This weekend was my last long weekend of racing before the 100 miler. I still have the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa on with my friends Marcy and Haley on November 24 and I'm really looking forward to that, but it's a little scary to know that I have no more high mileage weekends before now and December 7. Taper time.
I'm definitely ready for a break, but that weekend is daunting and still more than I can wrap my brain around, so I'm kind of trying not to think about it. What's done is done. I've put a lot of miles in my proverbial bank and will have to just let that day unfold however it does. In the meantime, here's what I was up to this weekend:
Rockledge Rumble 50k- November 9, 2013
This was my first time to race Rockledge Rumble, but I have heard many good things about this race. It is put on by the North Texas Trail Runners and they offer a 50k, 30k and a 15k run. The race starts at Rockledge Park in Grapevine, TX.
The race did not disappoint. It was a beautiful day. It was a little cool in the morning, but warmed up with a slight cloud cover. My goal for this race was to take it slow and steady, practice my pacing and eating for the upcoming 100miler and not maim myself by tripping or twisting an ankle.
The initial group that took off started quickly and although I started somewhere in the middle, I moved out of the way as much as I could and let them pass. I did not want to get caught up in an early push.
I had to keep reminding myself that I still had 26 more miles to go the next day, so it would do me no good to push my legs, just because I could. I ran with several groups of very nice people along the way.
|Heading up a hill w/Tyler|
After some back and forth, I ended up running the majority of the last part of the race with a young man named Tyler. I can say 'young' because I'm 10 years his senior. It was his first 50k and I think it's awesome that he found distance/trail running so early. He had run the 15k at Rockledge the year before and was determined to come back and finish the 50k. We talked a lot about running, inspiration, future goals, life and lots of other things.
He had a great support team out there and I snagged these pictures from one of his friends (so Brant, thank you, if you're reading this!) We finished strong and I let Tyler go ahead of me and I held back some so that I wouldn't be in his race pictures! It was his first and I wanted him to have that moment to shine! :) After we finished, we enjoyed some time off our feet and some great quesadillas that they were serving.
Overall, I really enjoyed this race. The course had a little bit of everything a trail should be mixed into it. Some technicality, some hills and some pretty views. The aid stations were fabulous and very helpful and friendly. Total mileage is 31.6 for this race, so we get a little over a half mile bonus beyond the 50k. My legs hurt a little more than I would have liked, but I had a pair of compression socks waiting for me at home that would take care of that. The race report supported the Wounded Warrior Foundation and they gave out Patagonia long sleeve jackets and the finisher's medal looked like a dog-tag.
Fort Worth Marathon- November 10, 2013
|I am so buying this picture!|
The alarm clock went off again at 5am. It was easier than I expected to get up. My legs were sore, but not unbearable. Running legs are different than walking legs, so I was hoping I'd be able to get the running ones moving. I missed packed pick up on Saturday, so I was thankful they had race day pick up. I arrived early and had parking within 300 feet of the start/finish line! Score!
I picked up my packet and then headed back to my car to stay warm. I stayed there almost until the gun went off. Ha! Literally walked up, waiting less than a minute and we started. So much for warming up my legs. The first 8 miles felt good. I quickly realized that my plan of walking the hills and running the flats was going to have to go out the window. There were NO hills! Normally, I'd be super happy with this, but I was looking forward to a little bit of a break and so I kept running.
Between miles 10 and 13, I felt like I was going to pass out. I was super hungry and felt depleted of energy. I walked a lot between these three miles. Mostly because I didn't feel connected to my legs enough to trust them to run on them. Thankfully at mile 13, I picked up my friend Marcy, who stayed with me until the finish. Her amazing mom and husband were out there to cheer us both on. Steve was a saint and bought me a Coke, a Rice Krispie treat and later on down the road a muffin that Marcy and I both nibbled on. The Coke, though, was the saving grace. It perked me up and I picked up my pace steadily for the rest of the race. After a few sips, I literally felt like I came back to life.
I ended up finishing almost 30 minutes faster than my anticipated goal time. My husband was at the
|Marcy & me post-race|
The race t-shirt was a plain, white unisex tech tee with a black imprint (sigh) but the medal made up for it. It was actually a bronze belt buckle on a very nice ribbon. My daughter approved. ;)
As always, I can't thank my sponsor, Aquaphor enough. It is such a great product! 57.8 miles of running and I didn't chafe or get one blister. Love, love, love it!
4:52 PM | | 3 Comments
It's been a long time since I've blogged. Not because I haven't thought about it, but because this blog was started mostly as a 'triathlon' blog. In July 2009, just about a year after having my daughter, the sport of triathlon changed my life. Having run a handful of marathons here and there since 2000, mostly just to prove to myself that I still could run one, triathlons presented me an exciting new challenge.
I didn't know how to swim beyond pool lounging and the last bike I had ridden likely had a banana seat and streamers coming off the handlebars. It consumed me and challenged me like I hadn't been since competing years ago in gymnastics. It was fun and after moving to a new state where I knew close to no one, I met so many awesome people who were also excited about the triathlon lifestyle.
