Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

Quick update: I'm in Denver, Colorado for a conference this week. Spent a lot of time walking/standing/being all professional & stuff. I did get a chance to go run outside, though, but not on the day that it SNOWED here... I dig the cold weather and all, but no, thanks, to the snow. Especially since I melted at the lake on Saturday in a tank & shorts.

But, before I get back to the airport and head home to prepare for my next ultra (YAY!!), I wanted to share this little pic of the creek where I did a short 3-miler on Tuesday. There are way cooler places to run in Denver & surrounding areas for sure, but without a car and with limited time on my hands, this did pretty nicely!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Things Friday

  1. Things are a little discombobulated around here lately. Neither my body nor my mind has recovered from Grasslands Marathon last weekend. It was a very fun day, but ultimately was more physically draining than I expected it to be. Not sure why. I felt strong all day, and I walked as much as I did only by conscious decision. I have tried to run a couple of times this week and made it no further than the end of my block each time. Last night I didn't even bother getting dressed to try. It is a frustrating feeling, to want to run, to feel like I should, but not really have the self-drive to actually get it done. But there is a lot of stuff going on here at Casa de Skatemom, a lot of stuff that isn't easy to deal with, and I need to focus on my family for a while, so I am not going to stress over one more thing like missing a run or two during what should be a "recovery" week. Or three even. Just keep the Oreos away from me, please. 
  2. I have a long run with some of my girls scheduled on Saturday. We return to the Lake for a 20-miler. Wheee. I love that I can pound out a 20-miler at any time without giving too much thought to preparing for it except that I need to know where we'll be meeting. And how hot it will be. Because it's always hot at the Lake
  3. I leave town on Sunday morning for a few days in Denver for a work conference. I love Denver. I worked there, in Boulder, and in Springs for nearly a year back in my traveling days. I love running down the Cherry Creek path off downtown. I plan to do as much of that as I can next week - shouldn't be difficult since I have an "extra" hour in the mornings and I am staying right off the path. Can't wait!! One last chance to wear my long-sleeved tops since it is way too late to wear them here in Texas.
  4. Hells Yeah Hills is next weekend. I will come home from Denver, dump out the suitcase, re-pack the duffel bag and then hit the road to Smithville for my second 50K. WOOT!  I will be running side-by-side with my buddy Julie this time, helping her through her first ultra-marathon. I am also looking for a little redemption from Banderawesome and gunning for a new 50K PR. Plus, there better be bluebonnets, dammit. I signed up because there is an incredible photo of bluebonnets on the website. If I don't see bluebonnets, I'm gonna be pissed. Just sayin'... 
  5. I am Marathon Maniac #3621. About damn time. Go here, if you're so inclined, and see my profile. Pretty groovy, huh? I am really excited to have finally reached this goal, but I also think that it may have exacerbated the post-marathon blues I am going through right now. I went through this after NYC, where I was in a "Now what?" kind of mood and didn't really know what comes next. I'm hoping a little run through the woods next week will help resolve that. And leveling up in Maniacs after I finish my next three races will definitely help, too!! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sandlands 2011

I finished. It wasn't pretty. I started off slowly and got slower. It was hot. It was windy. There was sand. Lots of sand. Imagine the beach, but without the breezes and salty air. But still, this may be my favorite marathon ever. Because after two false starts last year, I finally qualified for Marathon Maniacs. FINALLY.
That thought really kept me moving and smiling in the last hot miles of this race, and I enjoyed every hot sandy step, believe it or not.

The day started really early with a 4:05 wake-up call.  I didn't get much sleep the night before because it was my husband's birthday, and we had celebrated with a pizza and movie night and I had stayed up longer than I should have. Then I kept waking up, certain that I had overslept the alarm. When it was finally time to get up for real, I was dragging a bit, but made it out the door with only one hiccup when I couldn't find my knee brace. Thankfully I was able to dodge into the 24-hour Walgreen's down the street and pick up a replacement. I was still able to get to the race site in plenty of time. It was great to pull into my parking spot & immediately see my buddy Greg pull up next to me, so we were able to hang out & prepare for the morning together, heading over to get packets, get bibbed up and find our friends in the early darkness.

