Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's finally New Year's Eve. I am lucky to have the hubby at home tonight, as he sometimes gets stuck working out there on the crazy streets on NYE. We've decided to hang out at home tonight with the kiddo. We're grilling steaks and making Margarita's (I wanted Martini's, but they're not the hubby's favorite so we're compromising). Before that, my Mom and I are going to see Dreamgirls...I can't wait! Then, the kiddo and I are making sugar cookies with cookie cutters, colored icing and all. Nowadays, it seems that there is less likelihood that I will even be awake when the clock strikes 12 midnight, but here's to hoping!

Hope everyone has a happy, safe NYE! Looking forward to the upcoming year's blogging and running.

Speaking of next year, is anyone interested in getting together for an early pasta dinner on Saturday before the big race? I have a couple of folks interested and I know there are some out of town bloggers here that day who also might be interested. Let me know what ya think!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Warm, muggy run

I spent the night at the parent's house, because the hubby was out for a final weekend of deer hunting. I met the Houston Fit group at 6:30 am for a 10-miler. I drove to the park in the drizzly rain, hoping that 1) the drizzle would stop and 2) that we would not be doing yet another version of the rose-garden run. Lucky for me, both of those wishes came true!

We made our way from the park to Dunlavy and continued until the dead end at Bissonnett. Then, we did the reverse route back to the park. I never mind this route, because we don't do it often and it's a nice change of scenery. Plus, we have an opportunity to wave "hi" to firefighters twice. :-)

I experienced pretty much the same thing as last week...fatigue. Bummer. I swear I was dying before we even made it to Shepherd and that's barely 2 miles from the park. I don't think the 100% humidity helped at all! And, my left shin was aching a bit...grrr. Luckily, I managed to engage in interesting conversations along the way which definitely helped make those 5 minute runs go faster. We talked about everything from our favorite TV shows, holidays and all the crap we ate, marathons (I want to do the Big Sur relay now), music (some fellow prodigy fans out there) and lots of other interesting topics. I did take an extra 30 second walk break about the time I made it to the Starbucks again. Then, I decided to just run dammit....I had to tell myself that the more I run, the faster I get back to my car! So, I finished and was happy to be done. Jeeze, and just a month ago 10 miles seemed so damn easy. Did I really run the 1st half of the marathon at an 11-minute pace? It seems so long ago!

After the run, I rushed home. My car had an appointment with the folks at NTB. Much to my dismay, I found that I need 2 new tires. My Mom must have felt bad that I just shelled out almost $500, because she took and the kiddo to Fuddruckers for lunch. I indulged in a burger...hey, 10 miles = 11 WW points....a burger at Fudd's = 10's all good! So that and a trip to the grocery store and to Spec's for a bottle of Sauza for tomorrow's festivities and I called it a day.

Now, it's time for me to grab a glass of Pinot Grigio and watch the rest of Ultimate Fighting with the hubby....well, he'll be watching and I'll be reading. :-)

Running Stats
Conditions - 59 w/ high humidity
Total run time - 1:57:30
Total distance - 10 miles
Pace - 11:45 (grrr....)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking Back at 2006

It's been a great year. Busy, but great! I really don't like to set resolutions, but I do set goals for the coming year. As I looked back at 2006, I realized that I accomplished almost all of this year's goals and a few that weren't on the list! It made me proud. For example, I....
  • Had some great quality time with my family (travelling and just hanging out)
  • Created our family's budget and stuck to it (well, until Christmas hit)
  • Studied for and took the GMAT
  • Studied for and passed the Professional in Human Resources exam (PHR)
  • Got accepted to grad school
  • Successfully completed my 1st semester of grad school (only 5 more to go!)
  • Ran 3 of my 6 marathons - Houston, Austin & Chicago
  • PRed in Chicago!
  • Ran more races this year than ever before, which helped me maintain double-digit mileage year-round (rather than slacking after marathon season and becoming a couch potato!)
  • Started my blog and made some great blogging buddies
  • Joined the Striders for 2007!

For me, the hardest part of the year was working around the hubby's new schedule and my new school schedule in order to continue training. I either had to meet the Houston Fit-ers somewhere along their LR route and make up the missed mileage later, or spend the night with my parents and leave 20 minutes earlier to drive to the park from Spring. Once school started, I did a lot of long runs solo. Quite frankly, that sucked! :-) But, I do have to thank my Mom for always offering to watch the kiddo so I can get in my long runs. She knows how much all the training means to me and is my biggest supporter. THANKS MOM!!!

I haven't decided on all of the goals for 2007 just yet. I am sure they will be similar to this year's, but will probably be more focused on school instead of running. I'll keep ya posted.

As for training, yesterday I planned to run 3 miles on the dreadmill. However, by 8 pm is was very apparent that the kiddo was wide awake and not going to sleep anytime soon. So, I decided the do a core workout instead. The kiddo gets excited when I pull out the mats and pulled out one for her as well. She kept saying, "Exercises, yes!" and ran to get her little wooden blocks that she uses as hand weights. Naturally, just like any other 2 year old, she got bored with the routine in only a few minutes. So, she sat on her mat and played with her new tea set while I did my crunches, lunges, squats and lifts. Oh, and the tea set is actually for coffee according to her...she's gone to Starbucks with Mommy a few too many times! At least she's not serving martini's or margarita's!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gotta love it!

The weather that is! As I left work, I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous blue sky and the 1/2 moon. And the temps were awesome - the car temp gauge read 61 degrees...perfect!

With the light, holiday-week traffic, I managed to make it to the park within about 25 minutes. After some light stretching, I was off. Something about being outside running in the cooler temps made me want to run faster. I made it all the way around the loop with only 2 quick walk breaks - once to take off my long sleeve shirt and tie it around my waist and once to get a quick sip of water at about 2 1/4 miles. Now that I think of it, I walked for a second when I made it all the way around the loop, but I decided to keep going and add on one more mile.

I ran a total of 4 miles, but I have no idea of my time. I forgot my watch, so I am guessing I ran between 45 & 50 minutes. What I do know is that it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've had in a long time.

Running Stats
Conditions - 5:45 pm, Memorial Park, 61 degrees w/low humidity
Total run time - 44-50 minutes?
Totals distance - 4 miles
Pace - ???

I took the plunge...

I finally joined the Houston Striders! They had a great "early bird special" - save $5 if you pay your 2007 dues between now and December 31st - so I thought, what the heck?!? I keep hearing great things about this group and I love that they run year round. I don't know how active a member I will be between school, work and family stuff, but for the price I know it will be more than worth it!

Tonight, I am heading to Memorial Park to enjoy this awesome weather. I am planning to run for 35 minutes, but forgot my watch. I guess I'll just guesstimate my time. I can't wait to run outside again!


Gerald Ford
1913 - 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Greatest Christmas

I hope everyone has recovered from their 21-miler and went on to have a great Christmas!

I have to say that this has been my best Christmas in a long time! Christmas Eve day, the kiddo and I made chocolate chunk cookies for Santa. We started celebrating Christmas that evening with my in-laws. The kiddo was so cute in her Christmas dress! She had a blast with her cousins and learned from her cousin Anthony how to beg for Christmas presents. Literally... they were on their hands and knees begging to open presents. The hubby surprised me with the silver 2006 Chicago Marathon charm from Tiffany & Co. engraved with my finish time on the back and an awesome book about my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn. The kiddo hit the jackpot with all kinds of toys, books and dvds. Later that night, we set out cookies and milk for Santa and a few carrots for the reindeer.

On Christmas Day, I woke up super early to run and make a bake a few yummy dishes for later. I was surprised to find the hubby lying on the couch. Apparently, something he ate the night before didn't agree with him and he wanted to be closer to the bathroom. Luckily, he was beginning to feel better. I managed to get in a 3 mile run before the kiddo woke up. At that point, it was time for the the kiddo to discover her gifts from Santa. (While the hubby watched from the couch.) It was a blast to see her eyes light up when she realized she had a new playhouse in the backyard. It was so fun creating that Christmas magic for her! Next, we went to my parent's house for breakfast and to open gifts with my cousins and uncle. The kiddo hit the jackpot there too with a toddler-sized keyboard/microphone set, an awesome train set and a Dora the Explorer backpack.

Finally, we headed to my cousin's house in LaMarque for Christmas lunch. As a kid, my Dad's side of the family always got together for a huge Christmas celebration. I'm talking anywhere from 50-75 people - cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. It was great! But, over the last 10 years our gatherings have been much smaller since many folks moved farther away. But this year, it was just like old times. Almost the entire family was together again - including my cousin Ron who just arrived home from Iraq. I saw cousins that I hadn't seen in over a decade. It was awesome!

Today, I managed to catch a story about Team Hoyt on the Today show. Talk about inspirational...I cannot watch a story about them without turning on the waterworks. Next, I took the kiddo to the Children's Museum. Then, we met a friend for lunch at Chuy's and made a quick trip to the bookstore for The Dark Tower by Stephen King. It's a book that was on my Christmas list, but didn't get and I am hoping to finish it before school starts up again. Now, the kiddo is napping and I plan to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hanging out with her. Tomorrow, my holiday is officially over and it's back to the real world! Sigh...

30-minute core workout

Monday - Running Stats
Conditions - Treadmill
Running Time - 34:01
Distance - 3 miles
Pace - 11:20

30-minute core workout

RIP James Brown - 1933 - 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006


First, congrats to everyone who ran their 21-miler yesterday! You are done...let the taper begin!!!

I ran 8 miles with the Houston Fit 5/1 Red Group. The weather was perfect!!! It felt good to be out there with my peeps again. While I felt pretty strong most of the way, I did feel like I was running a bit slower than normal. We ran the River Oaks/Rose Garden run. All was well until somewhere between mile 5 & 6 when I started feeling tired and my ITB started up. I was beginning to get disgusted with myself and my lack of training over the past 3 was showing and I was starting to fall back from the group. By the time we made it to the Starbucks on Memorial, I suddenly got my 2nd wind. There was a grey headed lady that passed me up...I swear she was probably twice my age. I decided then, that I was not going to let her beat me back to the was time to suck it up and run faster! I don't know where that came from, but I joked later with Kay that her competitive spirit must have rubbed off on me. :-)

I ran the remainder of the run feeling strong. I am surprised how quickly my level of fitness has decreased since Chicago. It makes me wonder how strong my 1/2 marathon will be next month. I am just going to really need to stick to the training schedule over the next few weeks to at least maintain where I am now. Next week, I'll be running 10 miles with Houston Fit, so I'll have a better idea of where I stand after that.

