Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Training for BMX and Marathon #2 Underway

Normally the beginning of every year seems to start off at a hectic pace; no slight gathering of speed to get used to what the rest of the year throws at us, but simply a quick breath and a sprint off the diving board at the deep end of the swimming pool.

I'm OK with it that way. After all, what better way to learn to manage our daily lives than a quick dip in the deep end?

It's not ideal, but by now I'm used to it, and after a little floundering I've always been able to pick myself back up, adapt quickly, and swim those laps with the rest of the big girls (and guys). This year is starting out no differently. With my first marathon under my belt, I took a week to rest up, relish the thought, and moved on to creating a training plan for my next marathon (yep, another one already) and BMX racing. Training for both can be really great because it's so much cross-training that I don't really have to think at all about actually having to cross train. It does take a bit of planning though- which days do I run the longer miles, which days do I focus on sprints and riding...the usual stuff.

Since I now have experience in project management, I've decided that my first step will be strategizing my plan of attack. I have until April to be ready for a VERY hilly and time sensitive marathon, and those BMX races are coming up soon, so it's time to lay it all out in (what better?) my 2019 training journal! How I decide to lay everything out will have to be a little trial and error, but writing it all down will help me look back every few weeks to figure out what works well together and what doesn't.

Bring it on training!
In anticipation (and FEAR) of my first marathon distance, I trained conservatively on a beginner level program and put BMX and most cross training aside to be sure that I could hit my goal of finishing the race. Now that I feel better prepared mentally to run another one, I feel confident that it's time to be a little more aggressive on my training, including adding BMX back in (PLEASE let the rain stay away more this year though! Ah!).

My goals this year are efficiency and results - figuring out the best way to go about maximizing the end results and making my workouts worth wile.
So, without much ado, this weekend kicks off the beginning of the return of BMX and marathon #2. I'm excited to change some things up and for the challenges that lie ahead!

How often do you change up your training?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Race Re-Cap: Houston Chevron Marathon 1/20/19

Woah! I can't believe the marathon I've been training for for a little over 15 weeks has come and gone, and I'm left with some difficulty squatting, an AMAZING medal, and so many happy memories. I guess time DOES fly when you're having fun (running for 5 hours), lol! I had a truly amazing time this last weekend. 

The Chevron Houston Marathon is a marathon, half marathon (both Sunday) and 5k (Saturday) held every year in Houston, attracting some of the biggest names in running and closing down the streets of downtown, River Oaks and the Galleria area until 2:00 PM.
For several years I volunteered as part of the Houston Marathon Race Crew. I was in charge of the mile 8 "mega" station and ran the online volunteer board, set up, coordinated and trained the other volunteers, made sure things were running smoothly (no pun intended), and helped with station break down. From my time volunteering I learned how much goes into something as simple as a hydration station, for months in advance, and I am forever grateful to all the volunteers out there last weekend. Thank you all so much for doing what you do! You are AMAZING people!!!

My boyfriend flew in from out of town to cheer me on (yep, he's the best!), and to avoid having to drive in and wait in the freezing morning temperatures on race day, we stayed at the Aloft downtown, which was walking distance from the starting line and the George R. Brown Convention Center. Saturday we went to the Expo in the Convention center. It was really huge and full of things to do inside! We picked up my packet, took some pictures, tried out some new running products and got some cool swag.

Right about that time I felt the hunger kick in, and we left to go grab some yummy pre-race dinner. We also walked around a bit downtown and saw a bunch of other runners as well. We also got to go check out Smither Park. This park is made of different mosaic sculptures, and the letters spelling out "Smither Park" were donated by local artist Kiki Neumann (another artist did the mosaic inside), Kiki is one of the nicest people I've met and I love to talk to her whenever she drops by. If you get a chance, check out her art HERE.

The day of the race I woke up at 5:30 AM, had a Cliff bar, water and a Honey Stinger Waffle, bundled up and headed out to corral C with my boyfriend.

