Sunday, November 3, 2013

Showdown Half Marathon - Race Recap

Racing/Running season is here!
Not to be confused with the rest of the year, when running season is always on.  All of the races I’ve been looking forward to all summer are finally here!

The first of many was the Showdown Half Marathon.  I ran this one last year and found the race to be challenging, yet uncrowded with a really fun atmosphere.  Since then, I’ve ran 2 of the Average Joe’s other races and found them to be second to none as far as organization, support and bling!  This race even offers free child care!  I mean, who does that?!  
So the Showdown Half and 5K is centered around the OU/UT, Red River shootout, which was played later that day (10/12/13) and won by the UT Longhorns….Hook Em’ Horns!  When you enter, you can pick a side (we pick UT, Louis LOVES the longhorns) and your medal, bib and shirt display the school colors.  I love this idea!  If you are neutral, or don’t really cheer for either side, there is an option available for that too!
Packet pick-up was the easiest ever.  I think it took two minutes and I even exchanged my t-shirt!  I also picked up my sons packet for the 100 yard dash.  He participated in the 50 yard dash last year as well. When he and some other kiddos finished they all just kept running, prompting the increased distance. There were many days/times available to pick up the packets, including race morning.  I went on Friday at lunch.
Race Day
Up at 5:45am….ouch.  
We arrived at the race site in plenty of time to park and walk about 2 blocks to the start.  At 7am sharp the kids were off!

Louis finished middle of the pack last year, but smoked it this year.  Here is his blur as he crossed the finish line.  He finished about 6th!
In a mad frenzy, we then raced to the car and to the off-site child care.  I was back in plenty of time with 10 minutes to spare.
And then at 7:30 sharp the half marathoners were off.  
Last year’s course was really hilly and while this was not without hills, it was much improved as far as that goes.  The first half was mostly at a slight decline which provided some really great splits.  
The only problem was the weather.
The humidity was around horrid, miserable and abysmal!  Typically the weather in Texas this time of year is beautiful, as it had been just days prior.  
Humidity and I don’t see eye to eye, so I knew it wouldn’t be the sub 2 performance I had wanted…
I kept up with some great paces the first couple of miles and then met up with my friend Kim, who was running intervals as she was coming back from an injury.  I can’t thank her enough for sticking with me.  My attitude was not in the right place and she kept me positive.  Even with a lot of walking we were hitting 10/10:30 min/miles and about a 9 minute pace when we ran, which makes me feel good going into my marathon next week, where the weather should be much, much cooler and less humid (fingers crossed).
I couldn’t keep up with my breath around mile 10 and told Kim to go ahead.  She did great and finished about 5 minutes before me.  
I finished with 2:21:20.  Not my worst, but definitely not my best.  Definitely off goal, but acceptable in spite of the weather.  The last time I ran in that kind of swamp like humidity was in Florida at the Disney princess and that was a 2:45ish effort, so an improvement there.  I also didn’t want to push it too much with a full coming up 8 days later.

The course was scenic and peaceful as always, with farm critters along the way.

The specating llama's
The Finish
The finish line kept up with the rest of the race….fabulous!
There was plenty of food…bananas, chocolate milk (I even went back for seconds), bagels and KIND bars.  There were even snow cones for all of the participants, which you KNOW we capitalized on!  They felt great on a hot/humid day.
There were some great vendors including Glitz Bands, a chiropractor who fixed my hip flexor with ONE adjustment this spring, massages and a few others.
After the race there are showers available for those who want to go hang out at the nearby pubs and sports bars….again, do you know any other races that provide this?!
I received an additional medal for completing my second race in the Average Joe race series.  The other races include the Fairview Half and the New Year’s Double.  I plan on doing on NYE later this year.
This was a race I highly recommend if you live in the DFW area or come down for the game!  The prices are low and the rewards are plenty.  The race director Libby puts on an awesome production EVERY time!

NY State of Mind

I have a lot of back tracking to do!  I’ve done 2 big races recently and haven’t even had a chance to tell you all about them.

But today, I felt compelled to tell about one of the most special races I have ever run, especially since it is the *day* of the NYC marathon (I mean it is kind of like a holiday for runners!). 

