Friday, December 28, 2007

Winding Down 2007

Hard to believe that its almost the end of yet another year. You know they say that time goes much faster as you get older, and I firmly believe that, but none that I recollect have gone faster than this one.

I think back on the year, and I remember I was getting ready for the marathon this time last year. Having run my longest run of 21 miles and eagerly awaiting the "day", all the while thinking that somewhere in those last 3 weeks with hardly any running in comparison to the month preceding that I would somehow wake up and not be able to run more than a mile. However we all know that is not what happened and I somehow found the will and determination on that day to finish what I had started.

A month later I found myself running another 1/2 marathon on the beach no less, along side of one of my dear friends Suzy. And then the Spring races started and I was PR'ing at every distance from the year before, but the sub 30 alluded me in the 5K. I came really close at the Trolley though by 19 seconds, clocking at 30:18.

Injuries plagued me a lot off and on, but with Kenyan Way in the summer and then in the fall, I found myself getting faster and faster and able to do things I never thought I would be able to do.

An injury mid-way through marathon training sidelined me from the full marathon which is just over 2 weeks away, but I hope that the training I have been able to do since will see me PR at the distance.

This year also brought about some unexpected things and people into my life, of that I am truly grateful and no matter what anyone says or what the future holds, 2007 will be one of those years that I will never forget because of that. The past years leading up to 2007 left me with a hardened heart and a nature which some might call cynical, but one person in particular changed all of that. Through the drama, the laughs, the tears, the heart felt conversations, the I'm sorry's, the smiles, the truths, it always somehow ended in an upright position. I was able to find something that I thought I had lost somewhere along the way; that had been taken by heartache, lies, by things I had done, and things others had done to me.

I learned that friends are the family you get to choose, and that the family we are born into isn't always necessarily the ones that will lift you up when you have fallen. I have learned to turn to those that care about me and will never judge me based on my faults, or the mistakes I may make along the way.

I have learned that love is a powerful thing, in whatever form it chooses to present itself.

I have learned that the gifts that are unexpected and presented at times when you least expect it are the greatest gifts of all, and more often than not, come in an intangible form. They come in the gently placed hand in the small of your back, or when someone holds your hand, or in the form of words written on the first page of a book.

I found myself in Idaho again, the land that in my heart is what I expect heaven to be like. Among friends, old and new. We'll do it again this year and I expect because of a certain few that will be joining us this year, it will be yet another girls vacation that won't soon be forgotten.

In 2007 I have finished my 2nd year of school. One more year of basic stuff and then we'll get down to the nitty gritty leading up to my final year and graduation.

I survived my mother's surgery and recovery, along with her incessant ability to still make comments that make me feel like not such a good person sometime. I love her and I forgive her, but goodness, I really just wish she'd just stop already.

I survived a very stressful move, leaving behind somewhat of a comfort zone, but what was quickly becoming a battle zone.

I suffered a long and painful job experience in 2007, well up until September and somehow I was able to get out from under that and get back to what I truly excel at and am thankful for the leadership I have now. 2008 looks to be extremely stressful on the job front, but I anxious to take on the challenge.

Challenges are what I live for, and running in 2008 will provide that as well. We have the Spring races coming up again, and I wonder will I have PR's abound as well as last year? Will I finally overcome the elusive sub 30 and if so, by how much? I have some goals in the running area, maybe attempting some of the shorter distances at Rice in the summer. We'll see how the Spring goes, and if I can really concentrate on training at the 800m to see what I can do.

I will be signing up for the NYC marathon lottery again in February and maybe this year one of us that REALLY wants to run it will actually get in. If I don't then I may consider going up to Michigan to run with GLRG.

To my friends, both real and those in blog land, to those that lurk day after day, never commenting (hey post a comment will ya! Let me know you're really there and not just a statistic on my statcounter!), I hope that your year has given you some smiles, and that your 2008 will be the year you overcome a fear, challenge yourself to do something you've never thought possible and that you find love, or whatever you seek. That you find the will to forgive those that might have done you wrong in some fashion, and that peace fills your heart.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

As I was running the 2.02 miles to the Start line of the Koala Houston Half this morning, I was dealing with the knee. Yes it was bothering me, but I trudged on through the dark, dodging the few vagrants on the street that early, and carefully hopping from curb to curb.

As I even left the quiet East End I could hear the band that was obviously playing there at SHP. I thought back to last year when this was my target race, never even contemplating that I would be doing the full marathon just a couple of months later. This year an injury kept me from PR'ing at the distance and the race itself.

As I got closer, maybe 1/2 mile away I heard a shot ring through the dark and I knew that the race had started. I knew in advance I wasn't going to make it for the beginning but I had promised GID that I would be there before he finished that first loop. And sure enough I made it with plenty of time to spare. I got to yell and cheer on some of my favorite runner friends who were all leading in the pack and that was indeed great. I stood with Jaclyn as she wasnt running this year either but was there supporting her husband. Her and I finished close together last year as we leap frogged the entire 13.1 miles.

It was indeed cold out there for those that weren't running and maybe that cold made my knee stop hurting, as it never hurt again. Even as I sit here now its not hurting, not even like it was when I woke up this morning. Weird.

I made it over to the Finish a good 5 minutes before the lead guy came in, and then one by one they trickled in.

I kept getting colder and colder, as the temp seemed to drop and the sun was nowhere in sight, having to push its way over the buildings of downtown and it became unbearable even. I managed to hang around for a while, but eventually just decided to leave when GID did, as a ride home instead of running the mileage back seemed to be a much better idea.

So after coming home I hit the gym, with 30 min of maniac on the elliptical and then another 45 minutes on weights, all upper body.

I figure if I can keep the fitness level up, heck even increase it with the weights, then if in 2 weeks I am still not up to the 15.5 miles I am supposed to be at by that time, then it will become apparent that I will have to drop to the half and bail on the full marathon this year. Next weekend is supposed to be a cut back week but not for me. I will shoot for 13-14, some of those with KW on Saturday and tacking on the rest at the end.

Here's to hoping that somehow I can overcome this injury and keep on track for what I have worked so hard for all this year.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fired Up 5K

Temperature: 78
Humidity: 92%
Me: Still hacking up a lung

If I hadn't already paid a few weeks back, I wouldn't have gone this morning. I had a not so good night of sleep, and besides that I still was trying to cough crap up when I woke up.

That kept up throughout the 3.1 miles. I tell you though I do take some comfort in knowing that even the really fast kids struggled this morning. From what I hear the front runners were all slower than their average times. It was brutal this morning.

There were a couple of times where I almost just gave up, but I didn't. I figured you know just freaking keep running and finish. You already know its not a PR day for the distance. I did PR the course/race though from last year.

