Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mom On The Run

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, shorts, outdoor and natureIt has been 15 weeks since Ryan & I welcomed our beautiful daughter Polly Jean into this world and over two years since my last blog post! I just completed Week #7 of full-time running postpartum (full-time meaning running 4-6 days that week and between 20-36 miles so far for each week). Since the beginning of our pregnancy journey I have turned to googling any question that pops into my head and I often find myself on different mom blogs and mommy forums reading about other women's experiences and seeing how their journey can relate to my own. This is the #1 reason why I decided to re-start my blog because maybe writing about my own journey as a mom and runner might be of interest to other moms, moms to be, runners, or mom-runners/mom to be-runners. The #2 reason is to hold myself more accountable to my ultimate goal of getting back to being a more competitive runner. It is going to take time and dedication, but I was inspired this week with the release of the USATF 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Standards. During my best racing years my personal bests would predict my marathon potential between 2:39:17 to 2:44:56 using the McMillan Calculator. My marathon PB is 2:49:25 from when I trained and failed to meet the 2016 USATF Olympic Marathon Trials Standard. I learned a lot about myself from training for two marathons pre-pregnancy and I am excited to see how I can become a better marathon runner after becoming a mom. It is definitely a challenge, but I am up for it! In addition to writing about my training I thought it would be fun to include funny anecdotes and what I have learned recently about being a mom in each blog post. This post's story is not for those with a weak stomach so if you are up for it see below.
Funny Mom Anecdote: Breastfeeding moms beware it is true your baby poops what you eat! I LOVE mangoes and decided to buy a box of 12 mangoes from Sam's Club during my weekly grocery shopping trip. Later that week when Polly had not pooped for over 32 hours I decided to: A. Google foods that can make a breastfed baby constipated and of course mangoes are on the list! B. Google how long it is okay for breastfeeding babies to go without pooping (some articles said 7-10 days?!?) Well sure enough Polly had what I have termed a 'poop explosion' right around the 48 hour mark and I could not believe the overpowering sweet & tangy mango smell! Lessons learned: 1. I would never have realized how obsessed I would be with when the last time my baby had pooped. 2. If you eat a lot of mangoes & breastfeed your baby there will be some sweet & tangy smells coming your way for days! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Countdowns & Goals!

I can't believe that 2015 is already here and that the Indoor Track season is just around the corner. 
10 Days away to be exact! I'm so excited to catch-up with my athletes and see how their fitness has progressed from the winter break training that was sent home with them. The first race is always an exciting opportunity to see where we are and what we'll need to do to achieve what we want by the end of February at the Conference meet. We have a workout at the end of this week to test our current fitness as well, but nothing is as good as an actual race to test current fitness. 

The countdown in my own training feels quite the opposite as I'm still trying to be patient to allow my body to heal from the injuries I received from the accident this fall. I'm doing my PT exercises and have had improvement in my pain lowering during daily activities, but it seems running is still a bit away. That's okay though. I know that I will eventually heal if I'm patient and take the proper steps to help my body strengthen. 
Therefore, the more exciting countdown for my own training and racing is racing Grandma's Marathon in 164 Days! My big goal for this year is still to go after the Olympic Trials B standard of 2:43 at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. 
If you have never been to Duluth you're missing out. It is such a cute city with so much energy for how cold it gets there in the winter, but the weather is what makes it perfect for a June marathon!
I can't wait to go back and right now the plan is for it to be a whole family adventure since Ryan might run the Marathon as well and both my parents are planning to come and run the 5k the day before the Marathon. I can't wait to get back to running, but for now I'll try to live by a few inspirational quotes:

 " Patience is not simply the ability to wait - It's how we behave while we're waiting."- Joyce Meyer

This quote reminds me that my positive attitude is crucial while I wait and how important it is to take care of yourself and do your PT exercises while waiting to get better. You have to be actively patient.
I also know time will fly by now that my team will be back in town and I'll be busy coaching them to achieve their Indoor Track goals. Everyday I'm reminded how lucky I am to be a collegiate coach.

"Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbelievable combination for success." - Napolean Hill

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. It's the fancy version of what we tell our student-athlete's hard work and effort is what you need to achieve success, but sometimes when an athlete hits a plateau patience comes even more in to play. Distance running is the combination of long periods of healthy, consistent training and sometimes you have to be patient while waiting for all of your hard work and effort to pay off. 

