Saturday, November 30, 2013

18 Miles and Delirious

For today's long run, off I went to follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road. 

And at the 9 mile halfway mark, I came across the Beatles and some former Presidents having a jam session. 

After hanging out with the Beatles for a bit, I turned back and followed the yellow brick road back home (there's no place like it) to the land of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole leftovers. 

Me with the Beatles - proof I really need a running buddy. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Run Happy Thanksgiving

During my Thanksgiving run, I decided to make a list of all of the things I, as a runner, am thankful for. 

1. I am thankful for words like moisture wicking, dry fit, vented, reflectivity, anti-odor, stretchy, seamless, etc. all of these words make running apparel so much better than old school sweatpants!  This morning I was especially grateful for the stay warm base layer.

2. City running trails. It is so nice to be able to hop on a path filled with other runners, walkers, and riders. I am grateful to the City of Houston for its commitment to improving our trail system.  These trails have come so far and definitely make running a better/safer experience. 

3. Apple products. Shuffles, pods, phones, etc. The i's have gotten me through countless runs. 

4. On that note, I am thankful for Beyonce (Destiny's Child), Brittney, Fergie, Christina, and all of the other singers that get me through. 

5. Running shoes. I am so thankful for all of the technology that goes into making supportive, responsive, lightweight,running shoes. We've come a long way from these gems. 

6. Body Glide. New to my life, but a game changer. 

7. Shot Bloks. Is it wrong I crave these even when I'm not running?

8. Every person who has ever laced up and run next to me.  You have comforted, distracted, and motivated me for so many miles. I love you. 

9. My husband, who does not really understand my need to do this, but who is unendingly supportive anyway. 

10. Christmas, which is when I usually clean up on clothing containing the words I mentioned above. 

11. Other running bloggers. Thank you for your invaluable tips and motivation. 

12. Along those same lines, Runner's World. So much information!

13. Race day volunteers. I could cry thinking of the generosity of total strangers who wake up early and brave whatever weather just to hand out Gatorade and water. 

14.  The Garmin. The Garmin has changed everything about running. Everything. I cannot image training without one now. Remember the days of having to drive a route just to figure out mileage?  Thank you Garmin.

15. Foam rollers. I have a love/hate relationship with foam rollers, but I know there is no way I could make it through months and months of training without a foam roller. 

16. The runner's wave. Duh. 

17. And, of course, calorie deficits!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More On The Runner's Wave

You probably can’t believe that I have more to say on the runner’s wave.  But, the runner’s wave is one of the greatest phenomena I have ever witnessed, bringing all runners together, even if only for a passing glance, so I have a lot to say about it.     I’ve talked about what being on the receiving end of the wave has meant to me, but today I want to talk about what it means to give the runner’s wave.

 When I first started running, it felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done.  Sure, I’ve faced a lot of physical challenges in my life, but running was the one thing that did not come naturally to me.  From day one, it felt like setting out on the trail was going against every fiber of my being.  When I tell you that it took me weeks to train to run just one single mile, please know that I am not exaggerating.  One of the things that kept me running when I really just wanted to quit, was being on the receiving end of the runner’s wave.  So many wonderful smiles and waves from people who were usually flying by, but still took the time to acknowledge me as another runner on the same path as them kept me moving onward.

 Even though I loved being waved at, it took me a very long time to start giving out the wave.  Who was I to be waving at these real runners?!?!  Why would a real runner want to be bothered with a wave from me?  What business does a girl who can barely get through her runs without collapsing into a ball of sweat and muscle cramps have trying to encourage other runners?  What good could my wave possibly do for anyone?  I spent a lot of my life thinking this way.  In fact, I spent the majority of my years afraid to show myself thinking that no one would really want to see me.  I was afraid of what I would look like in the eyes of those real runners.  Better to be unseen than to be disgraced.

I make a point now of waving at every runner, walker, and biker I pass on the long run.  Even if it’s all I can do to throw an arm up in their direction and let it flap back and forth as I run.  Because, let’s face it, there are times on the long run when I’m not capable of much more.  But, there are also times when I see another runner headed towards me with pain and exhaustion is written all over their face and I know they need a runner’s wave from me.  And so I wave. 

