Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Houston Memorial Day 10K Race Re-cap


Memorial Day weekend has now come and gone, and I'm left with a deep appreciation for those who have served or do serve our country, good memories of a family get together and happiness spent with friends racing the Memorial Day 10k.

https://houstonrunningco.com/houston-holiday-series
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On May 27th, 2019 a few of us got together to run the Memorial Day 10k, one race in a series of holiday races put on by the Houston Running Co. One of my friends who I ran with is a U.S. Army veteran, so that made it all the more special. This race was held at St. Thomas High School and was an inaugural run, meaning that this was the first in what will probably be an annual race for the Houston Running Company. As always, I made sure to get there a bit early to combat finding good parking and it paid off. I somehow made it into the faculty lot by the tennis courts, meaning that I didn't have to fight the good fight in the parking garage or park a few blocks over. While waiting for my friends to make it I made the familiar trek to the port-o-potty line then to the starting line to warm up a bit and stretch out.

Everyone waiting around for the race to begin


Cars pulling into the parking garage. 
There was plenty of parking but it was packed so it is a good idea to arrive early regardless.



Heading toward the start line.

The 5k portion of this race had sold out and the 10k was almost sold out, so there was definitely a crowd but they did a good job at capping the entries. I met up with my friends, Tiffany and Robyn. Robyn was running the 10k while Tiff had signed up for the 5k. Fresh off a track meet, she was looking for some shorter, speedier miles.

Oh that early morning wake up call!
My AWESOME mom made me a custom red white and blue running headband a
while back though, so I was pretty stoked.
After we gathered around for a failed attempt at the pledge of allegiance (don't worry guys, it's been awhile since middle school and I don't think I could have remembered it either), then the Star Spangled Banner, which, thanks to BMX I know SUPER well, the race commenced.

We ran down the driveway of the school, turning left and followed the slowly rolling terrain of Memorial Dr. (ironically a GREAT road for this race to take place on!). The 5k runners turned around eventually while we continued on to Bagby. I stayed back to run it with Robyn, and it was a great way to celebrate the day with a friend. Some, well, MOST races I like to take off, do my best and run it as fast as my little legs will allow, and others like this one I will chill out and run with a friend or two. One funny thing I noticed was that so many runners were calling our small degrees of incline and decline "hills". They kept saying the hills were killer. After Big Sur nothing in Houston is a hill lol! During the run I also met another past Big Sur runner. She was at 47 marathons, and aimed to make the big 5-0, hopefully the Marine Corps Marathon, her final one. She has run the Houston Marathon each year for the past 20! I just LOVE meeting people out in the running community! I even met my running shoe twin and said hi, and she tipped me off on where to find some super cheap. Score! After our turn-around on Bagby we headed back the same way we came, this time passing the school by about .75 miles, turning back around and heading back up the driveway. We eventually came to the track where we completed a lap then hit the finish line. This race  did come up a bit short on my Garmin (that I forgot again to turn off in time πŸ˜‹). It was closer to 6 miles than 6.1.

Just kidding! Lol this wasn't a PR by any means but it was a tad bit short. 
On a side note, I told Robyn we should take off in the last 100 meters or so to the finish line so we did. At the same time this guy decided to as well, so it became an all out foot race between him and I with the announcer saying over the intercom, "You shouldn't try to show up the women!" or something to that effect. Personally I loved that this man had to sprint as fast as he could to keep up with me haha! This is now the 4th distance race where I've had a sprinting foot-race to the line with a random guy, lol!

The footrace haha

Still running...

And done! Robyn's in the blue probably laughing at us.

After we finished and got our medals and some water from the amazing volunteers (thank you all SO much!!), we headed over to pick up some snacks, take a fun picture or two and grab a beer. Also, our friend Justyna showed up with her son and we all got to see them and hang out for a bit before starting our own family Memorial Day festivities.


The Holiday Run Series rocked!

Good times. 
2nd place for Tiffany!

If you are in the Houston area and looking for a fun, well run race to do, I would definitely recommend the Memorial Day 5k/10k run.

Tiffany with N and me with my bag of goodies.

