Monday, June 30, 2014

Things I Learned From My First Marathon

It's been a month since my marathon and I have had some time to reflect about it. Mainly, I have been thinking about the things I need to do in order to have an improved overall experience in the Route 66 Marathon. These include the following:
  • I need to get faster. I'm working on things with Coach Jim and may even sign up for the Kenyan Way. I'm being told that I may run the entire thing instead of doing intervals. EEK! But I'm looking for 5 hours, 30 minutes goal and 10:30/mile pace. If I get to 10:30, I will be well under that overall goal.
  • Stick to how I trained. During my half marathon, I ate a light pasta dinner and had a few things for lunch. But I did just fine and had no problems. I took some advice and had a pasta lunch and salmon for dinner the night before the marathon. The pasta lunch was not great and may have contributed to digestive issues the next day. And I didn't feel like the salmon properly filled my tank if you know what I mean. Also, I ate breakfast two hours before instead of an hour and didn't eat my banana before the race. I was hungry when I started the race.
  • I overhydrated myself. I grabbed two water bottles each time I went through a water station. I felt nauseous after awhile. Eventually, I went down to one bottle and lost the nausea. I didn't think this was a thing until I read on Katie Aune's blog about the same issue. I was amazed to find out that someone had the exact same thing as myself.
After an early lunch, we realized that Jessy, the teenage girl in the group, was suffering from some sort of heat exhaustion. She was dizzy and shaky and even threw up. It was quite scary. We realized later that she may actually have been suffering from hyponatremia, when drinking too much water leads to the dilution of sodium in the body. She drank nearly 3 liters of water during the hike in an attempt to avoid dehydration, but without food or electrolytes to go with all that water, it had the reverse effect.
  • I need to clean up my eating the day before, because I had some serious bathroom issues starting around mile five or six.
  • Starting out at a slower pace for the first few miles to get me warmed up is better than guns blazing out of the start gate. Thankfully, I noticed this early on and corrected myself.
  • I need to bring toilet paper with you either for my runny nose or if the port-o-potty's run out of toilet paper.
  • I liked the GUs (strawberry kiwi or orange ones only) a great deal better than the chews. The blocks were nice, too. But the energy chews did not work for me at all. Also, I may train with those bonks or whatever they are called.
  • I was so glad that Jim was there to take my jacket. Next time, I'm not going to be afraid to leave it behind in the hotel room before heading out for my run.
  • Watching a movie and relaxing the day before saved my legs for the marathon.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 National Running Day Recap

A friend of mine posted on Facebook questioning who in their right mind would make National Running Day on a Wednesday in the summer. As he did research, he realized it was in fact someone from the New York Running Club that puts on the New York Marathon. It figures. They obviously don't take in to account that not everyone lives in the north; there is in fact a whole running population in the south. And having National Running Day on a hot summer day in June in the middle of the week, well that's just mean.
This is how my body feels running at 5 p.m on Texas summer day.
But we go, because it's freaking National Running Day and I wasn't missing out this year. The Chevron Houston Marathon Committee puts on an event from 5-7 p.m. on National Running Day at Memorial Park. They have a guided run and then a party afterwards. Last year, I ran with and met my new BFF, Meb Keflezighi.

I was still sore from my marathon 10 days prior. I actually thought my body was fully recovered until I ran the Viva La Run with Luke's Locker the night before. I realized quickly within a mile that my body was just giving me false hope like when Vader lies to Leia about not destroying her home planet. I walked most of that run, because my knees and ass and legs weren't having none of that shit! So, I wrestled with going vs. not going to National Running Day, but like I said, I would just push through this pain so that I can be there. And I'm glad I went.

Although, it was hot.

And I was sore.

But gosh darnit, I was running. I met up with Jim, Rider, and a few other people. I met a new person, Jonathan who was nice enough to run with me, while Jim and Rider took off in a faster pace. I will give them credit that they stayed with us for a mile, but then they were gone. I was actually impressed that I only walked twice. It wasn't my best run obviously, but I had good conversation and I was out there running.

We ran into Jessica before we started our run.

Check out the new Ironman tat...he drew it on I'm sure of it. LOL!

