Category Archives: Racing

Can you see me now?

I was supper pumped to get a package in the mail last week. My Headsweats Ambassador swag came in! I ordered blue and orange Race Hat’s and a Woman’s Reversible Beanie.  So stoked to get a light weight beanie to keep my head and ears warm, as I have been wearing some that are just not meant for running.

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“Are those for ME?”

I was also stoked to get some new race hats in different colors.  When he saw my cool hats Bill asked “Um, why orange?”

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“She did this to me again.”

Well, (steps on soapbox), for starts, I like crazy colors. Lime, orange, bright yellow are all colors that I enjoy, but the main reason is, I want to be seen.  Not for narcissistic reasons, but for safety.

There is this 4 way stop that is my arch enemy.  I have almost been hit there at least 4 times. One time was so bad, I actually had my hands on the hood of the car when they finally came to a stop.  I might have yelled out “Stop, Stop STOP!!!”  and waved my Italian hands in protest. The reason this light is so bad (and probably every other one in this city) is because people are so focused on the light turning green and getting where they need to be, that they do not obey the other signals and laws…..those being the pedestrian light and the law that says they must yield to the actual pedestrian that could be in the road.

The law in Texas clearly states:

Sec. 552.002. PEDESTRIAN RIGHT-OF-WAY IF CONTROL SIGNAL PRESENT. (a) A pedestrian control signal displaying “Walk,” “Don’t Walk,” or “Wait” applies to a pedestrian as provided by this section.

(b) A pedestrian facing a “Walk” signal may proceed across a roadway in the direction of the signal, and the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian.

(c) A pedestrian may not start to cross a roadway in the direction of a “Don’t Walk” signal or a “Wait” signal. A pedestrian who has partially crossed while the “Walk” signal is displayed shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the “Don’t Walk” signal or “Wait” signal is displayed.

What this means is, if you are turning right, and have a green light this does not mean “GREEEN! Must step on accelerator and get to where I am going 5 seconds earlier!”. It means “You may proceed IF there is no one in the crosswalk”.

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The notorious 4 way stop I have to cross to get to the park.

Most people do not watch for pedestrians.  I can vouch for that, having had so many “OMG I’m  going to die” moments running and on my bike.  The focus is on the light turning green and they proceed through without looking, hence my near misses.  I wear bright colors so cars can see me and don’t run me over, which increases my exercise satisfaction immensely.

Basically what you need to know is this:

Green light = look for pedestrians.  If there is someone there, you MUST WAIT AT THE GREEN LIGHT UNTIL THEY CROSS.  I know, stopping at a green light! is agony,  but those things walking upright on two legs are called people and your car colliding with them is no bueno, so cool your jets.

If there is no one there, you may carry on.

Make it your new habit if you are already not doing so.

Remember, that person you might mow down in your hurry to get through that light very well could be me.

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More trail running tips

The trails I run here at home are mostly in and around town.  We live in a very forested area, and in addition to some very well worn paths, walking trails and city made paths, there are loads of deer and jeep trails to follow.

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Shaka babies.

Even though things are relatively urban, I can get off path and get in a good 5 mile loop with very little pavement or cars.  It is one of the reasons I love where we live.

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Typical limb strewn path through the coastal oaks.

Some of the trails run beachside, but not many.  I will take what I can get though for views like this.

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No words.

So much of the wild property at the coast where we live is privately owned.  I have one hard and fast rule and that is, NEVER, EVER CROSS A FENCE.  Period.  Ever.  As in never.  Am I clear?

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Fence along the city park. I want to run back there in a bad way.

No matter how epic it looks on the other side.

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In addition to the obvious point of it being trespassing, there are so so many dangers involved in hopping a fence.  People hunt on their properties here, so if you are not expected to be there, they may mistake you for an animal in the brush.  There are cattle to be concerned about.  Seriously, do you know if there are bulls on the land you are about to trespass on?  If they have taken the time to put a barbed wire fence all around the property (and litter the city property with said barbed wire) they do not want you there and they are probably trying to keep something within it.  Like cows. Or bulls.

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Barbed wire thrown into the city park.

Have you ever been running and come face to face with a bull?  I have and it is freaking scary.  I stopped, looked for a tree, then ran and stood next to it in case the bull charged.  It snorted, and pawed the ground and stared me down.  Luckily I had my phone with me, so my FIL and husband drove over and rescued me.  Okay, they didn’t rescue me.  They actually sat in the truck at the top of the ridge and watched me squirm.

