So I went over a year without blogging. That was unexpected.
I didn’t stop running in 2016. But it wasn’t consistent, or inspiring enough to blog about. By May I wasn’t even inspired to post my runs on Daily Mile anymore, which I had been doing faithfully since 2011. It’s weird not to have a final number for miles run in the past year.
So yeah, it was a down year, similar to 2013. I guess it’s bound to happen every now and then. Coincidentally, both 2013 and 2016 were years of big change for me, moving and finding a new job and just not being settled. I hope 2017 will be a more stable and settled year, as much as anyone can plan for that.
I did do several races in 2016 – that is an addiction I will never quite shake! A brief recap, for posterity:
Februrary 2016: Pie Run 10K
This is one of my favorite races, and I’ve done it three times now. Once you cross the finish line, you get a cup of coffee and a piece of the best pie in town.
March 2016: Pancake Run 5K
So apparently offering food is a surefire way to get me to race. This run was along the river in downtown Shreveport. I didn’t end up getting the pancakes afterward though, I just went straight home. Not sure why, but I am kicking myself for that.
April 2016: Cypress Half Marathon
I could not get over the irony that I was doing a church-hosted race, and my bib number was 666. I was so self-conscious about this during the race, too! I heard someone that was spectating point it out as I ran by, and I felt embarrassed even though I had no control over what crazy number I got. Yikes!
This was the only half marathon I did during the year. I hope to do at least two in 2017, if not more.
July 2016: Firecracker 5K
Surprisingly, this was only the second time I’ve done a 4th of July race. I bought this sweet Nike shirt that was being sold in conjunction with the Olympics just to wear during this race. I love it.
September 2016: Saints 5K
I was excited to be able to go down and do the Saints 5K in New Orleans again. This was the first time we’d done it since its first year in 2012. Things were improved in that there were shirts cut differently for both men and women (my 2012 race shirt is unwearable for me because of the sizing), but since we didn’t pick up our packets until race morning, they were out of my husband’s size. He got a large and it was too big, so he just gave it to my dad. But I got my shirt, so yay! They also gave out medals to finishers, which wasn’t the case in 2012.
October 2016: Spooky Sprint
This was a very casual. $5 race done by the local running store. It was 2 miles basically from the store through a nearby neighborhood and back. No official timing, no bibs, no fanfare. They did provide water. We also got a T-shirt that looked like this:
December 2016: Downtown Christmas Run
This was the second year in a row we were able to do this Tuesday night run. It’s through downtown Shreveport, with all of the Christmas decorations and lights up to enjoy. I really like this one.
So that’s it! If I had to say what race goals I have this year, they’re not lofty. As I said, at least two half marathons hopefully. If I am in a position to train for a winter marathon, that would have to be decided by this summer. There is a 5K at the end of this month I’m interested in. I’m just playing it by ear, but I do feel I have rediscovered my love of running in recent months, whereas I had been pretty apathetic for awhile.
I did six miles in the rain on New Year’s Eve, and it made me feel hopeful for the upcoming year.
The past month has been filled with packing, cleaning and moving, as we left DeRidder and are now settled in Shreveport-Bossier. It was a move I was very happy to make, but it came with the typical stress that moving entails and we are still not completely done with the transitions – I still have to find a job here, and we will hopefully buy a house within the next year. But my husband is enjoying his new job and we are really happy to be here.
While I was still in our old place trying to get ready for the move, there wasn’t much time for running, but since we got here, I have a lot of free time and have been running a lot more frequently. This has included two holiday-themed 5Ks, one on Thanksgiving and one last night through the Christmas lights downtown. That is one super great thing about living here in a much bigger city than before – a waaaaay more active running community and more frequent races.
This is a very popular race on Thanksgiving Day that attracts regular runners as well as walkers and families looking to do something active before their big meals.
We did this race last year and it took us out on a dirt trail along the Red River, but the river flooded last summer and I’m guessing it messed up that trail, because this year the course kept us on the asphalt path that I always run on along the river.