Here are the splits from LAST year:

Mile 1: 10:19
Mile 2: 11:04
Mile 3: 11:20
last .1 : 9:08 pace

Here are the splits from THIS year:

Mile 1: 9:37 (a 42 sec improvement)
Mile 2: 10:21 (a 43 sec improvement)
Mile 3: 10:33 (a 47 sec improvement)
last .1 : 9:30 pace

A definite improvement no doubt, but I had NOTHING left at the end. And I actually walked the 2nd mile water stop; might have been 30 seconds or less, not sure. I was having a really hard time breathing and the coughing was just too much for me. This is where I seriously thought about just quitting.

Eh, in the grand scheme of things I'm ok with it. I am just really sick of trying to race in this heat. I can run and train in it no problem. Other than that I am over it. To me today was speed work, nothing more as far as I am concerned.

I'll race the cross country at the end of September, but then its just me training for Houston in January.

Don't get me wrong I will still run the Clear Lake 10, the Houston Half (both of which I hope to PR) and I suppose I have to run the 25K this year (as suggested by Sean). I was a cheerleader at that race last year and I am not looking forward to those loops as I recall hearing about it sucking last year. Eh, it is what it is. At least I know I will have a PR for the distance since I've never 'raced' a 25K before. :o)


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lunar (Rendevous 5K) LoooooSer!

You know when we first got there (around 6:15 or so) it wasn't so oppressive (the conditions) and I had semi-high hopes. But as each minute ticked by and I was starting to sweat (without moving an inch) I knew it was not going to be a banner day for me. And I was fine with it.

I held my own of course in mile 1, and even mile 2 I was fine with, but at about the 1.5 mile mark I felt something in BOTH shins...something I have very little experience with. I have had issues with my left shin before but not to this degree and certainly not both of them...I already knew that when I got to mile 2 and the water I was going to take about 20 sec...which is what I did and probably not the best idea I have ever had.

I started running (jogging actually) and it felt somewhat better but I knew at that point being close to my PR or even a sub 31 wasn't going to happen today. Maybe thats where I messed up more than anything. Mentally I checked out.

I walked again at some point for like 30 sec, then once more for 20 sec. Bad ideas again, but you know as I said I had checked out.

The one thing that I am happy about was my last 1/2 mile. I figured you know I am dead tired, out of gas really, and my shins are burning, I feel like I need to hurl but if need be just hurl when I am finished.

If I hadnt found what I did somewhere, still not sure where, the time would have been worse and I sure couldn't have found the energy to pull an 8:03 pace in the last .1

Here are the splits, as ugly as they are....

Mile 1: 9:39
Mile 2: 10:36
Mile 3: 11:19 (walked a total of about 1:30 in this mile)
Last .1: 1:04 (8:03 pace!)

We figure the feels like was about 87, although I think it was more and thats just tough stuff right there. No need to even mention the humidity. It is what it is. Blah.

At least there was absolutely NO SUN WHATSEVER, and thank God too...

As I told one friend "i'm not upset whatsoever. i finished and i finished as strong as i possibly could have." Knowing that is all the satisfaction I need.

I figure I might stop sweating by about Thursday. :o) And I figure I will still attempt 7 miles tomorrow, although its a game day decision. Its a night out with a few of the friends tonight, although the rain now might put a damper on that considering we were going to an outdoor concert...

I am done 'racing' until Labor Day Weekend where I know I will at least PR the course in the Fired Up 5K (Sugarland). Whether or not I PR for the distance that's another story altogether...

Congratulations to ALL THE STRIDERS who kicked some ass in placing all over the damn field of runners!

ps: I didn't hurl at all but I certainly almost fell over twice while they were cutting my chip off my damn shoe.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence (Day)

Words take on a whole new meaning sometime. I won't go into anything deep or heavy right now, but yeah, today independence means taking back something I had lost somewhere along the way.

Anyway...after a grrrrrrreat evening which soured later on, leaving me with very little sleep, as I woke up this morning before the alarm I thought "hmpft. Stay in bed. No need for you to go through with this. Not today." My head and my heart were fighting each other, and I am still not clear on who will win out in the end but this morning my head is what got me dressed and out the door to make the Run Wild 5K that I registered for yesterday.

A lovely morning for sure...rain was moving in fast and furious and the humidity was right about 95% and with the temps at 75 deg, well you figure it out. I met up with the usual suspects, chatted, complained and just overall bitched about exactly why I didnt want to be there.

Even up till yesterday I had no expectations whatsoever for this race. I just wanted to finish without embarrassing myself and to be able to forget about what happened at the Heights Run over a month ago. I figured if I could maintain a decent pace I would come out of this feeling like I had won even if it was in my own mind.

Finally the race started and it was hard getting out of the pack. It seemed like almost to the first mile marker before I could really get out of the crowd. I could have gunned it to do that but I knew from previous experience that that would come back to bite me somewhere in the middle of mile 3. So I just kept the first mile nice and easy. I believe the mat time for Mile 1 was just shy of 9:40...steady was what I said for mile 2. You can pick it up later...Only did I not factor in that this was about the time that the humidity would really take over and I was finding it difficult to really breathe well.

I dont recall what the mat time was at Mile 2 (and I dont have my Garmin in here right now for the splits), but I remember thinking I am cool with that. So much so that I figured now just the last 1.1 and you're done. I am quite sure that my Garmin is going to show over 3.1 due to all the turns and the fact that I was not familiar with the course and more often than not I found myself having to cross back over way too many times to make the turns.

Other than the enormous amount of turns I was pleased with the course. So in Mile 3 I just picked it up a bit, nothing crazy. Just finish. With only about a 1/2 mile to go I figured you know, what the hell just run this bitch out and get it over with. Thinking back now if I had pushed it in that first 1/2 of mile 3 I could have PR'd. But that wasnt a goal today and yes I know it should have been.. Anyway, in that last 1/2 mile I did what I would have done if HSteve would have been beside me yelling at me to pick off this person and that person. I started picking people off.

So to make a short story long, I missed my PR by 5 seconds. I came in at 30:22. And yeah, I am REAL pleased with that shit. My PR is 30:18 and considering the conditions? Hell yeah I will take that and all the beer M and I drank too afterwards.

I remember crossing the mat and as the girl was taking my chip off, I heard the announcer say, and here comes the last of the first 250 finishers of todays race. Well if that was a milestone for him to mention, then by God I was one of those first 250 finishers today...and not sure how many there were but it was close to 700 if not more.

We of course stayed till everyone else was gone because thats just what we do. Too many friends to hang out with, congratulate and just have a bit of fun. Runners are crazy people I tell you. We really are. Who else stands out in the pouring rain, smelling of all kinds of hell and drinking beer and listening to really bad cover music?

Oh and I ended up with a door prize too. Thankfully some girl had her wits about her to tell me that since I didnt hear them call my number (eh, 4 beers will do that to you)... 2 Astros tickets. You know how I love me some Astros.

