Barksdale AFB Half Marathon Race Recap

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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.

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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.

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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.

Running in Austin

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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NYC Marathon Training, Week 2

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:

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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

20:43/10:07 pace

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

47:15/11:07 pace

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

45 minutes

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

1:46:12/11:48 pace

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.

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I got my husband to take a picture of me right after I got home, but the picture doesn’t do my sweat justice.

NYC Marathon Training, Week 1

My plan for this week was two cross-training days and three runs of 3, 6, and 8 miles. Here is what happened:

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Monday – Ran 3 miles

31:39/10:33 pace

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

45 minutes

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!

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Thursday – Ran 6 miles

1:10:29/11:44 pace

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.

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Saturday – Spin class

45 minutes

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.

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Sunday – Ran 8 miles

1:34:03/11:45 pace

It was sooooooo hot! I sweated like crazy, so much so, this is what my shirt looked like after I finished:

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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!

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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 hydration for 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.”

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Then for my Wednesday and Saturday spin classes, I used a microfiber towel (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.

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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.

IMG_2079I 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.

July Stride Box and ipsy glam bag

I’ve added a second subscription box to my life, the ipsy glam bag that sends makeup and beauty samples. When not drenched in sweat while running, I do like to wear makeup and look pretty 🙂 Here is what came in my special mailbox presents this month:

Stride Box ($15/month)

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  • Mediterra sesame energy bar
  • Huma chia energy gel
  • Salba chia seeds
  • Youth infusion drink mix
  • Rock tape
  • Purps vita drink supplement
  • Gu tabs
  • Dermasport skincare samples
  • Stride Box water bottle

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This was a good box. There is a decent mix of varying items – loved getting some chia seeds! I have noticed in the last few boxes that energy gels and drink mixes are quite frequent. I am pretty set with the types of gels and drinks I use, and am not really in the market to try out new things. I will try these samples out whenever I am just going on a short to mid-length run, but for those long runs, I am sticking with what I know my stomach can handle already.

So I will keep this in mind with the next couple of boxes, to decide if I need to keep getting this. It’s fun and I am excited each month when it arrives, but I don’t know how practical it is for me.

ipsy glam bag ($10/month)

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I *am* in the market to try out and experiment with new beauty products, so right now this is up my alley. I really liked my first bag and the variety of products it offered. Unlike Stride Box, ipsy subscribers get different bags based on a survey you fill out on the site when you sign up. There are a lot of different samples they are giving out this month, and each person will only get 5 of them. Those 5 items will vary from person to person. I got:

  • Teeez lipstick in the color “Killing Me Softly”
  • Eva NYC dry shampoo
  • Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo lip conditioner
  • Ofra eyeshadow and highlighter in “Bliss”
  • City Color HD Powder

The one thing we all get is a cute little makeup bag, a different one each month.

NYC Marathon Training

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Tomorrow makes 16 weeks to the NYC Marathon. Hard to believe! I have not run double digits since April 25, so I am kind of starting from scratch since my knee injury in May. I bought “Run Less, Run Faster,” which teaches the FIRST training plan of running 3 times a week, with 2 days of cross-training. Due to my limited amount of running in the past two months, I am going to start out on the novice training plan.

I will be including walking breaks in my running for the foreseeable future, until I am confident that neither I nor my knee need them.

My first week of marathon training will look like this:

Monday – 3 miles speed (the plan uses track workouts, but I do not have access to a track. This first run is 3×1600, so I will either run 3 miles or change my Garmin to measure meters and try to find a 1600-meter stretch that I can do three times)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Spin class – A new spinning studio just opened in my town; we did not have group spinning classes in the area until now. I signed up for a Wednesday evening class and one for next Saturday morning. Can’t wait! I haven’t been to a spin class since we lived in Baton Rouge, but I loved it back then.

Thursday – 6 miles tempo

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Spin class

Sunday – 8 miles long or 2 hours – whichever comes first. I have to test my knee out and see how this goes. I plan to get up before church and allot 2 hours toward completing 8 miles. Depending on how much I need to walk, I may not get there in 2 hours. We’ll see.

I also plan to do yoga and arm exercises 2 times a week on workout days. I want my rest days to be days of complete rest.

This training plan is beginning the same week I start my new position after a promotion at work, which comes with more responsibility and time devoted to working, so this should be interesting. I will try very hard to strike a good balance and get my runs in on the less busy days.

I bought a pack of these which will be put on after every run:

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Run/walking my way up

I covered 4.75 miles today, which is the furthest I have gone in a month and a half. I made a playlist to coincide with my running/walking intervals – I’d run for about 15 or so minutes, then walk for 6-7 minutes. I just wanted to go out for an hour, so how far I covered would depend on how fast I ran and walked. I covered 4 miles in an hour two weeks ago, so this was an improvement. This was my playlist – green means run and red means walk:

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I looked like a mess after! It is super hot out there.