Last year was no exception. I completed 17 races, including 3 Half Ironman's and REV 3 Cedar
I struggled with this. A lot. What happened? How could a sport that brought me so much, not be fun anymore?
So, I did what any lost athlete soul would do. I signed up for a 50-mile ultramarathon.
And, then in an instant... my passion was back, just not for triathlons. I was hungry for a new challenge.
Sadistically enough, I guess I'm looking for how far my body will go. Where is that absolute limit?
My original intent for signing up for the 50-miler was to figure out if I could hack it at a Double Ironman. It turned into a much more fun adventure than I could ever imagine. I discovered trail running. This, from someone who gets lost easily and generally isn't a huge fan of nature-y things like snakes and bugs and dirt and such.
I ran the Prairie Spirit 50 Mile trail run in March with my friend Haley. What was supposed to be a nice, gentle introduction to trail running on a flat course, became this:
A full-out blizzard with sleet pelting our eyes. It was miserable, but awesome all the same.
After surviving that, I realized I was tougher than I thought. So, once Haley mentioned that she was considering a 100-mile run in December in Louisiana, I blindly signed up - even before she did. I guess I tend to jump and look to see what's below after the fact when it comes to races.
I'll admit, I honestly knew nothing about trail running at the beginning of this year. But, I learned to swim by watching YouTube videos and I've finished two Ironman's, so I'm good at embracing my ignorance. I've never had a coach. I never will. But, I do ask advice. I listen and I read everything I can get my hands on. Books. Articles. Blogs.
Which is kind of why I decided to start blogging again. Blogs and race reports are so unbelievably useful. I have learned so much from them and I feel guilty reading race reports of others and not contributing my own.
So, here we go... again. I'll try to catch up on some of my past races. I just finished my first 100k run two weeks ago. It's funny though, although I've completed several ultras now, I don't feel like an 'ultrarunner' like I ever did when I felt like I was when I finished an 'Ironman.'
Perhaps because the finish lines don't have hundreds of screaming people cheering you on letting you know you're almost there. You cross the finish line at an ultra to a smiling face or two that say, 'Good Job." There's no fanfare and no finale of a ceremony. You just finish and start planning your next one. Which, I'll admit has been a big change and also a welcomed one. I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere at the trail runs and I assure you they have the most amazing aid station volunteers you will ever meet.
Speaking of which, I've met a lot of very nice people out on the trails and have met some great new friends, but it's funny how I feel like some go out of their way to make you feel like you don't belong to their 'exclusive, tight-knit group.' Maybe that was true for Ironman-finishers too, but I guess I never noticed it- which brings me back to the the title of my post - 'Defying Labels.'
Despite my blog being named, IronTexasMommy, I don't label myself a triathlete or an ultrarunner. I'm just a mom, who is enjoying the heck out of doing things that I never thought possible - and I'm not afraid to fail along the way.
5:42 PM | | 3 Comments
Whoot! So excited to announce that I was selected to be a Brand Ambassador for Team Aquaphor for my third consecutive year! The team is comprised of 200 amateur athletes from across the nation and is supported by Active.com. The team is extremely supportive and I really enjoy getting to represent such an awesome product!
I have used Aquaphor since I was a kid. My mom worked for a dermatologist, so if we had minor cuts, scratches, burns, dry skin, chafed anything.... we hollered for the Aquaphor. As a mom, I have continued to use it with my daughter since she was a baby and as an athlete, I practically bathe in it before a race. For my ultramarathons, I coat my feet with it (never had a blister!!) and for triathlons I'll put it just about anywhere that my chafe! I also love their lip repair which is a new sample that we get to hand out this year!
So, if you see me at a race this year come find me for a sample! I'll have plenty on hand and I'm happy to share! Have a great season!
3:36 PM | | 0 Comments
First- It starts at midnight.
Second- You run 10 loops around a 5k course
Third- The spectators are even more crazy than the runners!
I was so lucky to have two of my close friends, Lesley and Karen running with me. Lesley is a 50k veteran, but it was her first time at El Scorcho. Karen was a 50k first-timer, but did the El Scorcho 25k last year. As for me, it was my first time for both. So, I was lucky to have them because they at least knew what the heck they were doing.
As always, my wonderful mom came out to support me. I am the luckiest. Seriously. I made sure that she was set-up with the comfiest, reclining camping chair we had, a little side table and about all of the treats you could imagine. I even bought her a couple of trash magazines so she could catch me up on the latest on Tom & Katie and what's really going on behind the scenes of the Bachelor. Emily is trying to hook up with Roberto? What?
Ok. Enough of that. Back to the race. I handed out my Aquaphor samples to a lot of very happy people. Holy moly! Ultra runners love Aquaphor! And there's a good reason. With the distance, the heat and humidity, we were all using it in just about every place imaginable. Feet, arms, thighs, around the sports bra, here.. there.. everywhere. I even met up with Danielle from Team Marathon Bars- one of my Active Ambassadors teammates.
So, now that everyone is properly lubed up, the countdown begins and we are off. The weather was perfect. Mid 70's with a slight breeze. The humidity was high, but I really was expecting worse conditions. I couldn't have asked for better. I tried to take a picture of the very scenic Downtown Fort Worth skyline that we passed by 10x, but this was the best that I could get.
