Friday, September 30, 2011

Bib Superstition

Today the beautiful, lovely, talented, smart, caring Julie (What? Nosiree no sucking up here, it’s all true!) picked up my packet for me for the IBM Uptown Classic race on Sunday.  I’m running the 10K! 

jkh ibm packet pick up

(It looks like some other people did some sucking up flattering too).  Thanks Jule!  You’re the best!  Really I do mean that.  You’re a great friend! 

Anyway, I HATE my bib number!  Yes I said hate!  I like even numbers or numbers that end in 5.  Don’t ask me why it’s just a “thing” I have, but I got bib number 151.

IBM Uptown Classic Packet pick up 007

As soon as I got it out I had this impending feeling of doom (dramatic much?) and figured this was just going to be a bad race.  BUT….. dum dum dum…. then I remembered (don’t ask me how…. ok you can ask me how, but I’ll explain that later) Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2010.

Pittsburgh half marathon 2010

Do you see that?  Do you?  Bib number 8231.  You see?  It ends in 1.  The bib for IBM ends in 1.  Making any connections (Duh they both end in 1 dummy.)  It might be a good race after all. 

Sidebar:  So if you really want to know how I could remember such a mundane thing as my bib number from a race that occurred well over a year ago well I’ll tell you.  You see my birthday is August 31st or 8/31.  If you take the 2 out of that bib you’re left with my birthdate.  It’s a stretch, but I’m very bib number superstitious.  I felt good about having my birth month and day in my bib and it wound up being a PR day. 

From now on I’ll be accepting even number bibs, bibs ending in 5 AND bibs ending in 1 as bibs with positive mojo.  Bib number 151 you are my friend and you’ll carry me on to a PR on Sunday (um never mind that I’ve never run a 10k before so I get a PR no matter what… that’s not the point). 

My point is, I refuse to accept any negative vibes towards my race on Sunday and will only allow myself to have positive thoughts.  Fast thoughts.  Think fast my friends!    Think Fast. 

IBM Uptown Classic Packet pick up 001

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crap Report

The insanity of marathon training has really begun now.  I can never really wrap my head around running 10 miles as a mid-week run.  10 miles.  Double digits.  That should count as a long run in my book and you should only have to do one of those a week.  It doesn’t work that way, however, and from here on out I’ll be putting in a lot of 10 mile Thursdays followed by some high mileage Sundays (the REAL long run).  I’m really just moaning and groaning because I have nothing better to say. 

Remember when I told you yesterday it would be hot out.  It was. 

10 miles hot2

93 degrees by the time we finished but it felt like 193.  It was so hot and sunny, I really wanted to fall down and quit.  The only thing that stopped me was knowing I might trip Bianca if I fell into her path.  I didn’t want to chance injuring her before her marathon so I plowed through and finished 10 miles. 

10 miles hot splits

Bianca and I usual run negative splits on our runs, but I just did NOT have it in me.  Aside from the heat, my body hated me.  My legs hurt and I know they’re tired.  I’m beginning to think that tired legs are just part of marathon training and I need to stop complaining.  I’m not injured, I’m tired.  There’s a difference. 

That’s it my friends.  10 crappy miles, 1 crappy report.  How can you not come back tomorrow for more? 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunny with a Chance of Sweating

Today marked the 87th day of 100 plus degree days in Texas.  It’s a new record up from 63 in 2009.  So yeah it’s been hot here, it IS hot here and it will continue for God knows how long.  I’m so glad we moved to Texas to experience this lovely record AND that I decided to train for a marathon.  What was I thinking?  Please remind me of this if I get a crazy idea next year.  (By the way, the normal number of 100 plus days is on average 14.)

Anyway, I’ll be running from 9 am to approximately 11 am tomorrow. 


Listen Texas, I have had enough.  Let’s start thinking pumpkin spice lattes,  candy corn, football, cinnamon sugar donuts, walking in the leaves and comfy sweaters, shall we?  Mmmm Kay! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Step Closer

Tuesday is speed work day in the Tirch marathon training world.  Oh how I loathe speed work, but I know it is necessary and good.  It’s just so hard to motivate myself to push beyond my normal/comfortable limits. 


