Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend {Ian Malcolm}

Base building for Philly is well underway and I’m really happy with the way things are going. Our Tuesday/Thursday runs have been pretty consistent pace-wise and as the Saturday long run mileage increases, the pace has been decreasing. Definitely headed in the right direction! There’s still two weeks until training “officially” starts, but going into it with a solid base will without a doubt help kick it off on a high note.

Believe it or not, the training plan for Philly is STILL under construction. I made the mistake of playing around with SmartCoach on the Runner’s World website and now I’m rethinking some of my training paces. However, it WILL be done soon and then I can finally stop obsessing (and stressing!) over it.


Saturday morning Brad and I ran a steamy six (well, 6.2) miler at Brushy Creek.

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We recently upped our intervals to 4:1 and surprisingly, we haven’t been struggling. Ideally I’d like to keep bumping up the intervals a little every couple weeks so eventually (after 10:1) walk breaks will be wiped out completely. Probably could have done this from the beginning, but after a few low mileage months I didn’t want to push it right off the bat.

Our running pace was in the 11-12:00 min/mi range, with a final overall (with walk breaks) pace at 12:43. Still not where I’d like to be, but getting there. Temps were at a comfortable 73 but the humidity was at 93% and the air was THICK. At one point we stopped to stretch, using a railing for balance.The entire railing was covered in condensation! The run was a certified sweatfest. BUT! We were done by 8:30 and had the rest of the weekend to do important stuff…

like stop for some caffeine to power us through grocery shopping with the crazies

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and use a $3.50 coupon + rogue gift card in my wallet to update my summer nail polish collection:

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watch a Friends marathon

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cook a super clean dinner Saturday night {I shared the giant piece of pork with Bo – he’s most certainly not spoiled. at all.}

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read this bookJackie Warner

watch the CMT Top 20 Countdown {love the top 3}

 

prep meals for the week {asian turkey meatballs + fried rice}

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wonder why our Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine had Jose Bautista on the cover instead of Gronk

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uncork a bottle of cab mid-afternoon on Sunday {hello, cheat day!}

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inhale a delicious plate of Chicken Tikka Masala

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and watch Jurassic Park for the 37893rd time.

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After grocery shopping post-run on Saturday morning, we didn’t leave the house for the rest of the weekend.

And it was AWESOME.

How was your weekend? Do you like country music? What’s your favorite part of Jurassic Park?

ZOOMA thus far {photo edition}

The past few weeks have been non-stop and I’m loving every minute of it.

From the ZOOMA Texas Girlfriend Program group runs at Brushy Creek (even on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve – serious dedication!)…

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…to the ZOOMA Kickoff Party at Luke’s Locker downtown…

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…powering through 30 degree training runs during Austin’s cold snaps…

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…a fabulous Ambassador dinner at Roll On Sushi

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{the Rolltalian Stallion & Beefy Texan were my favorites!

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…a trip to H-E-B to meet with a nutritionist to learn more about their Healthy Living Section and making smarter food choices…

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…and an appearance on the ZOOMA website featuring the Texas Ambassadors.

Texas Ambassadors « ZOOMA Women s Race Series

Seeing our ladies come out week after week for training runs and develop a love for running has been incredibly rewarding. I’m inspired by each and every one of them and feel so lucky to have been chosen to be a part of both the mentor and ambassador programs.

If you’re in the Austin, Houston or San Antonio areas, we’d love it if you joined us on one {or many!} of our free training runs!

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If you have any questions regarding the training group or ZOOMA Texas in general, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at melissaliciatx@gmail.com!

The Impromptu Tempo

Thursday was technically my Friday, and when my boss cut me loose 4 hours earlier than expected – I didn’t ask questions.

I hit the road.

The thought of changing into sweatpants and getting cozy on the couch was incredibly appealing to me. But I hadn’t run since Monday and knew I should get a couple miles in. And more importantly, a rainy Christmas weekend kept me from breaking in the new Adrenalines for Operation Jack. It was time.

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Rather than kicking off the run at Brushy Creek Lake Park as usual, I changed it up by starting at mile marker 0 at Twin Lakes Park.