Bill:  “What do you think it is going go to do to you?”

Me: “um, for starts, trample and maim me.”

Bill: “Dad says just walk slowly back the way you came. It probably isn’t going to hurt you (laughing in background)”.

Me: “Probably????? Billy, I am going to kill you when I get back up there and you will wish you were facing off with a bull”.

This is the ridge from where they watched the bull event.  Punks.

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The bulls harem.

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We are not bulls….do you have any corn or hay by chance?

Enjoying my run prior to The Bull Standoff.

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Before the bull standoff.

I retraced my steps slowly while facing the bull, and hopped across a cattle guard.

Oh, while we are on cattle guards…..they are considered a fence too.  The property I was on is a huge ranch owned by a handful of people including my inlaws, so I had permission to be on it. If you are out and about on your trail runs, cattle guards are usually trying to contain….wait for it…..cattle.  So use caution.

Back to crossing fences. This is pretty important if you are out on a large piece of property. Some State Parks are quite huge, and getting lost would be very easy.  A couple of important rules to follow if you are going to head out into the wilderness or on very rural trails:

  • Always tell someone exactly where you are going, and DO NOT change the plan….no matter how cool that other path looks.  If you get hurt, and are unable to call for help, knowing the general area where you are running will help rescue crew to find you more quickly.  If you venture off from your plan, you just reduced your chances of being found in a timely manner.
  • Bring a friend.  I am a solitary runner and this is a hard one for me, but if I am going to go do some serious trail running in the future, I will be calling a friend to join.  The buddy system is a good thing out in the wilderness.
  • If you get lost, never EVER cross a fence.  Stay in the boundaries of the park or land that you are running on. You will increase the area and confusion by crossing fences, which will make it more difficult to find your way back or for someone to find you.
  • Use common sense. Seriously, it goes a long way. If you are not sure of the path, don’t take it. Simple as that.

As for running on the more urban or city trials, there are dangers there as well.

When I was at my moms, I found a trail across from the hospital where she was being treated. I got some vague directions from the nurses and off I went.

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The paved path wound along side a creek and it was just stunning.

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I tried to get a bit off the main trail by running along and down on the creek bed.

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Until I came upon this.

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Homeless camp.

A homeless camp.  Yes, I climbed back up the rocks and got back on the main path pronto.   A woman out alone, on a creek with hobos, is simply no bueno. Even smack dab in the middle of the city.  I did not feel one bit safe after that.  Sometimes that desire to be on a trail over rides common sense.  For me, it was a big HELL NO after I saw this. End of story. Even with views like this and opportunities to rock hop, I was out of there.

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Alone in an unfamiliar area, I should have kept with the well populated paved trail.  Lesson learned.

Another issue for me is wildlife.

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Dude, I like your shoes.

Aside from goats….

There are lots of deer and buck and when they are in season they are not timid. A buck can be a bit intimidating when they don’t run from you.

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I have run smack dab into a pack of coyotes before (one, fine…but a pack of around 8 stopped my heart. They were certainly awe inducing in their raw beauty, but holy heck I felt vulnerable amidst them, even knowing they are pretty shy creatures), and what I believed to be cougar tracks.  It was confirmed to me last week by the parks director here that indeed a cougar has been spotted numerous times where I run.  Awesome.

One way I have added a bit more safety to my runs is by bringing my husky with me.

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I am sure she would fight a cougar for me. I think.

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I am certain she would attack someone who was attacking me.  100% sure. She is a very loyal, protective girl.

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Skye is a pretty intimidating looking dog when faced with someone she does not know. If looks could kill, hers would.  I’ve shown you this before. Go ahead.  Put your hand out there and pet her.  Not.

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So I have started bringing her on my trail runs.  A protective dog can go a long way to keeping you safe.

Trail running is truly an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. For me, I am so very, very over endlessly pounding out miles on the sidewalk

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and prefer dirt trails and soaking in my surroundings.

Just play it safe if you do head off the path less traveled and remember to never ever cross a fence.

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And never forget your hat!

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Use JODY25 for 25% off!

 

Posted in Headsweats, Racing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Headsweats Ambassador!

I am super stoked to announce that I was chosen to be a Headsweats Ambassador for 2015!  So honored because there are some incredible athletes in the 2015 team, and I am just a mom to 4 kids that likes to race endurance and surf.  Humbling.

