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!

2006 Chicago Marathon Race Report - Part I - Pre-Race

Sorry this took so long to post! I wanted to make sure I had an account of all the details for myself to read, it's a bit lengthy! And, dammit, wouldn't you know that Blogger is not liking my pictures either! I've posted links to my flicker account. Sorry 'bout that.

Friday afternoon, I was in a bit of a panic about my shoes. I went to Luke's after work to buy new insoles and hoped for the best. After getting the kiddo off to bed, I finished my packing and tried to get a good night's sleep. I made sure to pack all of Sunday's running gear in a carry-on just in case the airline shipped our suitcase to Timbuktu by mistake.

Alarm clock at 4:45 am.

Since our flight was departing at 7:40 am, we were going to try to leave the house no later than 6:00 am. We were a bit late getting to the airport, but still arrived at IAH in plenty of time. I think my parents had been there for awhile, because my Mom had already called my cell phone twice to find out where we were. Sitting in the airport, I was still half asleep and wondering why I didn't leave on Friday instead. What if our flight was delayed? What if all this pre-marathon rushing around made me tired on Sunday? After seeing a few other runners on the airport (also downing bottles of water), I began to forget all these doubts and get really excited about the trip and the race. Woohooo, we were on our way to Chicago!!! The marathon I had been planning for since February was almost here!!!

We're here!
We arrived in Chicago at 10am. Our original plan was to take the "El" downtown and walk the few blocks to our hotel. Unfortunately, since I over-packed as usual and had multiple suitcases of sweaters, jackets, jeans and shoes, we opted for the $40 cab ride instead. We dropped off our luggage and found out that the hotel 2 blocks away had free shuttles going to the Expo. We made our way over to the shuttles. The kiddo was excited to see that our shuttles were big yellow school buses - she loves them! We boarded with all the other runners and by this time, I am practically giddy with excitement. The weather was better than forecasted - 58, sunny and almost no wind.

The Expo
The expo was absolutely AWESOME! There was lots of swag in our bags and plenty at the vendor booths. After picking up my race bib and chip, we looked around a bit.
See pics from the expo here and here
I decided to go for the gusto and signed up with the 5:15 pace group. Then, we headed to pick up my race t-shirt. The line for the medium shirts was insanely long, but it moved fast. By the time I had gotten my shirt, the kiddo was getting a bit fussy. Too much excitement for one day...and it wasn't even 1 pm yet! I wanted to see every booth, but it was obvious my princess had had enough. We made our final stop at the New Balance booth for the official race gear. I picked up a great new jacket with the marathon logo, which I hope I will at least get to wear once a year. :-) The hubby picked up a baseball cap. I also decided to go ahead and buy my finisher's shirt. What the heck? I wasn't superstitious and they might not have my size after the race!

My parents picked up a sign pre-printed with GO and a space to write a name and GO! Mom printed my name on one and we now had official cheering signs! There was a booth with some great shirts with things like "Marathon Diva" and "Marathon Mommy" printed on them. Nike had a cool booth where you could print out a pace band and then you could put it on neato velcro wrist band. I could tell by the looks on they hubby and kiddo's faces that standing in line for that was not an option...they were definitely ready to go. Oh well!

We made our way back to the convention center lobby to catch our bus. Then, we headed to Carmine's for a yummy pasta dinner.
Check out the kiddo at Carmine's here
Afterwards, we were stuffed! We decided to call it a day and just relax in our rooms. I spent a hour debating on whether or not to wear tights and pinning my number on the front of my shirt. I also used the hotel sewing kits to sew a small Texas flag on the back of my shirt. The weather forecast called for low 40's in the morning with a cool front coming in, bringing with it a chance of showers and 30 mph gusts of wind! Okay, so I would be wearing tights afterall! I spoke to Pam on the phone and we decided that we'd meet at 6:00 am at her hotel since it was closer to the start. I tossed and turned all night. I usually sleep like a log...even the night before a marathon. Maybe it was nerves or being in a strange bed...or, it could have been that we were on the 2nd floor of a hotel on a very busy street. The noise from the street below was loud! I made a mental note to always request a room on a higher floor and away from the main street outside!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm in Accounting H-E-L-L!

