Category Archives: 5k

Sam’s Squad 5k race recap

If you’ve been following this blog for a while (or know me in “real life”), you know that I am not what I’d consider a “natural” runner. What I mean by that is that the sport (hobby? past time?) does not come easily to me, and that I am fighting against genetics and proclivity on each and every run. I did not run as a child or teenager, with the exception of a brief stint as a defensive back on my high school field hockey team for one season, after which I “suggested” to my coach that perhaps I would be better suited to the goalie position, which just happened to involve much less running.

She agreed. I’m pretty sure it pained her to watch me attempt to run almost as much as it hurt me.

This is all to say that when I enthusiastically signed up for the Sam’s Squad 5k charity run, a leadership project organized by one of our seniors to support the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, I had no idea that he was modeling it after a cross-country workout. When I met with him for his conference for the senior program that I run, I cheerily asked, “So fill me in, where is the route?”, imagining that it would span the local roads around our school.

He began, “Okay, so we’re going to start on the track. Then we’re going to go back in the fields by the community college, loop around there, then come back on the track, then loop on the fields over by the basketball courts, then run along the fence by the playground, then back by the baseball field, then loop again, then finish on the track.”

I blinked a few times. “So…so…it’s not..on…road?”

Him, “Oh no. Only a little bit.”

Me, “So…I’m guessing I won’t get a PR at this 5k, is what you’re saying.”

Him, “Um, well, probably not.”  #understatement

Did I ever imagine I would find myself running a cross-country practice/meet simulation at the age of 43? No, no I did not. But still, I was excited to come support a student endeavor and run with members of our community.

The weather was perfect, overcast and relatively cool for Dallas in mid-October. It was by far the most relaxed race I’ve ever been to, more like how I imagine a group training run put on by a running club would go (not that I would know, since I can barely muster the energy to run, never mind simultaneously extrovert). There wasn’t a clear start time, rather we mulled about chatting until bibs had been picked up, and then my student grabbed a megaphone and called out “Okay, let’s head to the track now!”.

We all (48 registered 5k runners) gathered on the track behind the starting/finishing line, and then he counted us down and we were off. We did a 1/2 loop on the track, then exited through a gate to hit the fields behind the community college campus. Student volunteers were posted at various points along the route to direct us where to go, which for me, was simultaneously fun (since they all know me and cheered me on) and disconcerting (since they all know me and cheered me on). A few senior boys commandeered a golf cart and played “Eye of the Tiger” on full blast as we made our way past them.

While in some places we were clearly running on an oft-used path (well worn dirt trail), in others, we were *literally* running through knee high grass. The New England native in me found myself obsessing on the possibility of ticks, and I kept fighting the temptation to high step to try to avoid touching the grass.

As I exited the community college fields to rejoin the track, I glanced at my Garmin, sure that I had run at least 1 mile. I was already tired, but without mile markers or a familiar route, couldn’t gauge the distance.

Clearly, since according to my watch, I had run exactly .55 miles. Oh dear. Those grass and hills were no joke.

Fortunately, the next section involved some track/parking lot/school drive running, and I was able to get into my normal rhythm for a bit, until I had to turn back on the grass to loop around the school grounds.

I hate running on grass.

As I looped back on the track to begin my 2nd school grounds circuit, I passed my husband and all the other non-runner supporters, who cheered. I looked at him and groaned as I passed.  He ran cross country in high school, so the “off-road” running was familiar to him. He laughed.

I disliked him tremendously at that moment on both counts.

I ran out of gas at exactly 2.1 miles (I know, because I looked at my watch thinking “welp, there goes that sub-10 minute pace I was keeping”). I run-walked the last mile, half-disappointed in myself, but mostly thinking how much I could never do cross country because running on anything other than a treadmill or asphalt makes a normally challenging activity, damn near excruciating.

I finished in 31:46, which all things considered, is okay for my first, and last, cross country run.