The course is pretty flat with one small hill. No problem on the first couple laps, but when you realize you're going to hit it 10x, then it starts not being a "small" hill anymore. There are parts of the course that are pretty dark. Most likely because it was a New Moon out.. and no, it wasn't Twilight, although a little Team Edward/ Jacob interaction would have been a big bonus. Speaking of hallucinations, let me bring you up to speed on the title of this blog.
|Best. Sign. Ever.|
Ho's- So, we're on our second lap and going through a grassy section and this girl yells out "Watch out for the Ho".. which in fact she said "Hole", but it was too late and I already stumbled into it before realizing what she said. Then Karen started laughing and said, I though she said "Ho" and I busted up saying I did too... so the rest of the night we would yell out warnings of "Ho's up ahead". Funny now? Maybe not so much, but when you're delirious at 3am in the morning, running.. it's freakin' hysterical.
Escaped Convict- On our last loop, after Loop 8, Karen and I mutually agreed it was time for music. Not that we didn't enjoy talking to eachother, but it was time for some Eminem to tell me to never give up and keep trying and all that motivational stuff to pound out the pain that I was feeling in my quads and my feet. So, last loop.. we have just come out of the dark woods part, when we pass a guy in an orange prison jumpsuit. No joke. Karen does this slow turnaround with a big "WTF" look on her face and I just motion for her to keep running. I catch up to her and we start contemplating what we should do. Mind you at this point, neither of us could do simple math or even say the word, 'contemplating', but there wasn't much we could do. I definitely wasn't going to stop and ask if he needed directions back to the jail.
Turns out he was one of the spectators who was dressing up in costumes and had one too many Jello-O shots (See! I told you that the spectators were the freakin' best!) Apparently he went to find a bathroom, passed out on a picnic table and then got lost! It was the big mystery on the El Scorcho Facebook page. Crazy!
So, overall, it was a good race and a great experience for my first 50k. Other than my quads and my feet being sore, I felt fine. The second to last loop was probably my worst lap in terms of how I was feeling and there is definitely room for future improvement. Oh yes, as much as I wasn't ready to admit that after we finished the race... there will be more. Just like I said I was "one and done" with Ironman. Bwhahahah.. whatever. I can't even believe myself. This endurance lifestyle is just too addictive.
One thing I do have to work on is fueling. Despite having every snack imaginable at my mom's "aid station" I had a total of 2 Gu's, 34oz of Gatorade and about 2x that in water. That's it. And, I wasn't even hungry after the race. I just can't eat while racing anymore and it's going to be a problem at some point. I mean, there are people that have 20 Gu's strapped to them for a 5k. Okay, that's probably overkill, but I'm sure my body would appreciate a little more subsistence while running that far. Then again, I only had 1 Gu for the entire marathon portion of Ironman Texas. Honestly, I should weigh 30lbs less- so not fair.
Now back to Ironman training for me! 53 more days until REV3 Cedar Point!
5:27 PM | | 12 Comments
I put this together when I started triathlons. I finished my first sprint and I had dreams. Big dreams. Many of which I thought were crazy dreams. There are still ones on there that I shake my head and don't know if I'll be able to accomplish them, but they're there. Reminding me to think beyond my limits.
I don't have dates of when I'll attempt each one, but I keep adding to this list. When the time is right to go after that goal, I'll know. I keep it taped up in my office. I was able to update it today after finishing my first 50k on Sunday. I promise to get a Race Report up soon. It was entertaining to say the least.
Anyway, the dates below the event are the first time I accomplished that distance. Number in parenthesis= how many times. Non-highlighted are on my To-do list! ;)
Now go make your own list and go after those dreams!
5:36 PM | | 5 Comments
I'm excited to share event videos from two of the Try the Tri Series races that I am the Assistant Race Director for in Decatur, Texas.
The Try the Tri Series races are geared towards beginner triathletes looking to get started in the sport. Our sprint-distance races are limited to 100 participants per race, so that athletes don’t feel lost in the crowd and are staffed with race volunteers to help you figure out where to go and what to do.
We welcome athletes of every body type, age, and fitness level, so no matter where you are at in your fitness level – everyone fits in!
Whether your goals are to just finish the race, set a new personal record or win your age group – we’re here to cheer you on and support you!
RACE REPORT: Here's a Race Report on the Texas Girl Tri from fellow blogger, ThatPinkGirl.
2012 Hooty's Kids Triathlon
2012 Texas Girl Sprint Triathlon
Here's the video for the 2011 Try the Tri Event
This year's event is almost SOLD OUT! So, if you're interested in participating, sign up here!
2:34 PM | | 4 Comments
Thank you to everyone who commented, blogged and tweeted about this giveaway! Your excitement no doubt showed Chrissie Wellington how excited we all are to read her new book.
Thank you again to Center Street Publishing for this opportunity. It is much appreciated!
Using the Random Number Generator on Random.org...
And the 18th comment was..... Jen Small from Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood! Congratulations Jen!! :)
10:33 PM | | 4 Comments