It was going to be a cold morning. I was REALLY glad for all this - especially the hand warmers I found at Fleet Feet the day before.

After a wait of about 30 minutes, we said goodbye and I was on my way. The course was very flat and fast, but I kept my pace intentionally slower since I had never ran this distance before. After about two miles I peeled off my neck gaiter and windbreaker. I don't like to do throwaways and the windbreaker was super thin, so I tied it around my waist and kept going. It stayed there the entire 26.2 and gave me NO issues, which I'm really thankful for! Everyone was so nice it totally made the early wake up call worth it. Right around mile 8 the path diverged; the marathoners turned to the right and the half marathoners stayed straight. After we all broke off to the right there was a lot more room to run and everyone spread out. I also thought it was so cool how people started recognizing and greeting each other.

The weather turned out to be absolutely perfect, and I think I saw more of Houston last Sunday than I ever have in my many years of living here!

I'm so proud to say that I never hit a "wall", I think due to eating oranges, a beer and GU gels along the way and keeping hydrated, and I had a great time up until the very end. Even after the end I had a great time because I found $$ on the ground, got to get food, a finisher's shirt, glass mug and my medal! I also loved the sweet text messages my boyfriend sent me along the way as he tracked my progress, the awesome poster Robyn made me at mile 22 (no one has ever made me a poster before so that really touched my heart), and my friends and family tracking my progress along the way and cheering me on. I really enjoyed having great people around me cheering me on for my very first marathon. All in all it was a great feeling to know I was so supported.

Finish line feels

Feeling goofy and happy

My face when someone tells me I'm almost there

I read before I started that the first 20 miles is your legs, and the last 6 is from your heart, and I truly believe that. By mile 22 my legs were shredded and I just kept on going, even when I had to run/walk it. My IT band started hurting at around mile 18 (but luckily completely went away by the next day). The biggest issue I had was with my shoes. I LOVE the Brooks Launch, and they have never given my problems at the half marathon distance or less, but the Chevron Houston Marathon definitely gave them a challenge. By mile 18 ish, my feet felt like they were slapping the concrete with nothing in between. I will definitely be looking up the Ghosts or the Glycerine soon.

I'm so glad my first marathon got to be the Chevron Houston Marathon! It was run SO well and so smoothly, and I have so many great things to say about this race and their Race Crew volunteers.

The funniest thing that happened out there was the crazy booing guy. In the Galleria area, everyone was cheering, and there was a man who appeared to be homeless; he had ear length hair that stuck up in all directions and was walking across one of the parking lots. Every time someone would cheer, he would go BOOOOO! really loud. That made me laugh so hard.

Such a beautiful medal!

Truly thankful for so much support that made this day possible.

Post race grub. Nothing goes together like wine and okra lol! 

The next day we checked out more of downtown and the tunnels before we had to leave. It was fun, and I'm proud to say that I avoided stairs at all cost lol!!! Well, mostly.

All in all, this is one race I would love to run again. If you have never run the Houston Marathon, I highly suggest it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RIDE & RUN-derful Wednesday

It's important to take stock in life's everyday blessings. Sometimes I have so much going on that focusing on the small things make me smile, as well as force me to live in the moment and not take things for granted. My goal is to set aside one day a week to discuss a favorite quote or theme that currently resonates with me when it comes to running, BMX or just life in general.

This week's thoughts include:


Surround yourself with positive people and positive vibes come naturally. The environment we choose to surround ourselves with influences our experiences and perspectives, so let's make it a positive one. can't NOT be true...RIGHT??

Lately I've been reading a lot about expending energy on useless things, why we think we have to and why it never turns out to be a good idea. I've been SO motivated lately when it comes to the concept of wasted energy and understanding my reasons behind failed actions. This has me thinking about the specific environments we choose. 

