I'm Officially a "Finisher!"

Somebody cue the uber-inspirational theme song that plays in Chariots of Fire because....I officially ran my 1st 1/2 marathon!

Lets just say in the words of Barnie from How I Met Your Mother, it was legen...

LEGENDARY!  The race was legendary!  

I ran 13.1 miles and didn't:
1.  Puke
2.  Get the runner's trots (aka: crap my pants)
3.  Look as hideous and near-death as I did at the Corpus Christi 1/2 Marathon-Relay
(yes, this means I actually touched up my face with a bit of make-up pre-race in order to avoid being confused with a homeless man...if you look at that link, you'll know what fugly really is)
4.  (and most importantly) I DIDN'T DIE!!  


(I thought for sure he might get me as I trudged up one of those massive-o mountains that Austinites like to call "hills" mid-race)

Oh, and I must say, I ran with 2 of my fabulous friends (1 old and 1 new)....Reese's and her best friend from school.  And yes, since it was my first 1/2, Reese's was sweet enough to run with me the....entire...time!

Nitty Gritty
So lets get down to the nitty gritty and give a race review! 

So let me just get this off my chest.  Pre and post-race organization kinda sucked.  That's just all there is to it. There was little to no organization of "corrals" before hand, so everyone pretty much started together.  Towards the end, the flow was nice from finish line, to water, to snacks, but then something happened after picking up a banana...CLUSTER! Between food and exiting the race you were suppose to pick up your t-shirt and pick up your checked bag.  Signs! Large signs pointing people in the right direction would really better facilitate 20,000 exhausted runners in getting their crap so they can get off the streets and go collapse somewhere!

Now...let's move onto the good stuff.

Das Swag
So every runner likes the swag they get when they pick up their race packet!  Even if you claim that "it's all about the race, I don't do it for the t-shirt," we all know you really signed up to run 13.1 effing miles so you can wear your super, duper, sweet-ass running shirt.  Don't lie to yourself people.

So! This is what the fabulous Austin race fairy gave me the day of packet pick-up...

I don't know if you can see it, but there's a SpiBelt in that mix, and Lord knows I'll run any race for a "free" SpiBelt!  Holla!

Oh, and by the way.  If you run Austin next year, arrive at packet pick-up Saturday morning right before the Expo opens and WHAMMY no trouble parking.  If you get there 30 minutes after the Expo opens like my friend Reese's, you my friend, will indeed be stuck in horrendous traffic.  Please spare yourself, and learn from her mistake.

Das Route

Let me just say Austin had a wonderful route that was full of little-dipper hills that I made it through without walking or yelling obscenities.  Not too shabby for a gal who's been training on the flat as your back roads of Corpus Christi for 9 months.  

The 13.1 mile trek through the B-E-A-utiful Austin, Texas started near the grandiose state capitol building...

Then out of no where, the route tempted me with booze as we trolled by 6th street.  I definitely almost ducked-out of the race at the mere thought of ditching the heat and humidity and diving head-first into an ice-cold margarita. Reality sunk in only seconds later and I realized....I don't think bars are open Sunday morning at 7 a.m.?  So I decided to stay the course.

We then crossed over the river, and took a light yog through the low-key South Congress area, or at least I think that's where I was...I tend to completely zone out while running and "wake up" miles later.  

Around mile 7 I was feeling "effin' strong," there was no pain to be had, no shin splints, and no doubt in my mind that I was going to be fine becauseeeee.....the race was almost over....right?  Hmm, I'm not sure how this thought of "the race is almost over" popped into the little thing I call my brain, but it did...and at mile 7.  It didn't quite don on me that I had 6 more miles to go before I could be considered a finisher.  

Once this sad realization sunk in Reese's and I stumbled across this little jewel which boosted my spirits...

(Ma'am, wherever you are, you always have me as a running buddy, because I felt the EXACT same way!)

After passing mile-marker 10, we plowed hard and fast back to the capitol-area. Looking back on the last 3.1 miles of the race, two particular hills stick out in my mind, both which came reallllllly close to ruining my life.

After mile 10 I came across, what I will refer to as, the Hella-Hill. This is also where I stumbled upon a little running lady who chatted with me about this gi-normous hill we were coming up on. Word through the running groups was that it was a legit mountain.  All I kept thinking was WTF?! I didn't sign up to run up a stinkin' mountain! That's why I choose to live and run in TEXAS!!

