Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Great Race!

This has to be a post about more than a run. It encompasses an entire weekend, so please be patient!

We left home on Friday evening just about the time we had planned, after leaving our home in the capable hands of our daughter and son-in-law. We had a pretty uneventful trip, the only snag being stuck in traffic on 75 for about an hour, which delayed our arrival in Temple.

We spent the night in Temple, got up and had breakfast, loaded the car and went on in to Belton to visit with Rick's mom and aunt. They live in a nursing home there. It was a pretty good visit overall, and Rick's mom looks much better than she did the last time we saw her.

Then it was off to Austin. We called and found out that we couldn't check into our hotel until about 3:00 pm so we needed to find something to do in the meantime. We drove around and tried to find Capital Camera - a favorite place of Rick's back when we lived a lot closer to the Austin area. After NUMEROUS calls to Google we were finally given the phone number of a store that sounded similar. When we called the conversation went something like this:

Us: "Is this a camera store?"
Them: "No, this is more like a photography studio. Maybe we can help you, what camera store were you looking for?"
Us: "Capital Camera."
Them: "Oh my, that store has been out of business for YEARS! Ummm, there is another store for professionals that might suit you, Precision Camera." we went. (After another chat with Google, LOL).

After the camera store we thought we would try to find Mellow Johnny's...Lance Armstrong's bicycle shop. Another call to Google....unfortuately, every time I asked for Mellow Johnny's they tried to find "Miller, Johnnys"! Pretty funny...I already knew where my Dad and brother were! We had been there one other time so off we went to find it from memory. After some driving around we were able to locate the store. We spent some more time looking around there and determined we were pretty close to the hotel, so we decided to go ahead and see if we could get checked in.

After FINALLY locating the hotel, we successfully checked in an hour early and got our room. We also got a map of the 10K route. The start line was right outside the front door of the hotel! That was BONUS!

We were then off to visit with my "Austin" family. We went on out to Jonestown where my sister and her husband live. My Mom and Dad park their RV there when they aren't off seeing the U.S. (and sometimes Canada by accident!). My niece lives right there as well, with her 8 year old daughter. My oldest brother and his family live in Cedar Park which is close by. When we got to my sister's house my brother was there, but unfortunately his wife and youngest son were up here in the Dallas area looking at colleges!

We had an awesome visit! My sister cooked baked spaghetti for us (our carb load!) with salad and toasted garlic bread and brownies for dessert. It was great. We sat around the table and visited for hours. I haven't laughed that hard and that long in a LONG was AWESOME! We had a great time. We didn't get back to our hotel until almost 10:00 and it was off to dreamland.

We got up about 6:30 so we could have a light breakfast - after all, it was part of the package! Then it was back to the room to get ready, check out our mail and etc. and get ready to run. We knew it was going to be cold this weekend so we had packed all our cold weather gear. I wore my long sleeve pink shirt, long black running pants, pink headband, pink Tahoe cap, and of course my running shoes...also my iPod and Garmin...I was ready to go!

We walked out the door of the hotel about 8:20 so we could be in the start area by the time the wheelchair race took off at 8:30. The temperature was 38 degrees but there was NO wind. It didn't feel that cold at all - just a little chilly.

Just as the wheelchair division started I realized I needed to go! I ran back into the hotel - but forgot to get the room key from Rick...the line for the public restroom was all the way from the back of the hotel to the front door so I just turned around and went back but by that time the starting group was so packed in that I couldn't find Rick! I was going to have to do this one on my own!