We arrived at the track shortly after 9:00 am (I had to get Jack off to school first) and it was incredibly hot and windy.  The temperature was near 90 degrees and, as per usual, there was not a cloud in the sky. 

speed work temp

Bianca and I knew it was going to be a tough workout due to the conditions, but we lined up and set out to do 7 X 800 Yassos. 

speed work feet

Combatted with the heat and my tired legs (they’re always tired these days) I suspected I wouldn’t be able to do super fast Yassos.  I’m supposed to do 4:30 800s, but I’ve had success in the past doing them slightly faster.  Today, I decided I’d be more than happy with 4:30s and my only goal was to do not one second more than 4:30. 

Here are my splits:


Each of the seven red arrows indicate a “speed” lap.  (Between laps 13 and 14 I hit stop time accidently and had to restart and it messed up my perfect little chart.)

So as you can see, I just barely made my goal of 4:30 narrowly squeaking out the last 800 repeat at 4:30 flat. To me, I felt like I was running as fast and as hard as I could so I’m happy with today’s results. 

speed work sdt

As usual, Bianca made it look easy (to me) and was a WHOLE lap ahead of me finishing.  She looks like such a natural.  Maybe if I keep running with her she’ll just rub off on me.  Hey Bianca, I’ll take some of your skinny legs too!  Open-mouthed smile 

speed work bc

So there you have it.  Another day, another work out, another step (literally) closer to the MARATHON.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Race Numbers 10 and 11

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t raced in awhile.  If you also recall, I set out to run 12 races in the 12 months of 2011 (that would sound so much better if it were 2012). 

So far I have run 9 races:

  • February:  Austin Livestrong Marathon
  • March: Rock N Roll Dallas Half Marathon
  • April:  The Rookie Triathlon
  • May:  Dukes and Daisies 5k
  • June: 
    • Flamingo 5k
    • Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run
    • Lake Pflugerville Triathlon
  • July:
    • Lake Latonka Friendly Frolic
    • Butler YMCA Triathlon

I planned on taking the months of July and August off due to the heat, but it seems I have taken off August and September instead.  I wound up skipping an Olympic Tri I had on my preliminary schedule (too effing hot) and I’m not going to do the Livestrong Challenge bike ride I’d planned for either.  I’m just afraid to risk injury riding that far with such little bike focuses training. 

So, I needed to step it up if I was going to meet my goal and race in 12 races this year.  And step it up I did.  I am currently registered for:

IBM Uptown Classic 10K on October 2nd

2011 IBM Uptown Classic


I’m super excited about this race because I have never raced the 10k distance before.  10k is 6.2 miles, which I feel completely comfortable doing.  It’s also a “short” enough distance that I’m hoping I’m can push myself a little and have a 10k PR (personal record) I can be proud of.  Regardless, I’ll be getting a PR that day Open-mouthed smile 

I also registered for the Run for the Water 10 miler (R4TW2011) on October 30th. 


I plan on running this race more conservatively as it is just two weeks before my marathon.  I do, however, think it will help alleviate some of those prerace jitters.  It will allow me to get out there in a race and absorb the atmosphere without as many nerves.

Adding race numbers 10 and 11 to my schedule is pretty exciting.  I have at least 2 more races planned for 2011 (my marathon and another 1/2 marathon) so I should meet my goal of 12 races in 12 months with no problem.  Adding these races to my schedule leaves me eager to get out there and see what I can do.   I realized over this past year, I really do love to race. 

My advice?  Open your arms and embrace it-- always do what you love, love what you do!

arms wide open

Sunday, September 25, 2011

They All Ran Happily Ever After

Have you heard the story where I woke up EARLY on a Sunday morning and headed out to tackle my long run before the heat?  You haven’t?  Well you can read about it here, here, here and here (to name a few).

What?  Where you dying to hear about how it went today?  Ok ok fine, I’ll give you the abridged version.

Once Upon a Time, there was a girl training for a marathon in the heat of Texas summer.  She set out on a Sunday morning for her weekly long run and it went like this: 

Miles One to Three:  Dark (can’t see) hope I don’t trip AGAIN.

Miles Three to Six:  Ho Hum still on the way out looking forward to the back

Miles Six to Nine:  Took a Gu and refilled my water  bottles

Miles Nine to 12:  Sun came out.  Wanted to kill myself or stab out my eyeballs in lieu of running

Miles 12 to 15: Focused on the task at hand, getting it D.O.N.E. done! 

Here are the splits:

15 miles

Are you missing pictures of me and my friends in our running gear?  Well I didn’t take any pictures today because A) I’m a bad blogger and B) nothing exciting happened.  Here is a montage anyway, because I aim to please. 

