Fall Racing Decision :: Will Run for BEER

It might seem a little premature to be talking about the fall racing season as the spring one hasn’t even wrapped up yet. However, the racing scene in Austin pretty much shuts down (with the exception of 5Ks) after April. The Austin 10/20 is coming up this weekend and then I head to NJ the first week of May for the Long Branch Half.

Upcoming Races

And after that, I’ve got nothing on my radar.

SO! It’s time to think about the fall. Every year since I started running I’ve done a fall destination race. 2010 was Disney’s Wine & Dine Half, 2011 was Marine Corps Marathon and 2012 was Philly Marathon.

I had a few half marathons in mind for 2013: Hartford, Wineglass, Mohawk Hudson River Half, OUC, ZOOMA Cape Cod. But after mapping out our travel schedule for the rest of the year {with Nuun Hood to Coast tentatively penciled in *fingers crossed*} we realized a fall destination race probably isn’t in the cards.

The plan for the next 13.1 is to stay semi-local. I’m 90% sure we’ll be heading south in November for the 2013 Shiner Beer Run.


This race combines two of my favorite things: running + Shiner beer. 4 complimentary frosty beers at the finish for each runner? A medal that doubles as a bottle opener? A race that starts and finishes at the Spoetzl Brewery? I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons NOT to run this race.

Shiner Beer Run

My sub-2 goal might get pushed to the beginning of 2014 considering the arch issues I’ve been having lately. Long Branch is not going to be a PR attempt and I’m absolutely okay with that. It’s part of a vacation to New Jersey to see my family and I’ll just be happy to see how far the area has come since I was up there in November post-Sandy.

If I had to guess, I’d say my sub-2 attempt will be at 3M in January 2014. But that’s REALLY far away, so we shall see!

Do you have your fall goal race picked out yet? Is it a destination race?

2012 Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap


It’s hard to believe last weekend I completed my second marathon. It wasn’t the picture-perfect race I envisioned, where I’d cross the finish line with a huge PR feeling like a million bucks. In fact, if you can believe it, I actually finished slower than my first marathon. My training runs weren’t as fast as I’d hoped. Work was kicking my ass in the weeks leading up to the race, leaving me drained and wanting nothing but to be in bed as early as possible. I abandoned all pace goals for Philly and decided to simply focus on finishing. Also, on the Tuesday before the race I came down with a sore throat, cough, and a cold. Of course I did. I armed myself with Vitamin C, cough drops, and enough meds for an army in an attempt to stop the illness in its tracks. Unfortunately, the illness carried right through race day.

Sunday morning Brad and I met up with Shannon, Ashley, Ritsa, and Kara in the lobby of my hotel. I was oddly calm despite the fact I was about to, you know, run a marathon.


We made the mile trek to the start line, talking about the race and trying to keep warm. Once we arrived at Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum it started to feel a little bit more real. Ritsa and Kara were running the half, Shannon and I were running the full, Ashley had plans to be the World’s Best Spectator (and she was!)


Ashley, Shannon and I


And my race shirt:


The race officially started at 7am but since our corral was a little further back, we didn’t cross the starting line until nearly 7:30. The first few miles were fairly congested but once everyone settled into their pace it seemed to space out a bit. I was fueling with Honey Stinger chews, which I had used religiously throughout training. Unfortunately that morning my stomach decided it didn’t like them. I knew there would be Clif Shots in the later miles but it wouldn’t have been smart to go without until that point. So every 30 minutes I ate 2-3 chews.

Around mile 7 (after several miles of trying to talk myself out of it) (and pleading with Shannon not to kill me for having to stop) I decided to make a pitstop. The portopotty lines were ridiculously long so I took my chances on a Starbucks bathroom. Thankfully the women already in line ushered me to the front since they knew I had a race to get back to – so nice of them! Shannon and I were on our way very quickly afterwards.

My stomach felt a bit better but my legs were already feeling heavy. Great feeling to have when you aren’t even halfway into your race. My walk breaks became more frequent and I continued fueling as planned, hoping the sugar & carbs would keep me moving. Shannon was trucking along in front of me, killing it – feeling GREAT! I was so proud of her. I felt like I was holding her back but she insisted she wasn’t going to leave me. So thankful for her – she definitely saved me.

As we neared the halfway point, I heard the crowds cheering. Half-marathoners filtered out as they made their way to the finish. I really hated how close we had to run to the finish line. But not as much as I hated the miles I was about to run…

Miles 13-17 were hard, but I was going to see my family at mile 17 so that kept me moving. Shannon was still a bit in front of me, basically my carrot, pulling me through the miles. On a walk break, I texted Brad to let him know I wanted him to jump in at mile 17. Shannon and I discussed that she was going to push ahead and meet a friend at mile 20, and then we’d meet back up again at mile 23. I was so happy that she was going to run ahead because she was doing SO well – she needed to keep going and not worry about me.

