Houston Half Marathon 1:30:57 – Race Recap


I have to say 2018 is off to a great start as far as racing goes. My first official race of the year was the Houston Half Marathon. I was really excited to run a new race course! Most of the races I’ve ran in the last year or so have been on courses I’ve previously ran, so there was an added excitement with this race. I have a marathon in 6 weeks, so this half was going to be a good indicator of my fitness.

I didn’t want to get overly nervous or anxious about this race, and I actually wasn’t even sure If I was going to be able to run it because my husband had a business trip planned. I went into the race just viewing it as another training run so that I could keep my pre race nerves in check.

I definitely had a goal to PR which meant running sub 1:33. But I really knew I could get closer to 1:31.

Race Day : Sunday January 14th, 2018

4:15 am:  Wake up time!

4:30 am: Breakfast – English muffin with PB and 1/4 banana

5:00 am: Out the door to drive to the race

6:00 am: arrive at race – the awesome perk of this race is athletes and family can all hang out INSIDE the convention center before, during, and after the race! This year the weather was especially cold, 34ish degrees at the start, so being able to stay warm before the race was amazing.

6:15 am: Pre race warm up run – about 2.5 miles – Also each coral had multiple ports potties and no one was outside in the corals yet so I took the perfect opportunity to make a stop!

6:50 am: walk to coral – I was in coral B, which was actually my only complaint with the race day. By the time I got to coral B it was so full of people I couldn’t walk any further than the 9:40 pace group! I started to panic and worry that I just sabotaged myself because of how far back I was going to start, and how much weaving I was going to have to do. In order to calm my panic, I reminded my self that I cannot control how far back I’m going to start,  and I just need to concentrate on what I can do once the race starts.

Time to strip down! It was so cold!! 

7:00 am: race start – but I actually didn’t cross the start line for another 8 mins…that is how far back I was!! Seriously no joke!


Miles 1-4 (7:20,7:06,6:59,7:00)

First mile was all about getting around people. There were times I would have to come to a complete stop because it was so packed and people would just slow down or stop right in front of me. I was a little concerned when I saw my first mile come thru at 7:20 because my goal average pace was 7:05. However, I wasn’t too concerned because I almost always start off slow in races, which is funny because a lot of people have the opposite problem. I steadily increased the pace, and when I saw a 6:59 mile I think I got a confidence boost and started thinking maybe sub 1:30 was possible. That goal was always in the back of my head even going into the race.

Miles 5-8 (6:53,6:44,6:49,6:49)

I was feeling pretty good thru these miles, as good as someone whose goal pace is 7:05 , but they are running sub 7 miles can feel. I was definitely pushing the limits, and knew that I could blow up badly at the end, but I also really wanted to get my PR and see just how big of a PR I could get. The bigger the risk the bigger the reward?!?!?!


Miles 9-12 (6:52,6:51,6:51,6:50)

This was the point where digging deep had to really start. I think miles 9 and 10 are the hardest during a half marathon because there are still enough miles left at this point to feel overwhelmed, and the mental toughness really comes into play. Once the last 5K mark comes there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I usually get a mental and physical boost.

The Last Mile (6:28) and .25 (5:45)

The fact that I had a really solid kick at the end shows that I may have been able to push it a little more during a few of the last miles, but overall I cannot complain or be disappointed with how this race went. I didn’t get the sub 1:30, but I am confident I have it in me.


I loved this course. I think it’s a super fast course for a half, and the full and half course is the same for the first 8 miles, and now I know at least part of the full marathon course. The Houston Marathon is definitely on my bucket list. I haven’t figured out my fall/winter schedule, but I would love to either run the half or full next Jan! So many amazing runners where at this race, but highlight was meeting an true inspiration of mine – Sara Ibbetson.

I got to meet Sara Ibbetson who is an inspiration to me 



What I ate Today – Thurs Jan. 25th

My first post of 2018! It’s been awhile! Life has been crazy with moving into a new home in December, then the holidays, and marathon training in full swing. With all the craziness my consistent healthy eating has been not so consistent and not so healthy. I have been uninspired and in a food rut the last month or so. Recently I heard about an app, called 8fit, which is a health and fitness app that generates workouts and meal plans based on your goals and preferences.  I primarily was mostly intrigued by the meal planning aspect so I figured I would give it a try. Having a weeks worth of meals generated for me saves both time and stress from having to decide what I’m going to eat each day. I’m not affiliated with the app in anyway, I just wanted to mention it since you will see below most of my meals are based from it! 