The things I want to do well, like running and racing for instance (among other things), take a lot of dedication and love to accomplish. I find that I fare much better if I'm in a positive, encouraging environment, don't we all? Because of this, I don't have time to be around those who don't support my dreams, either behind my back or with passive aggressive comments. I'm sure we've all known that type of individual. They may have jealousy issues, they make it a point to one-up you, point out any and every flaw and NEVER seem to be truly happy for your accomplishments. What's the point then, right??!! 

In an effort to minimize wasted energy, I made a decision late last year to distance myself from negative, toxic and jealous friends and to surround myself with like minded people who celebrate and appreciate our friendships. To surround yourself with positivity doesn't mean only attracting "yes men", but it also doesn't mean that you have to have a falling out with every one-upping frenemy out there either (this would also be "wasted energy"). What it means is to understand when a friendship isn't healthy and back off, placing as much distance as you need between yourself and the other person. 

Don't let yourself get pulled down by negative people. You can't change them, so don't spend too much wasted energy on what could be time spent on accomplishing your goals. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Marathon Training: Week 15 a.k.a. Taper Week 2

I can't believe my first marathon is coming up in January! All those last few years of thinking about it and knowing that I wasn't ready to commit to training for one seemed like forever ago, and now it's real and I couldn't be more excited (and nervous - let's not lie here lol!). For the marathon plan I'm following, I chose one for beginner runners who have about a year of running under their belt. While I'm not a beginner, I wanted to work more on hills, technique and speed and I feel that this plan will allow me to do that to a greater extent come January for April's marathon. 

Week 15 is made up of some of the same crazy feelings I had on week 14...the self doubts, the uncontrollable desire to go run to burn off stress but the knowledge that I shouldn't...At this point I just want to make it to marathon time without losing my crap.

The taper crazies are worse this week and after crying over a radio show this morning and devouring 6 chocolate chip cookies last night I'm ready for this race to start. I'm also going to plan my race day outfit this week, because it'll be 30 some odd degrees out and this will take some thinking.

The week 15 breakdown went as follows:

Monday 1/7 Spinning Class. I woke up at 4:30 to make it to a 5:30 spinning class and I can't believe how great it felt. Not the morning wake up but everything else. It felt so invigorating and was a great way to start the day, not to mention that I found out that I desperately needed to be training on a bike, so it worked some muscles I forgot about, including those pesky fast twitch ones. I'll be going back. 

Tuesday 1/8 Rest day

Wednesday 1/9 Two miles in the park. My doubts are slowly creeping in there and making me feel like I should be running 8 or 9, but no, I'm going to trust in the training. Yikes. 

Thursday 1/10 Rest day

Friday 1/11 I took another spinning class at the studio because.. well heck...why not? I can no longer control my nerves and the taper crazies and just need an outlet. 

Saturday 1/12 Rest day and photoshoot day with friends at this pop-up museum. It was a ton of fun and a great way to relax and be artsy. 

Sunday 1/13 "Long Run Day" 6 miles in the park. This will be my longest run before the marathon. I'm dying to know if it will be enough to get me to that finish line, but I'll find out soon enough. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Uselessness of Doing Too Much

2019 has brought with it continued changes that I'm so excited for. Sometimes we don't know how much things are really going to change-- other times we know about it and have spent countless man-hours planning everything to a "T". With so many changes (jobs, moving, etc.) it can be tough to understand the how/what/when/where of prioritization and plan follow-through, and that's something I've been diligently working on.
I read a few articles recently that talk about being busy. We can be SO busy, genuinely feeling that we are doing all we can in a situation, but really we can be going about it all wrong and in turn wasting a heck of a lot of time we don't have. That happened to me right out of college when I was looking for my first job. I had no idea how to write a resume, network, apply, etc., and it's something I'm still refining. I thought the best way to find a job was to have a resume listing my job duties and to pepper it out into the world (or really, the online resume black hole). I was spending so much time on this and getting no results, and at the time I was depressed, frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. After many resume re-writes and a gathering of different opinions I began applying again. Still not much until I began networking. I don't have a large network but what I did have worked for me. I didn't exactly get my dream job out of college, but I got a job. Now I can take what I have learned in the years prior, build on that and keep going, but without the unnecessary time-wasting I had been doing before.