The graceful water bottle swap for fresh Nuun at mile 17:


Why yes, I DID wear sparkly leg warmers.

Brad handed his jacket to my parents and jumped in with me to tackle a few miles.



Brad was smiling. I’m pretty sure I was not.


Had I done a bit more thorough research on the course for Philly, I would have noticed miles 13-26 were an out-and-back. I absolutely LOATHE out-and-backs.

out and back

When you’re heading out at mile 13, watching runners hauling ass to the finish near mile 26 is brutal. And then you continue to watch those faster runners all the way to the turnaround in Manayunk. So tough. Mentally it tore me apart. Thankfully I had Brad with me, who listened as I rehashed the first half of the race. Around mile 21 I realized my phone was vibrating. I had a text from Shannon, saying she couldn’t stop at 23 or she might not be able to finish the race. I completely understood (I even mentioned to Brad a few miles back that I wasn’t sure how she was going to stop and wait for me, because it would be tough to start running again) and wished her luck. Go check out her race recap – she did amazing!!

I was going to drop Brad back off at mile 22 with my parents but he offered to stick with me until 23 and then I’d fly solo to the finish.IMG_0209

Could have been a good shot, if Brad wasn’t blocking my face.


I was trying to fuel but my stomach didn’t want the Honey Stinger chews and it wasn’t a fan of the Clif Shots either. I tried sipping Gatorade instead of Nuun at water stops for the extra calories but (unsurprisingly) my stomach couldn’t handle the way-too-sweet Gatorade. I’m pretty sure miles 20-26 were 90% walking and 10% running shuffling. Every time I tried to run, I could hardly lift my legs off the ground. I had hit the wall at mile 18 (WAY too early) and every step after that was a struggle.

The last three miles were quiet, lonely, cold, and LONG (18:21, 19:51, 20:23 – NOT an exaggeration). I wanted so badly to be done, to see the finish line, to sit down. Once I came up on mile 26, I saw Shannon + her boyfriend, Ashley, and Kara screaming their heads off for me. They gave me the push I needed to start running again. Ashley jumped in with me for a minute, telling me to keep running and haul ass to the finish. So I did. Heel strike and all.


yup, didn’t buy that photo. stolen.

I got my medal, a heat sheet, and quickly made my way out of the finisher’s chute.

I’ve never been so happy to finish a race.


It wasn’t the race I hoped for – not even close. I’ve decided I’m going to hang up my 26.2 shoes for awhile. Ideally until 2014, but knowing myself I probably won’t be able to hold off for that long. I want to not dread 3+ hour training runs. I want to focus on running faster in shorter distances. I want to PR in the 10K and half marathon. I’ll certainly have plenty of chances in the spring: 3M, Austin, and ZOOMA.

I don’t want to run races to finish. I want to give them my all – leave everything I’ve got out on the course.

My calendar is full of races and I’m ready to put in the work. I’m ready to push hard. I’m ready to dig deep and run strong.

I’m ready to RUN.

Weekly Workouts: 8/6-8/12

Last week’s workouts were kind of all over the place, so hopefully this week will go as planned. Still trying to figure out the best way to get in both cross and strength training. Should I pair them together? What do you think?

Here’s what’s on my plate this week:

Monday, August 6

XT and/or P90X Back & Biceps

Tuesday, August 7

4 x 800 (4:37)

Wednesday, August 8

XT and/or P90X Chest / Shoulders / Tri

Thursday, August 9

5 mile tempo, 3 @ 10:03

Friday, August 10


Saturday, August 11

12 mile run

Sunday, August 12


Philadelphia Marathon Training Plan

Welp, it’s finally done.

Philadelphia Marathon

I’ve been working on this damn training plan for MONTHS, tweaking it here and there, adjusting paces and LR distances. The RLRF FIRST plan I started with was for a 4:45 finish. After an exciting and successful night at the track, I changed it to 4:40. And then there were those failed 800s last week that knocked me right back down to reality. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to adjust my goal. I’d rather start out on the conservative side of challenging, rather than the setting-myself-up-for-disappointment side.

After much debate, I settled on a goal: SUB-5.

If I feel stronger in a couple months and the paces just aren’t cutting it, I can always bump them down. I’d rather, you know, not have my confidence crushed on Day One. I also removed all pace goals from long runs. When it’s 90 degrees, I’d rather focus on not dying than stalk my watch to make sure I’m going fast enough. So my long run goal is distance. And distance only.