I won’t lie.  It’s not always easy or comfortable waving and smiling at perfect strangers.  Lots of times it’s flat out uncomfortable.  I feel silly and weird and probably worst of all, I feel vulnerable.  But, I do it anyway.  I have wasted so many opportunities in my life because I was afraid to be vulnerable.  I was afraid to put myself out there.  I was afraid to open up and I missed out on life because of it.  No more.  I have decided that vulnerable is okay.  It’s normal, it’s human, and it really connects us all.  When we let down our guard and decide to reach out to one another, great things can happen.  I guess in some ways, this blog is my runner’s wave to you.  It can be awkward and uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure you are all thinking, “just who is this person reaching out to me as if I need it?”  But, I’m going to keep waving because maybe one of you does need it.  Or maybe it’s just me who needs it.  But, here I am waving.

I'm running low on pictures, so please accept this Thumbs Up as today's runner's wave.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I wanted to share with you a quote that I heard while I was running today (again, a big thank you audiobooks). 

That which you have manifested is before you. 

I was pretty struck by this quote. It's not that I believe we can control every outcome in every situation. But I do believe that, in the majority of circumstances, the power of positive visualization combined with hard work and solid preparation leads to the ability to manifest the outcome we desire. 

That which you have manifested is before you.

Long Run Randomness 5

Meet my new motto:
I came across this gem at about mile 9 and I must have repeated it at least ten times between mile 9 and mile 17. I just love my new motto.   

And isn't this always what you would expect to see on a Houston neighborhood run?  Totally normal....not!

Caught a train at mile 14. Forced stretch break.  I was okay with it. 

A note on audiobooks: Life saving!  Lately, I have been getting bored on my long runs and a bored mind tends to focus on how long it's been running. I've been dropping hints to my husband that I need a running buddy if only for a couple miles along the way. He either isn't picking up on my hints or is ignoring me because he has no desire to wake up as early as I do on weekends (either way, smart on his part). So, this week I figured out how to download an audiobook on my phone. I cannot tell you what a difference it made!  I didn't have to think at all for 17 miles. I just focused on the story and the miles passed without my noticing. Well, until mile 14. Those last three didn't pass quite as easily. Still, the audiobook was a game changer for me for sure. 

Lastly, I didn't have a chance for Ramen after my run. But this almost made up for it. I love eating after long runs. As in LOVE. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Body Glide

There are days when you regret sharing an Amazon account with your husband. There are purchases when you regret that all receipts are sent to his email address and not yours. And this, my friends, was one if those days and one of those purchases:

What can I say?  It had to be done. And now that he knows, I suppose you all should know too.  

This is my first time struggling with this particular runner's problem and the problem is, unless you take time off and let it heal, it just gets worse and worse. And it has gotten pretty bad lately. Who would guess that a little skin/fabric rubbing could cause so much damage?When getting in the shower post-run becomes a scream inducing event, it's time to take some action.  Even if it's a little embarrassing. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Virtual Racing

I did my first virtual race this morning.  It was a 5k to benefit volunteers providing aid in the Philippines.  And you know what?  Turns out virtual racing is exactly the same as actual racing!  I registered, printed my bib, and off I ran.  The only difference was that there were no water stations and no giant blow up finish signs at the end.  There were also no competitors passing me, which made "racing" a little hard.  But, it was fun knowing that there were people all over the country (world?) running the same race for the same cause as me. 

I have talked before about how, in the face of tragedy, I find comfort in running.  The Philippines disaster is so huge and so devastating that knowing where to start to help can be overwhelming.  I love that runners always find a way to come together and do good by lacing up our shoes and doing exactly what we know, running.  Well done runners, well done.