They closed the gates for the timed run and started the countdown. The gun went off. We stood. Finally we started making our way to the startline as I watched the clock overhead tick, tick, ticking away. It was at 5:39:9 when I crossed the starting line. (One of 6,644 timed 10K runners starting!) The course started out over the congress street bridge at a very slight uphill. I was a little stiff, but we weren't going very fast because there were just so many people! The route starts out at an elevation of about 468 ft. to slightly above 500 ft. at mile marker 1. At the road in front of the capitol building we made a right turn, ran a little ways then made a left so we could get to the back of the capitol. This was a steeper grade and we were up to about 530 ft. We turned again around the backside of the capitol building and there was a rollilng hill here. Not too bad, but you were beginning to feel it. Mile 2 was deceiving! At mile 2.25 you hit the worst hill in the race!!! You go from an elevation of 500 ft. to about 560 ft. in less than .25 miles. My legs were feeling the hills already, but I thought I'd be able to make it to the top when out of nowhere the group I was running in just stopped and started walking! I was right in the middle of the pack and they ALL stopped! There wasn't any way for me to get around them, so I walked too. I walked as fast as I could, and I was passing a few of them as best I could, but it wasn't easy. We reached the top of the hill and started running again. There was a pretty decent downhill here and that helped - although I have learned you just can't let yourself go on a downhill, you have to control your pace here too! At about mile 3.5 you get to the best downhill in the race. What a relief to let gravity do some of the work! I looked down and I was running at about an 8.5/M pace and it felt pretty good, although by now I was wishing I was in my short sleeve running shirt and shorts. When there isn't any wind at above 40 you really don't need all the cold weather protection. You should have seen all the cold weather gear along the course that people were discarding! Now we entered the flatest part of the course and here is where the burn hits. you know you are getting close, you are so tired, you've used so much energy on those hills it is hard to catch your breath... you just really have to push it on through. I kept running and made it through the 4.75 miles right on pace (right at about 10.5/M pace). I really felt like I might PR this one...after all I only had about a mile and 1/2 to go, right? Unfortunately for me mile 5 starts going up again! This is right on a major street, they only block off about 1/2 the street, so you have to stay within the cones, so it gets a little more crowded again and you have to do a bit more dodging of folks than you had been. From 5.25 to 5.5 is the worst of this part of the run... After that it is on a slight downhill to the finish. I was able to pick up my pace, but by that time I knew I was too far behind my goal to PR. The hill at mile 5 had done me in! I knew I was going to reach my first goal though - finish :) ! That I did! I actually did pick up the pace the last .2 miles to just under a 10:00/M and when I stopped my Garmin it read 1:07:45.32. My 3rd non-goal was to finish in around 1:07:45 so I was VERY happy. Rick was right there waiting for me too!

We got the official results when we got home. Rick finished in 1:00:14.5 for an average pace of 9:42/M! He was 104 of 182 in his division! I am soooooo proud of him!

I finished in 1:07:44.0 for an average pace of 10:54/M and was 83 out of 181 in my division, so in the top 1/2...I'm happy with that. I always look back and try to see what I could have done better, where could I have picked it up so I could have made that 7 a 6, but for this race, and those hills, I'm happy. I know I will get better with time, I'm just going to patient and it will probably come when I least expect it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Run

Wouldn't it be great to enjoy a sunrise run on the beach like this?!?
It was HARD to get up this morning. It was hard, but we did it. 5:30 we were on the road to Arbor Hills. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be so hard to run today. We stopped for a small cup of coffee - so I could wake up, lol- then off we went.
We got there and parked, we were only the second car in the lot this morning, and got ready to head out. It was really dark, and I was a little concerned we wouldn't be able to really see where we were going good enough to run...that turned out to be an unfounded concern as we headed out in the gray light before dawn. We decided on the more uphill version for the first lap this morning. We started out slow and steady and I made it a decent ways along the trail before my legs gave out. I walked - for a VERY short amount of time and took off running again. One more stop and then off again. During the second stop I was going to look at the Garmin to see how we were doing and the silly thing shut completely off! Then when it came back on the timer didn't start back again. This really upset me because I knew this run was going better than the last two! After the first lap we stopped by the car so I could have some light and see what was going on. I got it all set up again and found that it had stopped at .87 miles (our first stop!) We drank some water and took in a little GU and headed out again.

