Loving the fact that it's a new month. It's like starting over with a clean slate. So many possibilities! And fall is usually the time of year when I kick things into gear. Weight loss, exercise, etc. Summer has typically been my lazy time though I have to say I was a busy girl this summer with running and biking. Not so good with the eating. New month/new attitude.
Saturday I had the Great Pumpkin Fun Run 5K in downtown Houston. Friday I picked up my packet and they gave us a "good for today only" 20% off coupon. Well, I had to use it!
I got these wicked cute capri/skirt combo pants. Love them so much that even though they didn't have them in my size I bought a size smaller. Now they're compression pants!
Cold weather is coming. Well, we have some days of cold and others of hot right now. You never know what you're going to get.
Winter is typically the time I shut down all outdoor activity. I don't like the cold. Running stops, biking stops, walking stops, living stops. I don't even like buying winter clothes. I have absolutely no winter running gear. None. So I had to get a jacket since quitting is not an option this year. I found this jacket by Adidas and Chuck says, "Shelley would be so proud that you picked something to match your shoes." Yes, Shelley has helped me consider fashion when buying my gear.
Friday night I had my bib pinned on my shirt, timing tag on my shoe, all of my gear set together so I didn't have to even think when I got up. That's good for me because I can't think in the morning.
I got up at some weird hour. I stumbled around on autopilot and choked back a bit of low carb bagel and water. Pulled on my gear. Stepped outside to see what it felt like. Brrrr! It was cold! So I added gloves to my arsenal. Fortunately my race shirt from the Space City 10 Miler was a long sleeve tech shirt. It's the only one I have at this moment. (Note to self: buy more cold weather gear)
I made my way downtown by myself. Chuck had a shooting match on the north side of town and he was taking Rachel. Charlie thought he wanted to go until he got up and asked if he could just go back to bed.
I got to a parking garage that was only $7 to park. It's still kind of dark at this point. But there is a steady wave of people all heading one direction so I just go with the flow and assume they know where they're going. This is how lemmings die, by the way.
Did I mention that when I left the house the car said it was 40* outside? But it did warm up to 45* at the race. That's cold!!
Found a giant blow up "start" and figured I had arrived at the right place.
I walked around, visited the port-o-fun (so entertaining to use those in the dark. I always lose my balance.), saw a cool car...
They had a live band in front of city hall.
There was a long row of tents set up to hold food and goodies. (Why is that guy in the brown jacket pointing at me? Maybe he didn't want to be in the picture.)
The sun starts to come up and all of the buildings downtown glow. I love it. It's not the same as a sunrise over a lake but it's still pretty in its own way.
More tents. Are those donuts in the boxes?! Keep walking, Kelly.
Usually I'm pretty nervous before races. Like stomach is topsy turvy and I'm jittery. I was strangely serene at this race. Maybe the cold took my mind off of my nerves. Maybe I'm getting used to them?
I visited the port-o-fun again (perhaps I was a little nervous after all?) then made my way to the finish line. Done! As long as you cross the finish line you've run the race right? Right? No?
I think this is called Tranquility Park in front of City Hall. The band is playing, people are excited and chatting, the volunteers are working hard. It's that nice pre-race excitement. I love it!
I was running the race with a friend who prefers to stay anonymous (maybe he's protecting his reputation and I'm a crazy Happy Texan) and he arrives and we meet up. This was his first 5K and it was fun to see him so excited! You never forget your first race.
They announce that this race has 500 more people than it did last year! Turns out that they had over 1400 runners and I'm not even sure how many walkers they had but there were a lot. This was a decent sized event!
Many people are dressed in costume. It's funny to see ninjas and clowns ready to take off running.
We are told to line up. We get closer towards the back. Turns out we got a little too far back because we had to dodge a lot of walkers. But before we start we get to sing along to Deep in the Heart of Texas. (The stars at night are big and bright * * * * deep in the heart of Texas) Loved that, of course.
My friend and I right before the race. There's a tension before that starting gun goes off. It's not a bad tension. It's more of a hushed excitement.
It's go time! Let me tell you, that little blue jacket gets hot fast! I tied it around my waist eventually.
I felt fantastic. I ran through my first couple of walk intervals. My running buddy wanted to see if he could run the whole thing so I said go for it!! We ran for a while together then he took off.
This was a crowded race! Usually the people kind of disperse after a certain distance but I was dodging people the entire time.
