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.


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!



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.



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.







I hit the end of the trail at Twin Lakes Park


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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…


Finally, I came across this sign:


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?

Confessions: Part Deux

It’s been awhile since my last confessions post, and Michelle’s post yesterday inspired me, so I bring you: part deux!

I am terrible at quitting things.

  • Quitting drinking (had to, while I quit smoking – clearly NOT a long term goal), quitting smoking, quitting coffee. It doesn’t matter what the vice is – I will inevitably be terrible at kicking it. I eliminated coffee back in May, ramped up my workouts, and I had more energy than I had seen in a LONG time. I fell asleep at reasonable hours and was able to get up early with ease. I must quit (or scale way back, at the very least) again. I MUST. 

I haven’t cut/colored my hair since March 4th.

  • Clearly that whole ombre look is coming to me for free, but unintentionally. Holy rats nest. Hair maintenance frequently gets overlooked because I RARELY (as in, once every 3 months) do my hair. My mornings are all about the ‘wake up & go’ mentality. I wash it everyday after the gym, and it’s naturally curly. Blowdrying & straightening would be a serious waste of time, since I’d ruin it with sweat less than 24 hours later. Does my hair need some TLC? Hell yes. Do I want to put out the cash for it? Hell no.

I haven’t ran since last Tuesday.

  • Yup, my shin pain has returned. I’m not sure when it happened, since I was fine post-13 miles on 8/20. But when I tried to make it through my 4 miler two days later, I had to stop at 3 and even that was a struggle. I skipped my Thursday tempo run, Sunday long run, and Tuesday speedwork session. I’ve been filling those days with RPM, which may be my new favorite workout.

photo source

  • Low-impact and you can give it every last ounce of energy you’ve got, leaving on an incredible endorphin high. I felt euphoric on my way home Tuesday night. Kind of how I feel after consuming an entire bottle of wine.

I am having doubts about next month’s marathon.

  • This feeds off the previous confession: injury. I’m trying to take off as many days as possible to heal, without setting myself back endurance-wise. Since the calendar switched over to September today, I’m less than 60 days out from my first 26.2 and I am feeling nervous, anxious, excited, worried. What if I can’t make a comeback? To make it through two months of training and have to come to a screeching halt and defer to 2012 is heartbreaking. I suppose only time will tell.

I bought another pair of running shoes.

  • I announced this on Twitter last week, with a desperate plea for an intervention. Twittervention?  Turns out I’m not the only one with a shoe problem. Anyway, yes, I invested in yet another pair of Brooks.
    photo source
  • I have a 30-day window to return them if they don’t make my shins feel like a million bucks. And just to clarify: I didn’t buy them just because I wanted a new pair. I bought them because my shins suck and I need a pair to make them happy and allow me to run a marathon next month.

What do you need to get off your chest today? Confess!

Race Pace

While I’ve been following a fairly structured training plan for Marine Corps, my projected marathon pace has still yet to be determined. Yes, this is something I probably should have nailed down a couple months ago, but I wanted to see how my favorite injury (shin splints) responded to the training.


My training plan was developed as a mix of FIRST, for the number of days running, and Higdon, for the actual mileage. Small tweaks were made here and there for traveling, upcoming races, and the like. For example, my 20-miler didn’t seem to want to be wedged into the plan AT ALL. The week I had scheduled it on was the day of the See Jane Run 1/2.


Initially I had planned on sneaking in 7 miles pre-race, but the more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea. So I moved it a month out from marathon day, rather than three weeks out. No problem.

That is, until Carly & I started planning for our upcoming race season. The IBM Uptown Classic 10k falls on the same day as the 20-miler.


Of course. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time now, eager to beat my time from last year. After much debating, I moved the long run back to the See Jane Run day. Overall, I think this is the best option for me because I will be motivated to finish the last 13 of 20 miles if I am in a race atmosphere. Especially with the promise of champagne, chocolate, and a race medal at the finish.


So back to the marathon pace situation. I’ve been doing my speed & tempo runs during the week at an average pace of 10:45-11:10.