For reasons still unknown to me this second lap felt GOOD! This is the first time I've felt good running since the first 10 miles of Cowtown! I ran the first mile at 10:42 and the second mile at 10:43, so my pace was nice and steady and Rick said I looked more relaxed than I have the last few runs as well. My legs didn't hurt (well, maybe just a little - but it was certainly manageable!) and I felt strong! We got back to the car without stopping once!!! After this part of the run Rick and I discussed how much better this was and came up with a couple of ideas. Our first theory is that I simply don't warm my muscles up and stretch out enough before we start - thus my leg muscles "locking up". Our second theory is that I simply run better in the cold...our last two runs have been in the afternoon when the temperature was in the mid 70's...I know that I run better in temperatures below 70. I also know that if I am going to participate in runs in Texas anytime after March I have to prepare my body to run in the higher temps. I'm hoping that we can better prepare ourselves this year, now that we have done one summer running season, and perhaps become better runners for it! We discussed changing our run next time and trying out the shorter inner loop before we add in the middle section of higher hills to see if I can get warmed up better, or if this just poops me out quicker, LOL...Time will tell!

After our talk we decided we had enough time for the shorter, inside loop so we took off running again. We hit the first downhill slope and my legs let me know I was doing more than I should! I kept going but about 1/2 way up the next uphill my left thigh just locked up! I walked a little and then ran as far as I could. I had to walk about 1/2 way up the last hill, but I finished pretty strong.

All in all we ran a little over 5.5 miles and I feel a little better about the run next Sunday in Austin. I was really getting worried that I wouldn't even get a good start on that one. I guess my goals are:
1. To finish
2. To finish without walking
3. To finish in about my normal time (1:07:45)
4. To beat my best time (1:06:03)....
Remember, this run really has no goals for me, LOL!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Rick and I started a new training program about a week ago with our know, they say you need to shake it up every once in a while because your body adjusts to what you do all the time. He found this program in a magazine called the Tabata program. You lift the weight as many reps as you can for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and do it again. In the magazine they work one or two body parts and do 8 sets! We tried it with our regular routine - I can only do about 1/2 the weight I was doing, and we can only do 4 sets - BUT believe me when I say this is a heck of a workout!

We started this last week. This week we did weights on Tuesday and after the weights we did 15 minutes on the elliptical (I finished 2.2 miles in 20 minutes), then ran Arbor Hills on Wednesday ( that is the one I blogged about earilier). It wasn't a bad run, but I did have to walk a LOT more than I normally would and the 4+ miles took me 52 minutes to get legs felt like chopped liver!

Thursday was another weight workout. I could really feel the leg machines and for the first time in a long time actually had to stop because of some muscle cramps!

Yesterday it was back out to Arbor Hills to run the hills again. All I can say is OUCH! My legs were soooooo bad! Jello has more consistency than my legs after this run. I did finish much quicker, but I still had to walk. Rick was patient (as always) and stayed with me to coach me along. We are trying to get some more speed out of me, LOL. I did one really good sprint, but boy did it take a while to recover. I'm also getting a little better at speeding up when I feel myself tiring.

After the two loops that we call our normal run we walked over to one of the hills, walked down and ran back up...walked across the park to the other hill and walked down and ran back up. The last hill was actually the best part of the run for me! Sheesh!

Next week we will be going back to our "old" workout and still running Arbor Hills...we need the hill work to prepare for the Capitol 10K next Sunday and I won't have a good run at all if my legs are burned from the we will break from that until after the 10K.

We are both looking forward to Austin - we last ran this race in will be nice to see how close to the time we ran "back when" we can get to now, LOL!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just bloggin'

Today we will run Arbor Hills again. We've been a little remiss in our training the past week. Seems life has been in the way...again! You know how that goes, you plan on running - someone comes over, you plan on running - there is a good show on TV, you plan on running - you take a nap, etc...

Nah, it hasn't been quite that bad, I call it more of a recovery time from our back to back weekend races, but we haven't run as much in March as we normally would have. We do have a race a week from Saturday and we took a look at the elevation map - thus the trip to Arbor Hills to practice our "elevation running". It starts out uphill!!! It goes uphill for a long time!!! I think we need to practice on some hills again!!!