The Hope 4 Philippines 5k goes through Sunday, November 4, 2013.  If you are interested in doing this virtual race, a link to registration is here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Body Image

Let’s talk about body image for a minute.  The thing about body image is that it’s just that, an image.  Your body image is your perception of the image reflected back at you in the mirror compared with an arbitrary image of what you think you’re supposed to see.  Body image truly is in the eye of the beholder.
In full disclosure and before I go any further, let me tell you that my weight hasn’t changed at all since I started my marathon training plan.  I pretty much stay within the same 4 pound weight range all of the time and that hasn’t changed with the increased running.
What has changed during my training is the way I see myself.  My body image has changed.  What I first see in the mirror is not the pooch under my belly button or the jiggle above my thighs.  What I see is a healthy body that is capable of carrying me miles and miles down the road.  I see the calves that propel me up those dreaded hills.  I see the abs that help lift and lower my legs over and over and over and over.  I see the shoulders that swing my arms propelling me forward.  The biggest change is that I’ve stopped judging the image before me.  Don’t get me wrong, I still see the baby Buddha belly in the mirror, but now I just rub it for a little luck and move on.
I’m no longer worrying about skinny or chubby.  That’s not what my body is about.  I’m worrying about healthy and fit.  I don’t count calories in fear of tipping the scale above “that number” that I’ve been focused on for years.  I calculate calories to make sure I have enough fuel to perform at my best.  My thoughts about my body no longer focus on too big or too soft.  Now I think of my body in terms of my preparation to perform.  Am I hydrated?  Am I fueled?  Am I too sore?  Am I stretched enough?  Am I strong enough?  Do I have any pain? 
My body is not about what I think it’s supposed to look like.  My body is so much more than that. I am so much more than that!!  My body is a tool to help me reach the goal set before me and I want to treat it well.  Recently, I was watching an interview with a female runner and they asked her what her least favorite body part was.  Her response left me with my jaw on the floor.  She said she really didn’t like criticizing her body.  She said that even after all of the things she had put her body through (prior to becoming a real runner for over 15 years, she smoked, drank, and abused drugs), her body still continually showed up for her and allowed her to continue running and that because of that she just didn’t feel right criticizing her body for anything.  Wow!  Imagine that.  Imagine loving and respecting your body for what it is capable of and not for the size of pants you can squeeze it into.
Here is another thing about body image:  It’s easier to change than your actual body. Maybe, just maybe I’m on to something here.  Maybe if all of us could stop trying so hard to change our bodies and focused instead on changing our body images we would find ourselves a little happier and healthier.   Give it a try.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gym Rat

I finally made it into the gym this morning. This is something that hasn't happened in ages. Pigs must be flying somewhere. I think the front desk girl almost fell out of her chair when I walked in (I used to be an on the dot regular). I even got some welcome back waves from fellow early morning gym rats. 

And you know what machine I absolutely stayed away from? 
That's right. No treadmill for me!

Instead, I assumed my full on gym rat position.

It was all about the easy, breezy, mind numbing cardio for me this morning. And, I loved it. Seriously, I could have stayed on all morning. Which, is probably why they don't recommend easy breezy cardio machining as one's main form of exercise. But, sometimes it's really nice to just turn off and tune out for a little while. And no harm in getting a sweat on while you do it. Ps - if you were wondering, Mischa Barton admits to having a breakdown a few years ago. Fascinating. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Exercising the Demons

