(Half) Marathon Mondays: Here we go again!

by Shawnda on July 14, 2014

in Running

There can’t be too many things on this earth that are more masochistic than training for a half marathon in July in Texas.

Like pushing a jogging stroller holding a 38lb turkey through the “feels like 103″ convection oven that is training for a half marathon in July in Texas.

Things that might come close? Jumping in a pool of rubbing alcohol 2.8 seconds after shaving your legs or remaining friends with people whose idea of a good time still involves a gigantic block of ice and a bottle of goldschlager [gaaaag].


Our big run yesterday was interrupted by me having a very public sobfest on the side of an extremely busy street because it was just so hot and I just couldn’t understand why I do this to myself over and over again. So I hate-walked the rest of the way home and tried to tell myself over and over: It sucks now. A LOT. But running in this heat is going to make you totally f&^%ing fast come late October.

We are (I am) slow. SLOW. Some of that is the jogging stroller, some of that is the completely oppressive heat, some of that is constant fussing at Landry to keep up on the days she insists on riding her bike for 2 miles. But mostly? We’re (I’m) just slow.

Jason and I are registered for 2 half marathons, the Houston Half in October and the big fancy schmancy Chevron/Aramco Houston Half Marathon in January (which might turn into a full – we’ll see).

And later this week, we’ll be registering for the inaugural Katy Half Marathon in our new hometown.

Because I clearly hate myself.




by Shawnda on January 18, 2014

in Running,Travel

That’s the number of miles I ran through Epcot, Magic Kingdom, the Speedway, Animal Kingdom, and Wide World of Sports.

It wasn’t 26.2. But you know what? I wasn’t even going to run it at all. I’d convinced myself that it was pointless to even try – I’d run 3 times in the previous 8 weeks. And my foot hurt just as badly after that second post-boot test run as it had when my ortho stuck me in the boot in the first place. The only thing that the rest period did for me was put me behind schedule.

But I’d run as far as 15 miles before I went on the IR/non-football-injury list back in October. So the day before the marathon, I decided that I would go ahead and set my alarm for an unGodly 3am wake up call. If nothing else, it would be fun to make it to the 6-mile mark and run through The Castle.

My prize wasn’t waiting on me at the finish line, it was hearing Landry squeal “faster! faster!!!” while Jason tried to make us puke on the tea cups (that girl has a stomach of iron, just like her mom :)). Or “higher, momma, higher!” as we rode Dumbo or the Magic “Couches” (Carpets) of Aladdin.

Frankly, my prize was the trip itself and all the magical moments that come with seeing your 3 year old light-up like Christmas morning, all week long. (Ask her about getting to ride in a tea cup with Alice from Wonderland!)

And Lapu Lapus from ‘Ohana.

So when I crossed the 13.1 mile line, I high-fived myself. Literally. Half a marathon down, another half to go. I was certain I had it in the bag. I was moving pretty quickly, the bottom half of my body was holding up surprisingly well, and I had just sang a Rains in Africa chorus duet with a dude in a kilt (that was not. awkward. at. all).

And then it was all over. I took a quick potty break and Oh shit I can’t get up.

My legs were done. DONE. The muscles in my legs had tightened up and I was trapped inside that disgusting blue rectangle of hell. And all because evolution couldn’t come up with a better solution than that whole pee-sitting-down thing. I mean, really. Having to limp by all those lucky bastards who ran almost to the tree line to pee standing up was a little insulting.

I did manage to get up (because that could have been bad) and out and then spent the next 5 miles trying to get my legs moving at more than a 3mph pace. The pain in my hips, excruciating. My feet were burning. Stabbing pain from inside both ankle joints. And whatever usually holds my right knee together was probably back in Animal Kingdom having an African Margarita.

Around mile 18.5, I got a second wind for about 5 minutes and when the pacers passed me, they shouted: “You have two minutes to get to the bridge or they’re going to pick you up!”

*** that. Let ‘em pick me up. I need a beer. (And a beer I had… followed by a 6-glasses-of-wine chaser.) (God, I love Epcot.) (It does seem pretty lame on the outside. Totally worth burning a park day, though.)

And picked me up they did. At mile 19.52. I was the happiest person on a bus full of sad people. “Failing” had never felt so good.

I made it a personal best 19.52 miles. And set a half marathon pace PR. Not too shabby for someone who hadn’t run more than 4 miles at once since late September.

6 days later, everything is back to normal. Even my right knee has decided it belongs on a human, not a flamingo.

