It was a very good running week. I managed to get in 38 miles and some solid yoga sessions. The asthma and coughing that have plagued me since early October are also much better, and I’ve enjoyed having my son’s girlfriend stay with us before she flies off to join him in Brazil at the end of the week. Most of all, after the craziness of Christmas, company, our wedding, and illness, it’s nice to settle back into a regular training routine. It helps having great friends to keep you motivated and inspired!
MON: Run – 3 mi – Well, it’s a start. Usually Mondays are my rest day, but since my mileage has been so low, and because the weather was gorgeous, I decided to do an easy 3 miles from the house just before sunset. I was Garmin-free and ran on feel, which I’m trying to do more of. For someone who tends to be a slave to their watch, running without a Garmin is not easy. I loved the freedom of not caring what pace I kept. Legs felt good — lungs not so much — but I made it back home to my inhaler and a cold Texas beer with dinner!
TUE: Pace Run – 4 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Ran with Liz from the spillway for one of my fastest paced runs since Christmas. It feels great to be picking up the pace again.
WED: Hill Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Met Liz for a hilly path run on the east side of the lake. Legs felt great and we kept a good pace. I really do love running a hilly path rather than a flat course (which is another reason I love the variety of trail running). Came home and did yoga with Nicole (back bends), then met the WRRC running group for a two mile run/walk for Nicole’s second run ever. She did great once again!
THU: REST DAY – Since Nicole will be leaving us in a week to join Nick in Brazil, we did important girl things to prepare for her trip. We got our nails done, had lunch, went shopping at Target, and bought some things at the grocery store. Living in a foreign country is not easy, and you have to make sure you stock up on American essentials like peanut butter and popcorn to take with you. I’m going to miss having another girl in the house (except for the dogs) when she’s gone.
FRI: Yoga – 20:00 – Did a session of hip openers with Nicole since she’s been having some pain in her groin muscle after running the other night. My coughing is MUCH better, finally!
SAT: Long Run – 12.14 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – It was a refreshingly misty, overcast, cool morning for a run with our largest group ever. When I saw the dog’s muddy footprints in the kitchen and the 91% humidity on the weather channel, I was not feeling exactly stoked about the run, but it turned out to be perfect running conditions. I was still feeling a little grumpy up through mile 9, but I got a second wind afterwards and felt great on the hills coming up off the lake. It was great, as always, to share breakfast and funny stories with my favorite running friends, including Susan, Kurt, and Hari, who came out despite their broken body parts (ring finger, pinky finger, and rib). Came home and did yoga (forward bends), which was just what I needed.
SUN: Trail Run – 10.21 mi – Rowlett Creek Preserve – I was seriously grumpy driving over to this morning’s trail run in Rowlett. I was feeling the two glasses of wine I had at dinner with friends the night before (even if it was followed up by roller skating), and the thick fog surrounding me in pitch darkness didn’t exactly scream Let’s run! Of course, all was forgotten once I got on the trails. The fog kept things cool and refreshing, and it was a completely different experience in the heavy fog. The trail wasn’t exactly muddy, but it was slick enough to cause me concern, especially on the steep downhills. I love my Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes, but they have no grip and are very slippery on wet surfaces. (This will only give me an excuse to purchase another pair of shoes.)
A hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy with good friends you’ve gotten muddy with on the trails was the perfect way to end the week. After keeping my mileage so low this entire month while I was sick, I was a little concerned about doing back-to-back 12/10 milers, but my legs felt great both days. This has been my highest mileage week in over a month, and I’m happy to get back on track with my training.
Stats for WEEK 3: Run – 38 miles, Yoga – 1:20:00
After last Sunday’s warm, humid weather for the Dallas Marathon, a major cold front blew in just a few hours after most people had finished. My three mid-week runs were all in the upper 20’s/low 30’s (heavenly!), but it had already warmed up significantly again by the weekend. This was my highest mileage week so far in this training cycle, and aside from some minor soreness in my quads following Wednesday’s hill run, my legs felt good for the 20 miler. The high mileage caught up with me somewhat this weekend, especially since we immediately jumped into another training cycle after our last 50K without much of a break, and I found myself feeling a little burned out. Planning a wedding and the usual Christmas chaos also played a part, I’m sure.