Most importantly, over $10,000 was raised for a very worthwhile and important cause, so huge props to my senior who worked hard to put together this race!



A tale of two races

It was the best of 5ks, it was the worst of 10ks…

Three weeks ago*, I ran in the Tour des Fleurs 10k. I was not overly enthusiastic about this race, having just finished my ridiculous summer runstreak, and my legs were still not feeling recovered. I decided to approach it as less a “race” and more a really pretty 6 mile run.  

The race begins and ends in the Arboretum, and follows along White Rock Lake, so the location is ideal.

Unfortunately, the “cold” front we were supposed to get overnight never came in, so it was a humid 80 degrees at 8am when the race got underway.

This race was probably my weirdest race to date. Despite not feeling emotionally or physically prepared for the race, I actually felt pretty good throughout the entire 10k. Although I gave myself permission to walk/run if I needed to, I realized around mile 4 (when I still felt fairly comfortable) that I was going to be able to run the entire thing. I didn’t feel like I was running particularly fast, but neither did I feel like I was slogging along. I felt steady, and somewhat strong, and far better than I thought would feel.

And apparently far better than I actually performed, because I finished in 1:06:58, which is both my worst 10k (granted, of only 3) to date, and close to my average half marathon pace (10:40 min/mile).

Oh well. I still got a medal and a hat.   

Don’t I look like I’m running fast?

Two weeks ago**, my family attended our 9th (!) Heroes for Children 5k.  To be honest, we were all a little cranky about this, since 1. it’s getting harder and harder to get teenagers to voluntarily rise early on a Saturday  morning and 2. we were all up late the night before due to our drumline cymbal player’s football game.

The line “it could be worse, you could have cancer, get OUT OF BED WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE” may have been uttered.

You can see the enthusiasm oozing out of them.   

I actually didn’t decide if I was even going to race it until the drive over, when we discussed our family plan. I was planning on staying back with my daughter, until all 3 kids decided they wanted to “see how long they could stick to mom’s pace.”  Okay, then, guess mom is racing it.

To say I was not in a PR mindset is an understatement.

We all began together. Fairly quickly, my daughter (and husband, who for the 2nd year in a row did stepdude duty with our youngest and stuck with her) fell behind me.  The 15 year old stuck with me for about a half a mile, when I heard him say just over my shoulder “Well, considering I’m running AS FAST AS I CAN to keep up with you, I don’t think this is my race.”  I didn’t see any of them again until the finish line.

And then there were two. (the 13yr old and me)

For the first mile, he had trouble staying with me because he wanted to run ahead. We had discussed this before the race (after last year, when he disappeared during the first mile, then I passed him, then he finished over 8 min behind me), so he spent the first mile running a body length or two ahead of me, glancing over his shoulder, then slowing down.

The second mile, he started panting. He stayed beside me, but I could tell he was starting to tire. I periodically patted his back, told him he could do it, and updated him on our progress (we’re halfway through the 2nd mile, Sam! We’re almost done with the second mile! One mile left!).

Somewhere around mile 2.25, he spied the upcoming water station. He told me he needed to stop for water. I glanced at my watch.

Oh dear.

I asked him if he was okay catching up to me if he stopped and I kept running. He nodded. I glanced at my watch again, and did some quick math.

I kept running.

I know. I chose a PR pace over stopping with my kid. #badmom  In my defense, I really did think he would be able to catch right up to me once he caught his breath.

I came in at 29:10, almost 45 seconds faster than my May 5k PR. That put me 5th in my age group, and 41st out of all females in the race.

My 13yr old? I missed his finish, because he came cruising in just 30 seconds behind me (I hadn’t even turned around yet…still walking and getting water). He beat his time from last year by 9 minutes. I told him that I was sorry I didn’t stop with him, but I could tell I was on a great pace. He put his arm around me and said “That’s okay, Mom. If you’re running fast, you gotta keep going. I almost caught you!” (he had me in his sights the entire time and was trying desperately to catch up).