I also used to think that I needed to train harder when it came to sports (don't get me wrong, training hard is GREAT), but with those beliefs I completely ignored the concept of training SMARTER. For example, I wasted a lot of time running those long miles every single day when I could have been changing it up with track workouts, cross training, etc. I could have been less bored with a switch up, as well as more in shape and better prepared to run the next race due to a strong core, different muscles being in shape, a fresher outlook on things, etc.

My goals -- I'm emphatically NOT calling this new year goals or anything of the sort- those never work- more like life goals, but they are goals nonetheless, are to try my best NOT to spend too much time doing things that don't have an impact and just waste time. I think I'm still trying to figure that out, but I'm a lot farther along than last year, and that growth is what I'm most proud of and thankful for.

What are some goals you'd like to see through?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

RIDE & RUN-derful Wednesday

It's important to take stock in life's everyday blessings. Sometimes I have so much going on that focusing on the small things make me smile, as well as force me to live in the moment and not take things for granted. My goal is to set aside one day a week to discuss a favorite quote that currently resonates with me when it comes to running, BMX, or just life in general.

This week's thoughts include:

 One thing I've picked up on my journey in 2018 is the importance of slowing down and making an effort to enjoy what I have around me in the moment. We all have things we're working toward, and that's good, but if we don't take the time to appreciate what we have now, we will NEVER appreciate what we have when we reach those next goals.

SO - for 2019 I am determined to continue on my journey- hopefully some big moves will be happening, both personal and career wise, but I am determined to make an active effort to be more in the moment while those plans are happening. 😄

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Phantom Pains and Pre-Race Day Stress

To everyone about to run a marathon, I feel your pain.

Everything I read about tapering for a marathon has been correct (minus eating a ton- my meals seem to be staying at a pretty normal size)! The phantom pains have started, except it's not really a phantom pain. Somehow I pulled a muscle in my side and it's been hurting for the last few days. The thing is, I THOUGHT it was a phantom pain until I took a spinning class yesterday and it was all too real. I hope that whatever it is, phantom or not, that it goes the heck AWAY in two weeks, because NO ONE likes taper pains.

I've been doing a few things to try to deal with my taper pains and pre race day stress, and I'll talk about them a bit below. If anyone has any other advice or ideas I'd love to hear those as well.

Race Pressure

All these months of training is finally coming together to allow me to accomplish my goal of finishing a full. Sometimes I find myself wanting to get rid of that stress by thinking of an out, but in this case that's not a good idea- I really want to run this. Therefore, I've been sucking it up and dealing with my pre-race stress by:

  • Looking back at my training logs, mileage, etc. 
  • Focusing on what I CAN control, like my shorter run today, healthy eating, early bedtime, stretching, foam rolling, etc. 
  • Talk with other runners who have past experience with marathon running. Knowing that what I'm experiencing is normal freaks me out WAY less. 😋
  • Review the race course, packet pickup, etc. and make a plan 
Tapering is hard because I normally deal with stress by going for a run or a bike ride. In this case, I'm intentionally limiting what I do so that I can be fresh and springy (or as "springy" as one can be at 5 am) on race day. Suddenly a whole lot of time opens up for me to worry and fret about reaching my goals. All of those little insecurities rise to the top and I start thinking about anything and everything. Like, HOW on earth does one 20 mile run prepare me for 26.2 miles??? I read it does, but I don't really know that yet...

I am trying my best to work on my mental game, get rid of tension, set my mind right and visualize my end goal. 