MON: Rest Day – Woke up to a light dusting of snow and 30 degrees, which is amazing considering it was 67 degrees when I got up the day before. Crazy Texas weather. Too bad the marathoners had to slog through the humidity and warm temps at yesterday’s Dallas Marathon. Spent the day posting photos and video Michael took at the race, and getting some writing done. Forgot to take a photo of the snow before it melted.
TUE: Run – 6.09 mi – Oh, happy day! 28 degrees for this morning’s run with Hari, and a beautiful crescent moon with Venus shining just below. I always say that it can’t be cold enough for me when I run, and today proved me right. It was an amazing run on the hilly path. The hills felt puny and it was an easy run at a fast pace.
WED: Hill Run – 10.6 mi – Another gloriously cold morning run. It was actually so cold this morning, 27 degrees, that I had a brain freeze headache towards the end of the run. It was worth it. The hills felt just a little bit easier today, and Hari and Mike F kept up a good pace. Wedding plans and my son’s return kept me from yoga yet another day.
THU: Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 25:00 – Met Liz at the lake for her first run since the marathon. It was 34 degrees and a perfect blue sky. My quads were a bit tight from yesterday’s hills and two days of a fast pace, and I was glad I only ran 6. Did yoga for the first time in over two weeks (hip openers) with my son’s twenty-something year old girlfriend. I used to think I was pretty good at yoga; after doing yoga with Nicole (her first time ever doing yoga and she could do full lotus right off the bat) I felt like the old, rusty Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. So not right.
FRI: Rest Day – Enjoyed a full day of nothing athletic. Quads were still a little sore so I took the entire day off.
SAT: Run – 15 mi – After two parties last night and two glasses of champagne, getting to bed at midnight, plus the return of bad asthma and warmer temps, I was feeling pretty grumpy when I met Hari at 6:00am. For the third weekend in a row we’ve had warm, humid temperatures after a week of cold mornings, and the back and forth between cold/warm runs is starting to get to me. We had discussed doing back to back 20 milers this weekend, but because of my asthma, lack of sleep, and general grumpiness, we settled on only 15. I felt less than stellar the first 10 miles, but from mile 10 on I felt great. The temperature stayed the same the entire run (57 deg) but the humidity took a nose dive once the sun came up and it felt cool and pleasant. 20 mile trail run tomorrow — hope my legs cooperate!
SUN: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve– 20 mi – Woke up this morning feeling a little burned out and not looking forward to spending five or six hours of my day running, even on trails. Even though trail running is the thing I look most forward to, it’s still a long time to be running. When I got to Rowlett, however, and saw friends who don’t usually come out to run with us, it completely turned my day — and the run — around. Plus, we had perfect weather for running: 55 and overcast skies. We brought food to eat in between the two loops (PBJ sandwiches, dolmas, Newman-O’s, and Coke) and kept the pace nice and easy. It was a good run. Once again I’m reminded how friends can turn a blah morning run into something special.
Stats for WEEK 8: Run – 57 miles, Yoga – 25:00
* Photo courtesy of Serena Lambiase
Okay, I went a little crazy this week. I got engaged, signed up for a super challenging 50K, got my picture taken with Scott Jurek, bought a wedding dress, picked out a ring, planned an entire wedding in one week, worked an expo booth, and updated Facebook posts for the Dallas Marathon. And did I mention that I GOT ENGAGED??? I really know how to pack it in, don’t I? I was so busy I didn’t have time to do one minute of yoga, either.
MON: Rest Day – Too busy to do anything but fit in an evening with Scott Jurek. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night, if you ask me. What an incredibly down-to-earth, friendly, nice guy. I missed the group run beforehand, but really enjoyed hearing him speak for about 45 min or so afterwards. I wrote an entire blog post about meeting him, and my friends have threatened a Scott Jurek intervention, so I will force myself to stop now.