Thanksgiving here was not cold whatsoever, and it was also a little rainy that morning. During the race a heavy mist began hitting us, but it felt nice. I’d much rather run in warm rain than cold rain!
The total distance was about 3.45 miles, which we did in under a 10-minute pace. The race was not chip timed.
Downtown Christmas Run
I had never done this race before, because it’s apparently always on a weeknight and this is the first December we have lived here and been here during the week.
The race is three loops around downtown Shreveport, where there are numerous Christmas lights decorating the streets. It begins and ends in front of the courthouse, which is also decorated in green and red. It was a big race, though not nearly as large as the Turkey Trot, and the first mile was rather slow due to having to weave around all the people. Each of our miles were a minute faster than the previous, beginning with a 10:42 mile for Mile 1 and finishing with an 8:36 mile for Mile 3!
Our final time for the 5K was 29:40.
Both of these races were just for fun, but I was pretty happy with how we did in both of them. Looking forward to more races and more running!
I have done dumber things than run a half marathon one week after running a marathon (like run a marathon one week after running another marathon), so signing up for the Log Jammer Half Marathon scheduled for Nov. 8 wasn’t too crazy, even though the NYC Marathon was Nov. 1.
I ran this race last year and the weather was cold (high 30s) and rainy. It was intimidating to go into, but I felt awesome when I finished. This year’s race weather was forecast to be much better – mid-50s and sunny.
I went into the race without a goal in mind, since it was so soon off the marathon, but I did want to run the whole thing. Ever since my knee injury in May, I’ve become a big walk-break-taker. I took breaks during all my long runs and during NYC, but I want to work my way up to not having to do that. So that was my big deal – no walking breaks.
I picked up my packet Saturday, which was actually a very rainy and cold day, reminiscent of last year’s race day. Thankfully by Sunday morning the rain had cleared and the sunny forecast proved to be true. The race had what seemed like a lot more participants than last year as a result.
I like the course for the most part – starts downtown, proceeds 7 miles in the nearby neigborhoods, 2 miles down a highway that takes us to the levee path, then 4.5 miles along the Red River back towards downtown.
I am moving to Shreveport very soon, so this is going to be my new permanent stomping grounds. I took note of how pretty the fall foliage is right now and how much I really like the area. I am excited that we will be living there.
My legs felt pretty tired throughout the whole race, but I also felt kind of strong. I made sure to keep my breathing tempered and not go too fast. There are several little hills around Shreveport, so I just ran them slowly. I kept a pretty even pace throughout the whole race, just under 11 minute miles, and the only times I walked was when I got Gatorade at the water stops and took a few steps to safely consume my drink.
On the levee path by the river I felt myself faltering, but I kept up my running and passed several people over the last couple of miles. The temps stayed in the high 50s I think, but because of the sun I was sweating pretty good by the end. I crossed the finish line at 2:22:50, which was about 11 seconds slower than the Barksdale AFB Half Marathon I did Sept. 19.
According to the race results, I ran 1:11:19 for the first half and 1:11:30 for the second. My splits were almost exactly even last year too! I don’t know what it is about this course, but I managed somehow the past two years to basically run the same time each half. My time last year was much better though – 2:07:something.
Now that NYC is over, I’m not sure what my goals are and my races will be. Moving throws a big wrench into any long-term planning as well – I know we’ll likely do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day like we did last year, but that’s the only thing that I’m sort of sure of.
“I don’t believe that starting and finishing a marathon makes you a marathoner. I don’t believe that. If you’re racing it to go as fast as you can, that’s completely different than being part of an event and just wanting to get from point A to point B.”
This got quite a bit of negative attention, because while he tries to phrase everything he says pretty delicately, it still gives across the message that if you don’t run fast, if you’re not in it to win, you’re not a real marathoner.