I’d completely forgotten how addicting running is. My foot is getting a couple weeks of full rest and then we’re going to be back on the road again, training for the next half marathon. I seriously cannot wait. I need to wait a few months before suggesting to Jason that we go back for the Dopey Challenge next year (that’s a 5K, 10K, half, and full over 4 days). At this point, he might divorce me. Or worse – make me go get a real job :)



Welp, I did it. I officially survived the first half of marathon training. Two weeks ago, I went out and ran 13.1 miles on a perfectly gorgeous morning.

When I was finished, I made Jason drive me over to the running shoe store so I could buy one of those 13.1 stickers for my car. And then we were passed on the highway by a dusty beater with a 70.3 sticker.

Possibly it was a reminder from above that there is still much work to be done. And possibly it was just a fantastically hilarious coincidence.

More realistically, it was simply proof that there are people out there who are totally &^%$#@! crazy. Because 70.3 miles?!

BUT I DID NOT LET THAT STOP ME. I now have a 13.1 sticker.

September, in numbers that no one cares about but me:
Miles – 81.88
Time – 44+ hours (!)
Avg Speed – 4.2 mph
Calories burned – 11,761

I’ve run nearly 260 miles in 2013, 184 of those since training officially started in June. Not too shabby for a fat girl who likes to drink and cook and eat! And then drink some more. And then swear off drinking forever. And then unswear it off 3 days later because… hey look, it’s beer! And I’ve kinda earned it :)



Marathon Mondays: Pregaming a 10K with a 7.7K

by Shawnda on September 16, 2013

in Running

Just Run for a Just Cause 10K

That was the view moments before the start of my first real 10k! I was standing in that church parking lot, trying to will a little divine intervention out of the sky to help me figure out how the heck I was going to run 6.2 more miles – because I’d already run a too-fast 4.8 to get there. It was hot. I was tired. And sweet Jesus, was it humid.

The whistle blew. Or maybe it was a gun, I don’t remember – I was already on empty and praying to both real and Gu gods. And then we were off, heading for a double-loop of the 5K course. Man, was it so tempting to just duck into the finish line at the end of the first 5K. There was Chick-fil-A. And bananas. And recovery smoothies.

But I didn’t. My friend Erica would have thrown a water bottle at me. And I would have been super disappointed in myself afterward. Everything hurt. I tried to walk, but things hurt more when I walked than when I did that tortoise-slow jog-shuffle thing. So tortoise-slow jog-shuffle thing it was for the last 2 miles.

And then there were people standing at the end of their driveways with bottled water and bowls of ice. And it was the best tasting water and the ice-coldest ice I’d ever rubbed on my face. GLORIOUS. And then it was over. Finished. 10 seconds faster than my targeted training pace!

And even though I’d run 42.26 miles this month, I couldn’t wait to get back out there again.

A few things I’ve learned the last few weeks:

1) Training outside is insanely important. I’ve been hitting the treadmill to train for most of the summer because the easiest time to run is in the middle of the day, while Landry is at school. And since it happens to be nearly (and sometimes over) 100F by that time of day, it seemed like a no-brainer. But then I ran 11 miles on a Saturday and still hurt on Tuesday. There’s just no substitute for feet-on-pavement. The physical impact on your body, the elements – everything is different. And at I realize now ththose everythings really matter.

2) Nutrition and fuel are insanely important. Getting enough good carbs for energy, access to mid-run carbs for energy, and getting enough protein for repair and recovery… it’s not at all complicated. My go-to resource for nutrition has been Matt Fitzgerald’s New Rules.

New Rules for Marathon and Half Marathon Trianing

My go-to resource for mid-run carbs has been Gu. Specifically Chocolate Outrage or Plain. I ended up ordering a big box from Amazon – cheaper ($1.13 vs $1.61) and I wasn’t in a panicked rush at 8:57pm on the night before my first 10K, trying to get to a store for 2 packs before it closed. (Why can’t I ever buy more than I need?!)

Gu Energy Gel Chocolate Outrage

Pre-run nutrition I’m still trying to figure out. I want to be able to eat something before big runs but even a slice of 15-grain bread with peanut butter doesn’t sit well. But that’s usually around 5:30am and I can’t imagine anything will sit well until I get used to getting up early. So far, empty-stomach-running has been the best.

Post-run nutrition – I’ve got that taken care of for a while, thanks to the BOGO sale on Fage Total at Sprouts this week :)

3) Safety is insanely important. I have been leaving the house before dark so I picked up a little clip-on LED that says “Hey, neither of us really want to be up before the sun on Saturday so please don’t take it out on me,” to motorists.

I’ve tweaked my training plan a bit, and rather than doing the standard 3-mile runs on “short” weekends, I have been aiming to do half of the next week’s long run. Last Saturday I ran 6.5 miles because this Saturday I somehow have to crank out 13. A half marathon. Without the adrenaline of being in a race.

Disney World, here we come!

(I hope.)