Seriously, I do think that our practice there helped me a LOT at the Cowtown, and it certainly can't hurt, so off we go. I may even try a few intervals to help with my speed. We will be going to the hills today, Sunday, and hopefully at least one day next week to prepare. I'm going to try to improve my time over the three runs. We did elect to be chip timed for the race, just for our own information. I would so LOVE to finish the race in around an hour. (My best is 1:06). BUT I'm NOT going to set a goal time this race. As I mentioned in my last post I think that this is hampering me in the long run (pun intended) because I think that my subconcious mind keeps me from doing my best when I do my goal will be to complete the race without walking. Of course a lot of that will depend on how bad those hills are! We ran this race MANY years ago (around 1985 or so) and it didn't seem that hilly, but then I was a lot younger and not nearly so wise in the ways of hills either, LOL...We'll see how it goes...wish us luck!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Just got the official results from the Allen run. Rick ran an amazing 29:04 (a 9:23/M pace)! He came in 5th in his division and 171st overall. I am soooo proud of him!

I ran at 32:20 (a 10:23/M pace). I also came in 5th in my division - but I really felt good when I realized that I was the oldest runner in my division!!! Doesn't look so bad when everyone else is 50 - 51 and you are 53. I have one more year in this division and then I move up. If I had been in the older division I would have taken 1st place....of course there were only 2 other runners in that division - there were 17 in mine! I came in 243rd place overall. This also looks better when you know that there were 474 runners in the race. Rick was in the top 1/2 and I was right in the middle. Seems to be where I am in most of the runs we participate in, LOL....Not bad. I feel better today....Now I'm looking forward to preparing for Austin and the Capitol 10K. No time goals for this one. I'm going to see if that makes a difference.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Why do I feel that every 5k I run will be "the one"? This will be the one where I will for SURE break the 30 minute mark...I know it! I'm always wrong! Today was no different. I felt so good this morning...I had a plan...I knew I was going to do it. I should have watched the weather channel!

We got up this morning and I was ready to go. I was excited. My feet had stopped hurting, even though I had to do 5 miles on the elliptical on Thursday because my toes hurt so bad I couldn't run on the treadmill. (I got some pretty ugly blisters from the Cowtown run!). I felt GOOD! We headed out the door and on the road to the race. I thought this one would go pretty good since I was familiar with the course and should know more about how to run it - take note of the word SHOULD.
We got there in time to pick up our timing chips and make our way to the start-line to watch some of our friends make the "fun run" start. We watched the runners and walkers take off and enjoyed visiting with some of my co-workers from school. They were there to walk the 5K. Once all the walkers were done we made our way for the start line. I asked Rick if he was going to run with me or "go for it". He grinned - I told him to go for it...I'd meet him at the finish - after all, I had my own plan for this one!
I felt like since I had done so well at the first 5k this year, that if I could do the first mile in just under 10:00/M I would make my goal. The gun went off and off we went. When we turned the first corner and headed into the downhill (that would be an uphill on the way back) I glanced at Garmin and knew I was in trouble...the first digit in my time was an 8! No way I could keep up that way I should be anywhere NEAR that pace, LOL. I tried to slow down a little and watched Rick get farther and farther ahead of me. At the end of the first mile I was ahead of the time I wanted, but I was still feeling pretty good. The 1/2 way mark of this race is the turn onto a major roadway, Exchange. I was feeling good here too, although the wind was blowing pretty good it was from the side. I was beginning to tire and my Garmin was telling me about it as I was seeing the number 10 way too often. Then it happened. We turned back in front of the Natatorium, on Riverside, I think, and we were running into the wind. It was a killer. I think it was blowing even harder than in Ft. Worth the week before. I was already slowing down too much and this certainlly wasn't'd think I'd learn eventuallly wouldn't you?!? I kept putting one foot in front of the other hoping against hope I wouldn't have to walk - after all, I had run 11 miles without walking just a week ago, I should be able to do a measly 3 miles today, right? WRONG! It did help when I glanced ahead from the second water stop to see Rick ahead on the bridge walking....I didn't make it quite that far. I walked the water stop, ran, walked, ran, walked, and so on for the rest of the race. I was on my pace all the way to 2.5 miles...I would have at least done a 30 minute race - but it was not to be...once again the hills and the wind were out to stop me from reaching my goal. It was a real bummer when I saw a co-worker from last year running. I said Hi, she asked me how I was doing and I told her I was running behind my pace...she told me this was her first race ever and I congratulated her. We stayed pretty close together for a while although I pulled away on the steeper part of the small hill. We were less than 1/10th of a mile from the finish when she passed me and made me look like I was standing still...very demoralizing, even if she is more than 20 years younger than me! I finished in about 32:23...even though at 2.67 miles I had a time of 26:41. The wind just takes it out of you, specially when you are going uphill at the end of a race!
My splits were unimpressive this race:
Mile 1 - 9:37
Mile 2 - 10:15
Mile 3 - 11:13
Can you tell where I was running with the wind, and where I was running against it? LOL
I told Rick that I think we didn't have nearly enough recovery time from the Cowtown legs felt like lead after the first mile and a half...although that is better than the last time...maybe I am getting stronger. Anyway, after the race we talked about how we felt and we both agreed that we felt worn from the race the week before, we started out WAY too fast, and that the wind had a real impact for the run. I also decided that making goals for myself at least may be a mistake. I had no goal for the Cowtown other than finishing - and I had a PR...I think that I may keep myself from reaching a time goal subconciously, because I would just have to set another, faster goal if I met that one - so for the next few races I'm just going to go at it like it is just another run for fun, no goal in mind and see what happens....
wish me luck!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cowtown 1/2