This was my slow run according to Memorial Park.
Afterwards, we had some food. I also was smart enough (ok, Jim really told me to get the shirt now) to get the really cool free shirts saying Run Houston. By the time we were done with the run, they ran out of the shirts. And a trip to Memorial Park with Jim would not be complete without Chicken Fried Steak with buffalo meat and a nice beer or two at Canyon Creek.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Oui to French Style Running

Once again, I found myself in the southwest part of France visiting my boyfriend's brother and sister-in-law at their beautiful gite in Segur La Chateau (near Limoges). For the Americans, gites are popular in France. They are similar to a B&B, but it is like your own house to rent for a minimum of a week and is typically on someone's land or farm. I seriously can't get enough of this place and if you ever find yourself in this area, you must stay here. 

Their beautiful backyard area off of the porch.
I wasn't about to let my training plan go down the toilet, because I was in France. Oh no. Thankfully, I only had a 3 mile run scheduled. M&M provided me a running route that didn't have many cars and would be a beautiful run. I thought England was bad with the sidewalks, but France is a whole other story. Runners aren't typically seen in this part of the world and for good reason. They would have to take their chances with life at the hands of the cars. But the route he picked out was perfect. I had minimal cars and was able to at least jump on to a path if a car came driving through. I also chose for obvious reasons not to wear headphones, but instead just played my music from the iphone at a low volume. I felt like it would have disturbed the morning if it was any louder. 

My before picture in front of their house.
Looking out to the vast land of farms and green fields. It was so calming.
I was looking forward to a nice easy 3 mile run leading up to my marathon. I was not supposed to work really hard. However, by going this way, I had to go up hills. Lots of little hills. Oh my, was I not expecting this at all. 
This was after my second hill.

I ended up in a little village called St. Eloy Les Tuileries. I have never been through this town and it had the most hustle and bustle during my run. At first I was a little confused, because I tried to remember M&M's directions on where to go when I got to this town. Thankfully for osmosis or whatever, I went the direction I was supposed to go to head back to the gite.

In France, you will get a sign like the one above, which means you are entering the village.

And this means you have left the village. Tuileries NO MORE!

The tiny village called Tuileries.
This beautiful wagon of flowers was placed by a quaint house.
Like England, you will find many WWI and WWII memorials placed throughout small villages in France. This was no exception. 

I have the strength of Richard the Lion, oh yes, I do.
And then I came upon a crossroads. I knew where to go obviously, because it was Segur. However, I was not expecting this cow to just stare at me like I interrupted his day. We have cows in Texas and I have ran in the farm areas with cows in the fields, but they barely register that I'm alive. These are French cows though. I was a mysterious person doing this weird thing they call running. I was an anomaly to these parts and it seemed like the cows were annoyed by my presence. As I was about to turn left, the cow just let out this loud screeching moo of how annoyed he was with me. It actually scared me as it echoed across the lands. Then, I got to the next field and the cows literally stalked me until I left the area and they could get back to their regularly scheduled program of eating hay and drinking some wine.

This by far was the craziest thing that happened to me.
Well, maybe this was, too.
This is video I took of them stalking me and mooing.
And before I knew it, I stumbled upon the gite. I was so thankful to be done with my run. Bonus points, because my wonderful boyfriend was up and ready to serve me some water.

 I made it back to the gite in one piece.

This was my run according to Runtastic Pro.
Although it was a hillier run and more mileage than I expected, it was such a beautiful run right outside M&M's door. I was just so happy to be in that moment and enjoying the morning. And I burned a few calories before my gorge fest of wine and cheese and wine again. Oh how I love France sometimes.
This beautiful walk is connected to the gite if you need anymore reasons to visit. And I absolutely love this picture.

This is in the middle of Segur Le Chateau. It is probably the most picturesque, storybook town that I have ever seen before. I wished my running route took me through the village. Oh well, maybe next time.

The flowers were in full bloom with wonderful smells.