The 50-milers were starting first, so we looked for our friend Jeremy in his bright Salty Banana shirt. Wasn't hard to do, even in the non-light. Then we found Fawn and as we are standing there, Kevin shows up! So of course I had to grab a pic. Greg was in the picture too but he was blinded by the awesomeness of these 50-miler bad-a$$es & his eyes were closed - it's true - you can't really look at them head-on - there is too much Awesome!

Greg with the 50-milers Fawn, Jeremy & Kevin L.
Right at 7:00, they were on their way and it was time to head back to the start of the white loop for the marathon start. Libby was cool enough to come out  90 minutes before her race start and send us off on our way, and I was able to get a few pics of the marathon group. Some of us would have fast days today (GREG! 4:05! Wha?!) and some of us would just be glad to finish, but we were all ready. 

Libby came out to send us on our way before her FIRST ever trail run! Thanks!
Yay! These two are awesome in so many ways!
Yay! Found my TIR vanmate Elizabeth before the start, too!
I had arranged to meet up with an NTTR runner named Deborah before the race and we were going to run together for as long as we could, The plan was to run 12 minute miles. But right away, Deborah got in a groove and pulled in front of me. No worries - I was content to hang out in the back of the pack with Elizabeth and a crowd of 3 other runners that were on their first trail marathon as well as a father-son team. It ended up that we leap-frogged these two groups often throughout the race, sharing parts of the trail sometimes, falling behind them sometimes and jumping in front of them sometimes, just depending on how things were going.  It was fun to have them always nearby, and know that we were all in this together. I also know that I would probably catch up to Deborah later, as she expected to start off at 12-minute miles and slow down (I like that kind of strategy!!).

Right about that time, Sergio came up behind me & said hi! This was his first trail run, too, and he ran the whole thing with a camera strapped to his chest! What an awesome way to capture the sights and sounds of the trails! If I had done that, you could have seen the ground getting up close and personal when I bit it twice out there!! Go to YouTube and you can see the whole series of videos he's uploaded - there is one featuring me that is my favorite!! 

Once we got going and spread out, it was just a matter of getting comfortable and finding a nice pace and figuring out when to run and when to power-walk. Right away I knew I would run the flats & gentle descents and walk the uphills, but very soon it became apparent that I was going to have to walk the sandy sections too. There was so much deep sand that it was murder on the calves & achilles to try to run those parts. You just felt like you were mired.  

So that became the strategy - run when you could, power-walk through the sand and up the hills (have to say, there were not very many hills. Nothing at all like Banderawesome. Just gentle rollers now & again. Mostly, the toughest thing out there was the sand. Every now and again we'd come across a gate, and since there was usually nobody right in front of me or right behind me except Elizabeth, we'd have to be sure to close them. Not a problem, except that some of them were really high and I could barely reach the latches. Yes, I am that short. In those cases, it was easier for me to crawl under (duck under in some spots). Besides, I was already dirty by then, having taken a really nice header into very soft sand (whew! and avoided horse poop! double-whew!) somewhere between the first and second aid station. 

This is what happens when you get sand in the lens... Oops.

Thirsty? Tasty water w a side of grit! 
Like I said, the sand was soft, so I didn't get hurt, and I actually just kind of laughed while I sat there in the dirt. And I took some pictures, or tried to, with a sandy, gritty camera lens!! Time to get up, dust off and keep going! By the time I fell I was already sweating, so between having fallen on my face and then sitting in the dirt, I was a dirty cave-woman mess when I rolled into the second aid station. Thankfully, the great volunteers there just rinsed off my bottle tops for me and topped me off with both fuel & fluids and sent me on my way.

The middle miles were pretty unremarkable, except for the second fall into the sand (again avoiding the horse poop! whew!), and it was great to run into the main camp at the end of the white loop and find Greg T there manning the aid station. He set me up with fresh icy water, a fresh cold bottle of Heed and more snacks, then I headed out on the blue loop after quickly dumping out my shoes of the half-beach that had gathered there.