TUE: Run – 6.09 mi – Liz chose New York City over me this morning, and I couldn’t talk Hari into running with me, so I was forced to run all alone. I decided to run with music to break the monotony — and had a great run. I never run with music, but it really helped keep me on pace. Plus, I have great taste in music, so it was win/win all around. Best of all, it was cool! It was only 56 degrees and 60% humidity, which, when compared to Sunday’s mug fest, was downright glacial. Even Scott Jurek mentioned the weather last night. But there I go again, off the Scott Jurek deep end . . . (someone please make me stop).
WED: Hill Run – 10.6 mi – 45 degrees at the start of today’s hill run, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m still trying to purge Saturday and Sunday’s warm and humid runs. The hills were a little taller and steeper today after three nights of little sleep (wedding plans kept waking me up), and Hari kept a blistering pace. Gorgeous sky and perfect temps.
THU: Run – 9.56 mi – A wonderful run at the lake this morning at 6:00am, in thick fog, with Hari. Announced the engagement on Facebook and came home to an explosion of congratulations. Heard great songs on the radio both on the way to the lake and on the way home. It was a great day!
FRI: Rest Day – Spent the day setting up and working at our WRRC booth at the Dallas Marathon expo. It was so much fun to see all my running friends and talk to new runners who might be interested in coming out and running with us. I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful running community.
SAT: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve– 10 mi – Great morning for a run. Temps in the mid 50’s and overcast. Met up with Michael S and Jennifer S for the first 4 miles, then Hari and I continued on our way alone. Michael was trail guide for the first 4, and we actually didn’t get lost the last 6, even though Hari and I were on our own and ran around in circles last week. It was a nice, relaxing run. Spent the afternoon at the expo seeing friends and helping out in the booth, and managed to fall flat on my face at the Run On! booth when my Nike Free got caught up in the table skirt as I walked away from paying for a t-shirt I had just bought. Yep, down on all fours, laptop skidding across the floor, and concrete rising to greet me. I knew those shoes were super grippy, but sheesh, it’s pretty embarrassing when my trail klutzery goes on the road with me in a public place filled with hundreds of other runners!
Went to bed that night after reading that Bob’s daughter and wife spread his ashes on the marathon course at Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake. I loved knowing that thousands of marathon runners would be carrying a small part of Bob to the finish line with them.
SUN: Off Day – Volunteer at Dallas Marathon – Got up at 4:30am and headed down to the Convention Center for the Dallas Marathon. When I let the dogs out at 5:30 before I left it was 66 degrees and 89% humidity. Not exactly ideal marathon conditions. For most people, it was a tough day of running, though some of my friends did really well (yay Nicole, who placed 9th female overall!!!). I spent the day in the media room updating Facebook posts during the race and hanging out with local reporters. I got to see the male and female marathon winners interviewed, and then be the first to see how my friends did on the live results web page. It was a full day. As so often happens here in Texas, a cold front blew in around 2:00pm and the temperature dropped all afternoon. Rounded out the day/week at a Ozona’s with running friends, talking about the marathon, tossing back some drinks, and enjoying life. What a week it’s been!
Stats for WEEK 7: Run – 36 miles
Dear Weather Gods:
I know I complain a lot about the running weather here in Dallas, especially in the summer. But remember when I sacrificed my new pair of $100 sunglasses in St George and you gave me perfect weather and a Boston qualifying finish time? Well, this Saturday I dropped my brand new $70 sunglasses, got a scratch on them, and the next day you punished me with summer temperatures and high humidity. Have you failed to notice that IT’S DECEMBER??? Can’t you take pity and cut me a break on at least one of my 20 mile trail runs, especially when it’s supposed to be one of the best two running months of the year in Texas? Obviously my sacrifice wasn’t large enough.
A Very Frustrated Texas Runner
MON: Yoga – 25:00 – Quads are pretty sore from the weekend runs, so I did a vigorous power yoga sequence (stamina). It felt great, and the power yoga seems to be helping to facilitate a lot more flexibility in my legs and making my core even stronger.
TUE: Run – 6.37 mi, Yoga – 25:00 – Great run with Liz at the lake this morning incorporating the hilly path on the east side. It was overcast, breezy, and cold — just how I like it for running. Quads are still a little sore, but we kept a brisk pace nevertheless. I tried a new power yoga sequence in the evening (strength) that kicked my butt. It was nothing but sun salutations and arm poses, over and over. I can definitely tell the effects of the more strenuous yoga, in a good way, especially in my spine, back, shoulders, hamstrings, and Achilles tendons.