Running Stats
Conditions - 45 degrees
Total run time - 1:38? (Forgot my watch, this was someone else's time)
Total Distance - 8 miles
Pace - 12:15 (yikes, slow!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wrapping it up

After all that cleaning on Wednesday night, the in-laws decided to wait until Friday to come to town! Oh well, at least the house is clean. So, the hubby and I decided that the wrapping as many presents as possible before company arrives would be the best use of our time. So, wrap we did...and wrap, and wrap, and wrap. All done while watching Nacho Libre (the hubby's pick). I decided early on to use gift bags whenever possible, so that helped. By the time we were done, the hubby wondered 1) if all of the kiddo's gifts were required by some toy company to be shaped funny or 2) if I just bought all the funny shaped toys just to baffle him when it was time to wrap presents. We decided that next year we will follow RunnerSusan's philosphy - "if it's shaped funny, it's from Santa" - and it will go unwrapped, under the tree for Christmas morning. By the way, I am an anal retentive wrapper...I like the paper to line up just so and for the edges to be just right. I know - wierd! So, it was hard for me to watch the hubby slap the wrapping paper on gifts. But, I didn't dare make a comment...I was just happy to have his help. I figured I could put extra bows on the ones he wrapped and no one would be the wiser.

So, all this rambling to tell you that I didn't run yesterday. In fact, I didn't work out at all yesterday. My 2-a-days turned into no-a-days. Actually, my hammys were a tad bit sore for some reason. I have been taking the stairs at work, so maybe it's that. I seriously doubt it was the Pilates I did on Wednesday morning. Tomorrow, the Houston Fit group is running 8 miles. I am thinking of getting there early and jogging a loop before to get in 11 miles. I missed the big 13 miler the 1/2 marathon group was doing last week, so this will be my last LR before the 1/2 in January. Jeeze, now I am really glad that I registered for the 1/2! I am having trouble getting in training runs for it and that distance is probably going to be more of a challenge than I thought. I could not imagine trying to squeeze in a 21-miler with the crazy schedule I've had lately. I guess overall, everything worked out just as it should!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Life happens...again!

I was so proud of myself for getting up early to do pilates yesterday and I was actually looking forward to my pm run. But, the hubby and I learned that his parents were going to come in town today (Thursday) rather than Saturday. In addition, our Secret Santa reveal at work was moved up from Friday to today as well. So, I had to rush to the store to get a final Secret Santa gift last night after work and then pick-up the kiddo and rush home to clean house. I know, I know, this is what I get for doing most of my holiday shopping at the last minute! But, I could not even think about shopping until the finals were year, I will start my shopping in October! :-) To top it off, I ran out of Christmas cards yesterday, so I had to sign, label and seal the final few.

Why am I telling you all of this???? Because, it left no time for my run. And, since I didn't finish all these tasks until 1:05 am, I did NOT get up early to work out this morning either. I think I picked a bad week to start my 2-a-day routine. Honestly, as much as I love Christmas (especially the time off from work!), I am really ready for it to be over! So, depending on what time the in-laws make it into town, I may try to squeeze in a short treadmill run after work. We'll see....but sometimes, life happens!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Make it stop!

Last night, I ran for 30 minutes while the hubby put the kiddo to bed. I don't know why, but I felt incredibly was if I weighed a ton! Hmmm....could have been the sugar high wearing off from earlier in the day. I ate some grapes and a banana yesterday at work, but everything else I ate came from some gift basket sent to us from a vendor. So yes, my diet yesterday consisted of a couple of Godiva chocolate truffles, a chocolate chip cookie, fudge, candied pecans and a few olives. Not exactly energy boosting foods! Honestly, why do I do this? I swear everytime I walked near the lunchroom, I could hear all those treats calling my name. Someone please make it stop! Either that or tie me to my desk so I can't walk over there!!! Or, it could have been the pork chops, potatoes and green beans I ate for dinner. It felt like a rock in the bottomless pit I call my stomach. So getting back to running - I was going to run 3 miles, but by 2.5 I had had enough. I was going incredibly slow...and, I took two 1-minute walk breaks.

This morning, I woke up early in my new two-a-day fashion and decided to try my new pilates dvd. Okay, so it's not exactly new, I bought it from a $1 bin at Target about a year ago and never opened it. It's a beginner workout, so most of the video was an explanation of the stretches and how to breathe. I think it is going to take me a few trys....who would have thought it would be so stinkin' hard to breathe while holding stretches?

Tonight, I'll try the running thing again. Today at work, I am armed with grapes, an apple and an orange at my desk....I will not go near the lunchroom, I will not go near the lunchroom, I will not go near the lunchroom....

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill run
Running Time - 31 minutes
Distance - 2.5 miles
Pace - 12:24 (OMG!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I e-mailed my prof for my Accouting grade and I made a 92 on the final! I am psyched about that...however, I missed the overall grade I wanted by 1 stinkin' point!!! Grrr....what can I say, except lesson learned! I will not schedule a marathon, especially an out-of-state marathon and mini-vacation during the semester in the same week of a big test. My 1st instinct was to be upset and cry about it, but I've decided it's not worth the stress or tears. No marathoning until after grad school and I will make a 4.0 next semester - end of story!

By the way, here's a pic of 5 members of the "Scandalous Six" at our Saturday night end of semester celebration. This is the group I worked with on our presentation/case study. Yes, I was the grandma of the group, but honestly I think these folks were some of the hardest workers in the class!

Finally back!

My day off yesterday was terrific. It didn't exactly start off as planned, but it was a great day regardless. I fully expected the kiddo to be awake by 6:30 am, which is the norm for her. That would have put me at the park a bit after 7 am. Well, the kiddo actually slept until 7:45! No complaints here...but, when we woke up I could hear the rain and knew it would be a treadmill day. So, I took my time getting up and eventually made it to the treadmill for a 3 mile run. I decided since it had been over a week since I had run and I had several aches & pains, I would just take it easy. It felt great to be back, even if it was on a treadmill! Not one peep from the ITB, so maybe the pain on the last run was a least that's what I'm hoping. Even the back/butt pain wasn't there. Maybe the week off gave it time to heal a bit.

After my run, I headed off to my nail appointment. It's been forever since I've had a mani & pedi, so I thoroughly enjoyed the pampering. Next, I met my friend Jennifer for lunch (with a margarita of course) and a movie. We saw "The Holiday" and I loved it! If you love sappy romantic comedies with happy endings, then this is a movie for you. It was a tad bit long, but super cute. Of course, having beautiful Jude Law to look at for 2+ hours would be easy in any movie. ;-) It was a great weekend for pretty boy watching...1st Justin Timberlake on SNL (which was freaking hilarious) and then Jude.

Later, after the kiddo was in bed, I did a 20-minute core workout. I decided a week or two ago that I would begin a two-a-day schedule while on winter break...all part of my effort to get back to my goal weight by my birthday next month. Unfortunately, I've already blown it. The hubby actually had to work this morning, which meant I had to wake up extra early to take the kiddo to my parent's house. Since I was a bit burnt out on waking up at 4 & 4:30 am to study, I decided to forego the morning workout just this once!

Running Stats

Conditions - Treadmill

Distance - 3 miles

Run Time - 33:40 minutes

Pace - 11:13

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Survived...

Well, my semester is finally over. It feels great to be done! The accounting final went better than expected, but I still think I made a B overall. Our OB group presentation was great...I think our group did the best job out of all the groups. We were prepared and it showed...but our score for the paper & presentation combined was only worthy of an 89! Regardless, I ended up with a 94 overall in that class. :-)

Last night, my OB presentation group got together for dinner to celebrate. I was fortunate to be able to work with a group of great folks - not only did everyone pull their weight on our project, they were really fun to hang out with!

Today was a bit hectic. The hubby is out of town hunting. The kiddo and I met a group of friends from my old job for brunch, then we headed to Minute Maid Park for my friend's graduation from UH (woohoo, congrats Jennifer!) and we ended the day with a birthday party for one of the kiddo's friends from our playgroup. Whew, just typing all that makes me tired. Finally, after the kiddo was in bed, I typed my Christmas card address list, so I can get my cards out tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I have the day off. I am going sleep in as long as the kiddo will allow and then take her to my parent's house for the day, so I can have a bit of time for myself. First, I am going to the park to run. Next, I am heading to a spa for a mani & pedi. Then, I am going to meet my friend Jennifer for lunch and a movie. Last, I may or may not make it to the mall for a bit of kiddo-free holiday shopping. Not that I mind shopping with the kiddo, but I can get much more done kiddo-free....anyone with a toddler can completely understand! :-)

Now that school is over, I hope to have a lot more running to blog about. Until then, have a great week!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Good Luck!

Good luck to everyone running the Houston Fit 21-miler tomorrow!!! Go kick some ass out there on the trails!

The weather is 100% better than it was last year, so that's great news!

Last year's 21-miler will forever be etched in my memory. It was 39/40 degrees with drizzling rain the entire time. I wore what I thought was a waterproof jacket, which turned out to only be water resistant - BIG DIFFERENCE PEOPLE! I wore shorts instead of tights and I did not bring a plastic bag. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. But also an experience that I am most proud of - I finished! There were so many opportunities to throw in the towel, and trust me, I really wanted to. In fact, I think more than 1/2 our group did call it quits at some point that morning. We were soaked and the mud did not make for optimal running conditions. When we made it back to the park, one of the Houston Fit coaches put little plastic toy medals around our necks to congratulate us. I still have that little medal. It sits proudly among all my real marathon medals. I have to admit, it's the one I am most proud of! When I returned home that morning, my hubby just looked at me in awe when I told him I had finished. He said that he just knew I would be back home within an hour of leaving. He also said, "Wow! You could be a Navy Seal!" the hubby's mind, that was a HUGE complement. :-) He had been watching shows the week before about Navy Seal training and the toughest obstacle for some was braving the elements. While I don't think that run was Seal worthy, it was a sweet thing to say. By the way, I keep a plastic $1 store rain poncho in my truck at all times now...just in case!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Finally! I was able to make time to run at the park. It's been a couple of weeks since I've run outdoors, so even the thought of running multiple loops at the park didn't sound so bad. I decided to do 3 loops (+ the .1), so a total of 9 miles.