It wasn't long before the lead runner had already made his turn around and was on his way back. Those guys are simply amazing to watch run. And I love how all of us slower runners cheer for him. It's a great moment.
I get to my turnaround point and start heading downtown again. I'm keeping steady with my 5:1 intervals.
I cross the finish line and check my Garmin. 45 minutes?! But I felt so good!! What happened??
Then I see that we didn't run 3.1 miles. We ran 3.82 miles. They apologized over the speakers and said that there was a mix up with the volunteers about where the turnaround location was. This is the second race in a row where that has happened to me.
So I did 3.82 miles in 45:11 minutes for an 11:50 pace. I placed 48th out of 74 in my age group. That has been my best race pace so far. Sure would like to get a bit faster. :)
My buddy ran the whole race and finished with a 10:38 pace. Congratulations!!! YAY!!! You did great, man. Now how about that half marathon? ;)
Afterwards we hung around a bit but when sweat starts to evaporate in that cold air it gets chilly fast. So we went out for some awesome breakfast and called it a day. It was a lot of fun!! Great day.
Sunday I took off. We had a party to go to plus I just prefer to let my legs rest the day after a race.
But Monday was a big day for me. 8 miles were on the schedule. Eight has been the mental block number for me. My mind sets up a road block and says, "You can run anywhere up to 8 miles but not 8 and beyond."
I went out with the attitude that failure was not an option. No matter what happened I was going to complete those miles. I could go as slow as I wanted but I would not give up.
It was time to do some experimenting with fuel. I took a bit of GU with some water before I ran. My stomach did fine on it.
At mile 4.25 I stopped by the house for a potty and water break. I took another bit of GU and washed it down with my water which had electrolytes. Still feeling good! Interesting, my pace improved slightly after the GU break.
At mile 7.5 I was still feeling great. The worst part was mental fatigue. The mind is on it's own little journey while the legs are doing their thing. I swear there are points where I just black out on those long runs, set the body to auto pilot, and take a nap. I don't even remember parts of the run!
At the end of the 8 miles I did my stretches and cooled off. Sweat was dripping from my hat!! It's hard to describe the feeling of completing something that seemed impossible to me a few weeks ago. I did it!!! Elation. Bliss. Nothing quite captures it.
8 miles, 1:40:49, 12:36 pace, avg HR 150
I did take it slow, as all of the guide books and running mags keep telling me to do and because I'm naturally slow anyway, and just enjoyed the run. My heart rate stayed low and my pace was pretty steady with me starting at an 11:54 pace and ending with an 11:45 pace.
The next day the only parts that were kind of stiff were my calves. So not bad!!!
This coming Saturday, November 5th, I get to go to Orange, TX and run a 5K with my high school BFF Wendy. I had talked her into signing up for this ("No pressure but you really need to do this, Wendy! I will totally never forgive you if you don't do a 5K with me! I'm kidding. No I'm not!") and I'm excited to share the experience with her. Chuck will also be doing it even though his knee is in pretty bad shape and he will be having surgery at the end of this month. He was thinking of backing out until I mentioned that we get a medal at the end. Yes, a 5K with a medal is a very good thing.
Not only will there be a 5K (which starts at 10:30) but there is a health expo going on and before the race starts Helen Phillips will be giving us a motivational talk. Remember Helen? She won the Biggest Loser when Tara Costa was on there?
It's cool to get to see Helen but I sure do wish Tara was going to be there too. She is a huge inspiration to me still. I kind of have a girl crush on her. I still remember her pulling that car on Biggest Loser (in my mind she did it with her teeth) and she just completed the Kona Ironman!!
It's going to be a great race. (Wendy, no nervousness. We'll walk as much as we want and just have fun! It's about the experience, not our pace. And the medal!!!)
Bragging time: Chuck had a shooting match the Saturday morning of my race. I know he felt guilty about missing my run but it was ok with me. I was fine. Plus I had a running buddy with me and I didn't want Chuck to miss an important match like that one.
He has only been to that range one other time but people recognized his name from his scores from shooting at his regular range. Wow!
Chuck is a natural. I'm very proud of him. He won his division and came in seventh overall. Congratulations, Chuck!! Maybe we'll post your scores outside instead of that burglar alarm warning sign that we have.
It's tough but I'm back on the "eating right" wagon. Running long distances makes me hungry. I'm trying to think it through before I inhale something. Want to fuel the body not add any more fat.
Last night I made Dijon chicken and veggies. Very yum. And a beer. Oops. I'm a work in progress. :)