Watching it on TV was super cool!  I recognized a lot of the landmarks and neighborhoods I ran by in 2010 and 2011.  Yet it is nothing like being there.  The race atmosphere is electric.  Every race start has amazing energy, but this is something unreal.  So many people, countries, languages and stories.  The hovering helicopters make you feel like a celebrity. 

One you get to the start, a young Frank Sinatra sound alike is crooning “New York, New York”.  Everyone knows the words….even the people who don't speak English.  That bridge is upon you….one mile up, one mile down.  It’s one of the most amazing places to be.  The port authority is streaming red, white and blue water from their boats.  It is a day to be running proud. 

From Staten Island, piles of miles through the business and brownstone, tree lined streets of Brooklyn, to Queens, the Bronx and then finally into the final stretch of Manhattan.  Coming off the Queensborough bridge is like winning the super bowl….thousands of people cheering for YOU as you exit off the quiet bridge, where the only sound is your breath and footsteps.  Into Central Park where digging deep does not even describe what you have to do to get to the finish.
 A run down 1st Ave
 The peace of the Queensborough Bridge (look at that view!)
My favorite sign ever!
 I have never seen so many cups!
Almost there!

If you can’t tell, I think this marathon is nothing short of amazing. 

I've done many other marathons and this one will always be the one that holds my heart, specifically the last one in 2011.

It was my very first marathon (and was going to be my only) in 2010, but I had to go back in 2011.  I was lucky enough to hit the lotto again that year. 

2011 was a *dream*.  I have so many awesome memories of that race through the five boroughs.

My training was so much better. 

I had found a great training partner who was also running!
Running Robby!

One of the most toxic people I had known was out of my life (surprisingly NOT my ex-husband).

I was not sorely underweight (what girl says that?).

I knocked 20 minutes off my PR and course time the year before.

But most of all….

I was there with people whom I loved and cared for, my friends and family, my boyfriend Ryan.  My people. 
 My Mom & Dad
My Cheering Section!

My parents, who’d never been to NYC were finally able to see me finish a race, one of the biggest of my life!

Did I say how amazing this race was?

What has been your amazing race?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Run 4

A few months ago, the national leader of my super cool running group Moms Run This Town shared a unique opportunity with us.  MRTT had partnered with a group called I Run 4.  I Run 4 was the brain child of Tim Boyle when he began running for a child named Michael, who had Down's Syndrome.  The idea grew and I Run 4 is now nearly 7,000 members strong.  The purpose of I Run 4 is to match a special needs child with a runner, who dedicates miles, races, and activities to that child.  

About six weeks ago, after about a month wait, I was match with my child, Kyan.  Kyan is an adorable *almost* two year old little boy who lives in New York who is afflicted with SMA – Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Kyan’s mom describes him as a sensitive, smiley and sweet little boy.  His favorite color is red and he loves animals, especially those in the barn yard and zoo.  Kyan also rocks some rainbow colored leg socks that I am insanely jealous of and am on the lookout for a pair!  

Kyan also has a super cute older brother, Kalen.  Kalen also has SMA.

In my nearly twenty years in the field of nursing I had never heard of SMA, so I had to do some research.

The website “Families of SMA” was a great resource.  I learned that:

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the number one genetic killer of children under the age of two, is an often fatal disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement, which affects crawling, walking, head and neck control, and even swallowing.


SMA is one of the most prevalent genetic disorders.
  • One in every 6,000 babies is born with SMA.
  • SMA can strike anyone of any age, race or gender.
  • One in every 40 people carries the gene that causes SMA. The child of two carriers has a one in four chance of developing SMA. 
  • 7.5 million Americans are carriers.
I had no idea SMA was so common.  It is likened to ALS, Lou Gerhig’s disease.

Kyan’s family is very active in the fight to find a cure for SMA.  They even have their own foundation called Kure for Kulas.  They are very active in their community and were profiled on local news stations and billboards.  These boys are celebrities where they live!  