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I used a product from the latest StrideBox – Skratch Fruit Drop energy chews. These had the texture of Sour Patch Kids, but were not sour. They tasted good and were easy to chew and swallow. I had some before the run and during, and I liked them. Would try again.

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We had a good 4th of July weekend. We were lazy on Friday and Saturday during the day. On Friday night we went to Lake Charles and used a gift card we had to Olive Garden, then watched “The Goonies” at Prien Lake Park, which was hosting “Movies under the Stars.” On Saturday night we went downtown where the city was serving hamburgers, hot dogs and had live music, then put on a fireworks display. It started raining right when the fireworks began.

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June StrideBox

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I got my StrideBox a bit late this month – by June 23 I still hadn’t gotten it, so I emailed them to see what was going on. They responded quickly and said that according to their tracking, my box had come on June 11. I said maybe the mailman put it in the wrong mailbox, or maybe it was stolen, because I never got it! StrideBox was great and promptly mailed me another box with the tracking code. So I had a great customer service experience with them.

I am most excited about trying out the Ruby’s Lube for anti-chafing, and the microfiber towel will become a staple in my running bag. I already ate the Kate’s Energy Bar and it was very good!

I haven’t been able to try out too many of my Stride Box samples lately due to not running as much, but any time I use something I will try and remember to post my thoughts on it for future reference. I don’t want the $15 I pay per month for this little box to go to waste!

July goals

The New York City Marathon is exactly 4 months away. That seems really close. We booked our plane tickets in May but still need to get a hotel.

I had planned to keep a base of at least 10-mile runs through the hottest parts of summer, but then I hurt my knee on May 16. An 18-week training plan would have begun this past Monday, but I think I am going to focus the next two weeks on building up my mileage, and then I will try to start a 16-week training plan on July 13.

Ultimately my goal is to not re-injure myself, so I am going about this very carefully. My big, tentative goal for July would be to run 45 miles total. Assuming I am healthy at the end of July, mileage would ramp up a little more quickly in August and I would hopefully be following my training plan to the T by then.

I am not worried about a goal for NYC. I simply want to get there and enjoy and finish. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, at least for me. I do plan to run more local marathons in the winter/spring, so I will be looking for a goal at one of those races, but not NYC. Therefore I do not feel much pressure to rush into training or start trying out longer distances soon. That would probably result in me being sidelined again anyway.

So my goals for July are:

1) Run 45 miles as long as my knee allows

2) Continue heating and icing my knee after every run

3) Do some form of yoga or Pilates twice a week

4) Do arm work with weights three times a week

5) Drink only water, coffee or tea

2015 Watermelon Fest 5K Race Recap

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Yes, I am running again! Sort of. More like run/walking. After hurting my knee I didn’t run at all for almost a month straight. I finally ventured out thanks to the prodding of my husband, and walked about a mile and a half, then ran a half-mile.

When my knee held up okay with just some twinges here and there, I was brave enough to go out again, covering four miles, mostly walking with several running stints, probably running a mile cumulatively. Then I went out and walked a quarter-mile, ran a mile straight, then walked another 0.75 miles home. So nothing awesome, but with every workout I felt more confident about what my knee could handle, and so I got maybe a little over-inspired to try and run a local 5K this past weekend.

I was very nervous about how my knee would hold up and afraid I would push myself too much because of the race setting, so I had to give myself a pep talk and promise myself to take walking breaks, not let pride get the best of me and just take it very slow.

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I set my alarm for race morning unregistered and unsure if I would have the courage to actually go out to the race, but when morning came, I was feeling good and made myself go. Races here are typically pretty small, my town has maybe three or four 5Ks a year, it’s not really a big running community at all. This race was probably the biggest I’ve been to here as far as number of participants, so that made me feel better – my fear was it being a super small race and everyone leaving me in their dust.

I knew several people there and enjoyed talking before the race started. Once it did, I just took it very slow, sticking to a 11:30 pace or so, hyper aware of my knee. There was a water stop at around 1.5 miles, so I got some water and took my first walking break. I started up again, with my knee having a twinge here and there, then for the rest of the race took about 3-4 walking breaks after each quarter-mile.

I finished at around 35 minutes, and the course was about 0.10 short. I felt pretty happy with how I was able to finish and that my knee wasn’t throbbing in pain or anything. I got some water and watermelon, then went to check out my official results.

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Despite the fact that this was probably my 2nd worst 5K time ever, I got 2nd place in my age group! Even though I just turned 30, I wouldn’t have changed age groups for this one because it was 26-35. I hung around for the awards ceremony and got my medal. It was such a great feeling to have gone and done this race despite my worries about my knee, and complete it with no major problems. The medal was just icing on the cake.

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