When I first walked outside, I noticed that the ground was damp. Since I hadn't had a chance to watch the news in a couple of days, I had no idea it was supposed to rain. As I made my way to the park, it began to drizzle. I decided to keep going, because you know Houston could be pouring and flooding in one area and bright and sunny in another. Luckily, when I arrived at the park, it was not raining at all.

I stretched a bit, making sure to concentrate on the back/butt area that was hurting earlier in the week. When I started running, I felt that familiar pain again everytime I took a step with my right foot. It started to slowly recede around 1 1/2 miles into the run. I felt really rusty, creaky and stiff for most of the entire 1st loop. Partly because of the pain and partly because it's been a couple of weeks since I've run more than 3 miles. About 1/2 way through my 1st loop, I began to feel another familiar pain...the good ol' feeling of being stabbed in the knee...a.k.a. ITB pain. I think this happened because I was trying to overcompensate for the back/butt pain and altered my gait.

ITB pain sucks. Big time.

As I was completing my 2nd loop, the pain would come and go. I was feeling a bit tired about 1/2 way around loop 2, which was probably due to my pace - it lingered between 10:30 & 10:45, which is faster than normal for me. Then, somewhere between the 2 1/2 and 2 3/4 mile marker, the pain made me walk...and walk slowly. I hobbled over to a bench and did a bit of stretching. That seemed to help, but only for a couple of minutes. I ran a bit more and then walked the rest of the loop. Under the circumstances, I thought trying to complete the 3rd loop would not be a good idea.

I have not had severe ITB pain in a couple of years. I've had a twinge here and there, but then it would be gone...but, this is definintely worse than a twinge. In fact, the pain grew worse as the day went on. Any other time, I would have my ITB band thingy with me and would wrap it around my leg and things would be better. I've had it wrapped around my fuel belt for 2 years...just in case I needed it. Today, since I was staying in the park, I didn't bring fuel belt.

So that was my run...good pace, bad pain. Afterwards, I took the kiddo to play group, then dropped her off at my Sister-in-Law's so she could play with my nephews while I headed to the library for an accounting cram session. Afterwards, we went home and hung out...which included coloring, reading books and playing with the kiddo's toy house. So, the day started out bad, but definitely got better!

Friday, December 08, 2006


Good luck to everyone running Sunmart and White Rock this weekend! I wish I could be out there with, go kick some major a$$!


So last night, I managed to carve out 20 minutes to run between putting the kiddo to bed and cramming for my OB final. I stretched for a bit and hopped on the treadmill, hoping to catch the last 20 minutes of ER at the same time. Right away, I noticed that nagging pain again - the one right above my butt just a bit to the right. I felt the pull everytime I took a stride with my right foot. So, I stopped and stretched a few minutes more, which seemed to help a little. I noticed the same pain during my last Houston Fit run, but it eased after the first couple of miles. Anyway, I ended up walking quite a bit since it was less painful to walk. I am hoping for a 10 mile run on Sunday at the park...I guess I'll just see how it goes. I was just happy to fit in some kind of exercise! Tonight - the abbreviated core workout! The kiddo likes to do it with me...except she uses her little wooden blocks instead of hand weights. :-)

Added at 10:30 am - After checking the web, seems my pain could possibly either Sciatica or Piriformis syndrome. I found some stretches to try, so I'll start there.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Garmin or not to Garmin?

So, the hubby and I were discussing cool electronic devices last night. He was trying to convince me that I need an ipod for Christmas and I was trying to convince him that a Garmin might be a better gift idea.

To be honest, I have always been content as a low maintenance runner. I like to have my trusty ironman watch, but that's about it. However, I have to admit that the features on a Garmin do sound great. I'd love to know my pace at each mile among other things. So, high tech folks please tell me:
  • What do you like/dislike about your Garmin? Or, do you use something other than a Garmin?
  • Which model do you have? 201? 205? 305?
  • Do you really use the heart rate monitor?
  • Do you spend a lot of time playing with your Garmin? (Hey, time is a very limited resource for me these days!)
As someone who is scaling back on her running for the next 2 years (until school is over), do you think I will really use it? My goal is to work increasing my speed for the shorter distances (i.e. 5Ks - 1/2 marathons). I'm curious to see what ya'll think...

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

me, a Supermom?

Somebody give this lady a martini!

I've never thought I came close to holding that title, but thank you to Vic who referred to me as one yesterday. :-) I will say that I felt like a supermom this morning as I woke at 4:30 am. All in the name of higher education...Managerial Accounting and Organizational Behavior to be exact. My alarm clock was set for 4am to allow for the snooze button factor.

Before I hit the books, I whipped up a batch of strawberry muffins. Don't get too excited, I only had to whip up the Betty Crocker mix and a 1/2 cup of milk. (Muffins are the kiddo's latest breakfast obsession). I managed to review a couple of chapters before also throwing a yummy pasta bake into the oven. Again, nothing to get excited about...just the Banquet box dinner that only requires you to mix the pre-prepared meatball sauce with the pasta. While it was baking, I managed to empty the dishwasher and get ready for work. Now I'm just hoping that getting up extra early doesn't mean that I'll be ready for bed by 7 pm!

Just a side note: If I were really a supermom, I would have cooked all that from scratch and made a side of green beans for a healthier dinner.

Probably no running today, but I am going to try to get in a mini core workout. Only 12 more days of school....which means only 12 more days until I can sleep in. Sad when sleeping until 6 am is "sleeping in"! Now, if I could just convince the kiddo that green beans are just as yummy as the muffins....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Squeeze in a run

Last night, the hubby was back from hunting and I convinced him that it was definitely his turn to put the kiddo to bed. While he was reading bedtime stories, singing songs and getting the kiddo's favorite "sta-beddy" milk (that's strawberry in 2 year old talk), I ran! Hooray for me...3 glorious miles on the treadmill while watching an "America's Next Top Model" re-run. Nothing like watching a bunch of whiney waifs to make you want to run and burn some of the weekend's empty calories! I was going to stop at 30 minutes, but realized I didn't have too much more to make it 3 miles. During the 1st mile, I felt stiff and tired, but managed to finish it in 10:58. I decided this was going to be an easy run and slowed down for the next 2 miles.

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill (no incline)
Total distance - 3 miles
Total run time - 34:24
Pace -11:28

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I did it...

I finally broke down and cancelled my hotel reservations for White Rock. Back in August, I thought I would be running the Sunmart 50K next weekend. Why not? I had already trained for Chicago...why not run it? It would be exciting to push myself a bit more with 5 more miles than my longest distance. Turns out I not only have classes that day, but a final too! So I thought, oh well, I'll run White Rock. But, a few weeks after Chicago, I knew I wouldn't have time to keep training for White Rock or time to travel there and back. My accounting final is on the 16th, so I figured I needed to use all my spare time studying for it. (Definitely worked out to be a wise decision!)

So, I opted for the Houston and Austin 1/2 marathons. Houston is looking will still be out for winter break and I registered in plenty of time. I was excited that Austin fell on a weekend when I didn't have classes. However, I just found out that my cousin is getting married in Alabama the weekend of Austin. So...I guess I will need to cancel my hotel reservations there too!

I am hoping that things might work out to do the 1/2 at Lucky Trails or Surfside...we'll see!

Feeling like a slug

No running for me today and probably none tomorrow. Going to class today made me feel even more unprepared for finals. Let's just say that I have a lot of studying to do!

Congrats to all my Houston Fit buddies that ran their 30k today! It was a great weekend for it. If I remember correctly, last year the 30k fell on Thanksgiving weekend. It was around 70 and pouring down rain. Lucky for me I was busy preparing for the kiddo's 1st birthday bash that day!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quick Update

I made time for an abbreviated core workout. Luckily, I seem to be able to do the squats and lunges again without any pain to my left knee. However, I can't do some of the upper body exercises like push-ups because of the inflamed chest muscles. Remember the chest pains way back before Chicago? Apparently, it's called costochondritis...and it's lingering!

Houston Fit called for 40 minutes, but I only had time to squeeze in 20. So, I made it the best workout I could and added a bit of speed and incline. Looks like I'm back to the "something is better than nothing" mentality.

Running Stats
Conditions - Treadmill (watched ER)
Total Run Time - 22:33 minutes
Total Distance - 2 miles (with incline)
Total Pace - 11:16

Race's a love/hate thing

Naturally, I only had 2 pics from the Turkey Trot - one bad, one really bad. Click here to see the lesser of the 2 evils. :-)

Still no running for me...I went to a study group session last night for my accounting class (which I thought was very helpful until I started my homework problems this morning). Then, by the time the kiddo was in bed it was past 9:30 pm and there were more chapters to be read. I am beginning to think there will be very little running between now and finals.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You know you're old when...

You plan a big "Girls Night Out" and start out planning dinner/drinks downtown and then some crazy downtown/midtown bar hopping afterwards.

Then, it becomes just dinner downtown and hanging out at the restuarant bar and listening to the band.

Next, it becomes just dinner at a quiet place downtown. Hey, it's been a long time! We need to catch up, right?

Finally, it becomes dinner at your favorite place in the 'burbs, so you don't have to be as far from the kiddos & home. Hey, at least it was a girls night out!!! I'll take it!

That is exactly what happened when planning the last girls night out. I started to think about this on my drive to work I was listening to The Point (106.9). Hmmm, I've been listening to The Point a lot more lately.