Well this "mountain" the little running lady was referring to was around mile 12.5 (shown below), and let me just point out that it was terribly gut-wrenching to see the mountain for an entire mile before I had to embark on the climb!

So I didn't think I would have to walk during the race, but the minute I hit an intense incline after running 12 miles...I had a little "come to Jesus talk" with myself and realized I...would....DIE if I ran up this particular hill.  So I did what I thought I wouldn't do during the race....and walked.

If you only knew the ugly UGLY words and phrases that were going through my mind at this point and time....uhhh I shudder to even remember them myself! Oh! And yes, that IS in fact what people call a "love handle."  Reese's is only so good with Photoshop and has yet to master the proper love handle blurring technique.

Finisher say what?
Yes, even though I had to cross the Texas-version of the Himalayas, I actually finished the race! And I must say, I'm proud as hell of my time!


Overall:  6520 (of 10,523)
Sex:  3363 (of 6291 females)
Division:  498 (of 793 20-24 year olds)
Injuries:  One torn sock, and an achy hip (Any suggestions...not for the torn sock?)

So after Reese's and myself sprinted the last 50 yards to the finish line, we were handed a little something I like to call a medal!

Yes, I was super proud of myself for receiving a medal for the first time since junior high (DI-Destination Imagination....yup, huge nerd!)  

Welp, hope you enjoyed the race review, and thanks Reese's for all the great pics, I'm the sharp girl who forgot my camera...whoops! 

I guess that's all folks.


Pre-Austin Flip Out

Aw the Joys of Running 
My middle name is stress this week, thus turning me into a terrible runner.  It's crazy the many different excuses I can make up in order to put off a run.  This week's excuses consisted of putting off runs in order to get stuff done for school and work. You could say, my total weekly mileage is not exactly where I had hoped it would be. I thought the past few weeks I would be hitting a solid 22 mile marker.  That goal however has been blown to smithereens by the harsh reality of my actual running history...

Feb 6-12:  12 miles
Feb 13-15:  2.59 miles (no I "did not" totally bale on a 10 mile run Monday night so I could chit chat with a friend and walk 2 miles after a life yog!)

And yes, I did in fact bale on a 7-miler with Reese's this evening so I could take an amazing 3.25 hour nap.  Whew...it was a pretty intense siesta I tell you.  If Reese's wouldn't have come banging on my window and woken me up, I may have slipped into an all-out coma...which I'm not sure I would have disliked all that much. 

Now initially I think, hey, at least I'm skipping runs to be a good student and get everything done.  Right?  I mean I could be skipping runs to booze it up beach-style, but instead I'm making adult decisions and studying (uh....adult decisions, not my favorite).

Wrong! Not running, even daily 2 milers, has added to my stress level due to the fact I have my 1st 1/2 marathon this weekend!  I just have one request for this weekend.  Please, please, Please, may the hills of Austin have mercy on me! 

I have been a spoiled, flat-land, beach-side runner for 9 fabulous months and I have beccome accustomed to a certain standard of running.  So basically, Austin-running might suck.  Trust me, I use "might" in hopes that I trick my brain into thinking positive about this weekend.  Maybe I can find a hip, new Austin relaxation class to attend before the race Sunday morning.  I hear there are actually nude courses available. 

Fancy that.

Austin Prep
So I am staying as pumped-up as possible about the Austin 1/2 this weekend and decided to treat myself to some new running schwag!

So you have 1 pair of new Mizunos, 1 pair of new bike-shorts so I don't pass out due to the inability of proper blood circulation in my long pants.  It would be so f-ing awkward to have the EMS run over to the chubby gal to cut off her skin-tight running pants in order to get the blood flowing again.  Whew....I never want to experience that, but ya never know. 

The 800 Bloks and GU I bought were so I could make running goody bags, and try out a few new ones before the race.  Uh, they're so yummy! It's tough to not eat them throughout the day just for a snack. 

So why the hell did I go out and get myself such an excess of running goodies?  Let's get real, when you're looking to conquer 13.1 miles of land you're very weary of...oh and don't forget the threat of possible death via hills...

...it makes you think you'll be able to push through if you go out and get some new stuff! 

Welp....I guess we'll see what happens!


WTF Winter?

My Happy Little Run
So wtf winter? Yeah, I'm talking to you supposed "season" that lingers between fall and spring.  Where you be!?  It's only February and you're no where in site!  Oh...that's right...I live in Texas, the land of 1.5 seasons.