This is not my race report. I just wanted to share with the world that I am in accounting hell! I am not naturally good with this accounting stuff, so cramming for an accounting exam doesn't work so well for me. If you wake up on Saturday morning and have absolutely nothing better to do, please send me some good luck vibes, prayers, or whatever my way. I have a feeling I am going to need all the help I can get!

Okay, rant over....sorry!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back in H-town with a new PR!

I'm back! We arrived in Houston yesterday afternoon and I probably won't get a chance to share my race report until after my Accounting exam on Saturday. I promise lots of details on the fun and even a few pictures. I will say one thing - Chicago was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! (Even though I am still thawing out my toes from the race.) The best part - I have a new PR!!!


Okay, it's only a 21 second PR, but a PR nonetheless. Here's one pic that was taken after the marathon...I figured the best way to recover would be to do some walking and see the sights of Chi-town. Here's me and the kiddo touring the Sears Tower.

And, just in case I don't have a chance to update before of luck to everyone running the 1/2 this weekend!!! Go kick some asphalt!

Friday, October 20, 2006

One more day!

One more day until we leave for Chicago! Fellow blogger Jill and running buddies Pam, Sonna & Suzanne are either on their way or already there! I am so excited that I am pretty sure today will be a somewhat unproductive day at work. :-) I've been hydrating, carb loading (but not overdoing it), packing, etc. and I've printed out our boarding passes for tomorrow's flight. I've watched the marathon highlights video at least 10 times for inspiration....I am so ready! I even bought some mini-Texas flags for my parents, hubby & kiddo to wave! I only wish 1) my stupid shoes weren't having issues and 2) I had bought a pair of those Texas flag shorts. Oh well!

Here's the weather forecast for just keeps getting better & better!

SunOct 22
Partly Cloudy

Last night, the in-laws came into town. They'll be taking care of our furry son/dog, Jake, while we're in Chicago. I was a little bummed that I didn't get to run in this awesome weather, but I did manage to get in an easy 20 minute treadmill run while watching Grey's Anatomy. Again, the inserts in my shoes slipped! I called the Saucony customer service number and they suggested that I return the shoes to the store where I bought them, exchange them for new ones and have the store return the shoes to Saucony as defective. The only thing is, I don't think I can make it to Luke's before they close. Usually, the hubby works nights and sleeps until around 3 pm. Normally, in a situation like this, I would ask him to run to Luke's for me. However, with his training, he is going to be at work all day...bummer! Worst case scenario - I wear the old shoes. I think I'll be okay if I have to do that. Even if I do make it to Luke's, it would mean wearing new, unbroken-in shoes in the marathon. I've never had a problem with brand new shoes before, but I also never worn brand new shoes for a marathon distance.

So that's it for today. If you don't mind, please think of us TX runners on Sunday morning and send us some speedy leg vibes. If I can get to a computer afterwards, I will post an update. Otherwise, I'll post my full race report when I return on Wednesday.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Marathon mind tricks

I am finding it harder and harder to concentrate as the marathon gets closer. I think I am going to be completely useless by Friday! I've also fallen victim to two common pre-marathon mental tricks...

Mental Trick #1 - "Phantom Pains"
The little ache in my knee and in the ball of my foot, now seem to have grown 20x worse and this morning I could have sworn there was something very wrong with my toe. Ahhhh, the mental tricks your mind goes through right before a big's enough to drive you insane if you dwell on it. So, my goal is to stay busy enough to not let myself think about it.

Mental Trick #2 - OMG, I can't run!
For some reason, even a simple little treadmill run seems to get harder as the marathon gets closer. Another pre-marathon mental thing! You try a short, easy run the week before and all of a sudden it seems so hard! You begin to think, "OH MY GOD, if I can't run for 30 minutes on the treadmill, HOW IN THE HELL am I going to run 26.2???" Maybe this doesn't happen to anyone else, but it has happened to me before every marathon. I have make myself take a deep breath and remind myself that this is all a part of the process. Then, I reassure myself, "You have been training for 6+ months! You are not injured, it's all in your head. You CAN do this! You WILL do this!". After awhile, I actually start to believe it.