It's amazing how I actually still remember every word to "Jesse's Girl" (Rick Springfield), "Sweet Child of Mine" (GNR), "Love is a Battlefield" (Pat Benetar), "Orange Crush" (REM) or "One" (U2)...almost like it was yesterday. Hey, wait! Wasn't it just yesterday???? When did I grow up? When did I get old? :-)

Jeeze, I need to get back to running!

Speaking of running...the Houston Marathon is now SOLD OUT! I hope everyone registered in time!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've been tagged...

Now you have been too! I received these questions from another blogger and next, it's your turn!

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Customer Service Associate (at various retail stores – Circuit City, 5.7.9, Camelot Music, etc.)
2. Telemarketer for the Association of Former Students at A&M
3. Intern for Harris County – County Clerk’s office
4. HR positions - Generalist, Recruiter, Manager

Four Movies I watch over and over:
1. Sense & Sensibility
2. About a Boy
3. Anything with Audrey Hepburn
4. Any of the John Hughes movies from the ‘80s (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, etc.)

Four Places I have lived:
1. College Station
2. Houston
3. HISD HR Office during the summer :O)
4. That’s it…yes, boring!

4 TV Shows I love to watch:
2. Grey’s Anatomy
3. ER
4. Heroes

4 Places I have been on vacation:
1. Grand Cayman
2. Cancun
3. Cozumel
4. Ruidoso, NM

4 Websites I visit daily:
1. Blogger

4 of my favorite foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Pizza
3. Fajitas (from Pappasito’s)
4. Shrimp en Brochette

4 places I'd rather be right now:
1. On a tropical beach
2. On a sailboat in the middle of the ocean
3. In the Chianti region of Italy
4. Running (anywhere)
(Basically, anyplace but work as long as I’m with my family)

4 Favorite Bands/Singers:
1. No Doubt
2. Social Distortion
3. Erasure
4. Aerosmith

4 Books I Loved Reading:
1. Insomnia (Stephen King)
2. The Dream Giver (Bruce Wilkinson)
3. The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)
4. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

4 Adventurous things I’ve Done:
1. Run marathons!
2. Been Bungee jumping
3. Gone Sky-diving
4. Tried Parasailing

4 things most people don’t know about me:
1. I auditioned for the movie Annie when I was 10 (obviously, I didn’t make it)
2. I have over 12 years of dance training and 6 in gymnastics (oh, and 1 year of swing dancing!)
3. I was an aerospace engineering major for 3 years
4. As a child I watched the Tour de France and vowed to participate one day…I took up running instead :O)

4 Bloggers I am Tagging:
Anyone who reads this….:O)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pain in the butt

The alarm clock went off at 4:50 this morning and for some reason I actually jumped out of bed. Literally. No pushing snooze, no sleeping another 15 minutes then cursing under my breath that I barely had time to run and get to work. I don't know what happened to me, but I wish it would happen more often.

I checked the Houston Fit 1/2 marathon schedule...20 minutes. Wait, 20 minutes? That's it? I guess that's what I love about Houston Fit - the weekday runs are short enough to fit into your everyday life and you actually feel prepared for the marathon. (Usually the weekday runs are anywhere between 20 & 50 minutes) Of course, I might finish stronger and faster if I was following a different training program that required more weekly mileage (like the Pfitz), but Houston Fit works for me and for now, I'm sticking to it. So, I ran my 20 minutes on the treadmill. Since it seemed like such a short run, I decided to make it a bit more challenging by increasing the incline along the way. It made for a pretty fun workout and I even had time to fold some laundry and work an accounting problem afterwards! I did feel a little pain right above my derrière...ouch! I noticed the same thing on Saturday...I think I just need to stretch more.

This weekend's long run is up in the air. The hubby is going hunting and I have school all day Saturday, so running with 12 miles with Houston Fit on Saturday is out. I may run with the kiddo in the jog stroller on Sunday, but it would definitely be a much shorter run. We'll see!

Running Stats
Conditions - dreadmill w/increasing incline
Total distance - 1.74
Total running time - 20 minutes
Pace - 11:29

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Busy weekend

It's finally the end of another busy weekend....

It was the kiddo's b-day, so we started the day (after getting my Roomba) by letting her open her birthday presents. Then, since she loves being outdoors, we went to the park. Next, we took her to Chuck E. Cheese for the 1st time...she loved it and even learned to ask the essential Chuck E Cheese questions - "Mommy more money?" and "Daddy more money?" - for the games.

I had the option of running with the Houston Fit 1/2 marathon group, who was starting their 10 mile run at 5:15 am -or- running with the full marathon group who was starting their 9 miler at 6 am. Gee, that's a no-brainer - I'm all about getting that extra 45 minutes sleep!

It was great to run with my peeps again! Coach Gaye and Coach Fred were a welcome sight....I have missed seeing them. I also had a chance to meet some other folks and a few first-timers. Not much to say about the run except:
  • the weather was almost perfect (a bit humid, but cool!)
  • I forgot to start my stopwatch
  • I felt like we were really hauling butt, but it seems that it was only an 11:4o pace (based on someone elses watch)
  • For the 3rd time in 3 weeks, I really had to pee halfway through the run. Thank God for the port-a-potties at the construction in River Oaks! I used one that was camoflauged with 2x4 wood planks

After the run, I hit the grocery stores to get all the supplies for the Kiddo's birthday bash. This was a small event compared to last year's 1st b-day blowout, but it still seemed to take a lot of prep time. With the gorgeous weather, most of the party was outdoors. The kiddo had a blast! Needless to say, she was out within 10 minutes of putting her to bed.


Just spent some time with the kiddo while the hubby was at work, then headed to the library for a few hours of studying. Whew, only 3 more weeks of school!

Running Stats

Conditions - 53 & humid

Total Run Time - 1:45

Total Distance - 9.15

Pace - 11:29

Friday, November 24, 2006


My pace from yesterday's 10K was better than I thought. The course was actually 6.4 miles, which means I ran a 10:33!!! (Thanks to June for the info!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gobble Gobble

Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day!!!

First on the agenda - the Turkey Trot. As I was walking to the start, the 1st person I recognized was Felix. After picking up my chip, I ran into Julie who was volunteering. At the start, I met up with Kay, Katie, John & Joanne from Houston Fit. As we were just standing around chatting about Thanksgiving Day plans, we realize the whole crowd was moving forward...the race had started and we didn't even know it!

Kay, Katie and I decided we were simply "running for food"...not PRs, so we started at a pretty easy pace. We were running the 10k only so we could indulge later and not feel too guilty about it. We ran the 1st 3 miles straight through and decided to skip the 1st water stop...BIG MISTAKE. At mile 3 we came to the the 2nd water stop and there was no more water! Grrr...not good, since it was also quite a bit warmer than we anticipated. Fortunately, Kay was smart enough to carry a bottle of water, so we each took a couple of sips of that. By mile 4, Kay started feeling a bit competitive and decided that she was going to beat another participant ahead of us and was off....Katie, who normally runs a sub-10 minute pace was right there with her. So much for running for food! :-) Since I tend to be the queen of Gallowaying and we had only taken 1 walk break, I was not ready to run any faster. I hung back and kept the easier pace. By the way, I've decided that I am way too dependent on the Galloway walk breaks and really need to start running through my shorter runs!

My finish time was 1:07:32 - a 10:52 pace. I ran my last 10K in 1:09 and some change, so I am happy to beat that. As I was leaving, I was a bit bummed that I hadn't run into any of the bloggers. That's about the same time I heard Vic call my name! It was great to see his smiling face again! He introduced me to June, who was sporting the cutest running skirt (I want one!). And then, a few minutes later, Cassie appeared. It was great to meet you June & Cassie! So, I left happy that I had meet more fellow bloggers and I was ready to eat.

I came home, made my famous sweet potato dish and we headed to my parents. I think I ate more than what I burned off in the 10K! This morning I actually went shopping. I usually avoid the black friday crowds like the plague, but it was worth it....I finally got a Roomba!!! I only had to go to Big Lots which is 5 minutes from my house. I was safely back home within 45 minutes. It's charging as we speak!


I find myself without much to blog about since I haven't run since Saturday's 11-miler. School has consumed all of my spare time this week, because I am trying really hard to finish my portion of a group project in order to fully concentrate on my finals for the next 3 weeks.

I do want to say a few things:
  1. Happy anniversary to me! The hubby and I will be going out to dinner tonight to celebrate 9 years together. We've had ups and we've had downs....fortunately, it's been mostly ups and a WONDERFUL 9 years.
  2. Happy Turkey Day!!! If you're running the Turkey Trot tomorrow, I hope I see you there. If you're heading out of town, please have a safe trip. And, be sure to eat plenty of yummy stuff...after all, isn't that why we run???
  3. Be thankful! Remember all the things in life there are to be thankful for - family, friends (even my blogger friends I've never officially met), being able to run (even us slower folks), sunsets, furry puppies, you get the idea! :-)'

God bless!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pics from Sunday

Here are a couple of pics that I took at the 25K before my batteries died.

Runners making their way down Memorial

Coach Felix carrying the flag

And, here are a few from our trip to the zoo (with new batteries):

The kiddo on the carousel

Grooming the goats

Checking out Baby Mac, who was born on 10/01/06

Heading down the slide


From the Houston Marathon website:


Amy, if you're reading this, get your arse to the website and register!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great day for 25k!

The kiddo actually slept until 7:00 am Sunday morning, so we were a little late in getting out to the 25K. Not sure of the road closures, I made my way through the side streets to Memorial and felt a twinge of envy as I began to see runners. It was in the low 50's - compared to last year's sweltering heat, this was heaven! A perfect day for running!