Yeah I will be probably be running the Lunar next Saturday, then after that its smooth sailing till sometime in September.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Astros Race for the Pennant 5K

I had one goal today. To PR that course.

I pretty much knew that making that goal was in the bag, but just how much of a PR could I pull out on that course?

Last year was my worst time EVER for a 5K, and it was especially brutal because just a month prior to that I had PR'd at Bellaire at 32:58. My time on this course for this race last year was an embarrassing 37:17 considering what I had done previous in a 5K distance.

The course has about 7 turns and then you have those 2 'hills' late in the course, coupled with the excruciating heat last year and well I ended up with that horrible time.

This year I PR'd the course in the fashion I intended. 30:53 was my time. Thats about a 6:30 course PR for goodness sake! I did what I set out to do and then some. I couldnt be happier with my effort today. It was um... 'cooler' if thats what you want to call it; the humidity was high but at least the sun wasnt beating down on us like last year.

I dont have splits since the first half of the course is in downtown and my signal kept going in and out. I know that at the 1 mile marker I looked at my watch and it showed 9:15; after that I didnt even look...

Congrats to Sean Wade who took 1st overall for 2 years in a row (if not more, but I remember him winning last year as it was the first time I had ever even heard of Sean Wade)...I think he finished in something like 15:04 or something 'astro'-nomical like that...

And congrats to NeeNee who ran her first 5K ever today after only running for maybe like a little over a month!! Way to go girlie!!

OK I need a shower like nobody's business...Next up is the Heights Fun Run next Saturday where hopefully a PR and a sub 30 awaits me...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beach to Bay Marathon Relay Recap

Oh man, what a fantastic experience! I have done a couple of relays before but never a marathon relay and certainly not one that starts on the beach as the sun is rising and ends up winding over the huge causeway, the Naval base, a few other areas and ending up at the edge of the beautiful Corpus Christi Bay!

How did I get so lucky as to be asked to run with such a great group of women, and of course a great running club! I think we had 9 teams there, so the Striders were well represented and a few of the teams even won some hardware, not surprisingly so since we had some great talent there!

Anyway, if you are running 1st or 2nd leg, while yes you get the coolest part of the day but you also have to be up super duper early! I was to be downstairs with the others at 5:05am for our specified driver to take us to the HEB for loading onto buses for them to then take us over the huge causeway to the beach!

I have seen alot of sunrises in my life, but you know I cant ever remember one this beautiful. Maybe it was the surrroundings, all the 1st and 2nd leg people milling about, warming up, chatting..all giddy with excitement, but it was something to see. I ran into a few people I knew that I didnt know was there, Edwin!!, Stephen...

The first leg folks did an out and back on the beach before handing off to the 2nd leg (me). This was the hardest part for me...

Not being in the pack when the race actually begins!! I went up and stood on a huge dune and just looked down over the mass amount of people, and was so excited I could hardly stand it! I didnt want to have to wait to run!!

I was nerve wracked, checking my watch as I knew about what time to expect Carol, but she was early!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! Somehow I actually heard them calling our number and instead of waiting for her to come to me, I went and met her closer in...

And I was off! I suspect it was about a 1/4 mile of sand that I had to contend with (nothing like her) before I hit pavement. I had been advised that it was going to be rough, NOTHING like Surfside and boy were they right! Oh God, it was as if a million horses had gone through there, and there were holes everywhere, and trying to run on it was so hard to do! I had been told, "dont kill yourself trying to get out of the sand, just take it nice and easy and you'll be fine".

Wiser words were never spoken. I did exactly as I had been told ;o) and I was fine. I was better than fine. The most annoying part of this little bit was that some of the 1st leg people were walking instead of getting out of the way after their leg!! Ugh!!

Once I hit pavement, I never looked back. I never walked a second, instead opting to take what I could out of the water cups on the run and then pour the rest on me there towards the end. The sun was up by that point and well it was getting warm. At least there was little humidity which helped tremendously! Once I hit mile 3 the urge to have to go to pee started...Oh God, please no...with every step it hurt just a little, and I began looking for a place to run off, but really there wasnt anywhere where I wouldnt be spotted! Somewhere in mile 4 it was getting bad and there was a Whataburger but well, it just wasnt an option. Not this close. I would lose the extra time I had in the bank, and we'll maybe later on in the race, we would need it. You never know what kind of a day someone is going to have!

The mile splits were right on the money up till I got up to the 4 mile marker, and my watch had already beeped at biggie...I was close dammit. Real close. The causeway was looming in the background and I was trying to see ahead as to where I was headed...It confused me because I thought how are they getting to the other side?? Little did I know we would veer to the left, and go under and around before I could hand off! UGH!!! :o)

I remember thinking numerous times...I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge. I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge. I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge.

Once I made it to where the transition area was, I just began hunting for Barb. I had no idea if she was going to be on the left or the right since I hadnt talked to her that morning, and I knew its the next leg's responsibility to spot the runner, but I couldnt help but be concerned. I had heard stories about runners losing each other in the transition area...but there she was...I think we saw each other about the same time and I could hear her calling my name...and the handoff was done!

Let me tell you I hate running with a baton. About halfway through I stuck that thing down through my shirt in such a way that it was secure and I didnt have to worry about carrying it or having it fall out somehow...

Now the real fun starts...trying to make it back to base, and then manuevering to the post race party for some fun and to see the final leg finish in all their glory!!

The part of having to wait and wait and wait is boring so we won't go into all that, but finally making it to the post race party was easy enough and all I wanted was beer and food. In that order.

The amount of people (runners) was amazing, something like 10,000 if I remember correctly so it was a sea of tents and people, and food, and beer, and beer, and beer. ;o)

Our little women's team made it over to the finish as we knew our #6 leg girl would be bringing it home shortly...We really thought we were going to get under 4 hours, and we were close, but the 4th, 5th and 6th leg folks really had to endure some heat. I heard several stories about some collapsing by the road and the number of times I heard ambulances while waiting at the end of the #3 leg were too many to count. I wonder if it were those folks that opted to run more than one leg just for the heck of it?

Barry ended up having to run 3 legs (probably a total of close to 13 miles, including the last one being having to run UP the causeway... (I cant even imagine) because of the bus situation at the end of #2; running another 4 miles was faster ... they really need to improve upon that ... I wasnt going to wait for another bus I can tell you that...I smushed my way through the crowd of folks that had cut in front as we were waiting on the other one and were almost on. There really needs to be some order in this process I can tell you that!

I was the last person that made it on, and as I said I smushed my way on and if she would have told me to get off, well, I wouldnt have. ;o)

Anyway, back to the finish..and Hilary..We finally spot her coming towards the finish and I cant even begin to tell you how incredible her finish was. She looked completely worn out and not a dry spot on her body, her clothes or her hair. It appeared to me that something was wrong, and that she looked like she was in some pain, and well she was indeed, but nothing out of the ordinary. She, like all of us had pushed ourselves for each other, and it showed. She was amazing. I think we all were.

