Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Monday, January 25, 2016

3M Half Marathon race weekend

Exactly one  year ago today I was in Austin running the 3M half marathon with my faraway bestie Susan.  She'd asked me to pace her to a sub 2 hour half.  I don't think I have ever told her how nervous I was to do that.  Just because I can run sub 2 did not mean that I could do everything right so she could achieve that dream running goal.  Well it happened because Susan is a rock star and it remains to this day one of my absolute favorite running moments.

Achieving a running goal is a huge deal to the runner and anyone who has supported him/her along the journey to the starting line.  So much work, time, effort, sweat, tears, and sacrifices are made so those dreams can become a reality.  I have always wanted to run a 1:45 half marathon.  That was a stretch time for me.  To run that time I would need to be super brave on race day.  Most race goals are achieved with lots of planning and the result of executing the perfect race plan.  Yesterday was the most laid back I have ever been about a race.  I had no real goal for the race.  I really just prayed it felt good to race again so I could erase the memory of Philly from my brain.  Yesterday was a huge surprise for me.  Sometimes.....

Just like last year Susan came from Pittsburgh to run to the race.  Lucky for me she flew into Houston this year so we had an extra long visit.  I treated her to Texas BBQ and she introduced me to Kendra Scott.  I'm thinking Drew won't be so happy about this in the future, but I do love my new jewelry!

Saturday morning we drove to Austin and hit up the expo to get our race packets.  We then spent a good bit of the day eating and being tourists.  Every time I go to Austin there is sport related activity occurring and I never get to see Austin.  Thankfully this time was a little different, but I really want to go back and play tourist for a weekend.  Let's do that Drew!!!

Julie, me, Susan, Valerie, Bianca, and Chrystal
We ate lunch at Susan's favorite taco place and she could hardly believe it was only my second time to eat at Torchy's.  My three tacos were quite yummy!  I passed on the Gourdough's fat dessert donut.  If you like donuts I recommend visiting that airstream.

There are two murals in Austin I hoped we could see.  Getting to one was perfect.  Next time I'll see the other one!

After some carbo loading for dinner we went to bed early.  Race mornings come early!  It was really chilly on Sunday morning, but Susan and I were prepared with our warm throw away sweats.  36 degrees at the start is perfect running weather in my opinion, but it is not perfect standing around and waiting for the race to start weather.  Staying warm is necessary for me.

I honestly had no expectations for this race.  I wanted to run a solid race that felt good and hoped to finish around 1:48-1:50.  Susan planned to run with her friend Val and I was running alone.  We hugged, wished each other a good race, and off we went.

I knew the cold weather would be to my advantage.  I love running in cold weather.  It is a net downhill course so that was in my favor too.  There are still several climbs, nothing drastic, but they exist so it's not all easy running.  I decided that I was not going to pay any attention to my splits.  I planned to look at my watch as I passed the mile markers just to check my pace.  I did not want to be focused on time.  I also knew if I stayed with the 1:50 pacer I would be good to go for my goal.

Before I knew it I was at mile 5 and was feeling really good.  I had passed the 1:50 pacer around mile 3, but never saw the 1:45 pacer.  I figured I would finish sometime around 1:48, but I decided then I would look at my overall time at mile 10.  If I could PR I would work hard during the last 5K.  If a PR wasn't going to happen that would be okay too.

8:16, 8:08, 8:10, 8:01, 8:11....These are so inconsistent, but that's what happens when I run on feeling.

The next five miles passed really quickly as well.  I took in fuel at mile 4.5 and again at mile 10.  That works for me during a half so I didn't want to mess with that.  I also carried a straw with me which I haven't done in forever.  I didn't want to carry my own water and I also didn't want to spill water on me at the water stations.  Being wet and cold is no fun.  Running and drinking is not easy and using a straw makes that process easy.  I have to remember this for future races!

8:06, 8:01, 7:51, 7:58, 8:08....I decided at mile 10 it was time to clock watch and attempt a PR.  The last 5K of this course is my favorite part. There are more people cheering.  There are some climbs, but the best downhills are in this stretch as well.  I figured I had nothing to lose and I was just going to run hard for 3.1 miles.

The next two miles passed quickly and felt great.....7:57, 7:44.  The last mile felt long as it does in any race.  Mentally I was ready to be finished.  I was cold and I was tired.  There is an uphill finish which is just rude so digging deep is required.  My last mile was 7:28.  I have NEVER run that fast in a half marathon.  I'm not sure if I have run any miles that fast in a 10K. To be able to run that mile time and feel good felt awesome.  I can't adequately express how satisfied I felt at knowing early morning mile repeats, tempo runs, fast finishes, 400 and 800 meter repeats really were worth it.

My official time was

That is a happy thing to see by my name.  Could I have clock watched and sneaked in under 1:45? Maybe.  Do I care?  Not one little bit.  To see a solid 1:45 and not I just made it 1:45 by my name is a box checked on my running dreams list and it makes me really happy.