In other news...I mentioned the other day that the inserts in my shoes were slipping, so thanks to the great advice from the Houston Fit website discussion board, I decided to try putting the inserts from my old Saucony shoes into my new shoes. I hopped on the treadmill and within about 7 or 8 minutes, I could feel the inserts slipping just a little. Grrrrr... I kept running and the inserts didn't seem to slip as much as the new ones did, but they slipped enough to make me a bit worried. Why does this crap have to happen right before the marathon??? Murphy's law, I suppose! I think Murphy has taken up residence in my guest room this week! Can someone come kick him out for me? I did manage to finish my "easy" 30 minute run.

I've also decided to not let myself get so damn stressed. I have been stressing myself out about getting the house clean for the in-laws arrival today (they're babysitting our dog), catching up everything at work, trying to wake up early and stay up late to read for school, getting all packed, running errands for trip-related items, etc. Then, because the hubby is doing some intense SWAT training at work, I have been responsible for taking the kiddo to school, picking her up from my parents in the afternoon and all the other kiddo-related responsibilities that the hubby and I usually share. (many props go out to the single moms...I couldn't do it!) So, it's been a hectic week and my type A personality is making me stress more than I need to...and stress just wastes energy that I could definitely use on Sunday! Starting today - no more stressing! Yeah, well that's easier said than done!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Here's the forecast for Sunday's race:

Sun Oct 22
3 Uncomfortable

Ummm...what do they mean by "uncomfortable"? I'm not sure I like that. I do like that the chance of rain has dropped from 40% to 20%!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm. a. dork.

Plain & simple. I have been meaning to watch the course highlights video on the Chicago Marathon website for over a week, but just haven't done it. Well, it's lunchtime and I just finished watching it and I am such a dork! Just watching it, I get all giddy with excitement about the marathon. It's a great video that really capture the spirit and excitement of a huge race with great spectators...check it out:

Woohoo, another A!

Hooray! An "A" on my Organizational Behavior mid-term and an "A" on my case study. The case study was a low A...I was busy studying for the Accounting test at the same time it was due. I think the prof may have caught my BS-ing. It will be interesting to see what feedback I get.

Clarification & a treadmill run...

After posting about my Sunday LR, I started thinking....I called running, school, studying, etc. my "Priority #1". Well, just to clarify, my real Priority #1 are God and my family...I kind of assumed that it was a given. However, I know there are folks reading this who have never met me and may not really know me all that well. Those who do know me, know that faith and family will always come 1st. That's why I started running at 5am (when I don't hit the snooze button) or after the kiddo is in bed and the hubby has left for work - I don't want running & studying to take away from family time. In the grand scheme of things, I guess my job would come next and then running and school. Of course, running has taken a backseat to school in recent weeks with tests and case studies to work on. So, I hope that's a little clearer...I don't want anyone out there to think my family was being neglected while I was out running the streets of Houston!!!

The hubby's work schedule is a bit crazy at the moment. He's going through some serious training beginning very early in the morning, so I am in charge of getting the kiddo to school this week. Since the kiddo usually ends up in our bed in the wee hours of the morning, I am deathly afraid of leaving her asleep in our bed alone to run on the treadmill. She does most of her tossing & turning in the morning and I am afraid that she'll toss & turn herself right off the bed onto the floor. If I am on the treadmill, I won't hear anything! Soooo...I am opting to run on the treadmill at night all this week.

The Houston Fit schedule called for 35 minutes yesterday. Once the kiddo was asleep, I ran my 35 minutes on the treadmill while watching the last few minutes of The Bachelor & a bit of a show called What About Brian. Both were entertaining enough to make me forget the monotonousness of the treadmill. I did notice that the insoles of my shoes were sliding up. After about 10 minutes, I realized that my toes no longer had the insoles beneath them. The insoles had slipped up into the heel of my shoe! I noticed this during my Sunday run, but thought it was a fluke with the rain and all. I've never had this happen before...and I know all of my running shoes have gotten wet at some point! So, I'm not sure what to do. Do I get new insoles? Ones that I have never used before? Right before the marathon? Do I just pray this doesn't happen on marathon day? Do I use my old shoes? Hmmm....I may call Luke's for advice. What would you do?

So, that was it - 35 minutes at an 11:30 pace. Afterwards, I hit the books and started studying for my next accounting exam. I can hardly concentrate...I am so ready to get to Chicago!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Speaking of rain...

Predicted weather for Chicago on marathon day...