So I will continue to work hard (just without running) and practice having positive behavior while being patient. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Our Track & Field season as coaches begins in August as our staff goes on a retreat to plan for the upcoming year. Part of this time is spent on us planning how we can continue to build a successful culture in our program. A small part of what we did this August was each of us picking a word to describe where our focus was coming from for the upcoming year. The word I chose was "determination." This came from the conversations I had with many of my male athletes that were determined to win a conference championship especially when we found out that we would be hosting on our home course again.
Throughout the season I was inspired by so many of my student-athletes who showed determination as they pursued both their individual and team goals. A major part of this was the hard work and effort they put in by showing up for every workout prepared to do all that was asked of them and by taking the time to take care of themselves by doing all the "little things" such as foam rolling, icing, eating and sleeping right, and supporting their teammates to do the same. Many of them over came mental and physical obstacles at points during the season, but everyone stayed focused in attitude and action and we accomplished so many of the goals we laid out in August.

In case you weren't able to follow along this season here is a brief summary of what the team accomplished this fall:
The men again had 6 individuals earn All Conference USA honors as they took home the team championship.
The women improved to 4 individuals earning All Conference USA honors after having two take individual honors last year. The team again took home a solid 3rd place finish.
The Men and Women improved on their South Central Regional team finishes from last year with the men taking 4th and the women taking 8th. Charlotte Wilson earned individual All-Region honors and her 13th place finish was the highest by a female athlete in recent North Texas history.
The men had 3 individuals earn All-Region honors with Troy Taylor qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Both teams saw substantial improvement and are determined to build on that success during both the Indoor and Outdoor Track season. I am so lucky to have such strong young people to coach and as I finish writing their winter break training I can't help but get excited for what I know each one of them will accomplish in the next six months!

So Proud of all of these determined student-athletes!

Update on my own running:

As the season has come to a close the word "determination" has taken on meaning for my own running. I haven't blogged since October. At that point in my own training I was excited about building my mileage and really sharpening myself into what I hoped would be the best 5k shape I had been in for the past couple years through some more 5k/10k specific workouts. The plan was for all of that fitness to hopefully culminate at the 2014 USATF Club Cross Country Championships on December 13th. I don't want to dwell on the accident that led to my current situation as I spent the past weeks being frustrated by a situation that I know was out of my control which as runner makes it even more upsetting to be still dealing with injuries and not being able to run the way I want to.
As returning to running to has been put on hold again  (after a couple weeks where I thought I might be able to salvage some of this fall's training) I have decided to keep my determination as I work towards my bigger goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials is the marathon. Although I am not able to even run at the moment I am going to focus on what I can do to improve the injuries that the accident left me. I know the best way for me to have a chance at qualifying is to be patient as my body takes time to heal and resume training once my body is completely ready. I am going to be resolute in keeping my positive attitude and not waver from my ultimate goals.
I will still be making the trip to Club XC Nationals this weekend. Only instead of as a competitor I will be attending as a fan. I'm excited to see so many of my friends compete and support the sport that I love so much! I know it will be a great event and I can't wait to watch an impressive individual and team competition.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Team Updates & Getting into 5k Shape!

A lot has happened since the last time I took the 30-90 minutes it takes me to update this blog. It seems like during cross country season I always find one more thing I deem more important to do than the little things like cleaning, organizing, and of course writing my blog (Mentioning those first two was for Ryan). So hopefully my Twitter and Facebook updates have kept those who want to see updates on my running and the team's progress this season in the loop.

First, an update on the team:
We have now hit the halfway point of the season. For the ladies the next race is the Conference USA Championship which we are so excited to be hosting again on Saturday, November 1st! That means the training the next two weeks is going to be tough as we try to get all the fitness we can before the championship portion of the season! The Women are currently ranked 11th in the South Central Region and are the 3rd highest regionally ranked Conference USA team! Charlotte Wilson also took a big step towards her individual goals this season taking 7th at the Chile Pepper Festival.

