Saturday, March 29, 2014

Austin Day 1

In mid-March I traveled to Austin, Texas for a conference.  Mr. Shoe wasn't able to join me, so I didn't run in any races and Texas remains on our to-do list.  While I was there I was able to fit in a couple of runs on my own.  Mr. Shoe reported that it rained most of the time I was gone, so he didn't get much running done while I was gone.  

It was so amazing to run in the sunshine and it served as a nice reminder that not all runs are cold and miserable.  The never ending winter has been beginning to make running feel like a chore and I do not like feeling that way about running.  My two Austin runs were very laid back runs.  No worrying about pace or distance, just enjoying the moment and seeing the sights.  It was perfect. 

I snapped a few pictures while running around the city.  Unfortunately I haven't quite mastered photography while running, so the pictures aren't perfect.  Hopefully you'll enjoy them anyway! 

This fire station is where the founder of the Engine 2 diet used to work.  I don't follow this diet, but I am a vegetarian and I do enjoy some of their packaged foods, which have this building pictured on the packaging!
Fountain and clock tower on the campus of University of Texas at Austin.  This is what kept me from getting lost while running as I could see this tower from my hotel window.  So as long as I could make my way back to the tower, I could make my way back to the hotel.
Apparently Austin is part of hill country and was full of hills and stairs.  So I guess I got a bit of speed work in on my otherwise easy runs.
View from campus looking toward the capital building.  My second run went through the capital area, so more pictures of it are on the way!
Selfie at the gym with green shorts in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Later I celebrated with a green Fireman's #4 beer.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


The first state that Mr. Shoe and I crossed off the list was Hawaii.  I officially became Mrs. Shoe the first weekend in November.  Exactly one week later we were running our first race together in Hawaii. We ran the Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run, held on November 9, 2013 on the island of Kauai.

Mr. and Mrs. Shoe
My training leading up to this race was basically nonexistent.  I spent most of the summer pushing myself through a half marathon training plan that culminated in a half marathon PR in mid-September.  In the six weeks that followed that race I found myself engrossed with wedding planning while hard core training was set aside.  I definitely was still running during this time, I never would have made it through without running, but speed work and long runs often got set aside.  Mr. Shoe's training during this time suffered as well.  A bad crash on his dirt bike left him unable to run for a couple months.  

In spite of our lack of training, I was still confident that I would be able to put down a solid race.  We arrived in Hawaii the day before the race and went from the airport directly to packet pick-up.  The race was early the next morning, so I made sure all of my race gear was ready to go that night.  This turned out to be completely unnecessary since I ended up waking up hours early.  Oh right, jet lag.  I kind of forgot about the five hour time difference.

Race swag.

I ate my normal pre-race breakfast, a Clif bar, and then Mr. Shoe drove us to the race.  The start and finish for the race was at a small park.  By the time we got there, parking was at a premium.  Once Mr. Shoe managed to find a parking spot, I started stretching and warming up. The weather was quite a bit warmer than November in Michigan, but it wasn't unbearably hot.

I lined up near the front of the pack.  I knew I wasn't going to win the women's overall, but I was hoping that there was an age group award with my name on it.  A very light rain started about the time the race started.  It felt very refreshing.

The first mile went by quickly.  Maybe even too quickly.  That pace might have worked over the summer, but would I be able to hold it after a solid month of slacking off?  The second mile started with a turn directly into the sun.  We also left the paved course for about a half mile of trail; this was not something I was expecting, but I managed to do okay navigating the mud and puddles.  After the half mile of dirt, the course hopped back on the road and turned back toward the start/finish line. 

At what I imagined was the two mile mark I took a peak a my watch.  Yep, I was definitely falling off my pace.  The rain had stopped awhile ago and the humidity was making it difficult to breathe.  Suddenly I was being passed by quite a few runners.  I panicked for a second, and then decided that it was probably the 10k racers who started 30 minutes before the 5k.  My pace hadn't fallen quite that much.

I picked a runner in front of me and just focused on matching her pace. After what felt like a million hill climbs, I rounded a corner and was able to see the finish line.  I kicked as hard as I could, but, honestly, it probably wasn't that great of a kick.  My official time was 24:23.  I missed my dream goal of setting a new PR, but was happy with a sub 25 finish (my second tier goal).

I took a few minutes to stretch and to grab something to drink.  Then I started looking for Mr. Shoe. He told me his goal was sub 30.  But after months of virtually no training, I didn't think that was going to be obtainable.  The 29 minute mark was quickly approaching and I still couldn't see him.  Then finally he came around the corner.  If he really pushed hard, he was going to make his goal.  I ran out to meet him and was yelling at him to push and that he could do it.  He apparently did not hear any of my motivational yelling as he had headphones in, but somehow he did it and crossed the line with just seconds to spare.

After cooling down and stretching, we headed back to the little park for the post race breakfast and awards ceremony.  The breakfast was quite amazing: fresh pineapple and melon, some sort of tropical juice, and hot breakfast burritos (there was even a vegetarian burrito for me!).  Luckily there was a big pavilion in the park because before the awards ceremony could get started, the rain really started coming down. 

Second place!

I ended up taking second place in the 20-29 age group.  I missed out on first by a mere 5 seconds.  This was a bit of a disappointing discovery, if only I had pushed a little harder!  But I quickly let it go, I wasn't going to let a little thing like that put a damper on my honeymoon.  It was very exciting to hear the race director call out "Heather Shoe" instead of my maiden name! I'm so glad I thought about that small detail back when I registered for the race.  

After collecting my ribbon and congratulating the first place winner, we headed back to our hotel.  I love that we were able to start our honeymoon doing something that I love.  As it would turn out, our honeymoon was going to end with a run too, we just didn't know it yet.  But that is a story for a different post!

Only 49 states to go!

Monday, March 10, 2014


The last few months of training have been brutal.  Subfreezing temperatures, snow, and ice have made me want to stay inside and hibernate.  I've missed quite a few training runs due to the never ending winter.  It has felt like a daily struggle just to find the motivation to go for a run.  And then, once I get outside, almost every run has felt difficult and slow.  Just one week ago it was a mere 15 degrees Farenheit with windchill dropping the temperature below zero.  I could hardly eat my gel because it was mostly solid.

Today finally felt like spring.  The sun was shining and the snow was melting.  It was 45 degrees out; 30 degrees warmer than the week before! I couldn't resist going out for a short run, even though I had just logged 10 miles the day before.  I also couldn't resist the opportunity to wear shorts!

Shorts and snow
I felt a little silly (and cold) when the wind kicked up right when we walked outside, but after a few minutes I was all warmed up.  A few minutes after that I was wondering why I thought an Under Armour Cold Gear shirt was a good idea.  I was so warm!

Mr. Shoe and I only ran about 2 miles.  I wish we could have stayed out longer, but my legs were just not up for it.  The forecast is calling for more snow and freezing rain this week, so I am glad we were able to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts. 

Race recap for Hawaii coming up next!  For reals this time!