Even though I'm running less mileage I'm also finding that I'm getting sick easier. It was really strange so I decided to look it up online, and this is what I found (Click the title text below to go to the article and read more)

Runners and Immunity

"In general, moderate runners, fitness enthusiasts, and master’s athletes are a healthy bunch. When asked, 60 to 90 percent of these individuals reported having fewer colds than their peers who didn’t work out.
But elite and endurance athletes who train more intensely might be at a greater risk for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that many Los Angeles marathon participants self-reported infectious episodes both during periods of intense training and after the race.
Why? Experts believe immune function might be altered and may even be suppressed for a period of time after prolonged or intensive exercise.
According to Dr. David Neiman’s open window theory, in the three to 72 hours after an intensive training session or race, your immunity may be suppressed. That means it might be easier for viruses and bacteria to take hold, increasing your risk for infection.
If tapering begins immediately after your most intense period of training, the open window theory would explain why runners get sick during this time. But more research is needed to understand exactly what’s happening to the immune system in endurance athletes.
Regardless, it’s especially important to rest and not overexert yourself both before and after a marathon."
I thought this was really interesting, and I know it's also important to continue to stay in good shape with shorter runs, and also to let my muscles heal. That said, I think a short run at the park tonight is exactly what I need. May the taper be with you. (I know, baaad Star Wars reference snuck in there). 😎😄

Monday, January 7, 2019

Marathon Training: Week 14 and the great Taper

I can't believe my first marathon is coming up in January! All those last few years of thinking about it and knowing that I wasn't ready to commit to training for one seemed like forever ago, and now it's real and I couldn't be more excited (and nervous - let's not lie here lol!). For the marathon plan I'm following, I chose one for beginner runners who have about a year of running under their belt. While I'm not a beginner, I wanted to work more on hills, technique and speed and I feel that this plan will allow me to do that to a greater extent come January for April's marathon. 

Week 14 came after a holiday full of food, family, fun and no running. I'm glad I could finally get back to it this last week. Normally I have no problem tapering for a half marathon, but this is making me feel crazy.
Pretty much me besides the eating bit.

The week 14 breakdown went as follows:

Monday 12/17: Sick - Being sick a few weeks before a big run is TERRIFYING. I always have that moment of self-doubt- that creeping feeling that all this training has been for nothing and I won't be able to finish this race. Then, strangely enough this week I told that little voice to shut the heck up and just let me get better so I could get on with everything. I'm not sure why I had this window of self-confidence and clarity, but I LIKE IT! We can't help being sick, so why should we punish ourselves on top of feeling physically bad?

Tuesday 12/18: Still sick, ate chicken soup and Netflix movie watched and chilled.

Wednesday 12/19: Sick

Thursday 12/20: Sick

Friday 12/21: Sick but feeling so much better. Signed up for a class Saturday. 😃

Saturday 12/22: Today was SO MUCH FUN! I took a 60 min. endurance class at Race Pace, down at the Silos in Houston. I have been wanting so badly to run on the Woodway treadmills there and take a class since last year, and today my treadmill dreams came true. Coming back after a bad cold was really tough, but the class was a blast anyway. I can't wait to go back! 

UM. I NEED this wall. Cutest locker room ever!

Enter the most fun place you will ever find a treadmill

What heaven looks like, a.k.a. the Woodway treadmill ❤

Sunday 12/23: 8 mile long run in the park as part of my taper. I wanted to run more but my legs were still feeing heavy and weak and I was going through moments of being light-headed, so I capped it at 8, then finished the day off with some thrift shopping for a few sweaters for the winter. 

The park was beyond beautiful out today. 

When I don't make my bed because I'll be changing the sheets, and I get home from my run. I find McLovin. 😸

Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy Fri-YAY (and adulting life)!