I have done a few sponsored posts on this blog in the past, but mostly I keep things pretty much ad free unless I really believe in a product.  When I saw that Headsweats was taking applications for their Ambassador program, I just had to apply.  I absolutely love their products and of all the clothing gear I have, I would consider their hats the most essential.  I was beyond excited when they chose me to be on their team.

Image by Scott Ellwood, gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood, gscottimaging.com

I have worn Headsweats Race Hats since I started back into triathlon and running in 2009.

Corpus Christi Duathlon, 2nd in my division.
Corpus Christi Duathlon, 2nd in my division.

I love their cycling skull caps too.  Awesome fit and they keep the helmet from chafing my forehead, while doing double duty keeping the sweat out of my face.

Cycling Shorty skull cap
Cycling Shorty skull cap

I remember looking for a unique, well fitting hat that I could put on and not think about again while on my runs.  I tried UnderArmour, Nike and a whole bunch of hats but the fit was always off for me and the sweat ran in my eyes constantly. Running at the coast is a suffferfest when temps hit 100F and humidity is in the 90’s.  So!  much! sweat!

Serious south Texas sweat. My green race hat kept it out of my eyes.
Serious south Texas sweat. My green race hat kept it out of my eyes.

The first time I slid a Headsweats on my head at a store in Corpus I remember thinking
“it doesn’t get more perfect than this” and I promptly bought it.

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I used to run some serious miles before I got sick in April of 2011.  14 miles on a clear cool day at the coast was my idea of fun.  A short run for me was anywhere from 4-7 miles, even in the prime heat of a Gulf Coast summer.  The sun will fry you here, and that is no joke.  Sunscreen is a must and a good hat too.

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Okay, so why do I think they are so awesome?  I have several reasons.

Number one is the Race Hat fit is beyond perfect.  They are soft, literally mould to your head and you can adjust the strap for a snug fit.  Super important for me because it is windy at the coast.  I wear mine to all our surf contests and have never had them blow off.  That is huge.

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

Number 2, there is a Coolmax terry sweat band built into the hat.  Sweat doesn’t run into my eyes anymore, no matter how hot it is.  I love this feature and love that it makes the rim of the hat so comfortable…even when you are running straight up Enchanted Rock after a 5 mile trail run and a 16 mile bike through the hills.

Almost...there.
Almost…there.
This is what we ran up for the second run. Brutal.
This is what we ran up for the second run. Brutal. Those little specks up there are people. 

They also stay on when you are doubled over in agony at the end of a death march race.

About to assume the hands on knees position after the run from hell up the Rock.
About to assume the hands on knees position after the run from hell up the Rock. Dying here. 
At the top of Enchanted Rock after taking 5th in the Extreme Duathlon.
At the top of The Rock after taking 5th in my division in the Enchanted Rock Extreme Duathlon. The results say 6th, but 5th place cut the coarse on the bike, so I am claiming my rightful place. LOL

Number 3, the hat is lightweight and made of breathable Coolmax. This means it keeps your head cool and it dries super fast. In the summer here, I saturate mine and they dry in minutes.

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Number 4, I can throw it in the washing machine, and hang it to dry and it doesn’t change shape or shrink.  I probably wash mine once every week or two for the last 5 years and they are still going strong.  I think the more I wash them, the more comfortable they become.  I have never had a hat last this long and hold up this well, nor have I had one that I can wash in a washing machine without it falling apart.

This one I have had for going on 6 years and it has been washed  probably over a 100 times.
This one I have had for going on 6 years and it has been washed probably over a 100 times.

Number 5, a hat is part of my daily uniform.  I get up, put my hair in a pony tail and put on a hat. I am in them most of every day and therefore I want them to look nice.  Headsweats has some seriously fun designs and colors.  The more funky they are the more I like them. Their new Loudmouth hats are excellent.  This one is my favorite.

My uniform. Cutoffs, a T-shirt, Oakleys and a Headsweats hat.
My uniform. Cutoffs, a T-shirt, Oakleys and a Headsweats hat.

Number 6, for those who have followed this blog for the last 10 years, you know I do not like to follow the crowd.  I tend to be the sheep that runs from the herd,  so I usually don’t follow trends.  When I found this hat, it fit the bill for that and I am constantly asked where I get my hats.  They are just perfect in fit and style, and that in itself sets them apart.  I have been an unofficial ambassador for years. LOL

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

And last but not least…they look great on!