Dumping sand out of my shoes at camp, about halfway there.

Hi, Kevin! Kevin was done with 2 of his loopson 50M course by now. 
Shortly after heading out on the second loop, I met up with a Maniac runner who was actually walking much faster than I was running at that point! He was an older gentleman and had a shirt on indicating he had completed 50 States twice. Wow. I chatted with him for a while (as long as I could keep up with him!) for a couple of miles and he shared some great stories with me about the races he had done, his knee replacement surgery (!!) and just good trail tales.  Very soon after, who did I come across but Deborah! Yay! I knew I'd catch up to her! She was great company for the next stretch and really helped me by giving me tips about fueling and e-caps and such, and we just had a wonderful time getting to know each other and chatting. Sometimes we ran, sometimes we walked. It just depended on the terrain and how we were feeling. And whether we were being harassed by the cows!!

Deborah was a great middle-run partner! 
Right about mile 20, Deborah got a surge of energy and my knee decided it was going to make itself known. It wasn't hurting so much as I just wasn't comfortable with the replacement brace, so I let Deborah go on ahead and just decided to take my time and enjoy the rest of the ride.  About this time I also figured that I had a hard time with my ankles and thought it was the sand that had finally worn my ankles down. But I stopped to adjust my laces and realized that I just had tied them too tightly when I dumped out my shoes at the main camp! Duh! I ran/walked 7 miles with my shoes too tight! ha!!  Once I adjusted the laces, all was right and I could continue without any issues! 

It was hotter by now, but I had plenty of water in my bottles and had gotten ice added in at the last aid station so I was set for the last 10K. About this time I caught up with Ian and Alan, the son-father team I had been leapfrogging all race long. We spent a few miles walking together and talking about food, our favorite Thanksgiving desserts and our favorite post-race noshes.  Ian is in school at UNT and Alan comes down from St Louis every year to run this with them. They shared stories of last year's mudfest and just were really good company for this stretch. But soon enough, right past the mile 23 marker, they got a surge and kept going while I just kept to my own little pace, enjoying the walk and the trees and the sand. 

Pic of Alan & Ian on trail didn't come out but I got a great shot of them at finish, when I finally caught up to them!
OK, so maybe I wasn't enjoying the sand. But you know what I mean. I was having a good time. I know I had been going for while, but wasn't sure exactly how long because I didn't wear a watch. And while it was refreshing to not have to worry about my time or my pace, it was tricky to time my fueling and liquid intake. I was left to my own devices and had to drink when I was thirsty and eat when I was hungry. I do have to thank Deborah again for the e-caps, though. She gave me a couple and I took a couple at the last two aid stations, and this was the first race when I didn't have sausage-fingers at the end. And that was after even pretty intense heat and taking in about 100 oz of fluids throughout the day (both bottles were emptied and filled at least three times throughout the day, and there was only about half the bottle of Heed left at the finish).  So that is something that I know I've needed to work on and will continue to fine-tune in my longer races (Hello, Hells Yeah Hills!!). 

Oh, yeah!
A few minutes later, I was thrilled to pass the mile marker on the path that said there was only 2 miles left on the blue trail. WOOT! 2 miles was the length of the taper runs I'd been too lazy to run during the week!! About this time, I started to realize that my goal of becoming a Marathon Maniac was just minutes away. I would admit that I teared up a little, except that I don't cry at races anymore, right? So, no, maybe it was just sand in my eye... Yeah, that's it. Sand. The dang sand!!  I could tell I was close because the cars were going in and out of the campsite and I could hear them/see them on the road. And I could hear the activity at the finish line. I was almost there! Before I knew it, I came out of the path into the same clearing where I'd parked the car and saw the EBV there along with a few other cars. Close, close, close!!  Finally, the finish! WOOT! 

And who is there but some of the coolest folks around?  Yet again, I am reminded how lucky I am to have so many great friends when I see Greg, Michelle, Michelle K & her hubby Erik and Stacy M at the finish. They had completed their races HOURS before me but yet were hanging around to see me and other runners bring it in. How cool is that?  I was so thrilled!! It was the perfect way to end a wonderful experience. 