If you need help deciding:

PROS:

1. Easy to get to
2. Good parking
3. Started on time
4. Great looking awards
5. Awesome medals
6. Free beer and snacks
7. Relatively flat course
8. There is always a discount code and it's not an expensive race, so last minute sign ups are easy

CONS:

1. The race was a bit short, not the full 6.2 miles (not sure about the 5k), lots of people were mentioning the distance discrepancy.
2. It's always super hot in May in Houston

Do you run races in the Summer? If so, what's your favorite?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Race Pace & Track Meet Day

Saturday was a blast! I planned the day around running because the BMX tracks are still recovering from being doused in inches of water from the week prior (can I get a hallelujah for Soil Tack?!).




I got up bright and early to get to an 8am running class at Race Pace, which is my favorite running class hands down. Located at 1502 Sawyer #107, everything there is top of the line, from their coaches to their treadmills, and everyone is SO nice.

https://itsnothouitsme.com/2017/05/31/racepace-houston-running/
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Truthfully, I am going to go through Woodway withdrawal if I ever have to stop going there. Yikes! With a Woodway, you run on thick rubber instead of a thin belt, giving you a softer feel to your step. They are so much quieter and they don't have a hood in the front so you can get a full stride in when you run. They also have the ability to instantly get up to speed, important if you're working on repeats. This combination, along with the regular lights down, the purple lights on, the music bumping away and the instructor inspiring you every step of the way makes for one of the best workouts I ever get on a treadmill. Jeff was our instructor Saturday, and he's really awesome and encouraging of everyone there. I pushed myself HARD and it was such a great training sesh, especially coming back from Big Sur and (this is SO weird to say...but) trying to get into better shape! I know we all can get to a point when we know that what we have been doing isn't working, and it's time for this girl to change that, starting with healthy eating.

www.racepacerunners.com
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Race Pace is pure, sweaty, heart pounding heaven. All the stress from the week melts away and I am left with the joy of a weekend that has barely even begun. I took an hour long endurance class, cooled down, showered and headed over to meet up with some friends and to cheer on Tiffany at her track meet.
This cool wall is right next to Race Pace and I love it! 

Tiffany runs for the Shell team. She's driven, a tough competitor, so much fun and just an all around good person to hang out with. On this day teams from a bunch of big companies converge upon the Houston area in busses to battle it out in the different categories and see who places. This is actually the first track meet I have ever been to, so that alone made it exciting.





These runners were all super fast, and the Shell runners have been in hardcore training mode for the last 6 months or so, training on the hills around Hermann park and the high school track. I'm not competing and even I can't believe it's come so soon. This is a good time to have a track meet though, because Houston only gets warmer after this.

Some fun while we were waiting for the next competition!

Tiffany ran in 3 events, and after showering at Race Pace and getting ready, I drove over to the sports complex, parked and went inside to meet up with Victoria. Her son discovered a hill and had each of us hold his hand and he wanted to run up and down the hill in between Tiffany's competitions. Every time he got to the top or the bottom of the hill he would say "more", so we would take his hand and run up or down again. In total I would say he had us doing about 20 hill repeats! He can be our new running coach, haha!

GO TIFFANY!!!

Fun with Team Shell


Tiffany ended up medaling and they all got 2nd place. Team Shell worked so hard and had some really tough competition and I'm so beyond proud of them. I loved meeting the team and everyone was so nice. I definitely want to come see their next track meet in 2020.

Aaaand time to nap now πŸ˜‹

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Burnout Story Time : RUN/RIDerful 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:

Let's talk about burnout.

Recently, a friend and I were chatting and she mentioned her feelings of burnout from athletics in general. She is a very accomplished runner with many years of running and SO many marathons under her belt, and she admitted that her feelings of burnout were also accompanied by feelings of guilt and sadness. I experienced heavy burnout as well in my mid-20's, and possibly anyone who has spent a decade or more (or less, it's unique to everyone) in their sport has gone through these experiences as well. It's normal- and as much as these feelings are not wanted, they can also be seen as an opportunity to change up your routine. 



Whether that means changing up the way you train for your sport, taking a break altogether to cross train or picking up something new, SOMETHING has to change, if just for a little while. I feel that the most important thing to do when starting to feel it is to dig deep within yourself and understand the true cause of your burnout. It might surprise you.