9 miles sdt jkh13 mile sb bc sdt13 mile sb bc216 miles bc sdt9 miles sdt18 miles end of trail9 miles turn around18 miles self18 miles shadows17 miles shadowsshadows

And they all ran happily ever after. 

The End

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dinosaur Friends

For days (two weeks to be exact) I have been hearing from Jack nothing but excitement about his upcoming soccer game.  On Monday, he started counting how many “sleeps” were left until his very first game.  Every morning he would wake up and say, “5 more sleeps” or “2 more sleeps”.  He was overcome with excitement. 

When his big day arrived today he HAD to have on his soccer uniform first thing in the morning even though his game wasn’t until 1 pm.  He has been wearing his slides every day, waiting for the moment he could actually slip off his cleats and wear them after the game.  He had the whole thing down and was ready to go. 

I should mention, when Nicholas was little, he had the same shy attitude as Jack does, but he was able to go out on the soccer field and tear it up like it was his job.  He would push, shove, fall on the ground and score more than his fair share of goals.  Naturally, I knew Jack would do the same thing, after all they’re brothers—it’s in their blood. 

The whole team lined up nicely and awaited the first whistle.  The anticipation was high as were my expectations. 

Jacks First Soccer Game 005

The whistle blows.  Aaaaaaaaaaaand this happens.

Jacks First Soccer Game 010

Jack just stood there.  It was as though the world was going on around him and he had no idea what to do.  So naturally, I screamed his name and told him to go get the ball.  All the other moms and dads are screaming around him for their children and he stood there like he had no interest and hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do. 

Jacks First Soccer Game 008

Pretty soon his coach noticed his deer in the headlights look and she tried to help him, but bad turned to worse aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand… there was crying in soccer. 

Jacks First Soccer Game 001

Jack was subbed out and we had a conversation.  I let him know his behavior wasn’t appropriate and he was there to play soccer with his team.  The tears just kept flowing.  I told him in no uncertain terms that there is no crying in sports, but the waterworks continued. 

I asked him 100 times to tell me why he was so upset and let him know I’d help him in any way I could.  He just kept saying he “wanted me”.  I assured him I was right there and he could see me the whole time. 

I encouraged him to try again, but with each substitution of the fierce #7 came more standing still as the ball moved past him.  Heck, half the time he wasn’t even looking at the ball.  I felt so out of control.  Nothing I was doing or saying was getting through to Jack.  I have NEVER, not in eight years, not been able to get through to one of my children.  Frankly, my children do what I say.  PERIOD. 

I threatened and I bribed, but NOTHING worked.  Even so, I wasn’t  going to let him get away with crying and getting his way.  I made him go back out on the field [much to the dismay of the other Dinosaur Friends (their team name) I’m sure].  I think he just wanted to say, “WTF, why are you making me do this?”  I mean that’s what his face says right? 

Jacks First Soccer Game 004

Soon enough the game was over and the Dinosaur Friends lost the game.  

I had a long talk with Jack after the game, both with his coach and without.  I tried to help him remember the excitement he had for the game all week.  I played up the fun and tried to help him through his fear.  Maybe now that he knows what to expect he’ll do better.  And by better I mean he’ll actually move his feet on the field.  I’m not asking for much here. 

He did let me know later in the day that next week, “I’m gonna hustle”.   And if not, well then all I can say is there’s a reason dinosaurs are extinct (and Jack is one of them).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free Family Friday

Tonight was free family Friday at the YMCA.  That means I stood in line in the wee hours of the morning on the last Saturday in August in hopes that I would get four hours of freedom from the kids for FREE on September 23rd.  Waking up early on that Saturday morning was worth it. 

I picked up this MM Couture dress at TJ Maxx for $39.  I had never heard of MM Couture, but I immediately fell in love with this dress when I saw it.  It was on clearance and I had to have it.  At $39 ON CLEARANCE (that’s a lot for TJ Maxx) I figured it must be a “good” brand and came home and googled it.  I’m confident $39 was a great deal as most of these dresses are at least $90 online.   Yay me!


We had an awesome “night” out (from 4:00 until 8:00 mind you) eating great food with great company.  I feel pleasantly plump and am confident I effectively ate back all the calories I burned running this week.  It’s a gift I have and I’m VERY good at it.  If you’re ever in need of information about this special talent feel free to contact me. 