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

So, to answer the question of where to get them: you can go to the Headsweats website and if you use the code JODY25 you will receive 25% off your purchase (with the exception of the Loudmouth and Collegiate lines).

Now go grab one.  Leeann got hers in the giveaway I did before becoming an Ambassador, and will be bringing it on her big summer trip she is taking with her kids, hiking, climbing, horseback riding and rappelling.  Seriously fun summer and I want to hear all about it!

Even goats think Race Hats are cool.
Even goats think Race Hats are cool.
Posted in Headsweats, Racing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Sunshine

Oh my gosh, it has been so cold here at the coast. Sustained temps in the 40-50 range and just plain Jane gray everywhere.

Last week, thanks be to God, the sun came out.

Before all you northerners roll your eyes and give a collective “gimmeabreak”, thou must put into perspective our location and agenda. We live at the beach.  We surf…..in water. Water that gets freaking cold when the air is 40 degrees.  We moved here to be warm. It wasn’t warm. And we whined. A lot.

Coldness is not tolerated much at all by surfers. We enjoy a change in the weather for all of 31.6 seconds and then we are DONE. Barbies!!

So, when the sun finally came out and temps warmed into the 70’s…and even the 80’s (hooyah!), all the wimps at the coast were putting on bikinis and basking in the glorious warmth and Vitamin D enriched rays from the Golden Orb of Greatness.

I took Skye out for some trail running into an area that I have wanted to venture deeper into but was a bit afraid to do alone.  Even though she is very skittish around other people, she is a hulking mass of intimidation to others so I felt pretty safe with her. When she looks at you like this and you don’t know her, you will not be putting your hand out to pet her.

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The funny thing about her is, she can sense “bad” in people.  In other words, she knows when someone is a threat to me and all her skittishness disappears.

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Fluffy husky butt alert!

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I was very glad I brought her, because about a mile or so in I came around a bend and saw a couple of guys on dirt bikes doing what appeared to be a drug exchange.  Yes, you read that correctly.

When I saw them, I immediately was aware of my “female alone on a remote trail” predicament.

When Skye saw them she stood tall in front of me, pulled those ears up and when they turned to see me she was the first thing their eyes migrated to.  I wanted to say “She will eat you for lunch if you come near me” but instead casually turned and started running back at a normal pace, only picking it up when out of their sight. In my head I was doing a mental calculation of how screwed I was because I was so far from the main path and people.

To make a long story short, when I heard them start their bikes and head my way I called my husband and was on the phone with him when they rode past me. They slowed way down, glared at me and then gassed their bikes and took off.

Thank God for cell phones and my precious sunshine girl.

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So, lesson learned.  My husband has asked me not to go back there anymore and I am more than happy to oblige him.  My Skye will now be on all my trail runs, no matter how safe I think they are.

Parting shot…this is what happens when you listen to your 11yo daughters playlist while running trials.  It’s hard not to bust out fierce Bey moves in your Newtons when listening to “Ugly Heart” by G.R.L. 😉  Watch out for those tree roots, Grrrrrrl.

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Trail running

This is what much of my trail running looks like here at the coast. Those vines are covered in thorns….just like on a rose bush.

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When I find a new trail, I take some time to pull down the dead vines and form a clear (sort of) path.

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No matter how cloudy I always wear some sunglasses and an excellent hat to protect my face and eyes. Never go into brush like this without them, and be sure and put on bug spray.

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The paths are simple, single track deer trails.

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And they wind all through the forest.  I took the one to the right…the path less traveled.

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Amazing, eerie post oaks.

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With the cooler weather I am comfortable running them, but come spring when the mosquitos and snakes come out, I may have to keep to the more well trodden trails in town.  Not to mention I would need to wear long sleeves and pants in 100F weather to keep from getting covered in poison oak.

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I was telling Bill about the new section I found (above) and he said “When it warms up you better rethink that area….corals and moccasins will be swarming it”.  Our county has a tremendous presence for coral snakes…..even on the paved paths.  Remember this guy that slithered under my shoe and over the back of my heel?  Don’t try this at home folks….

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Jody's Lumia_20140506_09_21_20_Pro

Right.

In the meantime, while the cold fronts are still marching through, I will continue running after the deer.