From what I can tell, Jones’ biggest issue is that he feels running marathons growing in popularity has hurt the competitiveness of the sport. He says:
I really believe, if you go back to my era, you had well-established marathons in the UK and you’d get 200 runners. But they were all runners who were running hard and running fast times. Now you’re lucky to get that many in a half marathon. The rest of the people just want to be part of the event. I think it’s great in many ways, but the competitive sport hasn’t grown.
I guess I kind of see what he’s saying, and I don’t think he is dissing slower runners who try their hardest but still only pull out 4+-hour marathons (although, according to Deadspin, a quote that was cut from the interview was Jones saying that’s not “running.”) But frankly, if the worst part of slower runners like me doing a marathon means it adds nothing to the competition, well, I can live with that. I can sleep at night. I am a very competitive person, but I am not naturally talented or fast at running, so the competition for me will always be with myself. I think it goes without saying that many people who complete marathons are doing something they never thought they could do. And/or they raise money for charity. Or they are in the middle of a weight loss journey and wanted to run a marathon to have something that would motivate them to run and train for it. Etcetera. A lot of noble and important things that have nothing to do with the “sport.”
So basically, I don’t think what he said was that insulting, but if the worst thing about marathons becoming “events” that draw all types of people is that it doesn’t add to the competition or the sport, then frankly…
Someone saying you are not really running or you are not a marathoner if you don’t run the race in a certain amount of time or with a particular set of goals doesn’t make that statement true. And it doesn’t take away from what you get out of the race yourself. I can see where people who don’t train for the race or don’t respect the distance and are just participating in an event – maybe it’s true they don’t get as much out of the experience as someone who relentlessly trained and breaks 3 hours. But that same person who broke 3 hours may just be getting the same amount of accomplishment as the person who trained relentlessly and is happy with a sub-5 time.
I actually think this was the more controversial statement in his interview:
Yes, it’s still running 26.2 miles and they’re running 2:03-2:04-2:05, which is significantly faster than I used to run, but you don’t see that competitive element anymore. It’s almost like a gang race, almost like they’re ganging up on everyone in the race to get the right outcome. As long as a Kenyan or an Ethiopian wins, they don’t really care about anybody else. It would be nice to be a little more selective—who you accept entry from or invite to your races—to have the right mix of core international racing element.
This is really, really long, so let’s get started!
I didn’t feel nervous at all the night before the marathon – I felt excited and yet surprisingly calm. I slept really well, only waking up twice and pretty easily falling back to sleep each time. Daylight Savings Time ended the day of the race, so we got an extra hour to sleep.
I woke up at 6 a.m., giving myself an hour to get ready and do everything I needed to do before leaving the hotel at 7. It took me a grand total of 20 minutes to get ready, and then all I had to do was basically sit and wait. I was looking at Twitter and Instagram updates, seeing posts from people who had already gotten on the ferry or a bus headed to the start. That for some reason made me nervous, I guess just in anticipation and the feeling of people out there doing already what I needed to go do. At 7 I made my husband wake up to take a quick picture of me, then headed out the door.
Our hotel was about a half-mile from the Whitehall Terminal where the Staten Island Ferry departed, so I walked there in a short amount of time. I was glad I had left so early, despite my assigned ferry time not being until 8 a.m., when I saw the huge hordes of people just waiting outside the terminal to get inside. I waited with the masses, was greeted by a girl from Louisiana who had noticed my Saints running shirt, and then eventually got to shuffle inside with everyone else.
There was a lot of security for this race, just about everywhere you went. At the ferry terminal there were police and bomb-detecting dogs everywhere. We packed in like sardines and after about 20-30 minutes, I was able to get on a ferry, just before 8 a.m. It felt like a long wait at the time, but it went by pretty fast.
The ferry ride was lovely, especially since it wasn’t too cold, just chilly and breezy. At first I sat down inside, but as we got going, I decided to hang out on the back deck and watch the Manhattan skyline get smaller as we sped away. I thought a bit about the marathon, what my goals were – I didn’t have too many. I wanted to conserve energy – during a couple of my long runs earlier in October, I had gotten out of breath really early, which I wanted to avoid. I decided I would walk up the bridges and uphill climbs, try to run everywhere else.