I managed to find a great spot along Memorial right by the footbridge near Sawyer. I tried to convince the kiddo to wear a jacket, but she insisted that she already had a jacket was actually her fleece hoodie over a long sleeve tee, but oh well. The goal was to spot and cheer for as many Houston Running Bloggers and Houston Fitters as possible! I had not even been out of my car for 5 minutes when I heard someone shout my name...gee, I thought I was supposed to be the one shouting. LOL! It was Humble/Kingwood's very own Bill! I caught off guard that he recognized me, but managed to yell back a "Hi" and a "lookin' good". He was speeding right along as if it was a piece of cake. Next, I saw Felix on the opposite side of the road carrying the flag...that man amazes me with that flag! The next person I saw speedily making his way was least I thought it was him. It certainly looked like him based on the pic from his blog. Without even thinking, I just shouted a loud "Holden!". I think I was really surprised he turned his head, because I just kind of waved. I think I saw Bob next...he's another one who just keeps getting faster and faster. Not too long after Bob came my training buddy from the NYC marathon, Vicky! Next I saw Vic on the opposite side of the street - he looked fantastic! I know he mentioned a leg cramp in his race report, but I wouldn't have guessed that he was having any problems. Next came Pam looking strong! Kay and Alisa were next with a pretty large group of Houston Fit 5/1s. It was so great to see everyone! I wanted to stay long enough to see everyone one more time, but the kiddo was getting cold and was ready to go. She was a good sport and had some fun waving and yelling "GO!". She even said "Go Mommy!" a couple of times, but I had to remind her that I wasn't running today. (That was from my coaching her before Chicago.) Congrats to everyone on finishing a tough distance!

Next, we met some friends at the zoo. On the way there, I asked the kiddo which animal she was excited about seeing and she promptly replied, "chickens!". Lucky for us, the zoo does have chickens. She had a blast! We took her to the zoo a few months ago and she refused to ride the carousel or pet/brush the goats in the petting zoo. This time, she wanted to do everything...including not get off the carousel after two rides! Afterwards, I dropped off the kiddo at home and headed to the library. Later, it was birthday shopping for the kiddo and dinner at Chuy's with the family. Perfect weather, running, family time & no classes...overall, a TERRIFIC weekend!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday LR

I had a girls night out planned for Friday and thought there would be no way in hell I'd be running on Saturday. However, plans changed and a much more toned down version was planned...that could be the subject of a whole other post! But yes, I did have a yummy frosty adult beverage....did I mention it was yummy?

I actually made it to the park at 5 am for the 1/2 marathon group's LR. We ran the 11 mile GRB route. I only ran this route once while training for Chicago, so it was nice to run it again...the rose garden was starting to get old. Again, I found myself at the front of the 5/1 pack...very surprising considering that I was a back of the pack gal with the fall group! I was beginning to think I would be running alone when I finally caught up with some slightly faster 5/1s. I met Kate, Barb and Garreth, and Barbara from my LR 2 weeks ago was also in this group. I really enjoyed meeting this group of folks! Turns out that Barb and I both attended A&M (Gig'em!), both started running the same year (for the same reason), and we both had daughters 2 years ago (2 weeks apart)! Kate is an assistant coach and did a great job of directing everyone through the lights downtown.

I felt great and headed out at what felt like a great pace. Everything clicked from the beginning, which was nice for a change. Usually it takes a couple of miles for me to really feel good. I forgot to start my watch, so I have no idea of our speed getting to the GRB. I did start my watch when we touched the wall and turned around. My return time was 1:03 and some change...Garreth ended up speeding up at the end and finished in 2:06. He said we finished about 2 minutes after him, so I think our time should be close to 2:08. If that's the case, that would be my 1st negative split in a LONG time! Overall, I'm not that happy with my pace. I know I am capable of doing better, but I really felt as if I was running as fast as I could - especially toward the end. This pace would put me at a 2:32 1/2 marathon. I haven't really determined my goal for the race, but I was thinking more along the lines of 2:20 - 2:23....I don't know if that's realistic, but we'll see!

Afterwards, I went to pick up the kiddo at my parents. The hubby had a fishing tournament, so we had a girls day out. Nothing too exciting, just grocery shopping and lunch, but still fun. Tomorrow, we're going to head over to the 25K to cheer for my fellow Fit-ers and HRBs, then we're off to the zoo! Unfortunately, I'll have to head to school after that for some group project work...only 4 weeks left 'till the end of the semester!

Good luck to everyone running the 25K tomorrow!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tempo Run?

Today on the schedule - 35 minute tempo run. My schedule only allowed for time on the dreadmill after putting the kiddo to bed. I really didn't mind, because it gave me an excuse to watch the last bit of Grey's and the 1st part of ER.

The thing about me and the treadmill is that I have a habit of racing against the clock. As I run, I see the little lights light up on the on-screen "track" and I look at the time to I see if I can make it all the way around the little track by a certain time.

I did this I was running, I kept creeping the speed up a little here and a little there until I felt I was running as fast as I could run for 35 minutes. I did take two 1 minute walk breaks to talk to the hubby about the kiddo's birthday. I looked at my speed - what I thought was a really fast pace for me was a 10:54 pace!

Jeeze, when did I get this slow?
Why was I sweating so much?
When did I become such a wuss?

While I was training for Chicago, I attributed my slower runs to the extreme Houston heat or trying not to get injured. Then, I started reminiscing about my early running days (i.e. 2001/2002) - I've never been really fast, but I could easily run 3 miles at a 10:30 pace. But not tonight. Tonight, I was sweating and working at wasn't terribly hard, but it certainly wasn't easy.

I know during my 2nd year with Houston Fit, I trained for NYC. I was running with my good friend Marlina and we had a tendency to slow down because we were busy chatting and even took more walk/stretch breaks than we really should have. We ran NYC in 2003 and then Houston in 2004 (my 2 slowest marathons). Shortly after that, I got preggo with the kiddo. I continued to run until about month 5 and then just walked on the treadmill until my due date. So, I know some of the slowness can be attributed to lack of proper training in 2003 and then no running for a large portion of 2004. I started running again as soon as I had the okay from the doctor, but never really pushed myself to go faster. I was just getting used to running body felt different, I got sweaty faster, everything seemed harder! When I re-joined Houston Fit last year to train for the 2006 Houston/Austin marathons there were many times that I wasn't sure that I could make it. I even went to all the hill and speed workouts (until the achilles injury). But still, unlike my 1st year in Fit, I was no longer sprinting in at the finish of a long run...I was just happy to finish.

And tonight, I reminded myself of those days again. The days when I really pushed to run harder. Yes, I could run faster...not extremely fast, but faster. I liked those days. Tonight, even though I didn't run as fast or as easily as I used to, it felt great to run as fast as I felt I could. I think I will keep pushing myself like this. Who knows, maybe I'll even get a little faster in the process.

Running Stats
Conditions - Treadmill
Total run time - 35 minutes
Total distance - 3.10 miles
Pace 11:17

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You realize your life is too busy when...

You realize TODAY that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!

Holy cow!

How did that happen?

For some reason, I thought I had another week in there. Of course, this also means that my anniversary (9 years) and the kiddo's birthday (2 yrs) are also NEXT WEEK! It's a damn good thing that I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year, we'd be eating the kiddo's chicken nuggets and macaroni with juice boxes.

Oh, and last night, I left school around 8:30 pm. I called my mom and told her I was on my way to pick up the kiddo. I think entered the twilight zone at some point, because I exited the freeway for my house (not Mom's house) and continued driving for about a mile before I realized I hadn't picked up the kiddo! (Insert the Homer Simpson "Doh!" here)

I may have to skip the core workout tonight, so I can address the kiddo's birthday party invites. :O) And yes, this runnergirl needs a vacation!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


That's what time I set my alarm clock for, but it's not the time I actually woke up. Now that the marathon is over, I've had some difficulty getting up early to run. (Can we say dwindling motivation???) I've still managed to squeeze in some runs, but they haven't been taking place in the early morning hours. Last night, I decided that I would make myself run in the morning when the hubby's schedule allowed for it. It's tough to wake up, but it's great to 1) start in the negative with the calories and 2) know I don't have to do it later.

Today on the schedule - 35 minutes easy. I ran 35 minutes on the treadmill, watching the news and flipping through stations. There's not much on TV at that hour...Saved by the Bell, Angel, The Wiggles, Joyce Meyers and plenty of infomercials. I thought I was using my "faster" easy pace, but it took me the entire 35 minutes and some change to finish 3 miles! What's up with that?

Tonight, I have to meet up with my group from my OB class to work on our presentation. I hate days like today, because the kiddo was still asleep when I left for work and she will be ready to go to sleep when I pick her up from my parent's house tonight. But, only 33 days until the semester is over...hallelujah!!!

I am still trying to decide what to do about my run this weekend. I have a long awaited "Girl's Night Out" on Friday, so running on Saturday morning isn't likely. Plus the hubby has a fishing tournament, so I would have to spend the night at my parents if I want to run Saturday. I've considered running the 25K - just because I can. :-) But, if we start at 7am, chances are I won't be done until 10am. That's a bit later than I want to finish and interferes with my plans to take the kiddo to the zoo later. So, that leaves another boring long run alone on Sunday...grrrr!

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill
Total distance - 3 miles
Total running time -35:20
Pace - 11:46

Monday, November 13, 2006

Route from Sunday...

Was a bit shy of 8 miles...bummer! Here's the stats...

Running Stats
Conditions - sunny & 46
Total Distance - 7.8
Total Run Time - 1:28
Pace - 11:16

So I pretty much maintained the pace I wanted. I wish I had known I was short of the 9 miles, I would have kept going. Thanks to bunnygirl who suggested using g-map before heading out. I may not memorize the location of each mile, I will be able to 1) make sure I know the distance of my run beforehand and 2) remember the 1/2 way point if it's not an out & back route to know if I have a negative split.

Hooray for cold!

As I was driving to school yesterday, I noticed the wind and for once, was happy that I was not running with Houston Fit that morning. It was pretty chilly and that wind would make running a bit tough. It warmed up nicely, which made it really difficult to be stuck in a classroom all day. Oh, and that accounting test...I did as poorly as I thought. Getting an A in the class is going to mean some hard core studying for the next 4+ weeks!