Every one of these people is filled with AWESOME!
So. There you go. #12 done. The Dirty Dozen completed. Marathon Maniacs intro level done. Great friends (with pringles!!) at the finish. Life is good. It was a great day! I can't wait to do it again next year! 

Sweaty, dirty and HAPPY!
Distance: 26.3 miles (give or take)
Time: 7 hrs, 15 minutes (give or take - I forgot to look at the clock!!)
Feeling when I crossed the line & qualified for Maniacs? AWESOME! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going Crazy

So, I have another marathon this weekend.  Yes, it's been just a couple of weeks since my last one, the vain attempt to come in under that elusive 5-hour finish time. And now it's time to try again. Except that this time, I have different goals. This weekend is the NTTR Grasslands Marathon, out in Decatur, and my only goal is to finish upright and smiling.

It's a trail marathon, so I know it's going to be a little bit slower than a road marathon, and therefore I am not putting any pressure on myself to finish in a set time. I am just going to go out, enjoy the trail, and cross that line with a smile on my face.

Oh, and yeah, when I cross that finish line? I will have FINALLY qualified for Marathon Maniacs. After trying TWICE and failing to reach that goal in 2010, I will have attained it with this, my third marathon in less than 90 days.  But I'm not going to stop there.  With Hells Hills, Oklahoma and now the Minneapolis Marathon scheduled in June, I am going to qualify for the Silver Level. But I can guarantee you as soon as official results are posted, I will be signing up for Maniacs to get my number and order my bright yellow singlet! It's been a long time coming, and I am going to enjoy it!

So I completely plan to enjoy every step out there,  even if it hot and dusty like it's supposed to be on the forecast. I plan to hike the uphills, careen the downhills and pretty much just savor the day and savor the accomplishment that has been so long in coming.  One thing about not reaching your goal the first time you try for it is that it makes you appreciate it that much more when you finally get there. See you on the trails!!

Edited to add:  Nearly forgot!!  There are going to be a TON of awesome people out there doing the half, full and 50-miler, so we are going to pretty much just have a party.  I just have a little more to celebrate once I get to the finish!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reflections on TIR

So it's been a couple of days since we got home from this crazy three-day adventure that was Texas Independence Relay. I didn't really know what I was getting into except that I would be running about 20 miles over two days.  Considering I've been working on doubling up long runs on weekends (with varying degrees of success) and hitting about 25-26 miles total on weekends, I knew I could do the mileage.  But the other factors, like sitting in the van in between legs, not sleeping like usual, and not necessarily being able to refuel as I would normally, were unknowns.

Downtown square in Flatonia, where I started my first leg.
Libby did a great job of dividing up the legs according to the rules, which dictated that no runner on the team could run more than one leg more than any other runner.  We were short one teammate, so we had only 11 runners for the 40 legs, which meant that 7 of us had four legs and 4 had three legs to run. We each totaled between 15 and 21 miles, just depending on our different legs. My assignments and recap for each leg, along with the description from the interactive course map, were as follows: 

Leg 10 is the first of 2 legs that are nearly perfect 10Ks.  Flatonia itself is very flat (which makes you question if it really was named for a guy named Flato).  Because this leg is always gradually rising and descending, and because it will likely be run in the afternoon, this leg is tougher than it looks via the elevation profile.

Yep - this was hard. It was nearly 2:00 pm when I started, and while the morning was blustery and cold, by that time it was hot and windy. Although I have to say that I was lucky that I was running mostly east by then, so I didn't have to go directly into the wind and instead had it at my side cooling me off.  I got passed by two speedy runners early on, but I also set my sights on a runner in front of me in an orange shirt and was bound and determined to catch him if possible. I have to say that I was very glad that as the leg went on, past farmhouses and country roads and open pastures, I started to feel stronger and stronger.  Remember, this is the first run I had done since Cowtown, so I wasn't sure what I had in the legs. I was very pleased that the legs were in good shape and I was able to keep to a perfect 10:00/mile pace for the whole route, even with the rolling inclines.  I was especially glad to not only pass the guy in orange with about a mile to go, but also that another runner was NOT able to pass me.  His team kept passing us in their van, and at one point they stopped and yelled at him, "You BETTER pass that tutu!!"  And I could feel him on my back for the last couple of miles but he wasn't able to pass me. I love the pic of Libby and his team waiting at transition, with his teammate yelling at him to turn it up. And I pulled it out and didn't get road-killed by him. Ha!! Tutu power!!!