Sun Oct 22
40% chance of rain

I love the temps, but not too happy about the chance of rain! Of course, if their weather is anything like ours, this forecast will change 20 times between now and then. I hope it changes for the better!

A rainy run

Congrats to the Houston Fit NYC Marathon group, who completed their 21-miler on Saturday! With school on Saturday, I missed the Houston Fit fall group's final run for the Chicago Marathoners. It was perfect weather for a run, so it was a bit of a bummer to have to miss it. Also, congrats to those who ran the 104TX run in the Woodlands on Saturday and to those who stuck it out in the rain for the USA 10-miler on Sunday!

I woke up on Sunday with the intention of getting out to the park for an easy 8 miles. Hooray for tapering! As I was laying in bed, I didn't hear rain and didn't even think about the day's forecast of 100% rain. Of course, I instantly remembered when I walked out the front door, because the ground was wet. I didn't get hit with any rain at all on the drive to the park, but the minute I got out of my car and walked over to the path to stretch, a steady mist began to fall. No problem! I really don't mind running in the rain, as long as it's not 40 degrees. (Brings back memories of last year's 21-miler!) Actually, the rain felt great! So, I continued to stretch and during that time I saw 3 cars pull up, sit there for a minute and leave...weenies! :-)

As I started my 1st loop, the rain began to fall a little harder and at one point I was really wishing I had brought a baseball cap or visor. Water was falling into my eyes, so I was squinting and could hardly open them enough to see in front of me. Still, I was totally enjoying was invigorating! So much so that I ran my 1st mile in 10:23! I decided to slow down the pace a bit for the next mile and try to hold steady at about 11:30 for the remainder of the run. By the time I made it to the 1 1/2 mile marker, the rain had stopped. Close to the 2 mile mark and about the time I was thinking to myself that the rain made it much cooler, it started up again. It pretty much rained for the remainder of the run...not bad, just a steady drizzle. As I finished my 2nd loop, the rain was slowing and stopped. I actually began to dry off a bit. I continued to run past my car and past the warm-up area. About that time, it started raining again - harder. That's when I decided that I was done for the day. I turned around and headed for my mommy mobile...gee, now who's the weenie? So, I wussed out at a little over 6 miles.

As I was running, I thought about the training season. I was giddy knowing that at that exact time in 1 week, I would be running the Chicago Marathon. It's funny how priorities change while training over the course of 8 months. In February, after the Austin Marathon, I was thinking how great it would be to PR in Chicago. That became my Priority #1. Then, in the early Spring, I got busy studying for the PHR and GMAT, but kept running - doing well on the exams became Priority #1. After the exams, I focused more on running again - once more it was Priority #1. Next, I had super-duper shin splits, then knee pain & opted to not do the hill and speedwork - just keeping my legs healthy became Priority #1. Then, the Houston heat hit and my Houston Fit fall group long runs were incredibly slow...Priority #1 shifted to just not having heatstroke! Then, school Priority #1 shifted to studying. So, that's where I am. From PR to just finishing strong. I guess that's happens and we just have to roll with the punches. Would I like to PR? Of course! Who wouldn't? Did I train for a PR finish? No, not really. So, as I get ready for my trip to Chi-town, I am just hoping for great weather and a good run. I'm praying that I wake-up feeling strong, my allergies that have been giving me hell for the last week go away and I do my absolute best...whatever that ends up being!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

I did it!

I made an A on my Accounting test! Wooohooo, just had to share the good news. I can't bask in the glory too long...we have another test the weekend after I return from Chicago, so I will have to hit the books again tomorrow. Um, I wish I could say I did as well on my OB mid-term today. :-)

1 week from today and I will be in Chi-town!

Friday, October 13, 2006

I. must. see.

I ran across this link on someone's blog, but I don't remember which fact, I may be the last person in bloggerville to see this.

Running buds, this movie is a must see! The trailer alone made we want to run 100 more marathons and was very moving...