Sunday, I made my way to Memorial Park to begin the scheduled 9-miler. I made it there a bit after 6:30am, stretched and was off. Rather than doing 3 loops, I finally decided to leave the park. I decided to run on the loop path to Memorial Dr, head to the "Rose Garden" and back, then complete the remainder of the loop. My math was off - I thought loop=3 miles, rose garden & back = 6 miles. But I finished my run in 1:28 and some change, so there is NO WAY that my route could have been 9 miles. I was going for an 11:15 could have been more like 8 miles, but definitely not 9! So, I need to map it on gmap to be more exact.'s times like these when I wish I had a Garmin. I pride myself on being a low-maintenance, low-budget, low-tech runner...however, I am beginning to re-think getting a Garmin more and more these days. Maybe I'll ask Santa for one this year...although, I have been eyeing a Chicago Marathon memento from Tiffany's. :-)

So, the run was great. The temps were in the high 40's - again, perfect running temps in my books. I made it all the way to Troon when I finally got rid of the long-sleeve shirt and ran the rest of the way in short sleeves. That was also when I realized that I still had the small Texas flag on the back of my shirt. I had put it there for the Chicago Marathon and had forgotten about it! I said good morning to any runners that I encountered along the way and made my way to the rose garden and back. As I was approaching the Shell station on Memorial, I was passed by a man who looked to be at least twice my age. Not just passed....he smoked me! Gotta love that!

The best part of my run happened when I got back to the Memorial loop...I finally met Vic! I was running my last mile, starting to feel a bit tired and I see a man running toward me. He's saying hi to some folks running past him. I knew just by this man's warmth and friendliness that it had to be Vic! It's funny how even though you've never met someone, you can feel like you actually know them. Vic has got to be one of the most inspirational runners I know and I read his blog religiously. Just as I expected, he was warm & friendly and was looking great out there. Vic - it was terrific to finally meet you!!!

So, I finished my final mile and stretched at the park. I felt great...I am loving these shorter LRs. I headed home as I had a busy day in store! The kiddo and I had play group, then I headed out to see Marie Antoinette with my friend Roberta followed by the Houston Fit Fall Marathon group post-race party and finally, the kiddo had a birthday party to attend! (yes, even at 2, she has "friends" and parties!)

I loved Marie Antoinette! Probably not historically accurate, but the scenery & costumes where phenomenal! There were scenes that moved slowly, but then I realized that as royalty in that time, you were really not allowed to do must have moved very slowly! The Houston Fit party was great. It was awesome to see the different medals and hear all about the various fall marathons. Chicago, NYC, Marine Corp, St. George and Steamtown were all represented. We met at Berryhill in the Heights, which had great Margarita's. Of course, I only had one, as I didn't think it would be very nice to show up at a 2-year old's birthday party tipsy! The kiddo played and played at the party, so she was pretty pooped by the time we arrived home. What a day! Fun, fun, fun!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank You Vets....

Thank you for defending our country and our freedom!

And a special thanks to my favorite veteran of Dad! Love ya Papa!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday....

Today, 11/10/2006, celebrates the 231st anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps.

Happy birthday and thanks for all you do for us!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Angry running

It's amazing what a little spousal spat can do for your running! Houston Fit 1/2 Marathon training schedule says a 25 minute tempo, 25 minutes it is!

Running Stats
Conditions - Treadmill while watching Grey's Anatomy
Total distance - 2:25 miles
Total run time - 25 minutes
Pace - 11:06 (much faster than the past few weeks!)

25 minutes? Wow, this 1/2 marathon training is pretty nice. This weekend I have to do 9 miles. I have school on Saturday, which leaves me with 3 loops around the park on Sunday...that is, unless I get adventurous enough to venture out of the park. We'll see!

Got weekend plans?

Need something to do on Sunday? The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance offers monthly tours of an architecturally and/or historically significant area of Houston. This month's tour is the northeast edge of the museum district known as "The Binz".

I've attended GHPA walking tours of The Houston Heights and the Chase building (formerly the Gulf building) and have really enjoyed both! The tours are a great way to learn about the history of the city and meet new people.

For more information about the tour, visit the GHPA website here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A bit of running trivia

Recognize this man?

Yes, that's right, Mr. Ron Burgundy himself, Will Ferrell. I can't wait to see his new movie, Stranger than Fiction, which is opening this weekend.

I've enjoyed most of his movies and loved him as Trojan Cheerleader, Craig Buchanan, on Saturday Night Live. What I didn't know about him is that he's marathon runner as well! He ran NYC in 2001 (5:04:50) and Boston in 2003 (4:02:29). Gee, no wonder I like him!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Woe is me...

It's lunch time and I am at work eating lunch at my desk...again. Sometimes I hate being in HR and I really hate being one of only two people in HR. Sigh...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Dreadmill Run

Another Monday workout..after fighting the rainy rush-hour traffic, I needed it! The Houston Fit 1/2 Marathon training schedule called for 20 easy minutes. I did 20 minutes and for the most part it was easy. I decided to add a little resistance to the run by increasing the incline on the treadmill. So, after a 1/4 mile warm-up, I increased the incline on my treadmill to 1.5. After 5 minutes, I increased the incline to 2.0, then after 10 minutes, I increased the incline to 2.5. I ran the remainder of the 20 minutes at that incline. I think I might start increasing the incline on my treadmill during at least one run per week from now made the run a bit more interesting. Oh, and I watched "Heroes" as I ran...more distractions to help make it through the treadmill boredom. Now, I'm off to hit the books!

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill
Total Run Time - 20 minutes
Total Distance - 2.75 miles
Pace - 11:42 (slower than normal, but I think it's due to the incline)

'Till next time!

He did it!

Lance's NYC run may have been inspiring, but I think even larger congrats should go to Dean Karnazes. Why does his name sound familiar? He's the man who just completed the Endurance 50 - that is, he ran 50 marathons in 50 days! I haven't decided if that's amazing or just plain crazy, but it's impressive all the same. He finished the NYC Marathon yesterday in 3:00:30...okay, that's amazing! Read his blog here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

“the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done”

Lance Armstrong finishes the NYC Marathon in 2:59:36.

ING NYC today!

Just wanted to send a big good luck to all the Houston Fit-ers, Houstonians and fellow bloggers running in the NYC Marathon today! Even after Chi-town NYC is my favorite marathon. Jules, Alisa and the crew...go kick some asphalt!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A perfect day!

Today was pretty much a perfect day from start to finish. Okay, maybe I would have slept a bit later. :-)

Alarm clock - 4:20 am! The weather was a perfect 50 degrees...I'd have to say that 50 is my favorite running temp. Cool enough to not get overheated and sweaty, but warm enough to still wear short sleeves. I made it to the park and found the 1/2 marathon training group and the 5/1s. I met one of the faster reds from the fall group who also ran Chicago. We swapped marathon war stories before the announcements began. As we were leaving the park, it seemed that the 5/1 group was running a tad bit slower than I was used to...I know, I know..sounds impossible right? :-) Fortunately, I quickly met another 5/1 runner who ran at my pace. Then, about 2 miles into the route, we met another 5/1 runner who was running at the same pace. So, the 3 of us stuck together the remainder of the route. The pace is a bit slower than I'm hoping for in the 1/2 in January, but much better than my pace in the warmer temps!

We ran a variation of the Rose Garden route with the option to run either 9 or 10 miles. To run 10 miles, we would pass Shepherd at Allen Parkway and continue to Waugh for the return trip. To run 9, we would turn left on Shepherd and go back to the park. I was feeling strong the entire run, but really, really needed a port-a-potty due to the water I drank on the way to the park. (Sorry, TMI!) So, I was a wuss and only ran 9. But, it felt great to be back at the park, running with a group in wonderful weather!

The highlight of the run was meeting a fellow HRB and fellow Chicago Marathon finisher! As we were running back to the park on Memorial Dr. somewhere near Starbucks, I ran into Jill! She spotted me 1st, which was a good thing because by that point I wasn't paying attention to much of anything. Jill, it was great to finally meet you!!!

When we returned, we picked up our official 2006-07 Houston Fit shirts. I love it! The red ones from last year were terrific, but could be hot in the sun. Here's the shirt:

Then, the kiddo and I went to visit my absolute, favorite aunt in Kemah. We took her to lunch on the boardwalk, watched the sailboats go by and waved at the train. My aunt was recently diagnosed with a rare form of an incurable blood cancer called "Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia", or WM, so spending extra time with her has been important to me. The weather was perfect for the outing and we had a great time! Here are a few pics from the day:

Running Stats
Conditions - 50 and perfect!
Total Distance - 9 miles
Total Running Time - 1:43:30
Pace - 11:30

Have an awesome weekend!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006


So Chicago is over. It's a little bittersweet. No question about what was next, because I already knew that I would be running the Aramco Houston 1/2...anything to keep me running. I think I have come to accept that I will be running the 1/2 and I think I am going to be okay with it! Thanks to the comments from yesterday, I've begun to think about the 1/2 in a new light. Barbara said, "Half the work, twice the fun" and she's so right! Bunnygirl said "long enough to be a challenge and entitle you to good eats afterward, but not so long that you're wiped for the rest of the week". So, thanks to those two comments and the all others, I've decided to accept the challege of the 1/2! (Sorry June, I am going to try not to give in and switch!) I would love to think I'm some "Wonder Woman" and people would look at me and say, "Wow! Look at how easily she juggles marathon training, school, work, plus being a wife and mom!". Unfortunately, it's not that easy (especially with a hubby with an opposite schedule). Time spent in one area takes time away from another. My family, work and school, definitely need to come before running, so training for a 1/2 will help me balance all these things a little better. So, my goal is to see how fast I can run the 1/2. My only other 1/2 was in 2002 and at the time, was the farthest distance I had ever run. I don't remember my time, but I will look it up in my scrapbook and see if I can shave off a significant number of minutes!

So, just a quick catch up for the past week....I ran for the 1st time since Chicago on Monday. It was a grueling experience because 1) it was on the dreadmill and 2) I felt all stiff after not running for an entire week. I think it only took me 10 minutes to start whining. Tuesday, I took the kiddo trick or treating with her cousin and she had blast! She did not want to wear her costume, but her teacher finally managed to talk her into it. However, she did refuse to wear her crown, tights or "princess shoes". She also insisted on having a t-shirt underneath. Wednesday, intended to run, but life happened. Thursday, I ran 3 miles, this time outdoors. Things went much better, which I am sure is because of the awesome fall weather we're having!