Season 1:  "Summer" as lay people would refer to the Corpus Christi season of Hell on Earth.  

This wonderful season, full of temperatures towering well above 100 degrees and humidity at a constant high, is jam-packed with heat strokes and dehydration.  Who would want to live in the cool and breezy California when you could be in this African-like oasis with what we like to call a "beach."  Brown-ish water is what beaches are suppose to look like? 

I'm sorry, I'm just reminiscing about my frolicking on the Spanish beaches of San Sebastian...

By the time I encountered this beach in our Spanish adventure I was already fully aware and somewhat accustom to the nude beach "rule of thumb" so I was able to focus intently on the stellar blue sea!

Whoa! I'm sorry. I don't know how this picture got in here.  Ok, so I also did quite a bit of focusing on the Spanish/French surfing instructors.  Helllooo! Teach me! Teach me!

Wow, ok, I definitely got a little off-topic there for a second.  I guess the other obvious season for Texans is the season of occasional cool-fronts.  The better of the two I would say.  The only time I get to wear long pants on my runs, oh, and if you're really lucky and temps drop below 40, a light-weight sweatshirt...cha-ching!  Aww the wonder of running in the cold. I do love it.

So what brings me to this awful awareness of summer creeping it's way back into Corpus was my run earlier this morning.

11 A.M.
"60" degrees (our weatherman is a pathologic liar apparently)
+60% humidity
Light wind most definitely blowing in from the South....because our area of the globe....sucks.

....I do realize it's time to get over my beef with Mother Nature. I'm just not quite ready to quit being angry though.

So as I plodded down the street for the first time in months wearing shorts and a little workout top, I faced Mother Nature and once again, forfeited.  Kidding, I didn't give up, but I was not about run any further than 2.41 in the heat.  Uh uh girl, think again!

So, my first 2011 sunny, warm, run is complete

(Terrible picture, I know. Just go with it, I tried about a thousand times to take a good one....it just wasn't gonna happen today).
Aside from having a lovely 2-miler earlier today, I am starting to face facts that it's only gonna get hotter from here on out so I might as well enjoy the sub-90 degree temperatures while I can.  Hopefully the weather is more delightful and runner-friendly wherever you may be.


Poop is Falling from the Ceiling....POOP!

Exam Numero Uno
Tomorrow morning at 0800 I will embark on my first examination in nursing school.  Fundamentals.  An exam covering 20 chapters, and 4 long weeks of lecture material.

In the words of Angela Martin from the Office (the Business School episode)

"Poop is falling from the ceiling....Poop!"

Not sure if you understand where I'm coming from with this quote...similar to "sh*t's hittin' the roof?"  I just thought it would be more appropriate considering today's theme through out study groups has in fact been...poop, not hitting the roof, but following the same route as gravity.

Let's just say, between people sending "I just farted" text messages and others stepping out of the room to "relieve themselves," we got a CRAP-ton of studying done.  So I'm sure you now understand my need to quote Angela Martin in this current scenario.

A Bondi Obsession

So not only has my good friend Reese's created a running monster (aka: me), but she has also created a Bondi Band fanatic! Any hateful saying that has gone through my mind mid-run is actually mass produced on Bondi Bands all over the world!

Por ejemplo
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, "Aw, I soooo don't want to run anymore." Then your good friend looks back with a face that screams....

....and you know you must run on.



So I guess you actually have to have friends to wear this band without feeling totally ashamed?

Well, all I know is I seriously consider purchasing this band in LARGE print for all those haters who glare at me from inside their cars as I limp alongside the road for 10 miles.

But then again, this is just so acurate....

So...I'm ordering new Bondi Bands for Reese's and myself.  Which ones to buy!?!?!

Oh yes...
Oh! I am proud to say I have completed my 1st long run of 10 miles.  Reese's and I booked it down Ocean Drive last night and thankfully:

1.  Didn't break any bones

2.  Didn't cease to exist via automobile

3.  Didn't have an incontinent moment


Adios Nikes

Let's start out this evening's post on a happy note...before we get to the nitty gritty gunk that consumed my running life this evening.  

I am the daughter of true cowboy and outdoors man.  You know you've read about him in months prior, I like to refer to him in my blogging world as the one and only John Wayne.