Thank you YMCA, I’m a better parent because of you.  It may be just four hours, but it’s four hours of quality adult time with the hubby and for that I thank you.

sdt gpt3 fave

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Family Life

You might have heard of the world famous Susan Tirch I’m a Runner Series.  If not, you’ve clearly been living under a rock and you need to check it out here.  But, as the my blog name implies, I am more than just a swimmer, biker, runner, I’m also (and most importantly) a mom. 

I was inspired by the I’m a Runner articles featured in the back of Runner’s World magazine to start my own series.  Now I find myself moved by FamilyCircle’s series My Family Life.  Similar to Runner’s World’s concept FamilyCircle interviews a “celeb” about their family life. 

Because I am so interesting I will be answering these questions myself and mark the beginning of the Susan Tirch, My Family Life series.  It’s going to be epic so get excited, hop on board and, whatever you do don’t delete me from your blog reader.

flowers sdt and kids

Does parenting make you lose your sense of humor?  Most definitely not.  If I lose my sense of humor I’ll probably also lose my sanity.  Sometimes my kids are acting so “bad” that all I can do to cope is laugh.  And seriously, who wouldn’t laugh when your child turns his apple into a phone and is making a call at the dinner table. 

What kinds of stunts did you pull as a kid?  Stunts?  You mean I was supposed to do something bad?   I honestly don’t recall being a mischievous child and think, for the most part, I was a good kid.  I do remember one time however, I was about 11 years old and my friend and I snuck a cigarette from her babysitter.  We went into the woods and I took a drag and immediately barfed.  Being bad was NOT for me. 

How do you cope on days where you feel like the worst mom in the world?  I just think of all the other moms out there who are worse than I!  Haha No seriously, being a mom you will ALWAYS have guilt, of this I am sure.  I feel badly if I yelled too much one day, if I didn’t read the second bedtime book because I was  tired, or if I just turned on the TV because it was easier.  The thing is, I realize there are moments when I shine and my good moments outweigh the bad.  The other trick I use when I’m feeling down on myself is asking my kids if they love me.  Seems lame, but their reassurance lets me know I can’t be ALL bad. 

What about your relationship with your mom makes motherhood more special to you?  I’ve kind of talked about it before, but I’m really big on traditions and carrying things on.  So, a lot of the things my mom did for me I like to do for my kids.  For some reason it just feels right.  After all, we all become our mothers, right?   Why fight it?  As long as I don’t turn into a zucchini mock crab cake creating, pine cone wreath making, flea marketing extraordinaire (like my mother was during my childhood) I’ll be ok. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Race Results for Dummies: Athlinks

I might be late to the game, but I found out about a really cool website today.  I ran into an acquaintance (hi Kelly!) at school today and she told me about a website called Athlinks

Athlinks is a race results database that allows you to see all your race results from previous races in one place.  They have tracked close to 80 million races, so chances are they have tracked yours. 

All you have to do is enter your name and press search.  


Once you have searched for your races it will ask you to “claim” any races that might be yours.  At this point you will be prompted to sign up (but that is quick and painless and FREE). 


I used George’s name in my search because I had already signed up by the time I decided to do this wonderful tutorial on the blog. 

Once you’ve claimed your races they go to “approval”.  I’m not sure what happens once the powers that be approve them as I haven’t gotten to that stage yet, but even before then you get a nice display of all your information. 

Athlinks will group your races by date or category.   It lists the dates of your races, your official times and even your place by age, division and overall.  I don’t like to look at those stats, so let’s pretend they’re not there shall we? 


I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to remember my PRs and what time I got at what race and I can never quite remember.  This is a nice place to go and have everything right in front of you all neat and orderly and you don’t have to know how to use spreadsheets.  This is race results for dummies.

Athlinks also lets you search for other members based on location, gender, age, and racing interests.  So if finding other like minded individuals is your thing, this might be the place for you to go. 

So go on over to and search for your name and find out how bad you sucked at running in 2005.  Oh wait, just me?  Sorry! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Former Self

Ever since my accident in June of 2010 when I broke both my shoulder and my wrist, I feel like I’ve been fighting to regain the same level of fitness I had that day.  I was forced to take over 2 months off from basically any physical activity and it really took it’s toll on my overall fitness.  I thought that I would bounce right back, but that has proved NOT to be the case. 

tour de cure century 2010 017

Me the day of my accident

Shortly before my accident, I ran the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon averaging a 9:53 pace for those 13.1 miles.  I gave that race EVERYTHING I had and I know I couldn’t have done any better. 

sdt bling9 miles sdt

                        May 2010                               August 2011 (10 lbs heavier)

Here I am 15 months post accident and 16 months from my half marathon PR and I find myself wondering, have I FINALLY reached the same level of fitness.  The truth is, I don’t know so I thought I’d look back at my Garmin and see what it showed me. 