The Kulas Family

Running for Kyan has surely given new meaning to all of my runs.  Whenever I get down on myself or feeling like I can't go any further, I think about sweet little Kyan and buck up for him!  I think about what his parents wouldn't give to see him run across the house.  Hopefully, there will be a day, when Kyan will be able to!  Kure for Kulas is helping see to that...a cure for SMA.  Check out this sweet family's story and journey to a cure.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Marathon training has been going great!  I love having a coach! Getting my training plan each week is something I have started to really look forward to.  I *love* seeing how I can challenge myself next.  I am on a recovery week, with only one minor speed session, but because I flip flopped it with a run last weekend, I’ve got 18 miles staring me down this weekend.  Yikes! Just 10 weeks left to rock my training plan.

I’ve been religious with Tabata training, only taking two weeks off due to being out of town.  It has become my staple workout for the week.   What is tabata training?  It is a series of intense work (20 seconds) followed by a short rest (10 seconds), rinse and repeat 8 times per set.  Basically it’s High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  It torches fat, builds endurance and overall strength.  I have never taken a group fitness class that has benefited my endurance and strength more than this one.  My core is stronger than ever!  This may or may not be evidenced by the fact that I can plank for 6+ minutes (I even had a small crowd of witnesses for that one).  My lower back does not ache any longer during really long runs and I’ve gained the confidence to workout at the gym in a sports bra (ok….on Sunday’s only when few people have to see that).  Tabata is the *BoMb*!!  

 **disclaimer:  my abs DO NOT look like this....I just wish they did!

I've been participating in a "Robertofit" challenge, hosted by a friend of mine from Lifetime Fitness.  The challenge started as 50 sit ups, 50 push ups, 50 squats - increase by 5 each day.  Plank to increase by 15 seconds each day, resulting in the 6+ minute plank.  I've been doing a "plank a day" for over a month, so it seemed like a good challenge to boost my fitness and plankworthiness even more!  It worked! Roberto also offers Insanity/P90 workouts during the week....that is on my list to try next! It seems like he has a really fun, positive group. 

That's a BOSS!

I also signed up for the “Esprit De She” this fall. Several of my friends from Moms Run This Town talked me into it!  It will be a 2 mile run, 9 mile bike ride, 2 mile run.  A week after the Nike Women’s Marathon.  Smart, right?  In order to prepare, I decided it was high time to start getting in some bike riding.  My bike Pink and I went out for a 10 mile spin last week and I plan to try and incorporate the same distance at least once a week.  I am not speedy by any means, but Pink is not exactly a racing bike (although she is great for carrying drinks and snacks!). favorite birthday present *ever*!!

My race calendar has blossomed since early summer and now looks like this:

October 12 - Showdown Half Marathon, Allen, TX
October 20 – Nike Women’s Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA
October 26 – Esprit De She, McKinney, TX
November 3 – Rocky Raccoon 50k, Huntsville, TC
November 9 – McKinney Mini Marathon (though there is nothing “mini” about it, it’s a half) McKinney, TX
December 31 – New Year’s Eve Full, Allen, TX
January 18, 2014, Houston Marathon, Houston, TX

Some of these races are only 6 days apart, what was I thinking?

I’m thinking I will really be able to test myself and see what I’m capable of!
I’m thinking I am going to have a blast with some of my new running friends at local events!
I'm thinking that with the power of a running buddy, we will crush the sub two half (finally!)!
I’m thinking I am going to have a whole lot of race shirts!
I’m thinking I am going to meet my 4 corner marathon self challenge (only the west coast was missing from North, South, East, West)
I’m thinking I am going to get A LOT of massages!!

What races are you doing this fall?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I've Been Everywhere - Part North

Less than 48 hours after we deplaned in Dallas, I was back on board for my annual summer trip to Minnesota to spend time with Louis and see some great friends, some of whom I had not seen in 9 years (aka too long).
After spending a few days with Louis and my parents, I was off to a lake cabin for the weekend.  The time flew by way, way, way to fast.  The Rogue Pirate Nurses (it's a L O N G) story, picked up right where we left off, not skipping a beat.  We shared laughs until we cried, till our bellies hurt, celebrated my dear friend Em's eternal 29th birthday, antiqued in tiaras, emptied a few bottles of adult beverages and made toxic crafts by moon light.  I have to tell you.  Everyone needs friends like these!  These are the three of the strongest, smartest and funniest women I know!  I hope I can make the meeting next year!