I was the son he never had, well, as close as he could get to a son.  We went fishing together, sat in deer blinds on the weekends, and I was his right hand daughter when it came to building forts and fixin' things! So it should be no surprise to you that I know how to, and love to build campfires!

So as the temperatures dropped in the great state of Texas, a little light bulb went off in my head...why not take advantage of the quaint little fire place that sits in my apartment and build a cozy fire?


It may have taken longer than I'm proud to admit, but I finally went cave-lady on the little wood pile and created light!  Aw...I love a cozy fire, reading a book, and being a regular ole granny. 

THE...Nitty Gritty
So, let's get to the portion of my day that reallllly grinds my gears.  At 1700 hours I set out to accomplish 7 easy miles at a decent pace (somewhere between a 10 and a 10:30 minutes per mile pace).  You could say my measly mileage goal came back with a vengeance and slapped me in the face just a mere 2 miles into the run. 

I felt exactly like the slap victim once the clock struck 1730.  Suddenly my legs decided they were done running, and if I dared to continue on they threatened to snap beneath my body.  I don't know if it was my flaring shins or the sudden arch-issues that developed, but one of them (or maybe the combination of the two) made me shake my fists at the pavement and curse the running god! 

Aw, if I were a person who cried I would have wept right then and there on the street from mere frustration.  I, however, was born a mutant child and it seems as though I am not genetically equipped to shed tears.  Why....wait, how is it possible that I ran a wonderful 9 miles with ease and comfort not more than a week ago and today I'm not able to complete 3 miles without sheer agony? 

Me, being the semi-bitter girl that I am this evening, am going to blame it on my new shoes.  Okay I know I should have listened to the shoe "expert" and just shelled out the cash for those hella-expensive running shoes last week, but I just couldn't part with 120 dollars.  Uh, but it seems as though now I must pay the piper. 

When Fire met Shoes
So if I lived in a house with a nice outside fire pit I would throw my new Nike's into it, dowse them with lighter fluid, strike a match, then sit back and watch my bad decision burn.  I'm stuck with an inside fire pit though and feel like throwing them into an inside-fire could be another poor decision on my behalf.  If I can't afford expensive running shoes, I sure as hell can't afford to burn down an apartment building. 

It looks like I'll be purchasing a new pair of Mizunos every 175 miles from here on out.  So, any Nike lovers out there who want a brand new pair of kicks, just lemme know and I'll send 'em your way. 


Oh Texas, Sweet Texas

My Sweet Texas
I have had the pleasure of living in the best state in the U.S. for 23.5 fabulous years! Hehe, and yes I do realize how silly that sounds if you're from any other part of the world.  I have family in Montana and Idaho who cringe at mere sound of our southern drawels and giggle at our undying love for anything and everything Texas.

However, where else can you be in a public arena with hundreds of strangers and receive a unified response to these glorious words:

The stars at night
Are big and bright...

Response you will ubdoutbably receive:

Deep in the heart of Texas!

A friend of mine actually tried this at a camp full of junior high kids and those little buggers didn't miss a beat.  Instantly the room was filled with a bounding roar of proud mini-Texans.

Okay it was more like an awkward mix of girls singing off-key and a bunch of boys (all going through puberty) attempting to sing while they're voices cracked.

Uh, it sounded awful, but it I think it still proves my point. Anywhere in Texas you can start singing that song, and you will inevitably receive a response, it's quite possible we come out of the womb genetically equipped to do so. 

Uh, just reminds me of how glad I am to be past that awkward stage, and just one of the reasons Texas is the best state in the U.S.!

Another reason Texas is the best state, is that we Texans are able to run and play a plethora of sports (not me personally, I'm coordinated just enough to run from point A to point B) in a place where seasons do not exist.

Exhibit A:  Colt McCoy, former quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns. (Even though he was born in New Mexico, I am making him an honorary Texan since he played in our hellish conditions for so long). 

Besides the 3 months we like to consider "winter," we live and breath in an atmosphere set up for mutants!  A place where 90 degree heat is a cool day during July, and humidity...don't even get me started on humidity, it can make showering totally...pointless.

Wow, just found out there are several more reasons why Texans love their state!

For sake of time I'll let you read those on your own.  Now, the real point I wanted to get to.  Even though Texans are proud as hell to be from the greatest state in the U.S., we do not know how to respond to cold weather.