When I was younger, my burnout from BMX (I took about 9 years off) had less to do with the actual training and racing ( I LOVED that part) and more to do with the social aspect of it all. At the time, there were several girls at our local tracks who seemed to relish drama. They were at every event; they loved to fight and argue and would spread lies, talk behind people's backs, and if there was no drama to be had- they would create more. It was bad at the track, and I would even get phone calls from the main drama-loving girl, I'll call her Bonnie, when I wasn't at the track. Bonnie would do everything in her power to draw me into her mess of a life and to stir up whatever gossip she could whip up out of thin air, and it constantly upset me. When you're younger you don't realize that these kinds of people are nothing and not worth your time. Instead you begin to internalize everything. I began to not want to go to the track. I remember thinking, "WHY am I wasting my time even being around these girls?", and slowly I stopped going to the track. I made better friends and left everything behind, mistakenly believing at the time that I would never be able to enjoy BMX in peace with those girls always around. Making other friends helped me tremendously, but I still could have been racing. Who did giving up BMX end up hurting? Me. I didn't realize the true source of my burnout at the time, and directed it towards the wrong thing.

When I picked BMX back up again after so long I also brought with it a  new perspective and a more experienced point of view. I also received the opportunity to join a wonderful team, I have the best teammates and so enjoy getting to hang out with so many great people at the track. What I've learned is this: There will always be people like Bonnie around, and like her, I now realize that those people aren't worth my time. No one can scare me away from doing a sport that I love ever again, and I love having that attitude! Don't let ANYONE keep you from doing what you love- don't give them that satisfaction. On the other hand, if you really don't love what you're doing anymore, don't let guilt or the fear of what people might say stop you from making changes to your routine. It's your life - OWN IT. πŸ’“

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Ladies Who Thrift - My Thrift Haul

To me, thrifting is SO much fun! I love the feeling of finding those hidden gems for almost nothing. Some of my favorite pieces I've found this year include several vintage high waisted wool skirts, a brand new looking Free People jean jacket with grey sweatshirt arms and detachable hood, a cute strapless blue and white floral maxi-dress from Anthro and several polo shirts. I love unique pieces as well as everyday staples, and the cool thing about thrifting is that you never know what you'll find!

I love that accomplished feeling of finding something cool and unique. πŸ‘
These two didn't make the dressing room cut. 
Last weekend I went thrifting with a friend because she was looking for something to wear to an 80's themed party at a piano bar. She had been looking online at places like Zara and seeing some cool items, but they were too expensive for her to justify purchasing for a party. She remembered some pieces I thrifted in the past looking exactly like what is being sold for so much more in these stores, called me up, and we decided the day before to try our luck at a thrift store.

J with some of the cute pieces she found (it wasn't ALL 80's searching lol!)

Needless to say, she found the PERFECT pair of bright colored geometric printed 80's bottoms that were an interesting mix of pants and leggings, so the trip was a total win. I don't know what it was about that trip, but I was also able to snap up a few vintage 80's pieces also while helping her look, that fit like a glove.

I'm excited about what I found on this trip! Here are my items:

I know these aren't the best pictures but it was getting late when I took them. I'll try to get better ones next time. πŸ˜„

Thrift Trick #1: Look EVERYWHERE. I can't stress this enough. On a previous trip I found my almost never been worn Free People cropped jean jacket in the kids section, more specifically, the boy's section. Since it was a shrunken jacket it must have been mistaken for a kid's size when in reality it is an adult's size and it fit me perfectly! 

These are men's Union Bay short-alls. I found them randomly in the women's stuff and plan on cropping the legs a bit 
(here I have them rolled up, so I'll crop them to about this length. 
I'm pretty sure this is an older piece. If anyone knows I'm all ears 😸

These are super high waisted men's Levi's that fit so well! 
I think I am going to cuff the legs and leave them as capris.

Thrift Trick #2: One thing I like to do when looking for high waisted shorts (I NEVER find any in the women's shorts section) is to go straight to the men's jeans aisle. I can usually find a pair of high waisted pants that fit PERFECTLY on top and I get them hemmed into shorts. There- problem solved! 😌

High waisted Tommy jeans from the men's section. I LOVE the detailing and while the legs are too short, 
I am planning on making these into some cute high waisted Summer shorts anyway so it doesn't matter. 

