copperhead snake. I guess it wasn't such a bad idea to pick a new place to run. That's because in the new trail section, there weren't as many fallen leaves on the dirt road so it was easier to look for snakes.

It was hillier there, but hills are good, right?! It was about 77 degrees by then and when the sun came out, I felt like I was in the desert. Fortunately, the clouds came back and I felt better or as good as you can feel after running 18 miles and feel like you should have brought more gels and carried a water bottle. (I used the park water fountain.)

I took Hammer gels at miles 5, 11 and 17 because they might have those at the upcoming race I'm training for and because I'm afraid of running out of the Tailwind powder that worked so well last week. The flavors tasted good: apple cinnamon, huckleberry and raspberry, but the trails slowed me down and I should have had at least one more gel.

In my last mile, I spotted a bald eagle land in a tree so I took that opportunity to enjoy the view. I was happy to have an excuse to stop. I was worn out, but I knew I'd be glad I completed the run so I picked up my dog at home and we finished my 22 miler together.

After the run, I drank a smoothie. To make a smoothie that's almost like a chocolate shake, I blended a frozen banana, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder and enough milk to get the consistency that I wanted.

After running a fairly easy 20 miler last week, today's run taught me how much tougher running 2 more miles can be when it's warm and I don't have enough fuel. Now it seems like doing another long run (22 or 24 miles) before the 50K race is even more important just to show myself that I can do it without stopping to stare at snakes and bald eagles.


  • Brooks Ravenna shoes
  • Thorlo Experia socks
  • Pearl Izumi shorts
  • Target sleeveless tank top
  • Spibelt

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