Here’s the plan I’ll be following from now through November 18th:

Philly Marathon Plan 1

Philly Marathon Plan 2

click image to view full doc in Google Drive

What training plan do you use? Galloway? Higdon? FIRST? Or do you make your own?

What distance do you use for your longest half/full marathon training run?

Weekly Workouts: 7/30-8/5

Here we go … Philly Marathon Training, week one!

Monday, July 30

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs RPM

Tuesday, July 31

3 x 1600m @ 9:29   2.5 mile run

Wednesday, August 1

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

Thursday, August 2

4 mile tempo, 2 @ 10:03 4 miles @ 10:35 overall

Friday, August 3


Saturday, August 4 

10 mile run

Sunday, August 5

Rest 10 mile run

Track Trial: 400s

With marathon training just around the corner and an unfinished training plan on my desk, we decided to take Tuesday night’s four mile run to the track.

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve done speedwork and had no idea what paces I was even capable of. My NJ Marathon plan was tough but doable, but I also went into it with a much stronger training base (ie. a 26.2 & 2 x 13.1 races in the 3 months prior). So we figured we’d start small with a progression 4 x 400m (400 RI), running each split just a little bit faster than the last. There wasn’t a pace we were hoping to nail for the first split either. I figured we could push it until it was uncomfortable, and decrease from there.

After an easy warm-up mile (4:1 run/walk, 12:05 pace) on a nearby trail, we made our way over to the track. First order of business – stash water bottles on the side of the track to grab post-lap. Next I skipped through the playlist on my iPod to find a suitable song for lap numero uno. And then?


  • 400m — 1:59 (7:57 pace)  “Run” by Flo Rida <— his new album ROCKS. Download it now, thank me later.

Followed by an easy cooldown mile where I tried not to die. Seriously, my stomach was PISSED.

So to recap, we nailed the intervals AND they were faster than expected. I was wavering between a 4:40 and a 4:45 plan for Philly, but I’ll be sticking with the 4:40 to make sure I’m pushing myself hard enough.

Next week: 800s!

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.

Brushy Creek 7 14 2012

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

iced coffee


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

nail polish

watch a Friends marathon


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


read this bookJackie Warner

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


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


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


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

Simi Cab

inhale a delicious plate of Chicken Tikka Masala


and watch Jurassic Park for the 37893rd time.



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?

Better than a PR

Saturday morning I willingly popped up out of bed at 6:25 and got dressed to run. This hasn’t happen since, oh I don’t know, maybe April? I was quite enjoying my lazy weekends “sleeping in” until 8am and spending quality time with my couch. After a solid nine months of early morning training runs, I needed that break.

Unfortunately now that I’m ready to start running as the sun rises, Texas is transitioning into summer. This means 4:30-5:00am wakeup calls, 80 degrees/100% humidity at the beginning of my run, and hydrating like my life depends on it. Wait, why am I training for a fall marathon again? Oh, for the fantastic food, delicious cocktails and the glory of nailing that 26.2 PR on my 2012 Goals list.

Philadelphia Marathon

Anyway, back to the story…

Saturday morning I got dressed and pulled on my Mizunos (what a decision this was, choosing a pair of shoes to wear), but I wasn’t alone. Brad was getting ready also. We were about to run our first 5K race together. This isn’t the first race we’ve done side by side, but it was the first where he had been running with me on a fairly regular basis AND where he had proper running shoes. A few weeks ago we went to a local running store and had him fitted for an obnoxiously bright pair of Green Lantern Saucony Ride 4s.

Saucony Ride 4

We met up with my friend Leslie and her boss and headed north to Georgetown to run Vern’s No Frills 5K at Berry Springs Park.

Verns No Frills 5K

Leslie and I had run it back in January and we both really enjoyed it. Hard to beat a monthly 5K race for only $1! All proceeds go to back to the park, which is pretty cool. It really is a “no frills” race but an awesome one nonetheless.

It was a warm and humid morning surprise surprise so Brad and I started slow, running 3:1 intervals and getting our legs loosened up. The first mile was pretty slow but once we found our stride, our pace quickened and we were cruising. This is seriously a dream come true for me, to be running with my boyfriend and have him actually enjoy it. He even mentioned to me the other day “I like that we’re doing stuff together and getting out of the house at the same time. I’m really warming up to running” Cue my happy dance.

Near the end of the final mile we decided to ignore the beep of my Garmin and continue running. Once the finish was in sight we picked up the pace and kicked it into high gear, crossing the finish line in 36:01. It wasn’t my slowest race, nor was it my fastest. That’s not what was important that morning.

I crossed the finish line with my boyfriend, who is not a runner, but slowly warming up to the sport.

And that is much better than a PR.