All in all, this was one of the best experiences (so far) as a runner. Yes my first marathon will always be my first marathon. But this will always be my first marathon relay. I cant begin to tell you how much fun we all had this weekend. It was just a perfect weekend all the way around! Highlight of the weekend, not including the race itself, was being squished in the back seat of a convertible smack dab in between Peter and Fred...I mean really, what more could a girl ask for? ;o) Well, I could ask for more, but that would be on an entirely different blog now wouldn't it?? ;o) ;o) ;o)

I tell you one thing, I hope like hell I get asked back again next year! I think I want to tackle that bridge...Easy enough for me to say now right? ;o)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

BTB Marathon Relay

Total Team Time: 26.2 miles 4:03:40

2nd leg (Me): 4.57 miles Total Time: 44:28

Mile 1: 9:41
Mile 2: 10:04
Mile 3: 10:09
Mile 4: 9:32
last .57: 5:02?? That seems slow....I know I was running faster than that the last 1/2 mile....but whatever...

Garmin shows my fastest pace at 8:05 but not sure where that was.

Had to run another 1.75 after 4 beers to make it to check out of the hotel on time..18:32...Had to verify this one on the Garmin...but yeah 18:32 once I got my glasses on to read the screen... ;o)

Not bad if you ask me. More later.

Way Cool Strider Babes
10 OVERALL Master Females!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Thanks to Sarah who snapped me in my first racing pic airborne. Both feet off the ground, which I always think those photos are cool.
And yes, she gave me permission to use the photo here! :o)
She got another cool one of me as I was tossing off a water cup after pretty much dousing myself with it. I still havent mastered the drinking on the run thing, but I am getting better.
Sometimes it makes it, sometimes not so much.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Schleroderma 5K

Good God, I did not want to leave the house this morning.

I woke up well before the clock, which was set to go off at 5:15am. I got up around 5, splashed water on my face, and put on my clothes. All except my shoes.

I had alot of time before I actually needed to leave the house, and I laid down on the couch and started watching a Tivo episode of ER.

I really dont want to go, I said to myself. I'm tired, yesterdays relay kicked my ass, then the Astros game, a couple of beers (early) and well, its ok if I dont go. Its fine. I ran hard yesterday. Its all good.

By now its 5:30am. Still laying on the couch.

Phone starts ringing.


"Are you still in bed?" he asked. "No, but I am on the couch" was my reply. Then of course I hear the usual blah blah blah in my ear, all from the guy who wasnt even going to do this race today.

The same person who ended up winning 1st in his age group. You can thank me later for that big ass pretty trophy you got ;o)

Anyway I did end up putting my shoes on and headed out the door.

I didnt expect much today, which I know isnt the right frame of mind to go into an event with, but well...sometimes it happens.

My legs hurt from yesterday, but the warm up I did with Pony (who got 2nd in our age group!!) must have helped. I actually ended up doing alot better than I thought I would.

No PR, and no sub 30: but thats cool. I held my own, and with HottieSteves help there in the last 1/4 mile or so I was able to turn it up and he had me catching and passing people left and right. One tried to come back and pass me (I could hear her coming back up on me) and that just wasnt acceptable. :o) So Steve thanks for the pick-up ... even if I still think you're a big meanie. ;o)

Mile 1: 9:31
Mile 2: 10:09
Mile 3: 10:19 (and in this mile I actually took a 1 min walk break)
last .19: 1:31 (8:00 pace!)

Total Time: 31:30 (3.19)

The avg pace for the 3.1 showed me at 10:10 pace and again...thats great considering I didnt think I had anything left today. Would be slightly less if you take into account the difference between the .1...I know everyone else had it about about .15 or .16, but I guess when I walked that 1 minute there that might be where my difference in distance came in at compared to theirs (since I moved over the right where the walkers were).

I even finally managed to crack the top 10 in my age group (7th) so its been a good weekend for me on all fronts.

Alot of Striders out this morning showing their support, and alot of them took home hardware as well!!

A great event, and with the Striders managing it (Barb as Race Director was awesome), well lets just say that I am thrilled that I did make it out the door this morning. I know had I not, I would have been kicking my own ass with regret.

Night night.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bayou Bash Relay

Well, well, well...

I did it. I finally logged my first 'official' sub 9: mile. Today.

8:58 for my first mile in my leg (which I ran the second leg).

How happy am I?

It of course was not to be that way in the 2nd mile, but I am ok with that. I still managed a 9:34ish pace for my leg (based on 2 miles not 2.1). Not too shabby. I am happy with that. Yeah I wish it was a 9:29 (or better) :o) but whatever.

The course was long, by my watch almost a full .1 and according to everyone around me they showed a full .1 So even better. I will take the 19:22 for 2.1

We had a good team and I thought we'd place better than we did. Tracy brought it in for the last leg at about 8:30 avg pace. Our time on the clock was 1:15 and some change, but the results showed 1:17+ (first place in our division clocked in at 55:+) and without a chip mat, well you have to go with what the person at the end marks down, even though she was on the other side of the road from the clock and behind it as well.

Striders represented with 24 teams out there today; maybe even 25 as I heard someone say that at one point, so YAY STRIDERS!!!

All in all I felt good, and still feel that way. I have no clue what to expect tomorrow with the 5K on tap. I know I wont be shooting for another sub 9: in that first mile :o) ... That shit about killed me. I dont need 3 days of speed work in one week I dont think!!

Now I must rest before hitting the Astros game tonight! I cant wait for the best part of that which is a HOT DOG and a BEER! Never mind the fact that I had an ice cream cone and a piece of pizza for breakfast. I just love after race parties!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Bellaire (Hurricane) Trolley Run 2007

**edited 11:37am**

Seriously we had it all this morning...getting to the race was hard enough...the rain, lightning, thunder and wind was brutal. I had to pull over a couple of times because at one point I thought my vehicle was going to tip right over...As it got closer to 7:30 it seemed to let up; it wasnt raining as hard and the wind had stopped, but the lightning and thunder prevailed. And the temperature had dropped from 73 when I left my house to the low 60's so that of course was welcomed.

The race started on time.

First things first; I PR' about 2:40 I guess. Garmin time was 30:15, Chip time showed 30:18. Yep, I was that close to my first sub-30. I hadnt even really thought about that till the last turn when I looked at my watch and I thought "I might have this bitch" I kept on, I knew the PR was in the bag already. I turned it on too late though because well I thought I was closer to the Finish than I was therefore no sub:30. I knew I wasnt going to get it once again there was yet another turn (7 in all the whole race course) so I just ran that last bit as hard as I could. Considering the conditions and the turns, well you know... ;o) I am extremely proud of my effort; a big 5K PR and that close to sub 30.