Breakfast 7:30 am

Post 6 mile run on the treadmill (fasted)

Whole grain cereal topped with yogurt and fruit 

Lunch 12:00 pm

Quesadilla with Feta and black beans

Snack 2:30 pm

Iced coffee and a Health Warrior bar 


Snack #2 4:30 pm

Cottage cheese with tomato – I added avocado and a splash of balsamic – balsamic was not a good decision tho, blah! 

Dinner 7:00 pm

Beef with rice and broccoli – so yum! Topped with a splash of Tamari (soy sauce)

These meals were super good and easy to make!  I will note I’m not tracking nutritional content, just trying to eat a balanced diet during marathon training.

What is your favorite meal you’ve eaten this week? Do you meal plan each week or just wing it day by day?


What I Ate Today -Day before Long Run

I thought it would be fun to do another “what I ate today” post. Tomorrow is my long run, 16 miles, so here is what I am eating the day before to prepare!

7:00 am Breakfast

Oatmeal with a spoonful of PB

 9:45 am Post 7 miler run 

Iced coffee with Vital Proteins collagen protein

11:30 am Lunch 

Mexican Bowl – using mostly leftovers

Rice, pinto beans, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, lettuce, dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard)

2:00 pm Snack 

while running errands


4:00 pm After-School snack 


7:00 pm Dinner 

(Left-overs)Tomato sauce with Bison and noodles topped with a little ricotta 

I love making big batches of food for leftovers during the week! What do you typically eat the day/night before a long run? 

Race Day Prep – 10 things to make race day exciting and successful

To compete – Latin – “to come together, to strive alongside another”

Race day can be so exciting yet it can cause so much anxiety and distress. It’s a day we all train for and talk about for week’s or months, but when it actually arrives we can have thoughts and feelings that are not so pleasant. The question of “why did I sign up for this race”  often arises. I tend to set race day expectations for myself, but as race day approaches I often start feeling self doubt about meeting those goals.  I’ve tried to set a routine leading up to race day to help calm those negative feelings, and also add back the excitement that racing should bring. I like to remind myself of the actual meaning of competition.  Race day is not about battling it out against everyone else on the course. Rather, it is a day that I get to go out and run with others, not against them. When I line up to race with my competitors, by giving their best effort, they will in turn bring out the best in me. When I give my best I will bring out the best in others. Competition is a positive thing not a negative, but I have to remind myself of this every once in awhile!

#1 Watch motivating videos / Listen to Podcasts / Read 

I often do all of these things almost every single day, however in the days leading up to a race I feel like I really load myself up on motivating material. Listening to podcasts, specifically one on a topic related to race day or a race recap I find very inspiring. I can almost envision myself in their shoes running that race or I try and gather helpful tips. I love watching YouTube videos or documentaries on running. The list of books on running and motivation is endless. I try to read a chapter a day or at least a few pages each night before bed.

#2 Pick your mantra

Having a race day mantra written on my arm or stuck in my mind is a helpful mental tool for when the race gets tough. This is a phrase I repeat over and over again in my head when it’s time to really dig deep. My last race I used the mantra “Champions never give up”. Such a simple sentence that had such a big impact. There were moments in the race when my legs felt so weak I thought I might fall right to the ground. But repeating this mantra gave me something to focus on other than my weak legs, and it helped me to keep pushing. Find a mantra that means something to you, and then use it in your next race to get you to that finish line.

#3 Be Lazy

In the final days before a race I try to be as lazy as possible. I want to really WANT to run on race day. I want to have that built up energy. No hard supplemental workouts, especially ones that will make my legs sore, and I try and leave a lot of the extra strenuous house cleaning duties for after the race! It’s hard as a runner to lay around , and not be productive but having the confidence to know that the work has been done is important.

#4 Paint my nails

I keep my nails unpainted for the most part between races, it’s just easier, saves me time and money. But I love to paint them the day before my race, not only is it calming and something to focus on other than running, but for some reason it adds an extra excitement to race day to have fun painted nails. Sounds pretty silly but it’s a routine I’ve started to really enjoy.

#5 Visualize your race day

The power of visualization is great. I spend some time leading up to a race visualizing my self running the course, and crossing the finish line strong, smiling, and a winner.  Will I actually win the race, no, but I will be a winner in my mind by having a strong race and meeting my personal goals.  I also visualize what I will do (take a gel, etc) at what points in the race. Having a positive image of yourself on race day, and in the race will help translate to a better race day.

#6 Run the course

If possible I always try to run the course or a portion of the course before the race. Mentally it helps me so much if I can picture the actual course in my mind, and I know what to expect thru out the race. In all my races I have done much better in terms of results when I’ve actually ran the course beforehand.