It's called Land of the Gods: The Legend of the Marathon and it looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dr's appt & a quick run

I left work early to go to the Dr. I feel like, for once, she was pretty thorough. She ordered an EKG, a chest x-ray & bloodwork. I had to laugh when the nurse, who was doing the EKG said, "Wow, your resting heart rate looks good, you must be in shape!". I was like, "Well, I run, but I don't know about being in shape"....I guess "pear" is a shape! Anyway, the EKG was fine, but the doc did mention possibly having inflammation in the muscles/ligaments (I don't know which) in the chest area (obviously not affecting the size of that area itself...hahaha!) . She requested the blood work to look for anemia and bloodclots. I should have some results by tomorrow or Monday at the very latest. She did say that she did not think it was anything life threatening, which is certainly good to hear. :-)

Afterwards, I went to pick up a few items at Babies R Us for the kiddo for our trip. The poor child has hardly any winter clothes yet, so I picked up a couple of cute sweaters & a fleece hoodie. I also bought a cheap umbrella stroller that will be much easier to get on and off the L than the huge "travel system" we're currently using. Next, I headed to Weight Watchers to weigh in. It's been 3 weeks since my last visit and in that time, I've lost 2.5 lbs. That's a grand total of 12 lbs...which amounts to about a weight loss of about .5 lbs/week. Not spectacular by any means, but I won't complain too much. I'm just happy that I'm not making the scale head in the other direction. I am a little bummed that I didn't hit my goal weight before the marathon, but I only have 4 lbs to go -and- this is the thinnest I've been since before I was preggo! I ended up staying for the meeting to get inspired and on the right track again.

Finally, I went for a run in my parent's neighborhood before I picked up the kiddo. I headed out to do 35 minutes. When I was about 10 minutes from my starting point, I noticed that the darkening skies had gotten closer and there was lightening. There's one thing this runner girl does not mess with and that's Mother Nature. I don't mind running in the rain, but I DO NOT like lightening! So, I headed back and ended with only a 20-minute run. I'll try it again tomorrow.

Holy smokes!

It's is currently 37 degrees in Chicago with a "feels like" temp of 27! And, they're predicted snow! Brrrrrr....

10 days!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Well, things at work have been a little crazy. My boss was admitted into the hospital on Monday evening due to kidney stones. She no longer has the kidney stones, but still has a lot of pain. So, they're running more tests. Please keep her in your thoughts if you don't mind. I've rescheduled my dr's appointment for tomorrow (Thurs), after our big quarterly meeting is over. I know it's silly, but I didn't feel right leaving work early when I knew there were things that had to get done for the meeting...and knowing that if my boss was not at work tomorrow, I would be the one presenting quite a bit of information! I had not even seen some of this info until today!

I ended up staying late and arriving home after 7 pm. I watched LOST with the kiddo and now, I must hit the books again. I will get a run in tomorrow after my appt if all is well!

Grrrr...what alarm clock?

Well, today I didn't hit the snooze button at all...but, that's just because I forgot to turn my alarm clock on! Doh! So, I woke up at 5:20 am and decided to study for about 15-20 minutes and attempt to run tonight after the kiddo is asleep and LOST is over. But, that's only if I can manage to study during my lunch break...I have a mid-term in my Organizational Behavior class on Saturday. I thought this would be much easier than Accounting, but there's so much material!

I also have a Dr's appointment today. I haven't bothered posting about this, because I'm sure it's nothing serious, but I have been having chest pains for about a month now. I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago, but she felt it was musculoskeletal due to some of the upper body strength training I was doing. Well, it's been 2 weeks since I lifted a weight or did a push up and the pain is still there. Who knows!? Hopefully, the doc can give me some answers today.

Run long & Livestrong!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My litte cutie...

This is a pic from the banquet we attended on Saturday night. My kiddo was the life of the party...must have been the chocolate cake Grandpa gave her. Figures, the kid wouldn't sit still long enough to eat the chicken, but devoured every bite of chocolate cake! Like mother, like daughter!

Monday run

Yesterday I decided to change my morning wake-up strategy....since I am the queen of the snooze button, I decided to set my alarm clock for 4:50 am. Last week, I set it for 5 am thinking I would actually just hop out of bed and onto the treadmill. So I thought, okay, even if I push snooze 2x like I did last week, I would still be getting out of bed in plenty of time for a 35 minute run.


This what happened:

4:50 - alarm clock sounds
me - push snooze button
4:57 - alarm clock again
me - push snooze again
5:04 - pesky alarm clock again
me - one more snooze!
5:11 - damn annoying alarm clock again
me - Crap! jump out of bed...