The ladies at Chile Pepper last weekend. So proud of this group & what they can still accomplish this year!
On the Men's side we added a meet this year and the Top 7 guys and I will be heading to Terre Haute, Indiana for the Pre-National meet on October 18th! The men are still putting in plenty of hard training like the ladies, but their last regular season meet is one we're looking forward to taking full advantage of  and trying to run on a bit less tired legs to capitalize on the opportunity of getting to race some nationally ranked teams.
Troy (8th) & Alejandro (6th) took Top 10 finishes at Chile Pepper 
The men will enter the meet with the program's highest regional ranking ever of 5th in the South Central Region! (And they're currently tied with Middle Tennessee State as the highest regionally ranked Conference USA Team).
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The Men leading the race at our Home Meet

Now for an update on my own running:
Since Mid-July I have been very pleased to have kept my weekly mileage between 45-65 miles per week. Making my average much higher than what I managed to put in last fall. I also had some fun the last 3 weekends before official practice started running some local 5ks and was pleased to run 18:22 and 18:20. This week I'm running another local 5k and I'm hoping to see a bump in my fitness since August as I have actually managed to get in some workouts over the past 6 weeks. This race is the last "fitness test" before I really try to focus on getting in some quality training for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships that I plan to race on December 13th in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The last time I was pleased with my Club XC performance I was in the best 5k/10k shape of my life having just run my 10k track PR (33:57) at the end of October. So the plan for the next 9 weeks is to gain as much 5k/10k fitness as I can while also setting some realistic goals for my performance in December. I know I at least need to be in sub 17:30 5k shape by then, but I'm hoping by the Turkey Trot 5k I race in November that maybe I can be in 17:00 5k shape to give myself the best chance of a Top 50 finish on December 13th (My highest finish was 18th in Seattle in 2011).

Running with the front back in Seattle 2011: My best XC race since High School


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Month Post Marathon: Am I a Marathoner?

One of my Goals was to Smile at least once every Mile!
Exactly a month and two days ago I completed my first marathon at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. It was amazing to represent Saucony and wear products that I love and truly believe in at this premier event. I think more accurately though I raced my first marathon. Finishing was never one of my fears. I knew I could crawl to the end if I had to. My biggest concern was running what I deemed a decent time and competing against the other women in the race. What I deemed a decent time changed from when I first discussed my marathon goals with my coach to what we discussed in the middle of training and finally what we decided was reasonable in the weeks before. Originally I had an ultimate goal of 2:43 a realistic goal of 2:46 or so and a minimal goal of breaking 2:50. By the morning of the race the ultimate goal was to break 2:50 and I was determined to be happy if I made it.

Seeing the clock with a 1.2miles to go at the 25 Mile marker I tried to smile as I knew I could break 2:50. The pain in my quads was killing me, but by the grimaces in my finishing photos I know I gave everything I had that day finishing in 2:49:25.


Before the race when I could walk with ease!
My splits reveal how I "raced" rather than ran this marathon. You can see where my splits drop under 6:20 pace right after I decided I had been running with a group that had settled on too slow of a pace or someone passed me that I thought I should go run with. Putting those surges in at the time seemed like a great idea. Why? Well I felt fine at 10 miles, 12miles, 13miles, 15miles, 16miles, and even 19miles, but I agree with my coach that those cost me a faster time in the end. I still have a lot to learn about even pacing in marathon racing and training.

Mile Splits
(6:23pace last .39 on Garmin)

Post race with my awesome mom, Polly!
The ultimate goal is still to break 2:43 and run the Olympic Trails B Qualifying standard, but until then I am focused on making myself more prepared for the next marathon cycle. This fall my top priority as always in my athletes. I am really excited about the returners and newcomers we have and I am ready to be in full "Cross Country mode." So in tune with that my fun/big race this semester is the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December. I will be focusing on 5k, 10k, and half marathon training this fall as I put in the best consistent weeks of training that I can and I am excited for how those weeks will help me in the spring.

I foolishly ran a July 4th 5k which prolonged my recovery, but the past week I finally felt “Normal” again so I’m excited to be getting my mileage back into the 60s this week.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Grandma's Marathon: Here I come Ready or Not!