Once the ferry docked, it was a little bit of a wait to get off – there was a lot of waiting for everything marathon-related because of the number of people involved. We exited the terminal and walked a short distance to line up for buses. Waited some more again until I could get on a bus, and then the bus took us to the start villages. For some reason, the bus trip took about 45 minutes. We were stopping and starting a lot, idling in traffic or waiting for police to let us through – not sure if it was supposed to take that long, but it did. We finally pulled up to the start area at about 9:20, so it ultimately took over 2 hours for me to get to the start from my hotel in lower Manhattan.
The start village was just like I envisioned thanks to race recaps I had read and pictures I had seen – people everywhere. I was a little concerned at first about making sure I was in the right area and corral, but there were people everywhere giving directions. There were three different start villages based on the color of your bib – I was blue, and someone pointed at me as I walked up and said, “Blue turns right!” So I did.
I found my corral, D, and set up shop right by the entrance. They were about to close that corral for Wave 2 and I was in Wave 4, so I had made it with plenty of time to spare. I set out an old RnR marathon space blanket on the ground to sit on, pulled out my bagel with PB that I had prepared at the hotel, and ate while I read the magazines and newspaper I brought.
Everyone was given a clear, plastic bag at the expo that was supposed to be the only bag you were allowed to bring to the start village (but I saw some people with solid bags and whatnot. Hmmm.) Other stuff I brought in the bag included my Spi Belt, gels, phone and armband, iPod and headphones, Garmin, a travel size tube of sunblock, Tylenol, band-aids, etc. I also wore some throwaway sweatpants, which were nice because it was chilly, and I was never cold.
The start village had booths set up with Gatorade, water, bagels, coffee and tons of Porta-Potties. When it got to where people were crowding around my corral waiting to be let in for Wave 4, I kind of maneuvered my way up to the front because I hadn’t made time to go to the restroom. There were tons of bathrooms in the corrals, so as soon as they let us in, I made a beeline to one. When I came out, there was a line of about 5 people waiting for mine, so I was glad I did that!
We didn’t have to wait too long in the corral, or maybe the time just went by quickly. We heard the gun go off for Wave 3, and then we started being herded from our corral to where the start line actually was. Catching glimpses of the Verrazzano Bridge excited me, and the race announcer over the loudspeaker did a great job at getting us pumped up. He said the Wave 4 cheer was the loudest of the day, and I said, “That’s because we’ve been waiting the longest!” Our start time was 11 a.m.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” singer performed the national anthem and then hopped into the group to run the marathon, which I thought was awesome. Then they started playing “New York, New York,” which made me tear up! I was finally doing it!
As the race got started, I knew pretty much immediately I had dressed way too warm. I was wearing a long-sleeved but thin Nike running shirt and black running capris with shorts over them. Within the first mile I was already sweating! We headed up the bridge, and proceeded to run the next 2 miles on the bridge. I was so glad I was in one of the groups that got to run on top of the bridge. I think those with a green bib had to run on the lower level.
I didn’t study the course too much, I had just seen all the bridges we had to run over and heard that the Queensboro Bridge was the worst. I knew we were going to hit Manhattan for a little while and then leave and then come back. So I didn’t realize that Brooklyn makes up like more than a 1/3 of the whole race.
We were in Staten Island for a second at the beginning, then we were in Brooklyn for about 11 miles after we got off the bridge. I wasn’t struggling per se in the beginning, but I was warm and just focusing on not pushing too hard. I feel like I have heard people say that this race isn’t really hilly and isn’t tough, but to me, maybe because I have the perspective of a person who lives in flat Louisiana, this was pretty hilly! Not steep hills at all, but a lot of rolling hills and subtle uphill climbs.
There were a lot of funny signs along the course, the spectators were great and encouraging, and I enjoyed seeing runners recognize their friends and family who were spectating and go run to hug them. I was feeling kind of sluggish, and I drew a lot of motivation or inspiration from other people’s shirts around me.