Well, its over and we did it! I wasn't sure how this one was going to go but it was MUCH better than expected.

We got up at about 3:30 and got ready to go. It was COLD outside and while I was making the bed I could hear the wind howling. I told Rick - this isn't going to be pretty! We finished getting dressed, double checked all our gear, and headed to the car. We were on the road by 4:04 AM. We got to Chris and Candy's about 4:45 (a little early, which is on time for us, lol) and went in while Candy got the kids up. The girls elected to sleep in their clothes so that they could get a few more minutes of precious sleep in the morning! We gave them the hats and gloves we had bought for them and headed for the car. By the way, Peyton looked so cute in his new "Superman" attire! After stopping for the traditional coffee (and juice and donuts for the kids) we were on the road to Ft. Worth.

Getting there was MUCH easier this year. In fact Rick was quite surprised when we first pulled up to the parking garage. There really wasn't any traffic to speak of. We all pulled on the coats and hats and bundled Peyton in the stroller with extra blankets and went to find the registration table. Got our bibs and headed to the shirt table to get the shirts, then of course Memaw had to check out the porta potties...did I mention we stopped for coffee in Lewisville, LOL. As soon as everyone was ready we went back to the parking garage to put on our bibs and D-tags. (The D-tags are the newest form of timing chips. They are disposible so there is no big back-up at the finish line waiting for someone to cut off the chip, and directors don't have to pay for those that are lost because someone walked off with it still on their shoe.) We went back to the garage to do this because it was about 40 degrees outside with a windchill in the 20's! It was COLD!

We waited in the garage until about 15 minutes to start time. Chris was running the 10K so his starting area was different from ours for the 1/2 marathon. We were also looking for Granny (Chris's mom) who was going to walk with the girls in the 5K. After another quick stop we tried making our way to the start. Can I say crowded. We got to a certain point - we could hear the speaker telling us there were only minutes to go, but we couldn't move at all. Rick could at least see and tell me what was going on, but I couldn't see anything but people's backs.

The gun went off and.......we waited. It seemed like forever. Then there was movement ahead of us, a parting of the crowd and I could see the people walking to the start in front of us...they were on another street! I was soooo confused. How close were we? Were we past the official start pad that we had to cross? Were we going to have to back-track? I was trying to ask Rick, but he already had his headphones in and couldn't hear me. We finally started moving and I saw that we had been stopped behind a barricade that had been pushed aside. Once we actually got onto the street we were almost at the start line and off we went! It was actually a pretty smooth start for the number of people running. There were over 3700 in the 1/2 marathon.