WED: Hill Run – 9.01 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – GREAT run with Liz this morning. Cold at the start (39 degrees) and hills, hills, and more hills. My legs felt great, the cold weather was invigorating, and the variety in the route kept it fun. The only downside was the heavy morning traffic on some of the busier roads. It was one of those great morning runs where you feel like you could keep running forever and reminds you why you love running so much. Legs were feeling a little achy from the hills, so I did some forward bends in the afternoon to loosen up.
THU: Run – 7.05 mi – An absolutely gorgeous morning greeted us on this sad day of laying our good running friend, Bob Philpot, to rest later in the day. Liz met me at my house for a run over to the Katy Trail, and though I am sad and wistful at knowing Bob won’t ever get to run on a beautiful morning like today, I’m happy knowing how much joy days like today brought to his life. Selfishly, I’m happy for myself because I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him and spend time in the pleasure of his running company. It’s hard to lose the good guys, but it isn’t a cliche to say that the world was left a better place because of the years Bob spent here with us. His memorial service later in the day was the most moving Celebration of Life I’ve ever attended, complete with Bob’s favorite music: Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and Neil Young. It was standing room only and not a dry eye in the place. What a guy!
FRI: Rest Day – An entire day off. Wanted to do yoga but just never found the time.
SAT: Run – 9.06 mi – Another great run, even though the weather was unbelievably warm and humid for the first day of December (at 7AM: 66 deg and 90% humidity). Since it was the last Saturday run before the Dallas Marathon next weekend, we had a huge turnout. The pace was easy, the conversation was stimulating, and the distance just right. It was really fun to see everyone in top form for their marathons next weekend, and being reminded that proper tapering really works.
SUN: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve – 20 mi – 69 degrees at 7:30AM and 81% humidity. 82 degrees at the finish and sunny. MIS-ER-A-BLE. Yesterday I was patient. Today I struggled. It was, however, still a great run. When we ran Rowlett Creek this past summer we all stumbled, tripped, and fell on the roots and stumps. Today it was like a completely different trail. My trail form has drastically improved these past six months, and except for one near-death slide down a steeply sloped embankment while walking (thanks for grabbing me, Hari!), I didn’t fall once. We kept the pace very slow and easy, trying to simulate how we will run for the 50 mile race, and my legs felt great. I could easily have run at least another 10 miles. Starting around mile 14, though, my stomach became very uncooperative — which was no fun at all. Maybe it was the heat, or the meds I’ve been taking for the cough, or the energy chews and GU, or all of the above, but it wasn’t a fun way to finish off a great day of running.
The trails at Rowlett are supremely confusing to both me and Hari, and we literally ran around in circles all morning, never figuring out how to reach loops 11-14. A very friendly mountain biker took pity and stopped multiple times to help us out, admitting that the signs need to be updated, but we figured it didn’t really matter where we ran as long as we got in our mileage. We just kept following trails, happy in our clueless circling. We saw the biker again in the parking lot after our run and had a good discussion with him about the local wildlife. Apparently there are lots of coyotes, owls, bobcats, rabbits, and armadillos out there, and he was very adamant about the number of copper head snakes there in the summer, much to Hari’s chagrin. I hope I can get Hari to go back out there into the wilds of Rowlett because I really like those trails, snakes and all.
STATS for WEEK 6: Run – 51.5 miles, Yoga – 1:15:00
Early on the morning of the Fourth of July, a large group of runners converged at Rowlett Creek Preserve for a 6 mile trail run. It was hot and steamy, but everyone had a great time.
Still bruised and scabbed from Sunday’s trail run, I celebrated staying on my feet the entire run.
It was a good day.
This past Sunday our small group of trail runners headed out for our third trail run, this time at the Rowlett Creek Preserve in Garland, TX. It was hot and humid at the start, with not the slightest breeze, but the trees kept us shaded for most of the run. This was vital since we were running 14 miles–our longest run so far on the training plan.