Many people were running for charity or causes or in honor of someone who had died or was sick, so if I was ever feeling kind of low, I would inevitably see one of those shirts and remember that there was something bigger than this and more important, and that I was doing something many people can’t. I also saw a shirt near the beginning that said “Run the race with patience,” and that stuck with me. My race might be slow and long, but I just needed to be patient.
I also immediately corrected myself any time a bad attitude popped up and reminded myself how special this opportunity was and how I needed to savor the whole experience.
I really liked Brooklyn, but I was also ready to leave Brooklyn and get somewhere new by the time it finally ended. I had to stop and wait for a Porta-Potty at mile 12, which really aggravated me, but I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the race if I didn’t stop. So I probably lost about 5 minutes there.
We approached another bridge at the half marathon mark, but it was a short and relatively harmless bridge with a nice view at the crest. We entered Queens and it also felt like we weren’t there for very long – I guess ultimately it was maybe 1-2 miles? Because soon enough, we were going up the Queensboro Bridge. It seemed like everyone around me, including myself, just walked up this bridge. It definitely wasn’t going to do me any good to try to run it, so I just tried to walk swiftly. This bridge also had a great view, so I stopped to take a few pictures.
We disembarked the bridge, and I stopped at a Porta Potty that had no wait again, then headed onto First Avenue for our first stretch in Manhattan. This was about miles 16-18 or so, and I was starting to struggle mentally with having a good attitude. I don’t know what my problem was besides just physically feeling uncomfortable and being too hot. It was a mental battle to stay positive at times.
We got on another bridge to enter the Bronx, and again, it felt like that borough went by really quickly. Before I knew it, we were on the last bridge taking us back to Manhattan at mile 21. I texted my husband, who had said he would watch for me between miles 22-24, to find out where he was. It turned out he wasn’t too far, about a quarter-mile before the mile 22 marker, so I started watching for him.
I was very happy to spot him, and I ran up to him and talked to him for a minute, got him to take some pictures. He told me the Saints were winning their game against the NY Giants, which made me very happy. I had hoped to be heckled by some Giants fans on the course thanks to my Saints shirt, but they must have all been watching the game. I said goodbye to Hunter and got started back on the course – the next time I would see him would be when I was done!
For the next 4.5 miles, I simply focused on running when I could and walking any time I started to feel out of breath. We entered Central Park and there were numerous inclines that we had to tackle along the way. As the finish got closer, I started actually slowing down more to savor the final miles. There were huge signs to mark Mile 24, 25 and 26, and before I knew it, I could see the finish line ahead. It was already starting to get dark because of the time change and because of how long it took me to finish. Although there were numerous pictures taken of me on the course looking unhappy, I crossed the finish with a big smile. My final time was indeed the slowest of my 8 marathons, but I didn’t care – 5:30:23.
It’s true what everyone says about having to walk forever after crossing the finish line. I got my medal and recovery bag that had water, Gatorade, a protein shake, Power Bar, and pretzels inside, then followed everyone along as we had to walk to the eventual split where people who checked bags would go one way, and people like me who opted instead to get a post-race poncho would go another.
We walked and walked and walked. Got our ponchos, then kept walking. I was meeting Hunter at Letter C in the family reunion area, and family reunion started at Z and went in reverse alphabetical order so I had to walk by numerous letters to find him. Just meet your family at Z!
After I found Hunter, we had to walk a bit to the Subway, then change trains like 3 times to get back to our hotel. So while it was great to be so close to the ferry in the morning, the trip back to the hotel was lonnnnggg.
Overall thoughts about this race – it’s the biggest marathon in the world and it is so well-organized, high quality and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was so fortunate to get in this race via lottery and I will never forget the day. I love NYC and hope that maybe one day I will get to run the marathon there once again.
My training cycle for this race was rough. Right about the time I started training, I got a promotion at work that significantly increased my workload and quickly began draining me of my energy each day.