Grandma's Marathon and my first time racing 26.2 Miles is now just 42 hours away! To say I'm excited is an understatement. I literally had a dance party the last 10 minutes in the car before Ryan dropped me off at the airport, but don't let this statement fool you prepping for my first marathon has not been a party every day.
A few weeks ago I started a blog that I wish I had finished to post. I had titled it "Getting into a training groove for 26.2." This fit at the time the way I was feeling. It started "Despite the Ups and Downs I have been struggling through the past weeks with marathon training I feel like I am finally hitting a good groove the past two weeks. Perfect timing since I really only have a few more weeks to gain as much fitness as I can before tapering for June 21st!"
Since then I probably had the roughest 7-10 days of my entire training cycle. I suffered my second "run, walk, cry." (A catchy name for a not so pleasant experience) I have only experienced this feeling while training for the marathon. I had one a few weeks into training when I stranded myself out too far on a long run the Sunday after a big travel weekend and just felt awful and couldn't imagine how I was going to race 26.2 miles when I couldn't even get myself to run over 14 miles that day. My second "run, walk, cry" was brought on by my hip/hamstring majorly flaring up. Even though I was seeing a chiropractor who felt he could finally fix my hip after the misplacement he believed was caused in March 2011 when I was hit by that truck while running it was feeling particularly awful that week and pulling with every step. Those 7-10 Days I felt physically broken down and mentally I couldn't seem to get myself to a good place about training.

Luckily after a few talks with my coach, some easy running days, and a fantastic sport massage my body came back. And then this week my mentality has now jumped from a good place to an awesome place! (It doesn't hurt that after seeing my chiropractor again my my hip/hamstring is feeling much better and we think we've finally figured out how to make the "fix" stick).
I honestly can't wait to see what I can do Saturday. I think part of this excitement comes from the peace I have made with the fact that I can't change my preparation now. Training for my first marathon is now over. It was what it was and it will have to be good enough for Saturday.
So physically ready or not I am mentally ready to enjoy pushing myself through racing 26.2!
Now if I can just manage to run the first half smart...
Find Your Strong.

During my Training I ran a few Half-Marathons as workouts. Just wanted to share a few pictures below.

The Start of the CRC Half Marathon
Ran a smart progressive effort. 1st female, 2nd Overall 1:24:48

The Patriot Half-Marathon
Where I learned that Rockwall, Texas is HILLY!
1st Female, 5th or 6th Overall, 1:25:24
My Mom came out to cheer at the Patriot Half even in the rain. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Marathon Training Update!

Marathon training and I have had a Love/Hate relationship the past 6 weeks. But after this past weekend’s 2 hour and 30min run (20.3 Miles) I am finally feeling confident that I have the Time on Feet long runs down and my hilly mid-week long runs have been clicking all along. Thus, I am starting to lean more towards a loving relationship with marathon training.

Now my major goal is to learn how to mentally and physically get through my marathon pace/effort workouts. The only part of my training I have not figured out. (I even count that I figured out how to run EASY on my easy days as an accomplishment…this is what you have to do to survive the first weeks of marathon training…give yourself credit for the most ridiculous “accomplishments”  well at least in my world..) Now back to Marathon Pace sessions. I wrote mentally first because based on my other training and my 2 “workout races” the Marathon Pace sessions I am being given should be well within reach physically. I find the half marathon pace sessions very doable right now, but somehow can’t get my brain to sustain my effort on slower, longer intervals and sessions. My solution is to try to prepare better mentally and break the session up in my mind like I do my long runs. I try to never over think the fact that I will be out running for over two hours so maybe I shouldn't think about mile reps 4-8 until I've done #3. Also, this week we are going to just focus on the effort and less on hitting my actually goal pace for the session. I need to just complete the prescribed session this week as my minimal goal. (This past week I hit the mileage goal for the day, but changed what I was doing to shorter reps at half marathon pace since mentally that was all I could get through).
"I think I'm getting the hang of this Marathoner thing"

The plan worked! I got through my first Marathon Pace session correctly yesterday. I did 2 X 4 miles at Marathon Pace and even though it got pretty windy by the end I was never discouraged. I think one of the major factors was that my fiancĂ© Ryan volunteered to ride his bike while I ran which made a huge difference. I didn’t think about how much I had left I just cruised along.

This morning I have an easy Mid Week Long Run and then the next challenge will be longer surges in my Long Run this weekend!

A  few other  updates:

More Amazing shoes for More Awesome miles!
Huntsville 10 Mile: Texas 10 Series: Very hilly course. Ran 6:10-6:20 the first 5 mile loop then chatted the whole second loop with new friend running 6:30-6:40 pace (We split the prize money and points for the series). Then I finished up 20 Miles total for the day!

Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon: Ran Marathon Goal Pace and was happy to still be the 4th Female overall.

A great “Ice Bath” swim in the Pacific Ocean after a great 20 Miler in Long Beach. Had great company from one of my Kiwi athletes for the 1st 14 Miles. 

Grandma's Marathon in 7 weeks!