It was the best trail run yet, despite the fact that four people fell (and I fell twice). The trail itself was mostly flat, with less roots and rocks than either of the other two trails we’ve tried. There were, however, a lot of small stumps, and that’s what took me down the first time. I try to stay attentive when I run on the trail, and make a huge effort to pick up my feet, but I still don’t have the hang of it. The injuries were minor, mostly road rash, but it’s still no fun to suddenly find yourself headed face down for the dirt.
I was very nervous about running 14 miles on the trail, especially since our longest trail run up to that point had only been 7 miles (and felt like 20). Heather was on vacation the previous week and we rearranged the training plan so she wouldn’t have to miss out on the 14 miler. It was very clear to see on her face just how tough a hot, sweaty trail run can be after a week on the beach in Mexico. She did great, though, despite her own fall at the very end of her run.
All week the topic of our conversations was SNAKES. Rumor had it that the preserve had been overrun with copperheads this summer. Thank goodness we took Hari with us. Watch the video to see his solution to the problem.
Back home after the run, I felt similar to the way I felt after my first half marathon. It was that much of an accomplishment for me, and I felt great. Trail running is certainly challenging, and it felt incredibly satisfying to make it through the run and still feel so good afterwards.
What a difference a little sleep can make. I made sure I got enough sleep and rest this week and could really feel the difference. I felt stronger, especially on the hills, and had more stamina on the two longer weekend runs.
I was apprehensive about running 14 miles on the trail this week, which is double my longest trail distance, but all the work I’ve put in these past four weeks paid off and I had a great run.
My training plan spreadsheet is all green so far, meaning I haven’t missed a single run on the plan. Consistency is what it’s all about, and I’m starting to see the rewards of all the hard work I’ve put in.
Now if I could only stop falling on those trail runs . . .
MON: Weights – upper body – 20:00 – Feeling antsy on my rest day seems to be developing into a pattern. I decided to lift some weights and work on my upper body using the Kathy Smith DVD I’ve had for the past 14 years. It was still hard! So glad I’m not running today because it’s supposed to be 106 degrees.
TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength workout, yoga – 40:00 – Decided to run a tempo pace on the track rather than 5K pace to try to avoid getting injured. 84 degrees at 5:30am and no breeze. Summer is here!
WED: Run – 6 mi easy, yoga – 20:00 – Started the morning with some yoga (back bends) and finished the evening with a 6 mile run with the group in Richardson. 98 degrees when we started at 7:00pm, but everyone agreed it was somewhat pleasant since the humidity was low. Legs felt super stiff the first mile, so I slowed down and wound up having a great run.
THU: Run – 4 mi/hills, upper/lower body strength workout – 47:00 – Ran the hilly path at 6:00am with five friends. It was surprisingly pleasant. It almost felt like a two-a-day since we had run less than 12 hours earlier. Felt strong on the hills and kept a good pace (9:16). Finished off with arms, legs, and abs strength workout (Kathy Smith DVD). Bought some compression sleeves and wore them all afternoon.
FRI: Yoga – 20:00 – Running rest day (yeah!). Felt a little sore in different places than usual (thank you, Kathy Smith DVD) so did some easy yoga (forward bends). Not sure if it was because of the compression sleeves, but my lower legs felt great today. No shin splints for the first time since I started training.
SAT: Run – 8 mi – Carrollton – Another hilly Saturday run, but not as warm as last Saturday’s run in Sunnyvale. Kept a reasonable pace (9:22) and felt pretty strong the entire way. A dip in the pool, a mimosa, and a great breakfast with good company were the best part.
SUN : Trail Run -14 mi – Rowlett – BEST trail run ever. I was so apprehensive about going 14 miles on a trail, which is essentially double my longest distance to date, but it was an awesome run. Despite the fact that I fell twice (twice!) I felt tired, but never exhausted. The trail was mostly flat, mostly through trees, with lots of hairpin turns and enough variation to keep it interesting. Four people fell on the run, so it wasn’t just me being my usual klutzy self. I love the feeling of utter and complete satisfaction I get after a long trail run. It was a great way to finish off the week.
STATS for WEEK 4: Run – 34.75 miles, Yoga – 1:40:00, 2 Core/Strength workouts