The longer runs consist of 3:1 intervals, which average out to about a 13:15 pace. (With the exception of a 7 mile run done on the treadmill at 11:25 pace, which hardly counts as a “long” run)



Do I anticipate using those intervals during the marathon? I’m not sure. For now, this is what works best when we’re dealing with 86 degrees at 5am for the START of our run. Our goal on Sundays is NOT TO DIE.


Do I think I could maintain a faster pace in October temps in the Northeast? Why yes, yes I do. With my half PR at 2:38, this would be an approximate (ambitious?) 5:16 finish for a full (12:03 pace). The McMillan calculator predicts a 5:33 finish (12:42 pace). Do I think I can I maintain either of these paces? Yes and no. The only reason I say no is because, obviously, I’ve never done the distance before. And since I haven’t been running my LRs at goal pace, it’s really hard to say. However, this is the first time I have been properly training for a race. Ever.

Yes, I have completed five half marathons in a less than a year. But for my first, my longest training run was 9 miles and I didn’t run for nearly two months prior to race day. For my second (one month after the first), the only time I ran was a 10k two weeks out. And to achieve half-fanatic status, I got in a few 3-milers and 6-milers, but there was no training. I’m surprised I even PRed in Dallas after being absent from the running scene.

I’ve been religiously nailing my speedwork on Tuesdays, tempo runs on Thursdays, and long runs on Sundays. I am finally training for a race the way I am supposed to be, which is why I say that I have the ability to maintain those paces 26.2 miles.

Ideally, the only goal for your first marathon should be simply to finish. But I want to have a ballpark time of when I will finish. I think I should start conservatively at a 12:30 pace, to keep some gas in the tank for the second half, and kick it up later in the race if possible. Negative splits? Yes please. But what do I know? I’m new to 26.2.

Do you know what your (half) marathon goal pace is? How did you determine it? Do you run that pace on your long runs?

Hot & Steamy 9

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 4:15 and I promptly hit snooze. Or so I thought. I actually shut the alarm off and didn’t wake up until nearly 6:00.


The plan was to be running by 5:30, so we would have been nearly 90 minutes behind schedule by the time we hit the trail. After a quick text exchange with Carly, we decided to move the run to Sunday. Again. Back to bed we went.

I had three alarms set for this morning to ensure history wouldn’t repeat itself. Of course, I woke up on my own two minutes before the alarm went off. When I finished getting ready and walked out of my bedroom, there was Carly, explaining she had overslept. Clearly us cheetahs love our sleep.  After getting our stuff together, we headed out.


When we arrived at Town Lake at 5:30, the air was already exceptionally warm and thick with humidity. We were going to have our work cut out for us.


Our pacing for the past two long runs was all over the charts, and felt the best way to remedy this was to run 3:1 intervals. And stop to take pictures.


The intervals worked out really well, and although our average pace was slow (13:08) it was MUCH more consistent than our past runs. Thankfully it was very overcast this morning, but it was still hot as hell. We attempted countless photo ops together, but both looked like we were about to drown in our own sweat and die. Rather than subject you to trainwreck pictures, we stuck with scenic shots.IMG_0549





One hour and fifty-eight minutes later, our nine mile run was complete. Next week, we’re officially in double digits – TEN!


Our day now consists of inhaling mimosas, bagels and screwdrivers


watching mindless TV


and napping on and off.


Pork is in the crockpot for pulled pork sandwiches tonight, and the house smells like heaven.


Perfect day? I think so.

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.


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.



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


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.







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



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


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.

Getting the spark back

I have to admit, I’ve really been struggling with my treadmill runs lately. I get them done, yes, but I am bored out of my mind! It doesn’t matter how kickass my playlist is or what I’m watching on TV. I’m constantly eyeing the clock, watching the miles tick away, wanting to run faster just to get it over and done with. NOT the kind of relationship I want to have with running. But these aren’t exactly the temps I want to be running outside in:


Cely, however, is a freaking rockstar and runs in the Texas heat at night. Lady, you’re my damn hero!

Thankfully my long runs on the weekend can be done outside. Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30am (after sleeping through my 4:45 alarm) and got ready for my first outside run of training. My boyfriend, who despises running, agreed to go with me. I asked him jokingly at  first, and fully expected him to say no. Apparently he’s trying to get back in shape, so he jumped right out of bed after I did.