#7 Pick out your race outfit

This is such an exciting part of getting ready for race day. I like to pick out my outfit a day or two in advance. I lay it all out, maybe try it on one last time. It should be something I’ve worn before so no surprises. I also lay out all my race day essentials, shoes, socks, sports bra,  Nuun, gels, bib. When everything is laid out and ready it will make race morning much less stressful. Choose an outfit that makes you feel good, that you know you’re comfortable wearing, and you will feel even more confident race morning.

#8 Make-up

Race morning feels almost like getting ready for a day job. It’s proven you are more productive if you dress up rather than wear casual clothes to work. So race morning, I like to put on just a touch of make up – 5 mins tops. This is just an extension to having a good race outfit that makes you feel good and confident.

#9 Breakfast

I like to cut back on caffeine a few days before race day – we all know from my previous blog post that cutting it out for good is a no go for me. However a small cutback still helps me to really look forward to it on race day. I also have a breakfast that I eat on race morning but not too often any other days of the week. English muffin with PB and banana. This is almost like a treat for me, so it makes race morning extra exciting!! BTW- I know this meal works ok for me during a race. I would not recommend trying a new food routine on race morning.

#10 Remember why

When the race day nerves start to creep up and the self doubt comes on, I sit back and think about why I signed up for the race. I look back thru my training log and remind myself how far I’ve come. I set a few goals for the race, and most importantly remind myself that I am running my own race. I need to stay focused on myself, and what I am there to accomplish, and not get pulled into anyone else’s race/pace. This will help to ensure I have the best possible race I can have.

I hope everyone has a great racing season! Do you have any race day prep ideas that you would like share? Please leave a comment!!

Ten For Texas – 10 miler race recap

10 for texas

My second official Texas race is on the books. I had been looking forward to this race for a few months. Quite a few local runners had mentioned how they really liked it, and that it was a great course. I was feeling pretty excited to test my fitness because I hadn’t raced a distance longer than a 5k since my last marathon earlier this year in Feb. This was also going to be my first 10 mile distance race, and I was excited to see how this distance would feel.

The week leading up to race I was getting really excited, but the weather here in Texas is still very warm and humid so I was nervous, and having a lot of self doubt that I would be able to push myself in these types of conditions.  I have been struggling to hit paces in some of my workouts because of the weather so the self doubt was really doing a number on my mental game.

My diet stayed the same during the week of the race, but I did up my water intake, especially Wed, Thurs and Fri of the week. I wanted to make sure I was really hydrated since it was going to be humid race morning. I did try one new thing —- The coffee taper— have you heard of this? I first heard about it listening to a podcast with Neely Gracey.   This is where you eliminate coffee (all caffeine) 4-5 days before race day, and then when you have coffee or caffeine race morning your body will be super responsive to it. Well, I knew I could not do 4-5 days. I figured 2.5 days would be a good try for me. So Wed morning I  had a really small cup of coffee and then I didn’t have any caffeine after that…..well let’s just say by Thurs afternoon I had the biggest raging headache of my life. I ended up having to take an ibuprofen that night to go to bed, and I rarely ever take ibuprofen! Friday morning I woke up and ended up having a cup of coffee with my breakfast. Who am I kidding, I am not a pro athlete! Sometimes I like to pretend I am! HAHA but there is no money on the line come race day so life is too short for me not to enjoy my cup of coffee!

Friday – Day before Race

Breakfast :  English muffin with PB / coffee

Lunch :  Salad with Quinoa patty

Snack : Cocoa Almonds / Cashews

Dinner : Chicken enchiladas and a ton of chips and salsa

Epsom salt bath

Saturday – Race Day

5:30 am – Wake up time – Dressed and made an English muffin with PB and 1/2 a banana and coffee. Stomach was a bunch of nerves but managed to eat most of the breakfast.

6:30 am – Drive to the race with the family – Drank some of my NUUN with caffeine on the way.

7:00 am – Warm up run – Found an HEB (grocery store) on my warm up route and took a quick restroom pit stop.

7:20 am – Start line – Had a gel about 5 mins before the start.


7:30 am Race Start!! I was actually feeling pretty calm!

Mile 1-3 (7:22, 7:17, 7:26)

The first mile I felt was going to be so slow! I had gotten blocked in behind people at a few places, and that really slowed me down, however I think it was a good thing. It prevented me from going out way too fast in the beginning. The only time I checked my watch during the race was after the first mile. I really wanted to trust my body and run by feel.  The next two miles I was still feeling really relaxed, almost too easy, and I was worried I might be running too slow, but I kept telling myself there is still a lot of race to go and not to get too excited and speed up yet.

Mile 4-6 (7:23, 7:21,7:19)

I was still feeling really good during these miles. I remember thinking this feels a lot easier right now than some of my training runs I have done. I wondered if I wasn’t pushing enough, but I told myself I was going to wait until mile 5 to start kicking it up a notch. I also took a gel at mile 5! 