Total Miles: 6.17 miles
Total Time: 1:01:42
Pace: 10:00

Guy in blue on left was screaming at his teammate to pass the tutu!! ha!
Leg 20 - Welcome back to civilization (for a second)!  This leg shoots through downtown Eagle Lake, with the exchange on Eagle Lake's far east side. Eagle Lake is known for its abundant wildlife.  Keep your eyes open for any "animals" that may have stayed up late to come out and see you.  Can your team negative-split the race?  Ha - we doubt it!

After our afternoon leg, we caught up with the other van at exchange 13, where I was able to meet up with my friend Cassie, who was volunteering at the exchange, as well as chat with our teammates coming off their "rest" period.  Then we had a chance to have a relaxed dinner and wait for our night-time legs.  My start time was 11:03, so we definitely needed our headlamps, blinky light and reflector for the country roads I was on for most of the route.  We also had the benefit of blinky rings provided by one of our teammates, so we were able to pick out our teammates among the other runners in the dark.

From a performance standpoint, I had a headache earlier in the day from the heat on the first leg, and had tried to rest before this segment, but really wasn't able to do much more than lie quietly for a while upright in the drivers' seat of the van. So I wasn't feeling my best before I started, but once I got going, I felt pretty good.  It was very cool to be out at that time of the evening, especially in the wide open countryside.  You could see the stars above, and hear strange noises in the brush along the road (CHUPA??).  There wasn't a lot of traffic besides the vans supporting the other runners, but even those were few and far in between. At the end of the leg, I got caught and passed by a runner right before we turned into the relay exchange, so I got road-killed, but overall, I was happy with how I was able to maintain a 10:28 pace in the dark, especially when I wasn't feeling 100 percent. Toward the end, after I went through a deserted Eagle Lake downtown and was so close to the bright light at the transition, I was only thinking of the shower and bed waiting for us in Sealy!!

Total Miles: 4.57 miles
Total Time: 47:50
Pace: 10:28

Leg 29 - After exchange 28, you'll perhaps be returning to a more familiar early Sunday morning run. This leg employs curvy sidewalks that run along a golf course, past suburban communities, and across a few commercial intersections.  This is the shortest leg.

This leg started in front of Luke's Locker, and I was looking forward to a nice easy little shake-out. The two hours in the hotel bed had been glorious but all too short. We had been back on the active van since about 4:00 AM, so even though it was only about 6:30 when I took off, I had been up for a while!! The scenery here was pretty good, running through nice neighborhoods and in the near-dawn light. Temps were nice, and I ran far enough to get loose but not so far that a breakfast taco provided by the Luke's Locker aid station revived me at the end.

Total Miles: 2.3 miles
Total Time: 23.42
Pace: 10:18

After this leg, I crawled into the back of the van for a nap. It was about the most glorious 45 minutes of my life!! We had a little bit of a scare as our runner Elizabeth was about 20 minutes late coming into transition for our last leg before our next rest period, and she was in that section where we couldn't drive the course. Turns out she had a couple of vomiting episodes early on in her leg and was feeling pretty miserable, but still managed to run it out and finish strongly. I can't even imagine. What a beast! The good news is that she had three legs on Saturday so she was done for the day after that and had a chance to rest for good once she completed that awful leg. Our next runner was in full park areas where we couldn't shadow her at all, so we had a chance to hit a Starbucks and get real food in the form of their yummy oatmeal.  That and the breakfast taco really set me up fuel-wise for the rest of the day.