So, I did finally get up....maybe next time I will follow Erin's advice and set my alarm clock 10 minutes fast. Then of course, I will probably remember that it's 10 minutes fast and still oversleep!

So, I managed 30 minutes, not 35 on the treadmill. One thing I have noticed is the ball of my left foot has been hurting. I originally noticed this the week before my 21-miler and again during the last few miles of the 21-miler. I just figured it was a combination of the distance and needing new shoes. Well, I bought my new shoes, but the pain is still there. I felt the pain again on Saturday's 11-miler. I posted a question about this on the Houston Fit discussion board, so I am hoping to get some advice about this. Anyone out there in blog-land have any ideas? I don't know if I should try some cushiony insoles, ice or what....

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill
Distance - 2.57 miles
Run time - 30 minutes
Pace - 11:39

Only 13 days!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saturday LR

The weather was perfect! I woke up to temps in the high 60's and I danced a little jig with my PB toast in my kitchen to celebrate. FINALLY!!! COOL WEATHER FOR A LR!!!

It was an interesting drive to the park. On the way, I witnessed a 1 car accident. A guy was speeding up behind me, only to switch to the lane on my left and then cut across in front of me and over one more lane to exit I-10 at the last minute. I think he was going a little too fast and oversteered, because he hit the right curb on the exit ramp, swung back and hit the curb on the left side and then spun out of control!

The run was not quite as exciting as the ride over, but it was very enjoyable. We almost felt cold as we stretched. This is my last run with Houston Fit before the Chicago marathon (I have class next Saturday), so I was happy to see the gang...Julie, Mary Jane and Pam. I missed seeing Marie and Francis, so I am hoping to see them at least once before their marathons in the next few weeks. I also met two red group runners who are running Chicago!

Our route was an out and back to 18th street in the Heights - a total of 11 miles. I like this route, because we see a little of Memorial Dr., a little of Rice Military and we get a nice, cushy non-cement path on Heights Blvd. I honestly felt like we were truckin' it on the way out. Then, on the way back we kept a steady, but not as fast pace. We did have one restroom stop at a porta potty at a construction site on Blossom. Thank goodness it was unlocked and had tp! I forgot to stop my stopwatch and was surprised to see our finish time of 2:19! Yikes, considering that we had great weather and took no extra walk breaks, that was pretty damn slow!

Oh well, it was a great run despite the finish time. Less than 2 weeks to go!

Later, I took the kiddo to the Dewberry Farm. I met some other folks from a mom's group I'm in and we had a blast! My kiddo was completely in awe of the singing chickens (puppets) and kept wanting to go back to see them. She pet a calf and a goat, rode on a corn cob "train", we took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch and picked wild flowers. Here's a pic of me and the kiddo (she's pointing & I'm in the pink shirt) watching the chickens and a pic of the infamous chickens themselves:

After the farm, we all attended a banquet for my Dad's "Quails Forever" organization. It was a very long, but very fun day!

Running Stats
Conditions - 67 degrees, low humidity
Distance - 11 miles
Total Run time - 11:19 (minus pit-stop)
Pace - 12:38 (slow!)

Friday, October 06, 2006


Naturally, after I make my resolution in Tuesday's post to stick to my training schedule, life gets busy!

I had planned to run on Wednesday & Thursday, but I ended up staying at work later than expected on Wednesday (not to mention that I had to watch LOST) and had a hair appointment on Thursday that ran late. By the time I was done with everything I needed to do, it was 9:30 pm or 10 pm! So, for the 1st time in awhile, I have only managed one training run during the week.

I will be running an 11-miler with Houston Fit tomorrow, but 1st, the hubby, kiddo and I will be heading to the Greek Fest tonight! Opa!

I will be enjoying lots of Greek goodies like Souvlaki, Tiropita and Dolmades. Oh, and don't forget the Baklava and Loukoumades! I would love to indulge in some Greek wine, but with a run in the morning, that might no be a great idea....well, maybe one glass.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Can't wait

for this movie to come out! I've loved the other Sofia Coppola films - Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, so I am hoping this one is just as great. Click here to see the trailer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Early am run

5:00 am - alarm clock goes off
me - hit snooze
5:07 am - alarm clock again
me - hit snooze again
5:14 am - damn alarm clock once more
me - Crap!