I never walked a second, and just ran past the water stop both times. I felt great out there today. Really great. Wait, no REALLY REALLY great...I was ready to go again. I was ready to be one of those that runs after the run.

Mile 1: 9:19
Mile 2: 10:02
Mile 3: 9:58
.1: .56 (8:29 pace) :) :)

As I said if I had known where I was in that mile 3 (should have looked at mileage on Garmin again), I might have been able to get it...Theres always next time. I have already signed up for the Easter Bun Run here in downtown next Saturday but I dont think its chip timed, so I am thinking maybe I should head to Clear Lake for the Resurrection Run (which I believe is chip timed) instead to get that sub 30. I will make that decision later this week.

7 miles, maybe 10 on the schedule for tomorrow morning at Memorial.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Law Week 8K 2007

It always freaks me out a bit whenever I get someone who I dont know that says "Hey June! I read your blog!". That happened a few times today. More so than it ever has at one event/time. The first time was a guy and was while I was still out on the race route and just after we made the turn at Shephard. Hiya!!!

The second time was as I was about to cross the Finish line, and this time it was a girl. After she said Go June!! I turned to look to see who it was, not recognizing her, and she followed up with "I read your blog all the time!!" I just smiled and waved. I hope to see you at Bellaire next week!!!

And then the final time was a bit after it was all said and done and some of us were just hanging out. A special shout out to Mr. Rios :O) for giving me such compliments ... and it was very nice to meet you. And I am glad I was able to set your mind at ease :o)

So anyway it does in fact make me smile and I wish that I could meet more of you that happen along the way. I see the hits and where they are from and alot of them are from Houston, but I have no idea who you all are!! ;o)

It was definitely different conditions than last year. Last year was about 20 deg cooler and no humidity. Today we were socked with 70 deg and about 95% humidity. Last year I ran it in 56:05 and with the conditions and me not feeling 100% due to allergies I just didnt have a clue that I was going to be able to pull out a PR. Thank goodness for oxygen tanks and Altoids...thank you HSteve for that!! The Altoids definitely opened up my sinuses for at least the first 3 miles.

As usual I go out too fast even though HSteve says there is no such thing. First mile: 9:32. Something I had not counted on. Mile 2: 10:20. Not sure of the splits after that because my signal kept going in and out, but I averaged out at 10:51 per mile...I did feel confident enough that I had the Garmin set way high on intervals just in case...I had it set for 9/1's but as it turned out I only walked the 1 min once and for 30 sec on another time. The rest I saved for the water stops. All I kept hearing in my head was HSteve telling me to not be a wimp and dont slower .. ok, but dont walk. :o)

For a PR of 53:23 total race route. Last year was 56:05. I will take that.

And as usual I know I could have gotten sub 53 if I would have just stepped it up a time or two. Ugh I hate it when I dont freaking push myself. I know this mostly because after I crossed the Finish line, and Santos was there to take off my chip, I wasnt heavy breathing, I wasnt winded...Yeah I was soaking wet but hey, it was hot/humid out there this morning. So I know I had more in there to give. I think once I knew I had a decent PR that it was ok to just coast.


Anyway, Bellaire 5K next week, and we'll see how that goes. Another PR? Let's hope so. I sure hope for at least less humidity :o) We're gonna have to do alot better on my per mile pace next week for a decent PR although given my time in the first 3 miles this morning I think I should be a-ok.

Kudos to all the Striders that did so well out there this morning, and as usual its always good to see a bunch of friends! Of course John Yoder won 1st in his age group, and I know that DavidM, Andrew, HSteve, Pony...everyone did really well!!!

Now I am off to consume as many crawfish as I can in the span of a couple of hours at the MDA Benefit. And to answer the age-old question it seems everyone asks when it comes to crawfish: "Yes I do." ;o)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rodeo Run 2007, 4Wheelin, Human Salt Blocks and Overall Fun Day!

Jesus it was HUUUUUUUUUUMID out there today, now I like it warm, but I dont like it humid as hell...but I still managed a PR thanks to Marianne, SteveB and HSteve! More on that later!

About 7:30 my phone rang and it was Marianne! She had indeed made it to register so she was running! Swung by and picked her up and we were on our way...just sprinkling rain so it looked good...We were hurrying to make it there in time to catch SteveB for his costume contest!!! As we neared Texas Ave...we were stuck in freaking traffic, and thankfully HSteve called again and told me what to do to get past it all. Little did I know that it would have us 4-wheelin over the curb, grass and a wheelchair ramp to slide into the back parking lot while everyone else was just gridlock!

Hopped the shuttle and ended up having to run before the run to make it time but we did!!! And SteveB won FIRST PLACE!!! He looked great!! Since he became an instant celebrity and was being interviewed by all the news stations, Marianne and I set off to to portapotty lines...and then finally meeting back up with SteveB; somewhere along the way we lost HSteve, but he was waiting for us near the start as we finally got close. Took forever to cross the start!

It had started raining but not too terribly bad and then it stopped. It didnt rain the whole race until we were actually leaving. I mean a sprinkle here and there but nothing to complain about.

I think we started out too fast, not sure what the first mile was because well, in the laughing so hard about the 4wheelin incident I left my Garmin in the car!

They paced me well, but I was having a bit of situation with my knee and after the first up over the Elysian my hams were crying...I didnt eat well yesterday or the day before, I hadnt slept much either...but I kept on and they kept me going when I didnt want to. You see I hadnt run this distance without intervals before. EEK!! If I had to guess I think I might have walked 4 minutes of the entire thing. Mostly during water stops. I cant be sure though. HSteve kept me at 30sec walks here and there until he left us at the start of mile 5. The headwinds the last couple of miles were brutal too especially having to come back over the Eliysian. I swear there were just too many factors today...but I still did it (PR'd) , and I am happy about that!!

I think I am more proud of that fact (the no intervals) than I am about the PR. Hard to say.

SteveB was the highlight of the run though because he had so many people cheering him on as we would pass crowds of people. And thats another thing, there were alot of people out today, throughout the course! That part was great. I am sorry but I just dont know how he ran 6.2 miles in that thing!! And still had so much fun, mostly egging me on with annoying whoops and hollers and "june's gonna PR! june's gonna PR" ... Way too funny but there were times I f'ing wanted to smack him. ;o) ;o)

I don't have an official time, but unofficially (according to Marianne's watch) I did it in 1:08:54; thats a 4 minute PR from the same race last year, and 3 minutes from the Turkey Trot. I can live with that. I picked it up at the last .2 but there were so many people in my way that it was hard to manuever that last .1 as I was trying to stay on the inside. Eh, whatever.