My 11year old? Came in at 34:20, which was 11 minutes faster than last year. She rocked the run. I did capture her finish.

And the 15 year old? 41:34, still 2 minutes faster than last year. And he decided if he couldn’t finish quickly, he would finish with style.

* and ** I began this blog post two weeks ago, before running the 5k. After the 5k passed,  I decided to condense the races in 1 post. Then more weeks went by. This whole “job” business is really messing with my life.

Head for the Cure 5k race recap

I had very low expectations for this 5k.

For one, I haven’t been feeling the running lately.

For another, I celebrated my dear friend Amy’s birthday last night with a group of friends. I had the best of intentions as we headed to their house.  I’m an adult. I can socialize with a group of friends and still be a responsible athlete, right?

This is a rough timeline of the sequence of decision-making:

6:30pm: Arrive at Amy’s house. Decline her husband’s offer of a cocktail and responsibly choose a La Croix (sparkling water), instead.

7:15pm: Agree to one cocktail while declining the less-healthy mozzarella sticks and loading up on the (fairly healthy) pasta dish that I brought.

9:15pm: Accept a slice of birthday cake.

9:38pm: Realizing that a reasonable bed-time for my early wake-up alarm was not going to happen (given the raucous game of Cards Against Humanity), accept a second cocktail.

You get the idea.

So, that is to say, that when I arrived at the race event shortly after 7am, I had made peace with the strong likelihood that my 2015 goal of breaking 30 minutes for a 5k was probably not in the near future.

Regardless, it was wonderful to see my dear friend Tyra Damm, fearless leader of our team.


David Brooks wrote about people who radiate an inner light. Those who seem deeply good, and make the world a better place, and us better people for knowing them. My friend Tyra is like that. I have said more than one time that I want to be Tyra when I grow up.

She lost her husband Steve to brain cancer over 5 years ago, right as we became friends. Somehow, someway, she is warm, and caring, and full of grace, despite her loss.  I think the world of her.

Team Damm does, too.


So, really, I wasn’t too worried about not breaking 30 minutes this morning. Actually, I was feeling pretty lucky and happy, having spent the evening laughing-until-I-cried with some of my dearest friends, and then beginning my Mother’s Day weekend with a run honoring my friend’s husband.


The run did not feel good. I did not feel strong, or fast, or particularly in shape. Before I even completed one mile, my mouth had that cotton-dehydration feeling (#thanksTrey), and my stomach was not amused. As I approached the final curve before the 3 mile marker, with the finish line commotion growing louder, I thought I might be sick.

But I also saw on my Garmin that I was close.

I pushed.



Turns out? It was a pretty good race.

(Overdue) running update

I’m pretty sure I began my last post saying I was overdue with blogging…

Life is crazy busy. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking “yeah, right” when moms with older kids would tell me that life only gets more hectic as they get older, because how could it possibly be more hectic than when I had 3 kids under 5? But it is. Less sleep deprived, less physically exhausting for sure (I really don’t believe I could have done all this running with the life I had 10 years ago), but even more hectic and overscheduled.

With that said, I am deep in the throes of half training again, and am going to try to get back to my weekly updates.

My family ran the Heroes for Children 5k on Saturday, Sept 27th and had a great time. I still didn’t officially break the 30min barrier (so close!) but did nab my second best time (30:33) and placed 4th in my age group! More importantly, and awesomely, my 3 kids ran it for the first time ever. I’m so proud of them!


My daughter’s BFF even came out to support the cause.


My sweet husband hung back to run with the kids so that I could actually “race”, so I was able to catch all their finishes on Vine.