We took off at a fairly slow pace. I was glad Rick was staying with me at the beginning. We usually get separated pretty quickly. He runs much quicker than I do. I wanted to keep about an 11:00/M pace for this race. I knew if I did that then I would beat my time from the DRC 1/2 in November. Even though we didn't officially set any specific goals for this race this year since our training had been "off", you still ALWAYS want to beat your best time, LOL.

I remember looking down at the Garmin at the 0.6 mile mark and yelling over to Rick, "Only 12.5 miles to go!" There was another runner just to the right of us that groaned, "Don't say that, is that really true?". We were laughing and joking about how we were almost to the finish with only that little distance to go...runners are a fun bunch! He sped up and went around us, but we kept to our pace.

Then next "big" memory for me is just past that point, as we came to the top of that small hill, and crossing of a major intersection. As we topped the hill the wind came blowing right at us. It was hard (gusts of about 30mph) and cold. You could hear the crowd ahead of us gasp as it hit them...we gasped literally took your breath away! We pushed on.

At mile 3 I took my first gu pack. I know I need to take them at about every 3 miles for the majority of the race to keep my muscles from locking up. This is where the Garmin really helps me. (Well, that and keeping my pace fairly steady.) At mile 4 there were people to call out the time...Rick couldn't believe we were only at mile 4! I was finally warming up a little and elected to take off my sweat jacket and tie it around my waist. At mile 6 I reached for my next gu and knew I was in trouble...ALL MY GU WAS GONE! I guess the bouncing around of the jacket tied around my waist knocked it right out of my pockets. Every single packet was gone. I yelled at Rick and told him what had happened (after he pulled his headphones out of his ear) and he offered me his supply of gu.

At mile 7.6 we hit another hill. The bad part of this one was that not only did we hit another hill, but this hill was going straight into the wind! Uphill and into the wind....NOT a good combination! The next vivid memory for me is on up the course about a mile or so when we hit "Hawkeye's Hill". Hawkeye is a local radio disc jockey who was running in the race. At the bottom of the hill there was a sign telling us we were at his hill. At the turn there was another sign...Hawkeye has already been by, but he wishes you the best of luck in the race. Then a final sign, Good luck from the Big 96.3.

I was really feeling pretty good, even as we entered mile 10. The legs felt good, my breathing was good, our pace was good. I was beginning to believe we were going to REALLY beat my best time! Then we came to mile 11.

Mile 11 was just around a turn in the course. Uphill. Into the wind. By now, as you can imagine, with only two miles to go, we were pretty tired anyway. As I bent forward to lean into the wind my back just locked up and started having spasms. It hurt sooooo bad. I looked at Rick and was about to cry because I knew I was going to have to walk up the hill. I wouldn't have been so crushed if we hadn't been having such a great race up to that point. If we had been having problems because our training for this one had been less than for the DRC I think I would have been OK with it. But I felt good! I felt like if it had JUST been the wind, or if it had JUST been a hill I would have been OK.....but the combination of the two, that close to the end of the race was just too much for my poor old back. We walked up the hill and once at the top took off running again. There was only one more hill and I had to walk just a little of it and then it was on to the finish line.

This is always an amazing part of the race for me. There were crowds of people waiting for their friends and family to come by and they were cheering every runner on. As we neared the last turn there was a group yelling out, "You are almost there...this turn and then the straightaway to the finish line. You can DO it!" Then we turned the corner and you could SEE the finish. I was really focused on the fact that we only had .17 miles to go when I heard, "GO CJ, GO RICK, YOU CAN DO IT!" I glanced over to the side of the road and there was Candy and Peyton. She told us she would meet us at the food tents.

Rick and I crossed the finish line together. Yes, he stayed with me the entire race - even though I know at the end it was all he could do not to keep going. I do appreciate that. I know it helps him when he stays with me at the beginning, because I can help him slow down his pace at the start....but he could also pick up the pace for the last couple of miles, and this race I just couldn't do that with him.

We finished with a time of 2:25:39. Close to a minute faster than the DRC. The medals are awsome! The feeling of finishing - even better!!

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This is about my life. My life as a wife. My life as a mother. My life as a Memaw. My life as a teacher. My life as a runner. My life such as it is.