I really should set my alarm for 4:45 next time, but that just seems so much earlier than 5am for some reason. I stumbled out of bed, threw on my glasses, running clothes and shiny new running shoes (my $50 running shoes!). I did some quick stretches and hopped on the treadmill. The Houston Fit schedule said 30 minutes and, by golly, I was going to run for 30 minutes....even if I started a little later than intended. I am determined to follow the training schedule as closely as possible until the marathon. It would be so much easier to just slack off for the next couple of weeks. In fact, that's what I really feel like doing. But, I am going to try to remain motivated and as Nike says, "Just Do It"! By the way, I finally got to see JT's video for Sexy Back this morning while on the treadmill. I know I am much older than him, but I still think he's a hottie.

Running Stats
Conditions - treadmill
Total run time - 30 minutes
Distance - 2.65 miles
Pace - 11:19

20 days & counting!

Monday, October 02, 2006

I am mighty!

You can be mighty too! I love this!

Just cut and past this URL and change my name to your name:

Have a MIGHTY good day!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Quick catch up

Friday, I took the entire day off work. I started my day by taking the kiddo to school, something I rarely get to do. Then, I headed dr's office for an appointment and finally to the library to study. After a few hours of studying, I had had enough of accounting. I headed over to
Meyer Park to run. It was only the 2nd time I've run there and I enjoyed the change of scenery. Meyer Park has 3 different running trails that surround soccer fields, a playground and even a duck pond, so there's lots of to look at while you run (distractions!). There's the option of a 1 1/3 mile, 7/8 mile and 1 1/4 mile trail. I decided to run the 1 1/4 mile trail twice, because it winds around the pond and playground...a little more scenic than the other two. It was warm, but not unbearable. Apparently, I missed all the great cool weather earlier in the week while I was studying. I made the 2 loops in a little over 30 minutes. It was great to get out and run again.

As I drove to school, I could see the pink and white balloons on the footbridge near the
Freedman's District. I was missing the Race for the Cure ! Bummer! On top of that, I was missing my 21-miler with Houston Fit's Fall program. I did my 20-miler last week, but so far I've missed all the milestone long runs with my group. However, I did get to cheer for my fellow Houston Fitters. As I was driving down Montrose to get to the campus, I started to see some familiar folks running in my direction. It was the Houston Fit fall group! I honked a couple of times and even said hello to one person at a stop light. I'm sure the folks I honked at had no idea who I was, as I actually had my hair fixed and full make-up on! By the way, the Accounting exam was not so bad after all. I know that I didn't "Ace" it by any means, but I felt well prepared and was not thrown off by any of the questions. Hooray for studying!!!

Sunday, I arrived at the park around 6:30 am. The weather was nice and cool, around 72. However, the humidity was killer! I hadn't even made it halfway around the track when I realized I was sweating as if it were 90. I really should have run a minimum of 3 loops around the park, but instead went for 2. Again, no motivation to run the distance alone. But, I did manage to make the 2 loops good ones. My average pace was 11:10 and I had a few miles in the middle of the run at a 10:40 pace.

In the afternoon, we had a Houston Fit fall group social at
Luke's Locker. I purchased a new pair of Saucony Grid Stabils, which I am happy to report were on sale for only $50! Yes, I was doing the happy dance! The shoes are not the coolest-looking running shoes, but I need motion control and they seem to work well for me. I was tempted to pick up another pair, as I was advised that Saucony would be releasing the newer version of the shoe soon. I also found a cute Brooks running shirt that even has a little zipper compartment for storing things like an ID, gu or keys. The hubby bought some insoles and new socks. And, we both stocked up on our energy potions - Vanilla Bean Gu for me and he decided to try the Sports Beans in various flavors. The hubby is not really into running, but will be starting SWAT school in a couple of weeks. He figured with 3 straight hours of PT each day, the Sports Beans may come in handy.

Many thanks to the folks at Luke's Locker for all they do for the running community! And, kudo's to our Houston Fit coaches for their support. It was great hearing all about their experiences about the fall marathons. They gave us some great tips on everything from packing for the trip to how to meet up with your family after the event. The countdown is on...3 more weeks!

Run long & Livestrong!