The back...
They even have a small hole near the pocket that someone patched up, so these jeans were definitely well worn. 
They're broken in and SO soft!

Thrift Trick #3:If you think it will fit- try it on. Don't just depend on labels. Different brands will fit differently, as will vintage vs. modern items. 


Flutter sleeve maxi dress from Loft. The tag says Petite Small (at 5'5" I am too tall normally for anything petite sized), but I tried it on anyway and it fit great! I love the pattern and the tie back tassle/strings at the neck. It will definitely be perfect to wear anytime now (as soon as it stops raining).

This was actually picked out for me by J. I wasn't sure about it and we were close to checking out so I just decided to buy it. 
Luckily I tried it on at home and LOVE it! Sometimes you just have to take a chance, amiright?? 

The back is really cute. 
Super girly isn't so much my style anymore but from time to time I like to switch it up. 
This also happens to be perfect for my current high waisted bottoms obsession. 
Last but not least, my for-sure vintage 80's piece (and probably my favorite find of the dayπŸ’“):

Stone wash 1980's high waisted Sasson brand jeans. 
They fit so great but I rolled the pant legs up a bit to see how they would look that way. 
LOVE these and can't believe I found them for $10!! 
They would probably be a bit more in a vintage shop or in a resale boutique. 



It's not a big haul but with a full closet and a need to save more money I'm being a lot pickier these days. I'm so happy with my purchases, and I'd love to see what you find!

What's your favorite thrift store?


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Recovery Running

Recovery running - before I started running marathons this term seemed like something to the tune of an oxymoron to me. When I would run a half marathon I would simply wait the week and a half to feel completely better, then go out for a normal run to resume training for my next half marathon. Looking back, it's strange to me now not to do some sort of recovery run/walk/crawl, or whatever would get my legs moving again, but until I really began to do research on how to properly recover from a race I had no idea. Recovery runs are good for you because it allows you to run at a slower speed than normal, allowing your body and legs to continue to move while you're still recovering from a taxing race/run.

Breakfast on the run today. Not the best but we decided to go last minute.


I decided to rest up for 5 days after Big Sur, then do two short recovery runs this weekend. It was gorgeous out, so I put on my new shoes and got outside. These are the first "real" recovery miles I've done so far, so I wasn't sure what to expect. On Saturday, May 4th I met a friend up in downtown Houston and we kept things fun by mapping out our initials and attempting for the first time to spell them out. We had a new building in the way, a parade, and many stop lights, and in the end our map came out looking like an angry 5 year old drew it, but it was fun (and we DID get two out of the four initials, so I consider that a pretty good start😎)!

If you turn your head you can sort of make out the "R" and the "E". A little bit. πŸ˜‚
Cinco (Quatro) de Mayo parade downtown. 


Rockin' Robyn! Haha. 

I did notice that my legs got super tired a lot earlier than normal, even at much slower speeds, so I will definitely need a few days, if not a week more of recovery. I'm also working on getting back in shape (marathon weight gain is real, ya'll), so hopefully that'll help as well.

Sunday's trail view from the street down.

On Sunday, (happy Cinco de Mayo!!) I decided to go to my absolute favorite park for an easy 4 miler. While it was slow and my legs were still tired, easy it was not. The famous Houston heat and humidity that had been attempting to beat down the door all winter finally hit us all with that "Spring is here!" reality check. Regardless of stopping to walk more times than I'd wanted to, it was absolutely beautiful out and I'm so happy the bitter cold has gone away for the rest of the year. I am definitely going to put stretching and foam rolling back on the table, two things (along with ice and compression) I believe is absolutely necessary for recovery. I also worked out my arms and core, two areas that had been suffering dramatically since I began piling on the higher mileage, and it must have started working, because today I feel it. It's an AWESOME feeling. ✌


I'm SO glad I accomplished the feat of not ONE but TWO marathons this year, and I'll also be glad to lower my mileage a bit so I have room for more on my plate. My official feeling towards marathons and marathon training? I LOVE them! They are totally doable. And fun. Will I do another one? Most definitely! πŸ˜€ I'm officially on board the marathon loving train, so they say. Or maybe they don't say that, whoever "they" are. (Insert Ozzy's Crazy Train lyrics here, ha!) 😺