Then in July, around that same time, I had a spot removed from my hairline that turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. I had to return to the dermatologist in September to have more cells removed, and both times, I took a week off running due to needing to let the area heal (aka, not get sweaty and gross, which it inevitably would when I ran in the Louisiana heat).
Regardless, I still got in several long runs, including a 20-miler two weeks before the NYC Marathon. My goal going in to the race was simply to enjoy it. Enjoy every mile, enjoy running a race I had dreamed about running for a long time, enjoy the culmination of eight months of planning. I got accepted to the race in March, booked plane tickets in May, booked our hotel in September. It felt like it would never arrive, and then finally, we were flying to New York.
We got to the city the Friday before the race, taking the airport express from Newark into Manhattan. We got dropped off at Port Authority, took the subway down to our hotel, which was pretty much a stone’s throw from the 9/11 memorial, checked in, then hopped back on the subway to go to the expo.
When we walked into the convention center and saw all the signage for the marathon, I got SO EXCITED. It finally felt real that I was going to do this race! I had to wait exactly 0 seconds to go up and get my bib – there was no one in line! This was awesome!
Then… I got to the Asics apparel section where official merchandise was located. I picked out a long-sleeved pullover, a hat and a pint glass, all adorned with the NYC Marathon logo, then got in line. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, I got to check out with my stuff. I seriously waited in line that long. It was craziness. I don’t even want to imagine how bad the expo was on Saturday for merchandise lines.
After waiting so long to check out, I was tired and a little over the expo. I also bought some PowerBar gels, then we left and got lunch at a little Italian cafe nearby. I got tortellini, which was really good. That night, we went to see “Matilda” on Broadway and ate a really late dinner at a cafe near our hotel.
On Saturday morning, we went to the 9/11 museum, which was really sad. I was definitely enthralled with all of the artifacts and information, but it was just so tough to take in, especially since the museum is right where everything actually happened.
After about 2 hours walking around the museum, we got lunch at a food court in Brookfield Place near Battery Park. We both got noodle bowls from a place called Num Pang. The food court had a really nice view of the water. After we were done eating, we got some cupcakes and coffee from Sprinkles Cupcakes.
I have to say, I really didn’t heed any warnings about walking too much before a marathon. We walked A LOT – but I did wear compression sleeves under my jeans.
That afternoon we went to the West Village area and walked around Bleecker Street, Washington Square Park and NYU area. We got ice cream, found the exterior of where Carrie Bradshaw supposedly lived and saw tons of police getting ready for a Halloween parade. Since we just visited NYC in May 2014, we had done all the big touristy stuff back then like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, etc., so our plans weren’t as jam-packed as they would have been otherwise.
That night, we found a neat little place in Little Italy called Piacere for dinner – I had orecchiette with sausage and broccoli as my main dinner, plus a small piece of pizza from my husband’s meal. We got awesome scallops and mushrooms as an appetizer, plus they gave us free bread. I definitely felt carbed up after that. We then got some rice pudding from a place called Rice to Riches – that’s all it is – different kinds of rice pudding – and it was SO GOOD. We got a cheesecake flavor and had strawberry topping mixed in.
The observatory of One World Trade Center, which was right by our hotel, was lit up in different colors for the marathon the night before the race. I took a photo before heading up to our room for the night at 8 p.m.
I got all my race morning stuff together, made my marathon playlist, and read NYC Marathon race recaps and looked at people’s posts on Instagram that had the tag #tcsnycmarathon (Everyone was posting their race outfits!)
Finally, I made myself try to go to sleep, despite my excitement.
I ran the Barksdale Air Force Base Half Marathon on Sept. 19 as a portion of my 17-mile training run for the day. My goal was to take it slowly and save up enough energy to do 4 more miles afterward. The day was warm but not too hot or humid, so that was a plus.
Pictures from this race are few because it took place on an Air Force Base, and I was scared to take pictures due to all the security around. I’m sure it would have been fine for the most part, but oh well.