When we retrieved our last runner from the Bayou and turned over to the other van, we had a nice little rest period before our last segments of the race. We had time to park the van and relax, as well as hit Whataburger for Shannon and CVS for me to get some tape for my right knee.  Two days of running and being in the cramped van were taking a toll and the knee was definitely making it's presence  known.  We met up with the other van in  Memorial Park and had a chance for more partial team pics before we took over for our final legs.

Our van in downtown waiting on Libby to finish her Captain's Leg.

Leg 38 - This one may feel longer than 6.45m.  Not only is it near the end, but it also has the most turns of any leg as it navigates through Pasadena.*

Dang, this one was hard. It was hot. No, really, HOT. I had eaten pretty well earlier in the day, and knew I had to fuel before this leg, but I was also conscious of the fact that I don't typically run at 2:00 in the afternoon, so it was going to be tricky. I ended up having a Clif Crunch bar (thanks, Shannon, for being Snack Mom & getting all the goodies for us!!) that was just the right amount of fuel. I decided to bring my Camelback as I had on my previous legs, except the 2 miler, so that I could have my hands free.  I had written down directions on a little piece of paper, as the maps had warned there were a lot of turns - I wanted to be sure I didn't miss a turn and get lost!! Turns out I didn't really need them, as there were well-placed cones along the way. But it was also way too hot to have my Camelback on, as I just started to sweat on my back the minute I took off. The van was waiting for me about every 1.5 miles along the route, since we didn't need to get another runner ready, and that was wonderful.  I ended up handing them my Camelback and instead going with a hand-held Powerade bottle that was refilled with ice-cold water every time I saw them. That was wonderful!!

There I go! This was the most scenic this leg got... 
I knew I was going to be slower on this leg than on previous, and I had set my interval timer for 9 minutes, so I would walk and drink at each interval.  That helped to ensure I drank regularly, but it didn't keep me from developing a side stitch about 4 miles in. Boo. It was just tough to balance drinking enough to stay hydrated in the heat and direct sunlight with drinking too much and getting sloshy. What the interval timer helped with was the mental part, though, as I could tell myself that I only had 3 more intervals before I was done, only 2 more, only 1 more.  Having that many turns was helpful too, as the last 3 miles were broken up into shorter segments and it mentally helped it go quickly.  It was so great to turn the corner before the exchange and see both vans and all my teammates cheering on the side of the road. So much fun to have all the girls there AND to be DONE!!

Total Miles: 5.99 miles
Total Time: 1:05:08
Pace: 10:52

Coming into the exchange for the last time.
This was the only shade for MILES!!
After this, it was time to head to one last transition point, where I got to see my friend Cassie again (yay for volunteers!!) and then finally on to the San Jacinto monument, 203 miles away from the starting line we'd left 36 hours in Gonzales.  What an amazing ride. So much fun! 

A few more observations, some of which may mean nothing to you if you weren't in the van: 
  • Some words sound exactly alike if your mouth is full of Pringles. 
  • Oreos rock. Black, white, whatever. Can't be beat. 
  • Blue snuggies are appropriate for any establishment at 7:00 am. 
  • As are pink tutus. 
  • You get an awful lot of attention while wearing pink tutus. Especially to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
  • Somewhere on the internet is a photo of me and Elaine with a white-tuxedoed Mullet with his hands under our tutus.... Yeah, I know. 
  • There was another team with tutus on. They also had leg-warmers on. I think our boas were cooler. They were faster than we were. Whatever, we rocked!
  • Tagging vans is fun. It was way cool to pull into a parking lot and see that most of the vans already had little pink wigs on the back windows. 
  • I hope nobody needed to rent a white 15-passenger van in Texas last week. They were all accounted for. 
  • I hope nobody needed to rent a white 15-passenger van in Texas this week. They were all funky from having stinky runners stuffed into them for 2 days straight.
  • The medal is about the coolest thing I've seen - a small-scale replica of the San Jacinto Monument. Heavy, too!! 
  • How have I lived my whole life as a card-carrying Texan and never been to the San Jacinto Monument before now? For shame. 
  • Small Texas towns, with their central town squares and railroad tracks and such? Pretty much rock my world. I love Texas!!