I was already bundled up because I was freezing, but I was one happy runner!

Happy post race runners

We a fun lunch of more tacos after the race and Susan was able to experience all that is Buccee's.  Then I had to let her go home today...boo!

Sometimes the best things happen out of the blue.  Deciding to read Susan's blog because her hubbie was wearing a PSU shirt is one of those things.  Putting no pressure on myself to achieve a running time and then having it happen is another one of those things.  This is my favorite race memory to date!  Thanks for asking me to run 3M with you again Susan. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Colorado Vacation: Jonah's meet and all the rest

As I said before the decision to go to Colorado skiing came about because Jonah had a meet in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy.  His meet was after our week of skiing so Drew and I felt it would be best for several reasons if the kids and I returned home early.  Drew, his mom, and Jonah stayed for the meet.  Jonah competed on Sunday so they had Saturday to explore Colorado Springs and the academy as well as attend a collegiate gymnastics meet.  One of the last things I said to Drew was take lots of pictures....

On Saturday they did some exploring near Pike's Peak and some other places.  Drew took one pictures of a guy para skiing and one of Jonah.  While I appreciate the coolness of that I don't appreciate the lack of pictures at such an amazing place....goofball!

Drew did take more pictures at the Air Force Academy and they are fun pictures.  Jonah, for a couple of reasons, did not have the best meet of his life.  This happens.  I am super proud of Jonah for finishing stronger, improving his scores as the meet progressed, and having fun!  That is what matters!
Goofy guys

Jonah standing below a B52 bomber

So there you have it.  Our Colorado vacation from beginning to end and all the fun we had in between.   It was snowing lightly in Denver when we landed and it snowed the night before we left in addition to all the snow we had in Vail on Friday.  We learned to love our winter gear!

It is fun to think that Emma and Samuel learned what tool is used to clean off a car window.  It was quite the lesson on a very cold Sunday morning.

She wanted to know what the brush was used for....we must live in Texas.

We learned that soaking in a hot tub after a day of skiing and while snowing isn't really cold.  It is actually so warm that I ended up sitting half out of the water.  Being in a hot tub while snowing was a like fairy tale come to life.

The home we stayed in for the week was breathtakingly beautiful.  The views everyday were amazing.  It was way, way, way outside of our normal.  It was comfy, homey, and perfect for us for the week.

We made memories that we will have forever.  Until next time Colorado.....

Those mountains are already calling my name....

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Our Colorado Vacation: The skiing and sledding edition

Drew and I decided a few months ago that we were going to take the kids skiing this year when we saw that Jonah had a meet in January in Colorado Springs.  The timing was perfect Emma's competition schedule and Samuel's baseball.  So, the point of this trip was to ski.  Drew grew up skiing all the time and misses it a lot each winter.  We have not been skiing in almost four years so it was definitely time.

The ski gear collection area
This was the first time Elena skied.  Samuel, Emma, and Jonah have each skied between 2-5 times each.  For that reason and Drew wanting some adult skiing time, we enrolled the kids in ski school.  They went for 2.5 days.  The last half day they skied with their instructor as well as Drew and Meemaw.  From Monday to Thursday they went from relearning skills or in Elena's case learning skills to skiing down blue slopes.  And if you ask Elena, Jim, their instructor, made them ski a black diamond.  That is true, but they only skied the bottom little bit of the slope.  In her mind that still counts!  Of course they fell and not all was great, but they did really well!  It helps to be young and have no fear!  I was so proud as was Drew and his mom.

This was taken day one as they headed off to ski school.  It was about 0 degrees and they were so excited.  Ski school was at Beaver Creek which was about a 15 minute drive from the house.  They also skied at Arrowhead on Thursday.  They did not get to ski at Vail, but I know that is on their list for next time!

Bottom of Beaver Creek
Vail in a snowstorm

Vail....somewhere high up
Vail....and again high up
Jonah resting
They skied each day from 9-3:30 or so with about an hour for lunch.  Every day after returning to the house the boys went sledding.  The girls did some days.  On Friday we sledded in the morning and the kids showed me their ski skills on a slope near the house.

The house was ski in/out so on Friday we went to the ski slope next to the house, but a little higher up the mountain.  I wanted to see the kids ski and they, for the most part, wanted me to see them ski.   There is a little downhill and turn on this slope, but each kiddo looked like it was no big deal.  Crazy!

And of course we took some fun pictures of the kids goofing off in the snow.  The boys made a fort in and around some snow covered trees.  They were very serious about fortifying the area from sneak attacks....boys!  Snow angels were a big deal to Elena.  Just being in all the snow was a big deal!

Up to my knees!

The fort

We had so much fun playing in the snow!  Every day it was fun and no one ever got bored or too hot or too cold.  It was just fun.  There is just something about being in the snow that makes everyone happy!  I think snow is magical!!!!!