What do you do when you have a really, really bad run?  How do you put it behind you and move on without letting it linger in the back of your mind causing fear and doubt to creep into all of your runs?  How do you know that you are capable of doing better?  And how do you make sure you do better next time?
These are all of the questions I've been struggling with since Saturday's terrible long run.  I know that it's important to put it behind me if I want to progress in my training.  I know that I need to look at Saturday's run as an important step in my preparation.  I know that by making it through the fifteen mile run when every part of me was begging to stop, I am now mentally and physically stronger for the next run.  I know all of these things, but I'd be lying to you if I said that knowing and feeling are one in the same.  I can't help but feel a little terrified.  I can't help but hear that little voice in the back of my head whispering, "you bit off more than you can chew," "this isn't for you," and "you aren't a real runner."
So, today was the day to exercise my demons.  Literally.  I knew that I had to take the first step towards the next run.  For a little inspiration, I dug out my 2011 Houston Marathon finisher shirt.  I needed a reminder of what I've already accomplished and what I am capable of accomplishing now.  Just putting on the shirt reminded me that I CAN run 26.2 miles.  Off I went and slowly but surely, I felt the kinks come out.  Physically, my legs loosened up and started to move like I wanted.  The short shuffling of Saturday turned into long stride sprinting (today was an interval run).  The labored huffing and puffing of my last run became strong deep breathing.  And most importantly, I began to think that I could run, really run, again.  I hit some great sprint paces.  At one point, I even looked down and saw the number 6 ahead of my pace!  It didn't stay there long, but it was something I never expected to see and I was excited to know I could run in the sixes, even if for only a few seconds. 
I guess the moral is that the only way to face your doubts is to just face them.  To trust that there is a reason for really bad days and the reward for getting through those days is that the next bad day won't seem so insurmountable.  We need to stop letting the really bad runs intimidate us and instead realize that we have been preparing for the really hard days our whole lives with every hard day we've already overcome.  Basically, what I'm trying to say is that we are unstoppable because we are ready!
My reminder of what I am capable of achieving.  Also, a reminder to take care of my brows!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy Birthday BMHTX

Bar Method Houston is turning one year old!  

I could not be happier about the success of Bar Method Houston. In full disclosure, the owner is one of my great friends. It has been awesome sharing the Bar Method journey with her. Rachel and I actually trained together for my first marathon. She really got me through those long runs that I never would have made on my own. During those long runs we often talked about her dream of opening The Bar Method in Houston and now that dream is a reality. I love Bar Method and there isn't a doubt in my mind that it has made me a better, stronger, faster runner. The only thing I regret about marathon training (well aside from the no wine thing), is the time it takes from Bar Method. But, I still make sure not to drop below three times a week to keep my legs strong and flexible. If you have a Bar Method in your area, I would definitely recommend giving it a try. You can learn what all the shaking and tucking is about for yourself!

This is Rachel and I before my first marathon. I always thought she was about my speed because if our long runs together. Right up until she smoked me on the race and ran a sub four hour marathon. She rocks!

Long Run Randomness 4

This is pretty much the greatest sight for a runner:

Especially when it's this humid out!!
It is actually impossible to stay properly hydrated in conditions like these. 

And, this is pretty much the worst sight for a runner:
The last 2.5 miles listening to nothing but my own huffing and puffing was torture. 

Oh, and I thought I was dying until this guy ran by:
Full fire fighting gear. Whaaaaat!?!??!

Today's run was the hardest for me in years. That's not an exaggeration.  I would be lying if I said i wasn't disappointed. I need some time to think on it. And to eat. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


It was 39 degrees and pitch black outside when I woke up this morning to run. So, considering how warm and comfy my bed was, I did what any sane person would do. I hit the snooze button. Opting to try again once the sun was out to warm everything up. An hour later, I walked out the door to find it was actually   colder with the sun out! 

WTH!?  Is that supposed to be some sort of lesson about the snooze button?  Well, lesson not learned. I foresee a lot of snoozing in my future. It is just too hard to get out of bed in these. temperatures. Only insane people pop out of bed to go running in 37 degree weather, right!?!

The run wasn't as miserable as I'd anticipated, but it wasn't comfortable either. My legs were crazy tight and it felt like they never loosened up. I never hit a good stride. It just felt like a struggle all morning. Not to mention how that cold air feels when it hits your lungs. I know though, just like running in extreme heat, running in extreme cold (hey, I live in Texas. This is extreme cold) is going to take some getting used to. It's all about training. The first time you face any new situation, it isn't easy. But the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes. Even if you have to hit snooze a couple of times first. 

Also, meet my new cold weather running essential:
I think my lips cracked in no less than three places during this morning's run. Cracked lips makes smiling at my fellow runners way less fun. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You Vets

A couple of pictures I snapped on today's short Veteran's Day run:


I know that being able to run for the pure joy of running is a privilege and a pretty frivolous privilege at that. I understand that there are places all over the world where people spend their days just trying to meet their basic needs and where a woman taking off on the roads for a run on her own would not be allowed. I am grateful to all of those who have served our great country and who we can thank for all of our many privileges. 