I didnt see many Striders, but I did see Pony at the finish and ended up running into Jessica too!! Saw John "pizza man" Yoder too as he was kicking some serious ass on the way back in. And I think we talked Jessica into joining Marianne and I at the cookoff later! Yay for girls going out!!!

Highlight for me was seeing Drew (without a shirt) in the number 2 spot bringing in it (behind Sean)...That Drew is one fine, fine male speciman. :o) There were others, but well, we'll leave it at Drew.

And you know when you REALLY just want a beer, an O'Douls will do in a pinch. At least it tasted like beer ;o) Went really well with all the salt caked all over my body by the time it was said and done. Too bad they didnt have tequila....Oh wait thats for later....Watch out cookoff here we cooooooooooooooome! The rain has stopped and the sun is already peeking out... Whoop!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Crossing the (Finish) Line in the Sand....

Its just my most favorite new running skirt...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Low Down On Surfside

Clute, Texas. La Quinta. Not Spanish for anything other than horrible sheets! I'm an one spoiled puppy when it comes to my sheets dammit! Ugh, we didn't sleep solid for more than an hour + at a time I don't believe...But you know, it was cheap and it was close to the race...

We headed out to scope out where we had to go in the morning so as not to get lost. Good thing. I still ended up calling both Erica and SteveB for information and finally we knew what we had to do the following morning. I don't think Surfside has enough money for street lights. Its really dark there, hard to get your bearings, but we were close enough to know what was what.
We drove 'around' Clute looking for food. We ended up at a taqueria and DAYUM GINA if the food wasn't freaking awesome. We did wonder 'hmmm, should we be eating this the night before? Eh. Sure we should!!

After getting back to the no-tell mo-tel, I needed chocolate. I walked out to the truck knowing I had a stash in my book bag. As I was in the truck I heard a wail!! JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNEEEE!!! As I rushed back in, there was Suzy, crap sprawled all over the room, with the exception of............are you ready? Shoes. Yes. Shoes.....Panic set in. We are in the middle of NOWHERE I tell you...thankfully I am one smart cookie, picked up my cell phone and called information begging for any sports related place in the vicinity of 1/2 hour or was getting late. The nice dude told me there was an Academy in Lake Jackson!! Whoohoo! Lake Jackson? Thats like 5 miles from here!! So me in my pjs freezing my ass off, and Suzy take off for Lake Jackson. Shoe crisis averted...

We made it to the pavilion way too early but at least it was warm in there, they had food, but we both had had our pre-race nana's and I had a mini Clif bar as well, so we just sat around, talked to her Bay Area Fit folks and I ran into quite a few Striders that I actually knew!! Yay for Striders!!! We ended up missing the photo op at the beginning; you had to walk about 1/4 mile to the start, but whatever. And then we were off!

The first 2.5 miles were fine. Wind at our back and our first mile was 10:42 which I was shooting for 11:30's till mile 9 or 10 then I wanted to pick it up. Suzy and I ran together through mile 10 I guess, maybe just past that before I said my goodbye and went on my way. At that point I thought I had a chance at breaking 2:30 but it would not be. At the 2.5 we turned to run the opposite direction, and thats when the wind was bad. Coming at you, against you one way, and then it would switch. This went on until the 9 mile turnaround to head back. Lord oh Lord I was so happy to turn back at 9!!!

It was weird because then it felt LIKE NO WIND..where's the wind? Why isn't it PUSHING me now? Stupid wind. :o) I made up some of the time I lost on that long stretch and I was pulling in 10:50 and 11:00..but then as I said at the start of mile 13 I knew that the sub 2:30 would not be.

But you know that run, as afraid of it as I was, I felt damn good the whole freaking way and pulled out some miles that I was proud of today. At the end, I waited for Suzy to bring it on home, we took some photos and headed inside for the beer. Seriously? Beer. People. Beer. :o)

All in all a GREAT run today for me. I am very pleased with my time and effort, and really thought I was going to come in like 15 minutes behind my PR due to the conditions. I will tell you this much...It obviously took alot more out of me than I thought. My body hurts like a muther.... Oh and can you guess who got herself a new camera?? Expect more photos from here on out! I know how some of you looooooove your pictures!

Total Distance: 13.24 Time: 2:32:11

Surf and Turf

I'm home.

Wasn't as hard as I thought, but 7 mile-ish (the longest stretch) of it was into the wind which made for some tougher times.

I didn't PR but I didn't really expect to given the sand and the wind. Garmin said 2:32:11 and 13.24 miles. I believe Suzy's Garmin was close to that as well as far as the extra distance.

Clock said 2:33 and some change. No chip timing. Wasn't happy about that but whatever. I must have missed that on the sign up, not that it would have made a difference if I chose to run or not.

I'm taking a nap then Marianne and I are out for beers. Full report later.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Flash Your BIBS!!!

Seems someone at the marathon does have a weird sense of humor. Here, check this out...

After getting my medal, hugging Erica, catching my breath, getting my Finishers shirt and stein (what? not a martini glass?) :o), we were standing around looking for others from our group.

I hear this woman say "Is your name REALLY June?" I turned to see who it was, and I laughed and said "Yes."

You see that morning I had Erica take a sharpie and block letter my name down both of my upper arms to help with the spectators yelling the right name and not JULY as someone had oh so casually printed on my helped some. And then it just confused others on the course who would yell "July" and then "oh its June..."

Anyway, after I said yes to the woman, and she slowly pulled back her medal that was covering her bib and lo and behold her bib said JULY too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness, I was floored! I said to her "is your name supposed to be June?" and of course she replied "yes" and then I pulled my medal away and we both busted out laughing. April got a picture of us together with our JULY bibs and all, but I dont have it yet.

And yes while to some it may be funny, when it comes right down to it, now its plainly obvious that someone doing those bibs did this ON PURPOSE. I could have possibly believed (although I never did) that a mistake was made once, but twice?

I think not.

I fully intend to send that email that I told that race volunteer about that first day, because I think I should get free entry next year....or something. An apology maybe? I dont know maybe I am making too big a deal out of this, but dammit it was my first marathon and I wanted at least my name to be right on my bib! They got it right everywhere else.

Anyway, June Harris kicked my ass and shes 50. So there ya go. See ya next year June Harris!!!

Recovery Update: Tuesday of course was much better than Monday. Today (Wed) when I got out of bed there was not an ache or pain to be found. Nothing. Woohoo!!

So I went for a light and easy 3 miler on the treadmill. My legs felt like lead at first, so I just walked for about 4 minutes before I started running. From there I took it super easy as I said. Feels good!

I Believe in Angels (The Final Steps to 26.2)

mraAfter eating the piece of best orange ever, seeing the man with the balloons and being in front of the Doubletree and seeing said man turn the corner ahead of me, the emotions as I previously mentioned were starting to swell.

My senses seemed to be heightened as I began to feel hot air and then cooler air and then hot air again. What the hell? The winds in downtown were confused. The cool front and the not cool front were fighting each other.