My husband’s family lives in Bossier City, where the AFB is located, so we stayed with them over the weekend. The day started with me driving in the pitch black darkness out to the base. I went to the wrong entrance the first time, and was told by the security person there that I had to gain access at another gate. That was a little distressful, but I managed to find the right gate and was let on base with no problem. I parked and picked up my bib and chip, got a metal detector wand waved around me, and waited for the race to start. There was also a 5K, but it seemed like more participants were running the half.
The race started, and for the first 5 miles we ran down a really boring and barren airstrip. Finally we started to run by some airplanes, and then we came back through the starting area and went a different direction to run around the base. The buildings and houses reminded me of the LSU campus for some reason, I guess the color scheme was the same, as well as the pretty trees.
There wasn’t too much in the way of spectators, but some residents had set up in their yards and I even got a very welcome Popsicle from an excited little boy.
I kept a steady pace the entire way and finished in 2:22:33, which was good for 13th place out of 19 in my new age group, 30-39. I didn’t stick around too long after finishing, just grabbed a water and then made my way back to my in-laws’ house. I ran 4 miles around their neighborhood to get to 17 for the day.
I would probably do the race again in the future, even though the first part is a little boring – it is definitely different than your typical race, and it was otherwise well supported and a good little race.
I am still relatively inexperienced when it comes to running on vacation, mostly because I am a huge chicken about going somewhere new by myself, and I’m also pretty lazy when on the road. I was glad to get out of my comfort zone when we visited Austin in August, because the city has some absolutely beautiful sights and great places to run.
On a Saturday morning while we were there, I drove downtown to run on some of the paths around the Lady Bird Lake/Colorado River. It was very hot and humid, and I had 11 miles on the schedule, so I took it rather slow. The parking areas that I had scoped out the day before were all packed, but I was able to find an empty spot at the Auditorium Shores park on Riverside Drive. Signs at the parking lot said it was 2 hour parking, but I thought that would be enough time to do 11 miles.
I didn’t have a specific route in mind, I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t get lost as I took on the path and made various turns. I stopped several times to refill my 10-ounce handheld bottle with water from the various fountains around the area, and I also stopped several times to take pictures at scenic spots.
At around 10 miles my injured knee started burning a little, and I noticed I was almost at the 2-hour limit, so I headed back to my car and finished the day at 10.5 miles in just under 2 hours. I really loved the run and the area – Austin is such a beautiful and interesting city.
My plan for this week included two days of cross-training and three runs: 2 miles, 7 miles and 9 miles.
This is what happened:
Monday – Spinning
1 hour at home
I have a spin bike at home that goes un-used far too often, so I decided to get my first cross-training day in while watching my favorite Monday night guilty pleasure, “The Bachelorette.” I didn’t work up a sweat or my heart rate like I do in class, which is why I think it’s worthwhile to keep going to spin class.
Tuesday – Ran 2 miles
My husband came with me for this run, and he is even more out of practice than I am when it comes to running, so he didn’t push the pace too much.
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Ran 4.25 miles
This was supposed to be 7, but I just could not handle the heat. I know I have to suck it up, but it felt borderline unhealthy to keep running at the point I was at. I got out of running shape and am now dealing with 100-degree weather while trying to get my conditioning back – not a good combo. Also, I felt better about cutting this run short when I had knee soreness the next day. I just know I need to be careful.
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Spin class
Worked up quite the sweat in this class and felt great afterward. My knee held up fine. Love having these classes back in my life!
Sunday – Ran 9 miles
The problem with quitting one run is that you then start to think about quitting every run when the going gets tough. I tried to rationalize stopping at 6 miles and then 7 miles during this run due to the heat, the fact that my shirt and shorts were soaking wet from sweat, and that I just didn’t want to go any further. Instead, somehow I trudged on and completed my 2nd long run in this training cycle. I have to believe that as long as I stick out my plan through these seriously hot days I will see major improvement once September gets here. It was cooler than Thursday afternoon, which helped, and I took two different breaks to get more Powerade.