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I didn’t look at my training schedule before leaving the house so I had to improvise. I decided it would be a tempo run.

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Initially I thought 4 miles would suffice but ended up with 6.

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1.5 mile warmup, 3 tempo miles (9:55, 9:43, 9:43) and 1.5 mile cooldown.

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This waterfall wasn’t here a couple months ago – thank goodness Austin is finally getting some rain again!

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All in all, it was an awesome run. With the exception of one little thing…

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I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve run this trail, but for the first time ever, I tripped. And fell. HARD.

Battle wounds: scraped up elbow and knee, scratched Garmin and camera. I’ll take the scratched electronics considering they broke my fall.

Also, what the hell are Lululemon crops made of? I managed to take a layer of skin off my knee (TMI?) but the crops are completely intact still. Amazing.

And that was the story of the impromptu tempo run.

Have you ever taken a fall on a run?

What I’ve Been Up To

Merry {belated} Christmas!

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I’ve been pretty much “unplugged” for the past week and it was glorious! Sometimes you just need to take a little time for yourself.

Leslie and I met up at Brushy Creek on rainy and cold Christmas Eve morning. The weather may not have been ideal but the company was great and we chatted the whole time, making the 4 mile run pass by fairly quickly.

I spent the remainder of Saturday planted on the couch watching football with a mimosa in hand.

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I’m heading into week 2 of the fantasy football championship down by 2 points. Not happy.

Saturday night I recreated Carrabbas’ Chicken Bryan dish for dinner, and then we watched Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who and Jim Carrey as the Grinch in ``How the Grinch Stole Christmas.''

Christmas morning we each opened our gifts and sent Bo on a treasure hunt to find his present.

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Only a few short hours later it looked like this:

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Then we feasted on eggs benedict and popped open another bottle of champagne for mimosas.

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Around 4pm we switched from mimosas to wine and got started on dinner.

On the menu: Spinach Salad with Pears, Candied Walnuts, and Blue Cheese.

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Followed by Ribeyes with Burgundy Butter and Garlic Stuffed Hasselback Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream. Heavenly.

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It was such a relaxing day and an absolutely great first Christmas together!

Monday was the 2nd Annual Operation Jack Satellite Run.

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I covered the 10k distance in 1:13 and then tacked on a bit more to round it out at 8 miles. I didn’t PR, nor was it the most enjoyable run I’ve ever done (due to the mimosas & wine the day before), but I went out there and got it done.

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And for that, I get a medal.

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Last long run

Marine Corps Marathon training is finally coming to a close! I woke up this morning at 5 ready to run. I then thought better of it and went back to sleep for an extra hour. Very wise decision.

I downed a glass of Gatorade, had an Apple Pie Larabar, and gathered everything I needed for my 8 mile run.

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I flipped through Facebook while I was eating and noticed a post from the Austin Runners Club wishing runners good luck at the Frankenthon marathon.

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Then it hit me: the running trail I was headed to was going to be occupied by marathoners this morning. I decided if it was too packed I would head downtown instead.

I pulled into Brushy Creek at 6:35 and luckily was able to snag a parking spot. While the temperature was a cool 70 degrees, the 85% humidity was unwelcomed. I pulled up the marathon course map on my phone to see which area of the trail the early miles of the race covered. Since they were headed towards the YMCA, I went in the opposite direction.

My goal was to run 8 miles with the second half faster than the first. I wasn’t concerned about pace; I just wanted to practice conserving energy.

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My phone wasn’t a fan of the darkness, so it pushed back by producing crappy photos. You’re welcome.

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The first few miles were definitely slow – two of them were at a 13 min/mile pace. I didn’t mind it though, because like I said, I wasn’t worried about my pace.

The trail was lined with mile markers for the race:

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and there were water stations set up along the way:

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I think it would be fun to run this marathon because I’m very familiar with the course. However, it’s 3 loops of 8.75 miles each. I feel like it would be mildly discouraging. Either way, something to think about for next year.