And my heart was fighting with my legs. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Go.

As I turned on Louisiana I remember seeing the first angel. And she was yelling my name. Loudly. It was Sarah. And next to her was her boyfriend, Jose. Yes angels have boyfriends.

I ran straight towards her and she stepped off the curb to run out to meet me. I distinctly remember how good she felt as I hugged her as tightly as I could. I dont remember letting go. I think I didnt want to so I just held onto that in my head. And then I kept running.

Up ahead of me I could see the other runners turning and it seemed so close. So very close. And it was. I turned.

And there it was. The light blue of the Finish line paraphenalia. To me it said COME ON IN JUNE. You are almost there.

I was alone. But then out of nowhere a man stepped in line with me and simply said to me "Hows it going June?" (I had my name on both arms), I dont remember now what I said, but I do remember him asking me "is this your first marathon?" and I replied "yes." I told him I wanted to walk and he said "nice and slow, easy pace. Speeding up now is pointless. Just keep going, you're doing great." I thought oh my God hes SO smart. He kept talking to me and I kept trudging along ignoring the beep that told me it was ok to walk right now.

Then there was angels 3 and 4 to my left, screaming...Pony and Pizza Man. I remember Pony jumping up and down and yelling Junebug, and I remember John's smile. Said angel #2 (the man) was still nearby. After I passed Pony and John, I told the man "I cant do it." "I cant get there."

It was so close now. I went to say something to him, and he was no longer there. I didnt have the energy to turn my head and he wasnt in front of me either. I kept going.

From there I only remember reaching up and wiping tears from my eyes, again and again. I wonder if my pics will show me doing that at all. I usually try and make sure for a good pic at the end, but I dont even remember holding my head up at all.

The clock said 5:36 (and of course I still had the wits about me to subtract 3 or 4 min from that)...A runner always is aware of time. Always.

and then it was all over.

A man was at my side asking me if I was ok. Yes. Yes. Yes. He must not have believed me cause he asked if I needed to sit down, and I said "No." And he led me to the door of the GRB.

I then heard Erica. I dont know what she said, but I was trying so hard not to cry and someone was putting a medal around my neck. I went to Erica and April. I was having a hard time breathing.

I think the first words out of my mouth were: "Did Steve BQ?".....Thats the other thing about runners, at least the ones I know.

We are always thinking of others in our most painful times.

I never saw that man again and I wonder if he was real....

I know one thing that is real: I am a marathoner.

And she ran happily ever after.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Whose Idea Was This Anyway? (Miles 20-25)

I figured it anything was going to go south, it was going to happen here (even though I was running East). Here in this zone that I had never been before.

Well I sorta was there. Once. But only to mile 21. After that I didnt know.

I knew ABOUT where mile 21.5 was but where I thought it was, it wasnt.

I was in a bit of pain. I was in a bad mental place. I kept trying to think. Think. Think. It was here that I started thinking of people. People I love. And those that I dont love too. Hey you pull inspiration where you can find it.

Sorta like throwing darts at a picture of a boyfriend who is no more. Yeah him. Oh and him too. And lets not forget the her's. There were a few of them.

I wondered "where are the Striders?" "How much farther can it be?" I dont remember alot of hoopla on this stretch before reaching Shepherd. I too remember the Clif Shot place and thought, big whoop. :o)

And then FINALLY I can see the water station, and I thought, oh thank God for the Striders. I had made it to 21.5.

Here is where I dont remember much at all. I remember passing Starbucks and seeing my car. I bet you know what I was thinking. Yeah, that. But I didnt have my keys. Good thing too.

After that I dont remember running till I got to Allen Parkway, and even now I wonder where that time went? Had I seen any people? Were there any bands? What? Where? When? How?

Had I just ran through "the wall?"

Had I been beamed up to Allen Parkway somehow? Then I realize that no, no I hadnt because if I had I wouldnt be hurting so much. I had definitely gotten there with my own two feet, and my own two very tired legs.

I was walking here. I asked a woman what time it was and she told me 11:50 I think it was, and I looked at the inside of my left forearm and next to 24 it said 5:11. That meant I had time. I had time to walk. And walk I did. Yeah I knew if I kept running I would have a shot at 5:20, but right then and there, 10 minutes just didnt seem all that damn important to me. What if I didnt walk and then something went wrong in mile 24 or 25?

As I walked down the first of the underpasses, I thought "you are gonna run up these two damn hills". I took deep breaths and then I ran up the first hill.

And I ran up the second one too. I then saw a water station somewhere in there. What I knew was to be the last water station. It was here that there was Christy. Jumping up and down and yelling my name. Oh my goodness I love you to death Christy. Seriously. She walked with me for a bit and asked me what I needed. I believe my response was M&M's. There were no M&M's. I really wanted M&M's.

The only other real thing I remember was the smell of beer. There was a lot of people trying to give you beer. I passed without flinching. And then there all by herself a woman with oranges. I took a piece of orange and I swear it was the best orange in my whole life.

It was time for me to close the door on this thing. I had 2 freaking miles to go by God and unless I was gonna drop dead there on Allen Parkway I was going to get there on time.

And I started running again....As I ran under I-45, the non-existent 5:30 pacer passed me, carrying his red, white and blue balloons. Oh THERE you are you sneaky little fart. I then realized I had stayed WELL ahead of that group even with my walking that 23rd mile.

I did good huh?

And as I entered downtown, following the man with the pretty balloons, I allowed myself to cry just a little bit...

to be continued...

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Miles 10-19)

I had been here before.

A few times. Most of them not on this particular course, but thanks to the Striders LLR I had indeed been through this section once.

And now, twice. Its a rough section to be sure, but in that rough section there sure was a lot of good stuff too!

In the beginning there, once I passed the turnaround I remember thinking how quickly the rest had come and gone. Literally. It seemed surreal to me that I was already at that part of the course that I had just done 3 weeks before. It was familiar to me, and anyone that knows me knows that I truly love a familiar course, even if it had only been once, it helps me. I like to know landmarks. I like familiarity.

As I said this section had a lot of the good stuff, and by stuff I mean the spectators! Oh my goodness! As I was running down Main, there in the median were the church go-ers with their palm leaves and a sign that said "Communion Ahead". Then there was the priest and his holy water. As I was running to the right more or less, I made my way across to the left because I figured "Hey it cant hurt, splash me with the Holy Water." Then I opted out of Communion, because well, I had never eaten a Communion wafer during a run, and you know the rule: Dont eat anything you havent tried before for fear of messing something up. Like your pants. :o)

So after running down University and all the frat parties going on outside, we crossed over Kirby and there it was that I saw a sight to behold. For blocks and blocks and blocks through that neighborhood each front yard next to the sidewalk were flag pole holders that held a very large American flag. It was an amazing sight to see.