Another thing worth noting: this was my first music-less run. I nearly had a panic attack on Friday night when I realized I left my iPod at work. Thankfully I had someone to run with, and I think I may have liked that even better than music!

I planned on taking a walk break after each mile, but Brad’s knee was bothering him so we walked a bit more than that. 5 miles, 1:04 – I’ll take it! My shins were being little bitches, as usual. A huge thanks to Brian who offered some great advice on dealing with my shin splints! After tons of stretching, icing, and wine-ing I felt much better.


Another week of marathon training is in the books. The trail run this weekend was just what I needed to rekindle the running fire inside of me. I can’t wait for next Saturday’s long run!

Back in Action

My Garmin breathed a sigh of relief this morning. I can FINALLY dust him off, because … marathon training started today!

I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn before the Austin sauna-like temperatures set in this morning, so my Garmin stayed in the drawer. I headed to the gym for my first run in two months.

After a ten minute walk, I upped the speed and began running. I ran a mile, then transitioned to a walk/run combo for the remainder of my workout. I desperately wanted to run the entire 2.5 miles planned for the day, but held back since it’s only day one. I need to take a it slow. Running too much, too soon = injury. No freakin’ thank you.

I finished 3.23 miles in 45 minutes. Yes, slow. But it felt amazing to be running again, and I’d rather finish slow than not run at all.

First training run = SUCCESS!

In other news…


Tomorrow marks the end of the 100 Miles in May challenge. Thankfully I came to my senses a couple weeks ago and kicked things up a notch. Although there is still one more day for mileage to be entered, I’m proud to say I reached the 100 mile goal yesterday!



With June just around the corner, I’m contemplating another 100 mile month. Hmmm to challenge or not to challenge…

Google Docs Obsession + Training Schedule = This

The amount of time I put into drafting, formatting, color-coding, and planning a training schedule is R I D I C U L O U S. And I’m sure, even though I am posting this one in it’s *final* state, I will change it at least 5 times in the coming weeks. But alas, here it is kids…

I’d like to incorporate Body Flow and Hot Yoga into my Saturday/Sunday schedule as well, but that all depends on the day. Body Pump will most likely make a guest appearance on Wednesday evenings, and I’ll get my cross training done in the morning. I have always always always used Monday & Friday as my rest days, and I’d like to keep it that way. Hot Yoga seems like the perfect way to decompress from a “case of the Mondays” but Friday is non-negotiable.

Let’s be serious: the only running I’ll be doing on Friday is to the wine rack for a delicious bottle of red or to the fridge for a cold refreshing beer.

Upcoming Races

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about running. My shin splints have been more manageable than usual, and I’m not sure if it’s the different pair of shoes or just the fact I’m not pounding the pavement 4 days a week. I’m nervous once I start training more diligently for the next half that they will make a horrific comeback. And there’s always that one thought in the back of my mind: what if it’s a stress fracture? It pains me to even type those two words. The idea of taking 6-8 weeks off from running makes me sad.

Let’s take a look at what Carly and I have coming up on our race schedule:

Carly Melissa
November 14, 2010 13.1 Ft Lauderdale Rock n Roll San Antonio Half
January 30, 2011 Florida Challenge Half 3m Half Marathon
February 20, 2011 A1A Half Marathon Austin Half Marathon

Since I’ve been nursing this nagging injury, my training has suffered. My training plan is buried in a list of Google Docs and hasn’t been opened in over a month. Honestly, I’m ready to get RNRSA over and done with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for it and I’m hoping to PR. But I’m more excited to get a training plan drawn up in preparation for the two races at the beginning of 2011!

Depending on how this weekend’s race goes will determine what step I take next. Next? Yes, next. I’m looking forward into the future, a little bit further than February. If all goes well on Sunday, I’ve got my eye on this guy:

This isn’t a huge decision, considering initially I was committed to running the full in San Antonio. A couple weeks ago I had been tossing the idea of a marathon around, and I narrowed my choices down to RnR San Diego and RnR Las Vegas (2011). I think I have pretty much ruled out Vegas because it’s close to Christmas, and I’m sure we would turn that into a mini vacation which screams dollar $ign$. Who knows, at this point anything can happen!

So my questions for you are…

What race did you choose for your first full marathon? If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same race?