We went to this beautiful town called Bergerac, which is often overlooked for the more popular Bordeuaux town an hour away. It is about 2.5 hours from Segur, but well worth the visit. JL finally got a Grand Mornier Crepe.
We stopped at the Chateau de Tiragand winery on the way home...I mean we were in France. The owner just happened to be in the front area when we walked in to wine taste. Even though, they weren't doing any tours that day, he did our wine tasting. He was fabulous and knew a lot of history of the area. Plus, he let us sample wine that basically had just been taken out of the ground. I highly recommend this winery. Oh and the wine was DELICIOUS!
And I think that's the last of my vacation running/biking related posts. I still plan to post about my falconry experience, because that was too damn cool not to share. And I have my after thoughts on the marathon post and my first run back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

8 Mile Training Run in England

Because we got to England a week earlier than our marathon, we had to fit in some training runs before the big day. On Sunday, I planned an 8 mile run before we headed off to Liverpool. JL and Ray agreed to come out running with me and to test out JL's knee. Jim picked the route to Tadcaster, which was roughly 4 miles there and 4 miles back. It did lose some paths for runners forcing us to cross the street a few times, but it had less cars and it was way more beautiful. Plus, it was just nice to go a different route since we always bike (and I run) towards town.
I stretch before each run.

We walked to the main street of his town and started to run. Since JL trained with intervals of 5 minutes run, 1 minute walk, we decided as a group to do it that way. I mean I used to do those type of intervals anyways.
Jim drove ahead in his car stopping a long the way to take pictures of us in preparation for what he will do on the big marathon day.
This is early on still smiling and having fun.

I was being goofy when I saw Jim.
Since I wasn't listening to my music via headphones, I held out the phone for everyone to hear the music. The song that got JL moving just a teensy bit faster was Eye of the Tiger.
I held up my phone playing Eye of the Tiger to get us all pumped.
Come on Ray, catch up!
This is my favorite running shot EVER. Thanks to Jim for capturing us focused, running, and with beautiful scenery.


I had to take a picture of the beautiful yellow flower fields. I can't get enough of them.

Aren't English bridges so pretty?
We started getting close to Tadcaster, because the soccer fields were filling up with kids and people. We had to cross streets several times to avoid the big groups of kids, with their parents in tow carrying coolers and seats. One lady was starting her bootcamp class and said hi to us.

On a side note, I noticed the British do not say Hello. I mostly hear Hi, but drawn out. It's very interesting. Maybe it's a Yorkshire thing.

But we finally made it into town. Jim told me to take a left somewhere and then we would be in Tadcaster and can officially turn around to head home. It seemed so easy when he said it, but I didn't get it. We went a little farther into town, but thankfully, Jim came to our rescue. At this point, I had to go to the bathroom really bad and of course, nothing is open early on a Sunday or on Sunday at all for that matter.

We made it to Tadcaster.
He was waiting for us to cross the bridge.
And then it was a mad search for a restroom. Thankfully, there was a public restroom at the train station. But I have to say that it was by far the weirdest bathroom I have ever entered. It was all automatic. The doors slid open and then you kind of drop down like an elevator. As the doors closed, I told Jim that if I don't return in 30 minutes, then please get help. The bathroom talked to me the entire time in English, Chinese, Spanish, and something else. I had to push a button to get toilet paper out, but it only gave me one sheet at a time. I washed my hands the best I could in this automatic trough looking thing. And then I had to push a button to tell the elevator/door thing to let me out. That was an experience and I wished I had taken video or photos or something (not of me going to the bathroom obviously, but you get my point).  

We saw this pretty church on the way into town and JL was dead set on visiting it. I was okay with this, because it really was beautiful. She also decided that she would not be running back and returning by car with Jim, because her knee was hurting pretty bad. In fact, it was hurting during the run. So, I expected this.

Some of these graves were from 1400.

Ray talking to JL about leaving her to run back with me. She obviously wasn't happy, but that could have been the quitter comment he made earlier!

Like I said in the photo caption, Ray decided to run back with me. We changed up the intervals to run 1 mile and walk 1 minute. On the way back, we had less people, because the kids were now playing their respective sport. Although, we did get stuck behind this girl with a very see through tight skirt. It was not pleasant to observe for the couple of minutes we couldn't get around her.

Ray checking out the sheep on the run back.
According to Runtastic, this was our total time and mileage. Although, I didn't restart the time right away and why I called this post an 8 mile run.
I was super happy to get this run in before we started our trek to Liverpool and France. I felt strong and confident about my marathon. Plus, I enjoyed the company and the beautiful surroundings. Oh how I love to run in England.