But in the back of mind there was the ever-looming thought that soon I would turn on Westpark and immediately see "the hill".

Somewhere during this part was also the mariachis and the dancing Spanish ladies! That I loved!

And then it happened. I could see highway 59 just in front of me, and I remember distinctly as we came to the corner to turn I said to one girl next to me "here it comes" and then I heard her say "oh my God". Obviously she had never run this course, nor had she driven it.

There was a water stop there and as I did with every water stop I took Gatorade. I closed my eyes, took a couple of deep breaths and started up the hill. At the top there was this huge balloon like pylon blowing in the breeze. Must. Get. To. Pylon. And I did. At the bottom there was another water stop. Wow those were close together.

Once I got on Post Oak and closer to Westheimer I knew it wouldnt be long till I could see a familiar face. Eric. But it was also here that the Westpark Hill caught up with me. I began to feel very hot. And very nauseous. And tired. It was mile 16.5. This was the bad. I managed to reel it in and as I turned the corner I was searching the crowd for Eric. He was not there. I kept going, thinking first how I was going to kill him, 2nd how could he have let me down and 3rd how I was going to kill him. But then, there he was. A huge smile on his face and the biggest bottle of blue Powerade one could hope for. I stopped and said ok, heres the deal: you are going to take all this shit from me, as I took my waist pack off, took the money and the gu's out and my last 3 ibuprofen ( I had taken 3 before I left the house and then 3 more sometime um, I cant remember) which I quickly downed with the Powerade. I had my gloves in my pockets, and my arm sleeves and earband tied around the belt. Those 3 things had quickly come off before I even had hit mile 2.

And then I was off again. And it was time for Tanglewood and the longest mile I had ever done in the LLR. It was here that I saw alot of ugly. At the medic station there were ALOT of people down. Covered in mylar blankets, some with their shoes off, some laying in the grass and one of the cute A&M corp dudes puking on the side of the road.

To a runner, it looked like a war zone. I wondered how much longer before I might find myself in a similiar situation. And then I quickly put that thought out of my mind.

I also remember thinking how "pretty" the mylar blankets were. All shiny and silver. I like shiny and silver. Alot. But I know I didnt want one of those, because getting one of those meant I would end up with a DNF. You keep your silver, shiny, pretty blanket. I wanted a big shiny silver medal around my neck. I wanted BLING!!!

I kept going. And surprisingly the mile was not that long the second time around. I quickly got over the war zone I had just seen as I passed through what I call the "pink zone". Lots and lots of signs in pink with photos and messages for those suffering or who had died with breast cancer. I tried to read as many of them as I could as I passed by thanking God for my health and thanking Him for allowing me to run.

As I turned onto Woodway I briefly remembered that I had just run through a mini-wall I think back there at 16.5. And I have Eric to thank for that.

Then as I approached Loop 610, there were the belly dancing women.....

to be continued...

The Big Easy (Miles 1-9)

I am going to break this bitch down in manageable sections; mainly because I dont feel like writing for hours and I am sure that alot of you would rather have it this way as well.

Let me preface this by saying that the conditions werent perfect, but it could have been worse. It was about 50deg and um....yeah, about 90% humidity as the leading edge of the arctic blast was upon us. Thankfully it never did rain the entire time but running through that soupy mess was tough, and that was apparent by seeing those around me and what it was doing to them, and then learning later on just how badly it affected some of my dearest friends.

I must also say that no matter how many times you run 18, 20 or 21 miles nothing really prepares you for a marathon and the feelings that envelope you from time to time throughout the course.

At the start I lined up in the second corral smack dab in the middle of the 5:00 and 5:30 pace groups. I figured the 5:30 folks would eventually catch up to me and I would settle in nicely with them.

So here we go with the big easy, otherwise known as miles 1 through 9. Where you think ha ha ha, this is so easy, and so much fun. Its so cool. How much fun am I having?

I was most sad that when we started over the Elysian Aquaduct bridge (the first 2 miles) that I wasnt able to see the sunrise I had read about from others in years past. However I have run that sucker a time or two and with so many people in front, behind and beside you, you really forget you are going uphill. Its hard to actually see the hill almost...Then once you hit the top and are on the way back down, you see a sea of people below you and everyone just bob, bob, bobbing along. I took a deep breath and took all of that in. I was a part of something that I had only dreamed of.

Then you see all the guys running off to the leading edge of the woods to PEE and dart back into the masses. Jealous. I wish I could do that!

As you come down the bridge on the other side you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the barrio. A place where you dont go at night, at least I sure wouldnt. It was funny to see this one run down house with about 5 guys yelling spanish and drinking Bud Light. Go figure.

One thing about being at the back of the pack so to speak is that you get the full advantage of the crowds as they wake up and make their way to the place on the race course where they are going to cheer people on. I cant remember a time where there wasnt a group of people yelling and screaming for everyone as they went by. Then there were those groups of people that I saw time and time again as I suspect whoever they were waiting for at several locations were somewhere close to me. Behind me obviously.

Once we got into the Heights area, around mile 4 I had to pee. Already? I never have to pee!! I ran past some porta potties and the lines were only like 3 deep so I made the decision to do it now. I didnt think I could wait for the next ones and it was uncomfortable. I probably lost 2 minutes there and I was already still trying to catch up on the pacers who were still calling 13 something and I was trying to get to the point where I was at 12:30...I cant remember when that actually happened but it was probably around mile 6 or so.

As we went through the mat at the 6.2 mark and went down a slight hill, the overpass had a bunch of people dressed up like chickens and held a big sign that read: If you were doing the Conoco Rodeo 10K Run You'd be done by now!


Oh and to the guys dressed up like desperate housewives in the Heights you were HILARIOUS!!

As I was into mile 7 I started thinking where is that 5:30 pacer? Then when I thought about it I figured since I was clipping along at 12:27/12:30 they were still a bit behind me. I was managing to keep Felix Lugo and his big ass American Flag he carries in my sight and that gave me something to hang onto.

We were of course still merged with the half marathoners and that made it ok cause there were still alot of people around and you didnt seem so alone.

It wasnt long before I saw the huge pylon that said Half Turnaround, and it was there, the first time that I thought to myself..."crap. I wish I was doing the Half Marathon."....

and as I passed that pylon on by, it was there also that I thought, well here we go....its all up to you now.

to be continued....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I. AM. A. MARATHONER. (First Marathon Basic Info)

10K - 1:16:27
Half - 2:39:53
30K - 3:50:05
Finish time - 5:33:10

Average Pace - 12:42

I was on target for a sub 5:30 but I walked ALL of mile 23 as I was ahead of the game and I felt like I needed the break to finish in the time that I wanted to. So I feel good that I came THAT close and even having walked all of that mile!

More details MUCH later...

Its time to relax a bit before I hit some beer with M!!!!