But why would there be ice on our roads?  It doesn't snow here.
Since "winter" consists of 3 months of temperatures dropping below 60, oh and don't forget the occasional freeze, we've never really had to deal with snowy driveways, being unbearably cold inside our homes, and especially icy roads. 

So what do we do when the weatherman predicts below-freezing temperatures and mist all at the same time?

1.  We hold-up inside. No leaving the premises!  We are smart enough to realize that we do not know how to drive on icy roads and thus cancel any and all events for that day. (Example:  Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi closed down at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, canceled all classes and office hours for Friday due to poor winter weather conditions).  Even a church downtown posted they were canceling all events Thursday and Friday night due to poor weather....psh, when church closes things must be bad!

2.  We all turn on our heaters... at the same time, and subsequently cause rolling blackouts through out our darling state.

3.  We do NOT run our mileage like good marathon runners.  Ok, some over acheivers run their prescribed mileage, however I do not when the temps are freezing!  I'm not into frostbite.  

Apparently these are not the normal responses to the threat of ice and freezing temps according to a few of my pals (all cold weather-state people).  They all thought it to be hilarious that I drove 15 mph to meet them for dinner since I feared the icy conditions last night.

So... Questions rolling through my mind at the moment
1.  What's the best way to deal with our 1 day of icy, cold weather next year?

2.  Is it still dangerous to drive on icy roads when you grew up in the north and are use to them?


New Kicks!

First and foremost I must send out a thank you to the one and only Mrs. Skinny Runner for giving me a spot on her blog the other day!

Just an fyi, SR...I think you can officially say not only are you #1 a real runner (I'm not sure I'll ever be in the vicinity of an 8 minute mile) but #2, you are also skinny.  The "About SR" section isn't foolin' anyone! So congrats on being a skinny runner!

What Shoes do you Wear?

So I know it can be hard to find the perfect shoe to fit you so I wanna know how do you decide which shoes to wear on a run?  And why?

Los Shin Splints
For those of you who are new to my land of stressed-out and at times foul-mouthed blogging world, I'll have you know I have been cursed by, what I like to call, the Shin Splint Fairy.  He has been on a ruthless mission to make my running life a living you know what, and I must admit, has done a darn good job thus far.  I bought a new pairs of running shoes, eh let's say August? (wow, I didn't realize how long ago that was)...

and I must say these babies have been great to me.  They were with me over 5 months and conquered more than 200 miles.  Most importantly I successfully avoided encounters with the Shin Splint Fairy while running in these kicks, that is until lately...the ole devil found his way back into my life.

Apparently, people can run everyday and not have any leg pain (assuming they haven't increased their mileage too rapidly).  Well I just thought leg pain was normal, so when 3 different people, all in one week's time, got after me about getting new running shoes to rid my body of leg pain, I caved and headed to our local running store, Fleet Feet. 

The Verdict
So after walking around barefoot in an athletic shoe store (boy do I hope they disinfect their floors on a daily basis) it was decided that... I over pron-ate?  That's nice.  I'm not too interested in an official diagnosis, after all I think enough about nursing diagnoses on a daily basis.  Just tell me what shoe I should be wearing! 

Woman's Nike Dual Fusion.  Pretty comfy I must say.  No, they're not the exact pair of shoes Fleet Feet attempted to sell me, but hey, I'm a college student, I can't afford the fancy shmancy stuff just yet.

Dear Nike Dual Fusion, Please get rid of my Sad Shoe Blues
Last night was the possible Nike deal-breaker!  A planned "7 at 7" with Reese's would be in order to test out the durability and shin-likeliness of these new shoes.

(7 miles, at 7 p.m., get it? Get it?  Yeah, we think we're clever.) 

So!  The real test of shin-likeliness! Would the Shin Splint Fairy find me and rip my theory a new one?  Is is possible that a shoe can be SO comfortable as to protect me from shin pain for an entire 7 miles?

YES!  Lord almighty it really is possible! I ran for 7.5 miles and felt like a million bucks.

...It Gets Better
Not only was I shin-splint free, but I set a PR.  7.50 miles at a 10.30 pace.  I'm pretty sure there are 2 reasons this happened.

1.  The new kicks! Duh.

2.  "Conditions were perfect!"
39 degrees, 0.7765% humidity, and the wind at our backs.  The most amazing run I've had to date.

Conditions were perfect statement reminded me of this hu-larious video. Enjoy!