Here a few pics of the kiddo learning all about Halloween from her idol & cousin:

Notice how blogger has decided to post my pics? Why wouldn't it do that a few days ago?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I did it...


I registered for the Aramco Half Marathon a few minutes ago. I have mixed feelings about registering for the 1/2...part of me feels like since I just ran Chicago that I could probably run the full here even if I can't dedicate as much time to training as I'd like. Of course, the lack of appropriate training would make it a difficult run and probably not a great finish time (then, I'd beat myself up!). Plus, I know that I really need to dedicate all my free time to school (especially after that Accounting test on Sat kicked my butt!). With school, the pressure to attempt to adhere to a training schedule is not really something I need to deal with right now. But, it seems like such a waste to train so hard and only run one marathon. Then again, I really don't feel like doing more 15, 18 & 21-mile training runs!!! Ugh, why is so hard to register for a 1/2 after running a full? It's not as if running a 1/2 wasn't a challenge in itself! Any I the only one who struggles with this? Is this marathoner snobbery? Why do I make this so difficult?

Chicago Slideshow

For anyone interested in seeing all the pictures from Chicago (rather than clicking on the links), the slideshow is here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Chicago Marathon - Part III - After the Race

Not wanting to be miss out on some time to see the wonderful city of Chicago, I made plans to shower and relax for a bit after the marathon before heading out to see the sights. The hubby was very pleased with himself for figuring out how to navigate the El. He offered to grab me a cab to get back, but I thought taking the train would be more fun...and it would force me to walk, which in turn, would prevent some of the post marathon stiffness. He also offered to get me some ice for an icebath, but I decided that I had enough cold for one day. After relaxing and getting dressed again (and taking a Tylenol 8 hour), I called my parents to see if they wanted to go for a celebratory meal. No luck, they had just eaten, but we agreed to do dinner instead. So, the hubby, kiddo and I walked to the deli on the next street and had a slice of pizza. Afterwards, we met up with the parental units and headed to Sears Tower. Everyone loved the views, but the kiddo was bored before the pre-elevator movie was over. It had been a long day for her with no naptime. So, afterwards, we decided to skip the dinner and the hubby grabbed hot dogs from Portillo's instead. Yum!

Here are some pics from the Sears Tower (pic 1, pic2, pic 3, pic 4) and Portillo's (pic1, pic2) of the fattening, but yummy hot dogs. Hey, after a marathon, who cares? I wasn't bummed about not doing dinner, but was a bit bummed that the evening didn't include any tasty adult beverages...oh well, we'd have time for that later!

I rolled out of bed at 5:45 am...yes, life with a toddler! I was feeling stiff, but overall, not too terrible. I think walking up and down all those stairs at the El platforms helped! I took a Tylenol 8 hour, just in case. The hubby was still asleep, so the kiddo and I walked across the street to McD's for breakfast. Next, we met the parental units for an Architectural Boat Cruise on the Chicago River that was awesome. Um, it would have been more awesome if it we 20 degrees warmer with no wind. It was so cold!!! Lucky for us, they had coffee and hot chocolate on board.

Here are some pics from the cruise - pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4, pic5, pic6

Next, we headed to Navy Pier. We looked around and had lunch at The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company..we had vowed to not eat at any chains, but it was the 1st thing we came to and we were hungry. After chowing down (and I finally had my tasty adult beverage!) we headed to Wrigley Field so the hubby could see it up close. I promised to bring him back in the Spring/Summer so he could actually go inside. :-) We also ran into the man and his wife that I had met in Pam's hotel before the marathon. He swapped marathon stories from the day before...we both finished and had a pretty good race. Next stop - "Big John" or the John Hancock Building. I personally think the view from Big John is much better than the Sears Tower, but decided to keep my opinions to myself and let my parents & hubby decide for themselves. Later, we headed back to the hotel. We had eaten such a big, late lunch that we decided to get a light dinner and a couple of drinks at the hotel restaurant. Mmmm, Pino Grigio for me and a Goose Island for the hubby. In fact, even the parents had a Goose Island. The kiddo stuck to mac & cheese with apple juice.

Here are the pics - Navy Pier - pic 1, Wrigley Field - pic 1, pic 2, pic 3, pic 4 & Big John - pic 1, pic 2, pic 3, pic 4, pic 5.

We decided to be typical tourists and take the double-decker bus tour. The 1st bus that came around only had the upper deck...we tried to sit there, but after 20 minutes, we were frozen. We switched to Trolley at the next stop, which didn't allow for the greatest photo opps, but it was much toastier. Our tour guides were fabulous! After about 2 hours of seeing the city, we decided to have some famous Chicago deep dish pizza at Gino's East (pic). (Thanks to Marcy for recommending it!) Next, we headed to Millennium Park for a close up view of the amphitheatre and the big silver bean. Finally, a trip to Chicago would not be complete without some shopping on Michigan Ave....aka "The Magnificient Mile". We also had to stop at the American Girl store, for the kiddo of course! By the time we made it there, she was fast asleep! Later that night, my parents offered to watch the kiddo so the hubby & I could go out. We were still stuffed from dinner, so we decided on drinks at the Signature Lounge (pic) which is on the 65th floor of "Big John". It's quite a swanky, romantic place with awesome night views of the city. I had a delicious very dirty, vodka martini and the hubby had another Goose Island. Once upon a time, I was a martini girl...but, I've been on a margarita kick for awhile. The martini was awesome...I think I'll be switching back! It was a great way to end our trip.

Here are some pics from the bus tour...pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4, pic5, pic 6, pic 7, pic8
Here are some from Millennium Park...pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4, pic5, pic6, pic7

Time to head back home. Here's a pic of the kiddo at the airport.

Back to work. Look what I came back to co-workers rock!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chicago Marathon Race Report - Part II - RACE DAY!

Warning: This is long, so grab a popcorn and soda before reading! :-)

I set the alarm clock for 4:45 am...probably way too early, but I'd rather be too early than too late. I got dressed quietly and tried to leave without waking up the kiddo. I decided to wear my long sleeved, black Nike dri-fit with a short-sleeved dri-fit underneath, tights and gloves. I also decided to just go with my old shoes...the newer ones, with the new insoles just didn't feel right on Saturday. For warmth before the run, I wore an A&M sweatshirt and tyvek pants. Overkill? Definitely! But, at least I was warm! The kiddo woke up as I was leaving, so I grabbed good luck kisses from her and the hubby. Pam's hotel was only about 1/2 mile away, but I decided to save my legs and asked the hotel for a cab.

Pam's hotel
The hotel was much closer than I thought and we were there in no time - exactly 30 minutes before I was scheduled to meet Pam! I usually eat a piece of toast with PB before my runs, but there was nothing open at that hour. After chatting with the cabbie, I found out there was a Dunkin Donuts a block from Pam's hotel. I headed there and grabbed their version of the Egg wasn't really what I wanted, but I knew I would need something in my stomach before the race. I met another runner and we chatted about the weather and the race for a bit. When I made it back to Pam's hotel, I still had about 20 minutes before our schedule meet-up time. I sat in the lobby and watched runners gradually make their way downstairs. I met a man from Indiana and his wife. This was his 3rd Chicago and I learned that he had run San Diego a couple of times, along with many other marathons. He had also run Boston 3 times..amazing!

Pam made it downstairs and we decided that since no one seemed in any hurry to head to the race, we would hang out in the warm lobby a bit longer. We made our bathroom stops and as soon as runners began to slowly trickle out, we followed suite and headed the few blocks to the start area. The cool air felt great!

The Start-Line
So we head to the start, but we're not really sure where to go. The start/finish area was pretty huge, so people are spread out everywhere. We decided to head to the open corral where we met a pretty cool guy who was there running his 1st marathon. He was nice enough to snap this pic of me and Pam...too bad I didn't think to turn on the flash! It turns out that he is in Chicago at the Seminary becoming a priest. One of the other men from the seminary got him interested in running earlier in the year and he decided to train for the marathon. He said he finished his 1st half a few months earlier in under 2 hours. I am beginning to think we need to move further back in the corral with the slower runners! About the same time I'm thinking this, I realize that there are now people all around us. I see the 4:15 pace group in front of us and know we need to move back, but there's no room to move! So, we're stuck in the sea of people and can't go anywhere. I know, I know...bad! We did get to chit chat with a few of the folks around us and swap marathoning stories. As we get closer to the start time, an announcer comes on the loud speaker and tells how many minutes are left until the start. People are taking off their outer layers of clothing and throwing them into the air. Pants and sweatshirts are flying all over the place and landing on people's heads. I make a mental note to watch for these items as I'm running.

Note: Most of the race is one huge blur! I wish I had a mini-recorder to note all the interesting things I saw or heard along the way. Here's my account based on some notes I jotted back at the hotel...

The race is on!
Finally, the announcer announces that it's time for the wheelchair participants to start. The national anthem is sung and before I know it we're off! Well, not exactly. We stand there for a little while and gradually begin walking in tiny footsteps toward the start. Thanks to our place in the corrals, we get to the start in no time and begin to run. I think we made it in about 6 1/2 minutes (much faster than the 17 minutes in NYC!). We go beneath a bridge and there are tons of people looking down at us and people lined up and down the steps getting to the bridge. The number of spectators was awesome! I immediately wonder why in the heck I don't have my disposable camera out and quickly grab it in time to capture this pic of the next bridge. I wasn't sure how the pics would turn out since I didn't want to stop to take them.

We quickly realized that the crowds were so loud and awesome that we missed our 1st walk break. Screw it! We decided to just keep going and enjoy the crowds and adrenaline. We made it to the 1st mile marker and I hit my split button - 10:58! Whoa, we were going too fast. We slowed it down a bit. I don't remember where, but somewhere in the 1st couple of miles, there was a choir from one of the airlines (United maybe?) singing God Bless America. It was beautiful and for some reason made me feel a bit emotional. We continued to make our way through the streets of the Loop and to the River North area.