Thank You Vets!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bright Side - No Jellyfish

Last night I watched the Diana Nyad documentary (yes, we are WILD on Fridays). Talk about inspiring!  Diana Nyad is a woman who would not take no for an answer. Someone who had more faith in herself than the world had in her. She knew what she was meant to do and she was meant to swim from Cuba to Florida. No. Matter. What. 

On one of her attempts, Diana Nyad was stung by jellyfish as she swam. Not just any jellyfish, but the box jellyfish which is one if the most venomous animals in the world. And she wasn't just stung once, it took her two stings and a near death reaction to give up her goal. 
After she had to get out of the water because of the jellyfish, Diana was disgusted that her dream was taken away by something so out of her control. She felt completely prepared and strong physically and mentally and before the jellyfish, looked well on the way to reaching her dream. She couldn't believe that something so outside of herself and her journey caused her to quit. It was truly heartbreaking to watch. 

As we were getting into bed, my husband asked if I was getting nervous for my run in the morning (you know, because 14 miles is really far and you don't even get a medal at the end). After thinking about it for a minute, I replied, "No. There won't be any jellyfish."

And that was my mantra for the whole 14 miles. As I ran, I kept repeating, "There are no jellyfish."  Knowing that nothing outside of journey was going to stop me and that the run really was just about me and my preparation was empowering. Knowing the only thing that would stop me was me kept me going even when it was hard. 

Here is the thing, we are going to face hard things in our lives (harder than 14 miles), but those things are rarely going to include the most venomous jellyfish in the world. And as long as there are no jellyfish, we can do anything. 

Me after 14 miles and not a single jellyfish sting. 

Race Crasher

So, it turns out I highly recommend race crashing. This morning as I approached my running trail, I found this sign and realized there was a race going on right in my path. 

Apparently it was a 14k (8.7 miles - I googled) in progress. I stopped and debated what to do and the answer seemed pretty clear. Sure I saw the orange cones blocking my path entrance, but I was already a couple miles in on my 14 mile long run and there wasn't any time to rethink my route. So as a pack ran by, in I jumped. I did my best to look like a teen (fail) and blend in with the group (double fail). Turns out teenagers are fast!! 

But for real, if you have the chance to race crash during your long run, I highly recommend it. Water stations and cheer sections?  Yes please!!  

Oh, and I wasn't lying. I love this stuff after a run. It's really the best. Top Ramen should start marketing itself to runners. Even though there's not one healthy thing about it, Ramen hits the spot after a run!  Even at 10:00 a.m. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


Every Friday at about 4:00 p.m., I start really regretting committing to this marathon thing.

Is what they say about faking it 'till you feel it true?  If I keep repeating the above over and over will I finally start believing it?  Because frankly, a sports drink is not what I'm feeling like this Friday afternoon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Morning Reward

45 degrees may be an ideal running temperature, but it is not an ideal getting out of bed temperature. That's right folks, the weather has changed and now instead of complaining about running in the humid heat, I'm going to complain about running in the bitter cold (keep in mind I'm a Houstonian.  45 is bitter cold to me).  After hitting snooze more than once and trying my best to figure out any way to get out of running seven miles before work, I finally dragged myself out to get it over with. And you know what?  A couple of miles in, I was rewarded with this gorgeous sunrise:

When the task ahead seems miserable and you just don't wanna, do. You never know what is waiting for you out there. 

Oh, and the other reward for running 7 miles before work?  Potbelly cookies!

You'll notice there are no cookies in this bag, I couldn't wait that long to eat them. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I just looked at my November running program and the thought that came to mind was, "Oh this sh&t just got real."  Gone are the relatively short and moderately challenging runs. Nope, from here on out these runs are serious and they are intimidating. No turning back now. I'm in the thick of it. This is what I signed up for (obviously, I'm insane) and this is what's going to get me where I need to be. This sh&t is real. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Signs - (Pictorial #2)

God/Life/The Universe will provide all the signs you need. All you have to do is get out there and run.  Trust me on this. I have seen the signs.