Parting shot:  Text picture sent to Bill after my run while I was baking bread.  I got back silence.  LOL!

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Giveaway results!

Gah! Very, very busy and long week last week so I apologize for being late with the race hat giveaway results.

The winner by random.org generator is Leanne!!

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She said:

“I’d love to win a race hat!

My motivation this year is an Epic Summer Trip I am taking with my boys. We are traveling for five weeks, through nine states. I’m losing weight and exercising to get healthy. We’re going to hike, climb, horseback ride, rappel and do all the things that I’ve had to say no to because I wasn’t fit enough. This year I am getting FIT and healthy and RECLAIMING MY LIFE. I’m over 20 pounds down and going strong!”

THAT is a terrific goal and I hope you have a wonderful time this summer with your kids. Send me an email with your address, and what color you want and I will ship that out to you ASAP! Congratulations!!

Posted in Racing | 1 Comment

Enchanted Rock, March 2010

Browsing through the Texas Triathlon Event Finder the word EXTREME jumped out at me.  An extreme duathlon.  Just what I needed after the 1/2 Marathon From Hell.  I mean really.  A plain Jane duathlon just was not going to cut it after that.  So maybe an Extreme one would do the trick.

I have always been this way.  Go on a mountain bike ride?  Lets do Slick Rock.  Trail ride?  How ’bout the Colorado trail?  Go over a mountain pass? Let’s do it in reverse of what the guide says.  It’s all about the journey? It better be a death march or it just isn’t a challenge. Not to say I am ever adequately trained or up to it, but hey, it ends up working out. We may get lost, dehydrated, run out of food and water, go twice as far as intended, or all the above, but it’s all good in the end and we EARN our post ride/run beers.

So when I saw EXTREME I was sold and signed up on the spot.

This race is located in the gorgeous Enchanted Rock State Park, and lives up to its label.  The first run is a technical 5 mile run over and around the rocks at the base of the dome.  There are cactus, rocks, scrambling over outcroppings, dried creek beds with loose, deep gravel, a single track trail and it ends with a stairway to the transition area that makes your muscles scream.

The bike ride is 16 miles over “gently rolling hills”.  When anyone describes the terrain as “gently rolling hills” when talking about the Hill Country of Texas, be ready for a workout.  Especially after a 5 mile trail run.

The last 1.2 miles is along the base of EC, then straight up the big Rock for the finish.  And by straight up, I mean straight up.

So yeah. It sounded cool.  Between sign up and race day, I think I rode my bike 2x, so I was well prepared. (snark) Running wise, I was good to go, although still a very slow runner as I had not really started any speed work.  But I was confident I could finish it….until the emails started coming.

The emails are intimidating but make you smile.  The first one basically said THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER FRIENDLY COURSE, so if you sign up for it, you are on your own.

The second email roughed out race morning and transition.  The motto is Not For Whimps, No Whining.   Dropping your bike off would be an odyssey.  You had to unload, go park 1.5 miles away, then hike through the park in pitch black to get to transition. So bring a flashlight.  And added in  toward the end; “If you want to whine to anyone, go look in the mirror”. LOLOL!

The Enchanted Rock Extreme Duathlon is put on by Redemption Race Productions, and Brian Schmidt.  The emails just built up the anticipation and were all part of the extreme experience.  I always smiled and looked forward to seeing them in my inbox, but I started to wonder if I was going to be able to finish.  On the website it said “BRAGGING rights will apply if you even FINISH this race.”

Race day Brian was true to his word.  You drop off your bike via vehicle at transition, then drive down the highway and leave your car at the EC parking area.  Grab all of your stuff and don’t leave anything behind, as you DON’T want to hike back to your car. Flash light or some light source is a must.  The hike to transition is pitch black, full of big rocks and lots of stuff to trip over.  It meanders through the highway side of the park.  The stars were incredible when the clouds would part.

After the little hike, I got my  transition all set up, my body marked, and went to the race meeting. Brian went over the course and when he got to the final leg he cautioned everyone to be very careful on the Rock.  He informed us that if you got hurt up there, and could not walk down it would be a $5000 helicopter ride down at your expense.  Everyone got very quiet.

Well alrighty, I thought, let’s get this over with.