I was about half a mile from the car when my Garmin beeped at the 8 mile mark. Since I like to run nice round numbers, I decided to bump it up to an even 9.

Final Stats: 9 miles in 1:51:59 (12:26 pace)

  • Miles 1-4.5: 59:16
  • Miles 4.5-9: 52:43

Negative splits = success! Now I need to be able to execute that tactic during the marathon next weekend and I’ll be golden.

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I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Are you running or racing?

12 miles & 13 days

Uh yeah, so about that taper

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Up until this morning I logged zero miles this week. Oops.

I decided to take Monday off to recover from my 20 miler, then Tuesday because I still hadn’t caught up on sleep from my awkward wake-up time over the weekend, etc. Before I knew it, Friday rolled around and I hadn’t set foot in Gold’s or on a running trail all week.

I wish I could say I felt guilty about it. But honestly? It was refreshing. I covered 75 miles in July, 103 in August, 100 in September, and I’m well on my way (62) to another 100+ month. I’ve clearly been putting in the work, and a few days off isn’t going to kill me in the long run.

My alarm went off at 5:20 this morning but I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 6:30. I seriously considered getting the miles in on the treadmill later or bagging the run altogether. However, I’ve only missed one long during this training cycle and I had no desire to make it two.

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My ultimate goal was to run 12 at MGP, and finish at 2:30.

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RUN:
Miles 1-3 were a struggle as usual. It takes me a few miles to regulate my breathing and find my stride. At the beginning of a run I leave the music off so I can really focus on settling in at a comfortable pace.

After that, the miles ticked away fairly easily. I aimed to run each mile between a 12:00-12:30 pace. With the exception of miles 7 & 12, I nailed my pace goals. I was able to turn out a few sub-12 minute miles, which helped offset the other longer ones.

FUEL: I started my morning with a glass of fruit punch Nuun and a biscuit with some blackberry jam. Throughout the run I consumed 20oz of strawberry lemonade Nuun, 20 oz of Gatorade, and 10oz of water. I also ate 5 black cherry Clif ShotBloks.

 

Final stats: 12 miles in 2:26, 12:12 pace

I’m thrilled my final double digit run of marathon training is DONE. I plan on actually tapering properly this week, followed by an eight mile run on Saturday morning and volunteering at Ironman 70.3 Austin on Sunday.

Less than two weeks left!

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8 & Eggs

While this week was a cutback week, I still had 14 on the schedule. I’m racing a 10k on Sunday, so I figured the least I could do would be to log 14 total for the weekend.

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Carly and I headed out at 7am for our 8 mile run. We practically danced our way onto that trail, celebrating the crisp 60 degree temperature. 60!! It was a bit of a shock at first, but once we starting running we completely embraced it. It was so nice to finally run in something other than a sauna!

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The run was effortless, the miles ticked away quickly, and we were done before we knew it.

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Cheetahs run Texas

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Post-run we were ravenous, so we headed to the happiest place on earth for supplies.

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Eggs Benedict, here we come!

But not before we got a little caffeine in our system

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We were tempted by the new Salted Caramel Mocha coffee, and decided to indulge. So incredibly worth it – delicious.

Back home we got to work on our breakfast feast:

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And the finished product:

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Absolutely what we needed.

It was a great morning, and spent the remainder of the day resting up for our first race of the season. We both have our sights set on new PRs!

Sunday Long Run

Recent undocumented long runs:

Week 9: 15 11 miles attempted 15 on the treadmill – big mistake.

Week 10: 16 miles great run, finished strong

Week 11: 12 miles on the treadmill


Yesterday I had 18 miles on tap. Carly went to the Pecan Festival on Saturday, so I knew I’d be flying solo. Also, who would willingly participate in an 18 mile run when they aren’t training for a marathon? No one. In light of recent attacks on runners on Austin running trails, I started later than usual so I wouldn’t be running alone in the dark. I made sure to wear my Road ID as well.

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Also, I ran with my phone for the first time in I can’t tell you how long. The Droid X isn’t exactly the easiest phone to carry with you, so when I’m running with someone I usually leave it in the car. Added bonus of running with my phone: having a camera to take pictures with!