So there you go. If it sounds like fun, that's because it was.  If it sounds exhausting, that's because it was. I may still not be recovered from the sleep deprivation!! If it sounds like something you think would be cool to do, let me know.  We are going to try to get two teams together for next year - a women's only team and a co-ed team. More fun for everyone. Serious fun. Join us!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Texas Independence Relay, Day 2

Didn't really take a lot of pics overnight because I find the flash incredibly annoying, plus by then, we were really tired. After our evening legs, in which Shannon tripped and scraped her knees, I got chased by Chupacabra (not really, but it sure felt like it - spooky out there at night!!!) and we all were on the edge of punchy, we got  little bit of a break by heading to the hotel in Sealy for a shower and 2 hour nap. Then, it was time to drive back up to the course and meet up with the van so they could have their break. By daybreak, it was time to pick up the camera again and start Day 2 in earnest!

Elaine rocking the blue Snuggie AND the tutu at Starbucks. 
Met up with our teammates at this transition point for their next legs.

Shannon coming off her third leg. 

We were not the only ones with wigs!

Van 1 at Memorial Park. Libby was ready for the Captain's Leg.

Waiting for our runner, sporting the pink!

Fun to have whole team together for a bit again.

Partial team pic in Memorial Park. Libby had taken off by now.

Downtown Houston

Keeping tally: roadkills, animals, dog chases and TUTUS!

Shannon ready for her last !

Libby bringing it in on her last lap!

Elaine wore her tutu the ENTIRE time! and her tiara was firmly stuck in her hair, too!

Almost done, Shannon, keep it up!

Had to sport my Texas pride for my last leg. 

Our last transition - we are ALMOST there!!

We have arrived!!!

The Other Tutu team! Cute, but we had boas!! 

Our final approach to the monument.

Come and Take It! Mad-Dames Ran It Out!!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Texas Independence Relay, Day 1

The Mad-Dames at the start of the 2011 Texas Independence Relay.
Wow. What an experience! I had never done a relay race like this before, and I enjoyed every minute. I am exhausted beyond belief, not so much from the running (total of 20 miles) but more from the lack of sleep and driving home four hours last night after it was said and done.  But I would do this again in a heartbeat. Some highlights and pics (I took more than 500 total over the weekend - may have gotten carried away! but there was lots to see!!) for you today.  I'll have a more detailed recap later, but for now, a few pics & tidbits to tide you over!

Van #1...wait,Van #2... we never did figure it out.
My van full of relay runners. Great gals & wonderful friends.
The all-important pre-race dinner at Chili's.
Tutu production started in the van & continued in the hotel room Friday night.
Yes, I wore a pink tutu. and a pink boa. and witness the return of the pink knee socks!

These flags on the route marked the relay exchange points.

Very cool race shirt. Will probably debut it at Grasslands.
Shoe pic! Otherwise known as burning time while waiting for our runner to come in.

Partial team pic - Kylee had taken off for her chilly morning run.

So fun to run into other Dallas runners! Hi, Erin!

It's our turn to run!! Elizabeth is so excited!!
That's what I like about Texas! 
The wind wreaked havoc with Elizabeth's tutu!
Elaine waiting for the hand-off. Still very windy!

Fixin' to Run It Out Mad-Dames' style!
Waiting for me at the relay exchange. The blue team was egging on their runner to pass me. He didn't. =)
The map showed where we were on the route midday Saturday.
Team Captain Libby looking strong after 6 miles. This lady has a 13-week old baby!! 
Shannon always looked fabulous, even after a hot leg through Schulenberg.

Great to see my friend Cassie manning the exchange in Weimar.
So fun to see friends on the course!

Yeah, you know what this caption should say... 
Met up with our other van at Weimar after their lunch break.
We attracted some attention with the tutus wherever we went!
Got to meet Twitter runner @HannahKatTaylor at start of our first night leg.
Gotta love being connected through Twitter!

Wow. That's a lot of pictures! And that was just Day One!!  More later - gotta catch up on some sleep now!!