It was COLD in shorts that morning, and a front was due to blow in, so due to the chill I had assumed it had come through early morning.  NOT.  The best was yet to be.  We started out with minimal wind for the run, and it remained comfortable temp wise after the first 1/2 mile or so.   My run was really slow, and I had to walk the first slog uphill over the base of the Rock, but then it wound around and leveled out with just a few inclines.  The trail was packed, nice and wide.  Rangers were scattered every mile or so.  They were instructed to pull anyone off the course if they looked like they were having a rough time and could not make it.  It was comforting to have them there, but I was not coming off this course!  The last mile or so felt like hell, as part was through a dried creek bed with foot deep gravel and rocks, but no Rangers pulled me off (although at one point I hear one say after I passed “we need to watch that one”.  Rah. Go me.)  Then it would up and out onto a single track trail and to transition.

Brian is just a tad sadistic I think. ;*)  After a very challenging run, we had to run up about 20 of these hideously steep steps to get our bikes.  My legs were on fire!  I grabbed a peanut butter PowerBar at my bike, put on my helmet and shoes, and took off.  My mouth was so dry from the run (thank you Texas Hill Country and zero humidity) and trying to choke down that PowerBar was like eating a piece of particle board.  Yum.  Finally got it down without choking and blew on up the road.

Heading out my ride was fairly fast.  I had a tail wind, and was averaging 18-19mph in the hills.  The wind was not blowing that hard, so I was thinking that the return would be fairly quick as well…..until the wind picked up. Ouch.  Got to the turn around, and slammed into that headwind that was not so light after all.  It was a SLOG for me coming back.  I ended up bonking big time, and averaged around 13mph for the ride.  Gag.  Was I ever so glad to get back to the transition area.

Somehow got off my bike and started the final run leg.  I was fine along the base trail, but when we hit the chip timing mat for King Of the Hill ( a little competiton inside the competition…who can get up the rock the fastest) and started the ascent, my calves started to scream so I walked most of it.  I think there were only a handful of people who actually ran up the Rock.  There were some sections where I was using all fours to get up the incline.

But I did it.  I finished this race in 2:39:34…..8th out of 8 (when I look at my times I want to gag, but it was a learning process last year).  My bike cost me many places, but that is is what I get for not training.   Anyhoo….on January 1st I signed up for EC 2011!  This year I am much more prepared and my goal is to not just finish, but to place in the top 3.  I guess we will see what happens in March.

And remember, no whining.

Posted in Racing | Comments Off on Enchanted Rock, March 2010

Fast forward

It is January 5th, 2011. 1 1/2 years has passed since my last entry.  Statistics may show that instead of continuing on with running and my goals, I probably quit.  Many people do.  I think it is much like a New Years resolution that you are gung ho to get on with, but a month into it, the new year wears off and your running shoes begin to gather dust. Real life calls and eventually you find yourself talking about how you need to get motivated, you need to get off your lazy rear etc. etc.

I don’t know what kept me going, but I never did stop.  I ran and ran and ran all summer long in 2009, and in October of that year completed the Harbor Half Marathon in Corpus Christi.  I worked so hard to get there, and the night before, came down with the stomach flu.  I was up and down all night in the bathroom, and as 4:30 a.m. dawned, I went in the kitchen and powered up the espresso machine.  Espresso is my weapon.  It charges me, and usually kills any bug I end up with.  I brewed my coffee, leaned on the counter and wondered how the hell I was going to run 13.1 miles feeling weak, dehydrated and sick.

My husband, Bill, came in the kitchen and I put my head on his chest and started crying.  he said “Look, just get in the car and go there.  Do everything you normally do to prep for a long training run and get yourself to the starting line.  Just see how it goes”.

So I loaded my stuff into the car and set out.  Ate a banana on the way, drank my cappa, and some Powerade and downed some Motrin.  Breakfast of champions.

When I got there around 5:30 the atmosphere was charged! Music playing at the start. Runners warming up and stretching.  Instead of joining them, I got sick again in the bathroom.  This was not the beginning I imagined during all those months of training and dedication.  Not even a tiny bit.

I drank more Powerade, then made my way to the starting line, stomach cramping and protesting.  I guess the Motrin kicked in. Or adrenaline.  Or maybe I just got distracted by the amazing energy around me, because when the gun went off, I got wrapped up in the moment and took off.  The first part of the course had us running through town and up the causeway.  Th sun was rising over the bay, and I simply cannot describe how beautiful it was to be pounding up to the top of that huge bridge (ugh) and view that scene while racing.