 Rouge Pirate Nurses Unite
 Taming the's a weasle, that was adopted by Lisa, who is now lovingly named (by me, at least) after the new King George Alexander Louis, Georgie for short ;)
Lynette is helping Em prepare for a special day!

 These ladies constantly crack me up!
 Celebrating with the "more is more" birthday cake, which was delicious!
 Toxic crafts by moonlight.
There were laughs, there were happy tears, there may or may not have been glowing internal organs.
 The view from Lynette's beautiful lake home!

After that it was back to my hometown and more fun with Louis.  We splashed around at the pool, took some swings around town in the golf cart (yes, you can travel by golf cart in that small of a town), and played at the park.
 Playing with friends!

 Louis and Kennedy have been friends since they were small babies.
Kennedy's mom and I have been friends since we were kids. 
Our moms have been friends for a long time too!
We have so much fun together!
Getting to play together and see this family is always a highlight of the trip.
I secretly hope Louis marries Kennedy someday. :)

 GiGi getting in on the spinning actions.
 Love this girl!
Love this boy!

We even had a few days to spare upon our return to Dallas!  After missing that kiddo for three weeks, we sure made up for it and then some!  I will be sad when summer vacation is over. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I've Been Everywhere! Part South

**Warning....contains a lot of photos that will make you want to go on vacation.

Ok....maybe not everywhere...but, as I was writing this that song popped in my head!

I *have* spanned most of North America in the last two weeks!  Enjoying a full 2.5 weeks off from work, we decided four days prior to a departure that a beach vacation was called for.  Ryan had been working way too many hours and Louis was spending a week with his PaPa and GiGi in Minnesota, like he has done every summer since he was 3, so it seemed like perfect timing! After the 4th of July festivities/craziness/fun had passed, things went into FULL gear!  My parents visited us, one of my favorite cousins EVER came up from San Antonio with her man Joe and I hosted a bridal shower for my sister, Jill.

 My gorgeous cousin Sarah, my sister and I.
 Jill & I with our mom
 We could be sisters, right?

Onto the vacation!  Some of my favorite parts (there were A LOT of them)!!

So, for 6 fabulous days, we lounged on the beach, swam with the turtles, got drenched in Tulum and had the most fantastic vacation I think I have ever been on.  I ever felt *rested* when I came back!

 Tulum Ruins
 The gorgeous beach at Tulum
 I can't imagine how beautiful this is on a sunny day!
 So it POURED that day.

 It seemed like a good idea to climb up some ruins in a restricted area....shhhhhh!

 Swimming in the "cenotes" - hidden lakes/rivers.
 The water here is the clearest (and coldest!) I have ever seen.  Like glass!
 On to Acumal!  It *really* looks like this.  It is so beautiful!
 Getting ready for the main event....
 the turtles!
 We spent about an hour just floating around with these amazing creatures.  Some of the turtles were estimated to be over 100 years old.  I think we saw about 8 of them.  You are not allowed to touch them, you just float and enjoy watching them.  They migrate to the warm water and beaches from May to September to lay their eggs.  This was no doubt, one of the highlights of the trip.
 Then we spotted two of these!
 The turtles would pop up for air here and there....often close by. 
 We spent a lot of time at this swim up bar (one of 17!)
 I *heart* the beach!

We drank a lot of these....guess which one is mine?  Hint:  it's NOT the martini

 Can you see all of the fish that would flock to the dock for a snack?  There were hundreds of them!
King of the World!

The weather in the Rivera Maya was a little rainy and cloudy a couple of days, but that did not cramp our style....we roll with it!  We met a few really fun couples, but still had a lot of quality time to ourselves. We have decided that next year, we are staying no less than 10 days.  Even though we have both been to Mexico before, we found so many fantastic adventures we wanted to do next time.  Six days was definitely not enough!

Where is your favorite vacation spot?