Mile 2 -11:39 (that's more like it)
Mile 3 - 11:47

I was on the lookout for my Dad and Hubby between miles 3 & 4, but never did see them. At this point, it was still difficult trying to take a walk break. The streets were so crowded! We would see that our walk break was coming up, but there was nowhere to move. We'd try to move to the right, but it was difficult to weave in and out of people to get there. Then, we'd realize that there were still tons of runners behind us. Somehow we managed, but I was still afraid of making the folks behind me PO'd.

Mile 4- 11:16
Mile 5- 11:16

Mile 6 - 11:31

Around miles 5 or 6, I realized it was raining. Luckily, it was just a very fine, light mist. I didn't even realize it was raining until someone behind me mentioned it. At this point we're going through Lincoln Park, which was beautiful with all the leaves changing colors. It reminded me a bit of being in Central Park.

Mile 7 - 11:22
Mile 8 - 11:26

Miles 7 & 8 took us through Wrigleyville. Again, lots of great spectators and still very crowded streets. Mile 9 took us through Lakeview and back toward Lincoln Park again. Somewhere in here was Boys Town. It's very much like our Montrose area here and very fun! Here's a pic of some guys dressed up in costumes dancing and lip-syncing to YMCA. There was also a team of rifle-tossing men dancing to Oh Micky! All of the volunteers handing out water and gatorade were wearing cowboy hats and I wondered if they were going for a Brokeback Mountain theme. I chuckled out loud and kept moving.

Mile 9 - 11:36

Mile 10 took us through Old Town. I liked this area - there were trees lining boths sides of the street so that you could run under a pretty orange and yellow canopy of leaves. Again, I was amazed at the number of folks standing out there cheering us on. There were tons of people who look like they were having a big 'ol party out there.

Mile 10 - 11:49

Somewhere between miles 11 & 12 in River North, I found my Dad and Hubby. They were obviously not expecting me, because they were not ready with the camera or camcorder. I made a quick stop to get good luck hugs & kisses moved on. By this point, I had gotten cheers from many of the Texans on the course. They spotted the Texas flag on the back of my shirt and would say "Go Texas Girl" or "Hooray for Texas". A few runners that were passing me (or in a few rare cases, I was passing them), would run next to me and chat for a few seconds about where in Texas they were from or their spouse was from, and where I was from. It was a great distraction from the running. Somewhere along the route, we ran right next to the Sears tower and I grabbed this pic. I managed to drop my camera and the nice guy behind me picked it up and offered to take a pic of me.'s difficult to take a pic while running!

Mile 11- 11:11 (obviously, pumped up from above said hugs & kisses)

Back at mile 9 or 10, I was starting to feel the need for a quick potty-stop. Naturally, when I need a port-a-can, I can't find one! Finally, between miles 11 & 12, I find one...hallelujah! But darnit, there was a pretty good sized line. I had begun to feel the twinge of tightness in my left IT band, right near the hip, during the last mile. I made a point to use my time waiting in line stretching it out a bit. The lady behind me was passing out kleenex tissues and handed me one...I don't know who she was, but I greatly appreciated the tissue! The porta can I got stuck with was pretty darn nasty and there was no tp left.

Mile 12- 16:00!!! (potty break...darn lines at the porta-potties!)

I kind of freaked out after seeing my split on the last mile with my potty break. Luckily, I discovered that grabbing some high fives from the spectators (especially the kiddos) gave me a little boost of energy and made me want to keep on running. Mile 13 took us through Greektown. Maybe it was my imagination, but I swear I could smell the scent of Souvlaki and Falafel in the air. We also passed through West Loop and then back through Greektown again in miles 14-16. There was a section of Greektown that had Greek flags lining the streets and even some cool Greek columns. Very cool! I remember walking through one of the water stops and managing to spill some water on my gloves...that made for some very cold hands!

Mile 13- 11:44
Mile 14- 12:10 (walked through water stop)
Mile 15- 11:44

As you can see from my splits from here on out, I experienced my bonk around Mile 16. Not surprising since I got a little lazy in my 18 and 21-milers around this point. The five minute runs now seemed like an eternity and I finally broke down around mile 17 and changed my watch to 3/1s. As we headed toward mile 17, we were entering Little Italy and the Power Bar power gel zone. Again, lots of crowds. Here and there we would round a corner and feel a huge, cold gust of wind. Luckily, we would turn again and be blocked from the wind again.

Mile 16 - 12:51 (beginning of my bonk! Switched to 3:1s)
Mile 17 - 12:29
Mile 18 - 13:42 (another water stop)

Somewhere between mile 18 & 19, I switched my watch again - this time to 2/2s. But, I made a mental bargain with myself (at least I hope it was mental, although by this point I could have been talking to myself out loud and not have noticed or cared.) Anyway, my mental pact was that if I was going to do 2/2s, I had to really run (to the best of my ability at this point) the running 2s and really speedwalk the walking 2s. I took these 2 pics (and pic) somewhere along the way, but I'm not sure where. We also ran through Pilsen which was an amazing area. Lots of fun, loud crowds that made me want to pick up the pace. I was feeling tired and still had the ache in my hip, but overall I was feeling pretty strong.

Mile 19 - 12:46

When I made it to mile 20, I just remember thinking, "OH MY GOD! ONLY 6.2 TO GO!". I remember telling myself that it was "just another 10K", "no problem", "you can do this", etc. I don't know if myself really cared at this point, because I seemed to just be happy that I was still moving forward regardless of the pace. I kept high-fiving spectators. I also took a "now and later" and a Tootsie Roll from someone...thank you whoever you were! Trying to unwrap the candy and eat it kept my mind off the ache in my legs and I decided to take more candy if I saw it again! At this point we also passed "THE WALL"...literally. There was a huge cardboard wall and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was playing...god bless those people who had to stand there and listen to that song for all those hours...I have nothing against Pink Floyd, but I would have rather slit my wrists! All in all, my legs were still feeling good, just tired.

Mile 20 - 12:56

For some reason, at mile 21 I started to get excited. I was almost there!!! I began to think about my time. Could I still PR? It would be terrible to come this far and not give it a good effort! I asked myself how I would feel afterward if I didn't really go for it. About this time we were entering Chinatown. It was great! There was a Chinese Dragon and the crowds were amazing! Here's a pic of the Dragon and another pic of Chinatown. Somewhere in mile 20 was a sign that said "5 more miles". Very misleading considering we hadn't made it to mile 21 yet...of course, I didn't even think about that..I was just happy to be close to the end. I remember thinking (and not for the 1st time during this race) that all in all, I was kind of glad this would be my last marathon until grad school was over. This was an awesome race, but This was hard! I know people run multiple marathons in a year and have no problem with it, but this was my 3rd one this year and quite frankly 3 is more than enough for me! The thought left my mind almost as quickly as it entered it.

Mile 21 - 13:03

At mile 21.2, there was yet another sign that said "5 Miles to Go!". For real this time though! I think that's when I looked at my watch and realized I could PR if I picked up the pace a bit. I knew that 5:15 might be a bit out of reach, but I could beat my 1st marathon time of 5:21:17. I could do it dammit!!! So, I ditched the 2/2s concept and tried to run as much as I could, but still take a quickie walk break if I need it (and I did!). It was at this point that I realized that I was running with Wonder Woman, Captain America and Flash Gordon! It was so funny! I wish I had thought to take a picture, but at this point I was not really thinking about anything. Those who have run marathons could probably agree that you do get to the point of exhaustion where you can't think anymore. You keep moving...but you don't think. I was at that point. The hubby called me (yes, I had my cell phone) and told me where to look for him after the race. I think I hung up on him...sorry, but I didn't the energy to talk and run.

Mile 22 - 12:29
Mile 23 - 12:49

Mile 24 - 12:54

Mile 25 - 12:29

I am still moving forward and still thinking PR. After mile 25, there is a sign that says "800 Yards". It was a welcome sight! We were no longer talking miles, we were talking yards! Woohoo! I heard someone say, "Isn't that something like 4 football fields?". Then I heard Captain America say, "Last one there's a rotten egg". He sped up, but after a few feet slowed down again...I know the feeling, it's called exhaustion! At some point we turned a corner and at that point we were heading toward the finish...I don't think I believed I was that close until then. I saw the sign that said "400 yards"...I thought to myself that 400 yards was just a lap around a track or about 1/4 of a mile, but I wasn't thinking too clearly. There may have been a 600 yard sign, but I don't remember it. Then, there was a 200 meter sign and I sped up. I went as fast as my tired legs could carry me. Around mile 25.9 there was a huge hill (cruel!) and I remember feeling one of those huge gusts of wind. Somehow I managed to keep going. As soon as I was up the hill, we turned a corner and there it was....THE FINISH! I remember seeing tons of crowds and hearing tons of cheers, but it's all a big blur. I just remember focusing on finishing. I could see the clock. I looked at my watch and knew I was going to PR. I tried to speed up, but don't think I succeeded. I remember thinking about how one Houston Fit speaker jokingly said that you're going to feel like you're running really fast to the finish...but you're not. That was me! I felt like I was sprinting, but I know I wasn't. I remember finally making it to the mat, raising my arms in victory and feeling a huge wave of relief. I was done and I had PRed! (pic here)

FINISH TIME - 5:20:56

I made my way to the man holding the medals and told him something about how he was my favorite person in the world right at that moment. I grabbed a sexy silver blanket and made my way to the food. There were bananas, English muffins (which taste pretty nasty dry) and fig newtons. There was also a lady from a restaurant specializing in cereal handing out samples. Someone was handing out samples of Tylenol 8 hour, which I graciously accepted as was sure I could use it later! I also got my official race pic with my medal.

I called the hubby to see exactly where to meet him, because my mind wasn’t functioning well when I spoke to him earlier. I made my over to them, what a welcome sight! I got a huge hug and kiss from the kiddo and lots of congrats from my parents and hubby. We took a quick finish pic and headed to the hotel. It was the perfect end to a great race!

I know that even though this report is long, there are things I've left out - like the many bands that provided music, the Mariachi's that entertained, all the cheering squads that cheered for us, the man playing bag pipes on the street, passing only a few spectators near the United Center, etc. I don't remember where I saw these things, but I do remember them and appreciate that they were out there making my 1st Chicago Marathon one to remember. I think that like NYC, Chicago will be one city where I would like to run again!