I did not drink anything at the first aid station.  Just could not stomach anything. At the second one, all they had was red Powerade.  Blek.  That stuff is like concentrated Hawaiian Punch. There was no way I could choke that down, and they were out of water. Out…of….water. In south Texas. In early October.  With not a cloud in the sky.  First and only complaint about this race….how do you run out of water at an aid station during a 1/2 marathon where you run over the bridge from hell twice.  End rant.

By the time I got to the turn around, I was so thirsty it was insane. Thankfully they had some blue Powerade.  I got some and diluted it half with water and drank a couple cups.  Ah!!! Fluid.  Blessed fluid.  I hit the port-a-potty, got sick again, got my second wind and took off.  Stomach cramps gone for the time being.

Right about the time we entered the causeway again, I came across someone down on the ground.  She was done.  Could not stand due to cramping, and was dehydrated.  Spent about 10 minutes trying to get some aid to her, and once we got race officials to her, took off again.

It is inevitable in this race that you hit the causeway again.  Let me stop here and say, if you are considering running this race as your first 1/2 marathon, think again.  The bridge is brutal.  You go up and down the causeway, then up and down a smaller bridge.  Things level out through the nature reserve, but 9 miles into this race you get the pleasure of running back up this beast and it is a bear.  It seriously hurts.  Especially if you live at the coast, and hill training is non-existence.  Don’t let it being “just a bridge” fool you.  They don’t call it the “highest half in Texas” for nothing.  Going up this a second time is tough.  Going up it a second time, after being sick all night and having about 6oz of fluid the whole race was insane.  Yeah, it’s hard going up it, but the real pounding came for me going down it. My knees were in agony. I had to walk much of the down hill as it was just too painful and my knees kept giving out. Had never had knee pain at all during my training so this surprised me.

All  the way down I kept saying “You are almost there. You are almost to the finish” over and over in my head, but I had no idea.  I thought we would exit the causeway and head straight around the block to the finish.  Not.

They cruelly (haha) have you zig zag up and down the downtown Corpus streets, and at every turn you think you are heading to the home front, and then they zig you back down another endless street.  I was DONE at this point and started walking.  Knees were killing me from the causeway, and I was in new territory mileage wise.  The most I had done in training was 10 miles a few weeks prior to the race.  I was a  + 10 virgin and my legs were screaming.

Rounding the last corner i saw the home stretch. I also saw my husband and kids waiting for me.  It was easy to see them as I was in the hind pack on this run and the crowd had moved on to the post race awards and food.  My kids ran with me the final few meters.

I crossed that finish line in 2:54:01.  Terrible time, but I will take it.  I was just grateful to make it to the start after the night I had, and to be quite honest have no idea where I got the mojo to run 13.1 miles with the stomach flu.  No idea at all.  Walking to my car that morning was a huge effort, and by noon had run my 1st 1/2 marathon.

Post race I got in my car and made a beeline to home and my bed, where I allowed myself to then be sick. Was down for 3 days.  The evening of the race and the morning after, my legs were shot. Could not eat, and lost 6 lbs and never saw it again.

You would think that would discourage me.  I mean, with the exception of watching the sunrise on the bay from the top of the world, it was an evil sufferfest for me.  When I felt better, I promptly got online, found the hardest duathlon I could find and signed up for it.

I had 5 months to train for it.  My bike was gathering dust in the garage and the seat had not made contact with my rear end in 2.5 years.  Bring it on.

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Base

In June of 1988 I started, with nothing short of blind determination, to run.  I was living in Hollywood, Florida, and decided that my body was in dire need of a tune up.  I was dating, long distance, a man who was very into triathlons, and I wanted very much to get into shape so that I could participate with him.

I began by running around the block.  In the stifling Florida heat this was more than enough for someone who had never run without someone chasing her.  I gradually added another city block, and by mid July, was running a mile.  I worked nights at a condo complex in Miami, so I ran when I got home in the a.m..  Eventually I added an evening run to this schedule as a way to wake up prior to going in to work, giving me a mile in the a.m., and a mile in the p.m..

By the time I moved back to Galveston, Texas in early August, my runs had toned me up, and prepared me for engaging actively with Billy in his love of all things running, biking and swimming.

I gradually increased my runs to 3 miles, and by summer of 1991, had competed in my first triathlon.