Another thing that helped was that I was listening to the podcast “Again With This” from Previously.tv which is currently recapping season 1 episodes of the original “Beverly Hills, 90210.” It’s hilarious, and I listened to three episodes during my run.
I got my husband to take a picture of me right after I got home, but the picture doesn’t do my sweat justice.
My plan for this week was two cross-training days and three runs of 3, 6, and 8 miles. Here is what happened:
Monday – Ran 3 miles
I wanted to put this run off until Tuesday because I had to work until 6:15 that night, but I decided to take advantage of the fact that the later my start time was, the cooler it would be. This was the first time since my knee injury that I ran 95 percent of a run. I took two short walking breaks when going uphill at certain points, but I almost felt back to normal in this run which was very exciting!
Wednesday – Spin class
I tried a new spinning studio in town for the first time, and really enjoyed it! I hadn’t taken a spin class in over 2 years, so I was surprised that I wasn’t really sore the next day! I think during marathon training I will try and make it to a spin class at least once a week for one of my cross-training days. I missed this!
Thursday – Ran 6 miles
So hot! I went running right after work, around 5 p.m. It was over 90 degrees, and the heat index was 100. While my run on Monday involved barely any walking, I did have to take several walking breaks during this run. But it was the longest I had run since my injury, so I couldn’t be too upset. The heat was so oppressive. At 2.3 miles my heart rate was up, and I needed breaks to get it down. I think it’s best to play it safe in this weather.
Saturday – Spin class
Maybe it was because I wasn’t using a bike as close to a fan this time, but I got way more sweaty and felt more challenged than the Wednesday class, even though it was the same instructor.
Sunday – Ran 8 miles
It was sooooooo hot! I sweated like crazy, so much so, this is what my shirt looked like after I finished:
I took walking breaks at the beginning of each new mile, which helped me endure through to the end. My knee still has times where it feels sore, but overall it is holding up really well. With this run, I followed my training plan to a T. The only thing I failed at doing was yoga and arm workouts. Hopefully I will remember to do those next week.
Stride Box item thoughts:
I decided to make a concerted effort to use more of my Stride Box samples this past week, because otherwise I am just wasting my money on it. For my 6-miler on Thursday, I consumed my 2nd bag of Movit energy gummies, and also finished off a bag of Skratch energy chews I started on two weeks ago. I liked both!
I also tried some of the Ruby’s anti-chafe lube, using it for in between my thighs and on my underarms since it’s so freaking hot outside and I sweat like crazy. It smelled nice and washed off my hands easily with soap and water, but I did chafe a little, probably because I didn’t apply enough. Vaseline always works for me, so I will probably stick to that.
Lastly on Thursday I tried the Osmo active hydrationfor women drink mix in the Mango flavor. I mixed it with water in my handheld. It wasn’t strong at all and I liked it. I just don’t know what makes it “for women.”
Then for my Wednesday and Saturday spin classes, I used a microfibertowel (pictured underneath the Gu chews) I got in last month’s box that is special to Stride Box. I think I actually prefer a terry-cloth towel to this one. It just didn’t feel like it was soaking up my sweat like a good towel should. Before the Saturday class, I ate a packet of Gu energy chews that I got in a box a few months ago (new packaging and smaller than the Gu Chomps I’ve had in the past). The Gu chews were fine – tasted good and not too chewy – and I did feel like I had energy for the class.
On Sunday for my 8-miler, I tried the Chia Surge performance gel, which was a good thin consistency, tasted good (pineapple orange flavor) and had almost a chewy texture with bits of chia seeds in the gel. I liked it. Then I added MeStrength drink mix into my water. This was the kiwi strawberry flavor, and I liked it OK but it was SOUR. Not sure if it’s just that flavor that would be sour, but it had quite the kick to it.
I also used a Stride Box sample for a non-running related purpose! I was really tired before work on Wednesday so I added the Vita Perk coffee booster to my coffee. It is flavorless and has 15 vitamins and minerals. I think it might have made a difference! I was still yawning all day, but I had an extra pep in my step.