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The views yesterday morning were gorgeous, but the temperature (as usual) was less than desirable. It was already 80 degrees when I stepped foot on the trail. Hey fall, Austin is ready for you – no need to take your time.

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I ran 16 on the same trail a couple weeks ago, so I knew I’d have to tack on some extra mileage in the beginning if I wanted to run the same route. I knocked out two miles in the opposite direction before heading out on my normal path.

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trail

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I hit the end of the trail at Twin Lakes Park

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I did a large lap around the park to tack on some extra mileage and came across a rock climbing wall, pool/YMCA, and a small lake.

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This was around the 5 mile point, and it was getting HOT.

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I think this accurately describes the intense heat which was progressively getting worse. Oh – AND – there was a horrendously brutal wind whipping around during the entire run as well. Imagine what it would feel like to be running behind the exhaust pipe of a Greyhound bus, with the sun beating down on you at the same time.

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Yeah, check out that hair. The wind and I were not friends today. Not even a little bit.

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At the eight mile mark, I circled back around to the car for some refreshments – I came prepared.

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Two different kinds of Gatorade, a Camelbak bottle filled with water, and a PB&J. This was probably the best PB&J I’ve ever had. It really hit the spot.

After the quick snack break, it was time to head out for the final 10 miles.

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Easier said than done.

My legs felt strong and I wasn’t tired at all, but the heat was kicking my ass! The side of the trail I was on had hardly any shade and getting my legs moving fast enough to run was a constant struggle.

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I took more than my share of sitting breaks, stretching breaks, and by mile 10 I had given up on running altogether. I just couldn’t do it.

One of my many stopping points. Ahhh, shade…

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Finally, I came across this sign:

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Hallelujah – time to turn around and head back!

Just after the turnaround point, my Garmin beeped for 13 miles. The thought of enduring 5 more miles was daunting. I really didn’t have a choice at this point though. So I trudged on.

Once the car was in sight and my watch read 16.85 miles, I made a deal with myself: if the temperature was below 100, I would finish up the 18. If it was above 100, I’d call it a day at 17.

I checked the weather app on my phone: 103 degrees. Game over. 17 was close enough – I’ll take it! Another long run in the books – it’s hard to believe marathon day is in just over a month.

Did you run or race this weekend? How did it go?

The run that almost wasn’t

From past experience I know when a night out causes me to move my run from Saturday to Sunday, 9 times out of 10 I’ll skip the run on Sunday too. Call it stupid, call it lazy, call it what you will – but somehow it just always works out that way.

Last night we had a BBQ and obviously it wasn’t as light as the spinach salad with grilled chicken we had on Friday. There were burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and deviled eggs. When I woke up this morning (after sleeping through my alarm for 40 minutes) and wasn’t hungry at all, I knew these miles were going to be a struggle.

Carly and I headed out at 5:45 to Brushy Creek Trail. Neither of us were feeling the run, but held on to the ‘suck it up, cupcake’ mentality so we could power through it. Our mission was to get the miles in, and get home to the couch.

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We had 5 miles on the schedule since it was a step back week. Thankfully it was only 5 because any more than that and I think we might have taken a nap on a park bench.

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We kept the pace slow and walked when we needed. I’ve never seen water coolers set up at Brushy Creek before, so these were a welcomed surprise: IMG_0522

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A fair amount of runners and cyclists were out this morning, all trying to get their miles in before the extreme heat set in.

About halfway through, we started paying more attention to the wildlife than keeping a decent pace. Rabbits and deer crossed the trail in front of us a few times.

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It was at this point we realized we had no pictures of ourselves, so we improvised some “action” shots:

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Clearly we were focused more on picture taking rather than the actual run.

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The downfall to running this trail is that it’s mostly paved, with the exception of one loop. It’s a lot harder on your body. Carly’s tailbone and my shins (shocking) were not happy. We finished our last mile with one loop on the gravel trail, and called it a day at 5.33 miles.

It’s true what they say: you never regret a run.