Mile 7-9 (7:12, 7:21, 7:16)

My goal for this race was to finish strong. I didn’t want to go out too fast and not have anything left for the last few miles. I was able to start picking up the pace a little bit around mile 5 and even more at mile 6. Mile 7 was one of my best miles, but then mile 8 I hit a wall. My legs turned to jello and I started to worry. I was thinking about how there were still a few more miles and I felt like I wasn’t going to make it. I kept repeating my mantra “champions never give up”. I also dialed in on the next female ahead and just concentrated on closing the gap. Suddenly my legs came back. Mile 9 I had a second wind.

The final Mile (7:11)


That second wind was short lived! This was a good mile but it was not easy. I started to see spots and all I could do was pray I would make it to the finish. There was only one female I could see ahead and I worked on catching her for the last few miles.  Just focusing on her really helped me to get to that finish line.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.22.04 PM

I have to say I really love Texas race events. They are well organized, fun, and a great social scene with lots of food and entertainment afterwards. One of my prize winning’s was an entry into next years race! Cannot wait to run this event again.

Do you have a favorite race that you love to run year after year? Would you try the coffee taper!?!?!?!

Recipe Wednesday ~ Energy Balls

It seems energy balls have become all the rage. You can even buy pre-packaged ones at the grocery store now. I have tried a few of the pre-made balls, and honestly they just don’t taste as good as the homemade ones. It’s definitely worth the 10 mins it takes to whip these guys up.  Here is my favorite recipe I think you will like just as much as I do!

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1 cup Natural Peanut Butter or Nut butter of your choice (I prefer Laura Scudder’s creamy)

2/3 cup honey

2 tsp Vanilla extract

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats ( I love Bob Red Mill)

2 cups unsweetened coconut (I prefer the big flakes rather than shredded – they give an added crunch to the balls) Coconut Flakes I Use

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter, honey, & vanilla until smooth. Add in oats & coconut. Lastly, add in chocolate chips. Roll into balls (an ice-cream scoop works well) – I like to vary the size I make so I have a few different size portions to choose from when I need a snack) Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm. I store mine in a container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Have you tried energy balls? I would love to know what ingredients are your favorite!



The Daily Stretch

The Tools 

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Yoga Mat / Foam Roller / Hand Held Roller / Resistance Band 

These are the tools I use each day after my run. A yoga mat is essential for me to do exercises and foam rolling on hard wood floors. I also like having a mat to take with me in the car in case I want to do my stretching outside, a towel works great too!! The Trigger Point foam roller is my favorite because it’s small size. It is perfect for traveling because it is hallow on the inside you can put items in it which saves space. I use the foam roller primarily for my IT bands, this is an area I’ve had trouble with in the past. I also roll out my hamstrings, glutes and calves. I also love the handheld roller by Trigger Point, I can take it with me in the car, or use it while sitting on the couch or in bed!! I can really dig into knots and smaller areas with this roller. I use it on my quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and shins.  Resistance bands work well to stretch out my hamstrings, and I use the bands for other cross training exercises.

The Routine 

When I first started working with my running coach he sent me the Mrytl Routine, and suggested I do it after each run. I have been doing this series of exercises after each of my runs for over a year now. Click the link below to watch the exercises performed.


Mrytl Routine:

  • Clam Shells x 10 each leg
  • Leg Raises (neutral x 4, toe in x 4, toe out x 4)  each leg
  • Donkey Kicks x 10 each leg
  • Donkey Whips x 5 each leg
  • Fire Hydrant x 10 each leg
  • Knee Circles forward x10 backward x 10 each leg

Standing Exercises (Mrytl)

  • Hurdle leg forward x10 backward x10 each leg
  • lateral leg swing x10 each leg
  • Linear straight leg swing x 10 each leg
  • Linear bent leg swing x 10 each leg

Additional exercises I do each day: 

{I often do other exercises such as squats, lunges, etc but not on a daily basis}

  • Push-ups 60-70 total in sets of 15 or 20
  • Butterfly crunches 50 total
  • Butterfly sit ups 20 total
  • Plank

I keep my routine consistent which makes it quick and easy. It’s so easy to skip out on stretching, foam rolling and strength exercises, but I’ve found these are just as important as running. Sometimes I have to get creative to fit everything into the day. I’ll do my push ups or a few squats while the shower is heating up. Sometimes I’ll foam roll during the commercials of a tv show, or I’ll take my hand held roller in the car and use it while waiting in the after school pick up line.

Have you heard of the mrtyl routine?  What is your post-run stretching routing?