It took me 3 years to really establish a solid, strong running base.  This was consistent, daily exercise.  Running was all I did until Fall of 1989.  I added swimming in the Fall, and was riding a road bike consistently by May of 1990.    My day was insane…….biking 30k at lunch, followed by a run, with swimming 1000 m after work.

Swim= 5000k/week

Run= 25-35miles/week

Bike= 120-150miles/week.

We raced sailboats on the weekend as well.

I was also just a young girl in my 20’s, no kids and a husband who was as much into punishing his body as I was mine.

Fast forward 20 years.  I have been pregnant 9 times since then…4 resulting in live births.  Family time is importante, and I don’t have the time to train like that anymore.  Cross training these days involves a surf board 1-3x each week and my bike is gathering dust in the garage.  This may change when my youngest starts school in August.  Life will be very different with all 4 kids in school, so no telling what the future may hold for me and my bike.

For the time being, I run.  I try to go 6 days a week.  This week I put in approx 21 miles.  Not bad.  I believe that is the beginning of a solid base.  I can see the changes in my body…changes that only happen when I run.  My bikini straps no longer dig into my back. Ditto bra straps…no overhanging fat rolls.  It is solid now.  I am losing my “wings” under my biceps.  I have hip bones again!  My legs have definition and my calves are solid. It is like a sculpter is chipping away at the years, creating curves, definition and the me I used to be…..some gray hairs, and wrinkles added.

I am building my base.  These things take time.  That is the one thing that I have learned over the years:  things do not have to happen overnight.  You have to have a solid foundation to build things on, or they will fall away.  Brick by brick I build it.

Each mile is the next brick.  I need a bunch of bricks, baby.

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5

I had a friend once who used to see me running on his drive home each day.  I used to run on Galveston’s Seawall almost every day, so if you knew me, you could spot me (neon pink or neon lime green full split running shorts were in style, so I was easy to spot).  Back then, Galveston was still small town, so everyone knew everyone and the Seawall was like the local city park.

One weekend at a sailboat race, I saw him and he said to me:   “Jody!  I saw you running yesterday and you were looking good………..up until the point where you raised your hand, plugged one nostril and blew a stream of gunk out of your nose.  Then I was thinking you needed a rag or kleenix or something girlie!”

I am really organic when I run.  I don’t care who is watching, or what they see.  I am lost in my world, and present in the moment.  A triathlon friend taught me the snot release trick while riding a long bike ride one weekend, and for me and my allergies, it was pure genius.  I tend to get something called exercise induced vaso-rhinitis, which basically means that I am allergic to exercise.  ;*)  Really, what it means is the veins in my nose swell and cause excess secretion of mucous from my glands while I exercise, so you had better not run too close behind me.

Today my runny nose and I did 5 miles.   I did not start out the day intending to do this.  It just felt good, so I decided at mile 2 to do at least 4, maybe 5.  It was hot, but not stiffling.

I didn’t time myself as it was all about the distance.

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The anti-training schedule

I don’t follow a training schedule.

For me, schedules are really hard to follow.  I did print one for a  1/2 marathon last week, and then promptly shoved it under a pile of papers on the kitchen island.  It might be still there, but I wouldn’t know.  Like I said…I have a problem with schedules.

I  always just follow my body signals when it comes to running.  If my knees ache a bit, I back off my miles.  When I feel strong, I add them.  I tend to run 6 days a week at present.  Resting has always been hard for me, even though I KNOW my body needs it.  The schedule I printed said to rest 3 days a week.  I am not sure how can you increase endurance and mileage only training 4 days/week?  If I took off 3 days like that, I can guarantee I wouldn’t be able to finish 13.1 miles this October.  I probably would end up not even doing the race.   I am one that is distracted easily, therefore I have to dive into a project 100% to make it happen.   I have to get immersed in it.  Maybe just a bit obsessed.  Okay, maybe a lot obsessed, but who doesn’t when they are doing something they enjoy?

At present, I am running 3 miles/day, and my longest run has been 4.2 miles.  Today my legs were tired, so I cut back and had a nice short, 2 mile run.

I will stick to this mileage for another week or two, then add a mile to each day.  This will be daily 4 miles runs, resting as needed, and extending my long run to 5 miles.  I will see how my body handles this before adding anymore.  This is the key.  I do not have the body of a 24 yo anymore and have no desire for injury.

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