I don't know how exactly I made it to Friday this week. I figured I would eventually, but slogging through each day with a cold or whatever the heck it is hasn't been fun. It's also car payment day, so getting a little money back in my account after paying my student loan was awesome until the car payment came out this same day, making me regret the fact that I picked up a few pairs of new jeans and a puffer vest for the winter. I'm looking forward to being able to run again tomorrow, after a break since the 23rd of last month (that's why there hasn't been a workout week update posted in a while). The holiday season has been tough in the running department, and being sick hasn't helped either, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the right track soon.

I have my FIRST EVER (yay!) endurance class at RacePace scheduled in for tomorrow morning. Classes make me a little nervous, and I imagine a room full of intimidatingly super chiseled runners on the treadmills pounding away, but I realize that's crazy to assume (and even if they are all super chiseled, so what?? I'm sure everyone's really nice, and they're inspirational.). Therefore, for part of my 2019 goals I will attend more classes and try different things, including spinning. I might discuss them on this blog, in case anyone else is like me and needs a push to try something new.

Until tomorrow I fully plan on holing up in my room with more Netflix, hot tea and some Tylenol sinus and going to sleep early.

What's something new you tried and ending up falling in love with?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Survey Time

Okay, it's survey time. Why? I have no idea, but hey- why not? 😋

Are your parents married or divorced? Married  Are you a vegetarian? I used to be one when I was a teenager  Do you believe in Heaven? I want to but I’m not really sure Have you ever come close to dying? No, even though finals week felt like it sometimes  What jewelry do you wear 24/7? A silver necklace with a BMX bike charm on it and a 13.1 charm Are you eating? I just finished eating almonds  Do you eat the stems of broccoli? Yes! Broccoli is delicious Do you wear makeup? Only very simple makeup. I used to wear a lot more but that was in my sorority days Would you ever have plastic surgery? Technically I HAVE had it   What do you wear to bed? A t-shirt and boxers Have you ever done anything illegal? I think everyone pretty much has Can you roll your tongue? Yes  Do You have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Yes  What is your Hair color? Blonde  Future child's name, boy and girl? I would rather have a cat or a hedgehog Do you smoke? No way If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Madrid  Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No just a blanket If you won the lottery, what would you do first? Pay off student loans!!  Gold or silver? Silver  Hamburger or hot dog? Burger  If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Salad, because there are a million different kinds City, beach or country? Beach, then city, then country  What was the last thing you touched? My keyboard Where did you eat last? My office  When's the last time you cried? Weirdly enough I don’t remember  Do you read blogs? I’m getting more into it  Would you ever go out dressed like the opposite sex? LOL sure   What's your favorite shampoo/conditioner and soap? Sebastian Drench shampoo/conditioner and anything from LUSH   Do you talk in your sleep? Maybe…not sure Ocean or pool? Pool  What's your favorite song at the moment? Thank You, Next – Ariana G.  Have you ever had a cavity? When I was a kid Window seat or aisle seats? Window seat Ever met anyone famous? Nope Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? Twirl it baby!  What is your fav. sport to play? BMX racing Basketball or football? Neither Do you drive a stick? No, but I have practiced on one before  Cake or ice cream? Cake cake cake cake Are you self-conscious? All the time  Do you like any of your close friends? Of course, or they wouldn't be my friends  Have you ever given money to a bum? No but I have donated to shelters  Have you been in love? Yes  Where do you wish you were? California Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Unfortunately yes Can you tango? No, but it looks amazingly cool  Last thing you spent lots of money on? My student loan bill and Christmas presents Where do you live? Houston  Last wedding attended I don’t remember, I don’t really like weddings  Favorite restaurant? Something serving Ramen What is your favorite kind of car? Honda HRV  Most hated food(s)? Yogurt Most loved food(s)? Tomatoes, pickles, avocados, sushi  Can you sing? I wish  Person on your mind? My kitty cat What's your least fav. chores? Cleaning the toilet Favorite drink? Lemonade  How long was your longest drive in a car? My best friend and I made the drive from Houston to San Francisco. I’ve also done the Houston to northern Ohio route many times.