Back in April of 2010 (less than a month before my big PR) I ran a 4 mile training run.  The splits looked like this: 

4 miles april 2010

Today I set out and ran just about the exact same distance.  The splits look like this: 

4 miles september 2011

Even though I feel slower in my head, I guess I’m not.  I managed to shave almost 45 seconds off per mile from April of 2010 until now.  However, even that wasn’t enough proof so I had to look at longer runs too.  Here are the results: 

13 miles step back12 miles april 2010

                September 2011                                   April 2010               

I have put a LOT of hard work into training for this Marathon.  If you recall, I started a 24 week training program back in the beginning of June.  With eight weeks of training remaining, I feel like MAYBE, just maybe, I’m where I was before my accident.  Maybe I am my former self and maybe there’s a PR in my future. 

Have you ever been set back from an accident?  How long did it take you to regain your previous fitness level? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bat Sh*t Crazy 20 Mile Run

Today started off like any normal Sunday these days.  I woke up at 5:00 am and got ready to hit the road.  Only thing is, I didn’t wake up at 5:00 am.  I snoozed until 5:09 and that got me running late and I wound up forgetting my Garmin.  I hate forgetting my Garmin (but Bianca had hers). 

Anyway, we decided to head to the Town Lake trail instead of our usual since we had 20 miles on the training plan.  It makes a big difference to tackle this type of distance on a longer trail.  The Town Lake Trail has 3 loops-- a seven mile loop, a three mile loop and a longer one that I have no idea about.  We did two seven mile loops and two three mile loops. 

20 miles town lake map

When we first got to the trail it still looked like the dead of night.  I wasn’t really feeling it as I couldn’t see and I felt kind of creepy being downtown in the middle of the “night”.  Regardless of how I felt, we were there so it was too late to decide it was a bad decision so we headed out.

So as it was just breaking dawn and I was anticipating the biggest hill of our run, I apparently decided it was a good idea to make a face plant. I tripped over a bump in the sidewalk and I couldn’t recover and I fell.  Ok so I didn’t land on my face, but that is only because I dove for the grass (so I wouldn’t land on the sidewalk and bleed).  I wound up landing on my hip.  I was bruised (ego) but not really hurt.  All I could do is laugh.  Only I can fall while running.  I told Bianca if she was a good friend she would have grabbed her camera and documented it for the blog, but she only tried to help me, brushing off the dirt and she didn’t even laugh at me. 

It wasn’t long and I was back up and running.  Then at just about mile 6 we came across the Congress Bridge which is home to one of the largest bat Colonies in… well I don’t know, but I think in the country.  Anyway, there are a shit ton of bats and they were scary and we had to run through them.  The bats were all squeaking and their poo smelled like… well, like poo.   I told Bianca we should go as fast as we could and I took off, and my water bottle dropped out of my belt.  I screamed, I picked it up all awhile envisioning the bats swooping down to attack me.  No worries, I wasn’t attacked by any bats and once again Bianca didn’t laugh at me. 

20 miles bat

Hard to see, but all those black specs are bats

From that point on things were pretty uneventful.  I felt decent until about mile 14 when things started to hurt.  By things, I mean anything south of my waistline.  My feet hurt, my hips, my hamstrings, my ankles… well you get the picture.  I just wanted to push through and get it done.  I expressed to Bianca that I would be proud of myself to even finish.  I had an exhausting couple of days preparing for Ella’s party and I hadn’t really prepared to run 20 miles today (I didn’t rest or hydrate).  So, just getting 20 miles done was an accomplishment.  We were happy. 

20 miles sdt2020 miles bc20

We wound up finishing up in 3:41 which was an 11:04 average.  I was beyond happy with that time today.  I still have a 22 miler and another 20 miler on my training plan. I know with each of these runs I will get stronger and condition my body to hopefully go a little bit faster on the big day.  Just having one 20 miler under my belt already makes me feel good. 

I’m really sore including my hip that I bounced off the ground when I fell.  I think I’ll take the day off tomorrow and hopefully recuperate from all the events of the weekend.