After initially being upset because she finished “last” in the family, and convinced she did just terribly, my daughter perked up when she saw that she officially placed 11th out of 23 in her division, and now wants to do another 5k with me, but “train” this time. While I am overjoyed at her enthusiasm, and even went out and bought her a new pair of running shoes to train in (which I’m suspicious may have been the impetus for this endeavor to begin with…), we’ll see if it all comes together. She’s worried about the every other weekend at Dad’s house impacting her training. Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, I have two half marathons on the books: Dec 14th’s Dallas MetroPCS and March 14th’s Rock n Roll in Washington DC.  The training is going pretty well, actually. My last two long runs, of 11 and 12 miles, were solid. I ran the entire time, had negative splits for my 11 mile, and very consistent splits on my 12 mile run. I’m up to 24-26 miles per week and climbing, so I’m on target!

Would love to PR on one of these upcoming races, and feel pretty confident that I can.

Saturday stats 3/29/14 – one week, one day to #13.1!



Last week’s miles18.3

This week’s miles: 21.1

Weight: 129.5   BMI: 19.1

Fitbit steps 3/22 – 3/28: 87, 038


  • Sunday: 10 miles, average pace per mile – 11:08.  I rocked this run on the treadmill at the gym. I have no idea how I did that.
  • Monday: 1.71 miles, average pace per mile – 15:46. Evening walk around the neighborhood as recovery from long Sun run.
  • Tuesday: 3.50 miles, average pace per mile – 11:30. Pre-dawn run before very long day at work.
  • Wednesday: 2.63 miles, average pace per mile – 11:06. Windy, post-work run outside.
  • Saturday: 3.31 miles, average pace per mile – 10:53. Early pre-sunrise run outside before heading downtown to participate in the Walk for Wishes 5k with my daughter and her Girl Scout troop.

(not included in the official tally, but additional 3.1 miles walked today after my early morning run.)

Diet: I’m eating really healthy, consciously hydrating, and have felt really good. I’m currently planning out what I want to eat next Friday and Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s half marathon. Nothing of note to report!

General notes: After Sunday’s 10 miles on the treadmill, it feels really weird to know that my next long run is the race! I feel a bit antsy this weekend without dreading my long run (my training program has me only doing 5 miles tomorrow, which, weirdly enough, does not seem like much of a run to me anymore!).  At this point, I just really want it to be roughly 10:30 am next Sunday so that I don’t have to think about it anymore.

This morning my daughter and I headed downtown to participate in the Walk for Wishes 5k with her Girl Scout troop. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, and we had a great time. I always mandate encourage my kids to get involved in some form of exercise, and I love 5k walks that also raise their awareness about charitable causes.

My favorite moment? Hearing my daughter loudly declare to her friends, as they were complaining about being tired somewhere around the 2.5 mile mark, “Can you believe my Mom is running THIRTEEN miles next weekend?”

That’s thirteen point one, kid.

The Girl Scouts



They were the top school fundraising team!



Best way to spend a morning – walking with my girl.


Dash Down Greenville – 5k report

Dash Down Greenville 5K

I was looking for something fun to do this spring break. Thanks to a January jaunt to Mexico, we didn’t have any money to travel (the kids are with their father on even year spring breaks), and I wanted to plan something to break up the monotony of grading research papers and cleaning the house.

The fact that my brainstorm for this endeavor was registering for a 5k shows just how warped dedicated I have become.

The Dash Down Greenville 5k is (apparently) a popular Dallas tradition, although this 5 year “newbie” to Dallas is still oblivious to Big D culture. When my best friend asked if I was going to be staying for the parade after the race, my (serious) response was “what parade?” (at which point she laughed at me. Because, again, apparently everyone knows about this parade).

I don’t get out much.

I convinced my husband to sign up with me (this WAS our “fun spring break activity” after all).  While he’s incredibly fit, he hasn’t done much running since his collegiate soccer heydays, so I heard a lot of moaning and groaning about having to run, and being out of shape, and not being able to keep up with me.*

Running the 5k was actually a little tricky when it came to my half training; I moved my weekend long run up to Thursday, took a rest day on Friday, and hoped my legs would be fresh enough to nab me a decent time after so many consecutive miles the previous 7 days.

Ready the night before:


There were a LOT of people there – over 6,000 runners registered. The Austin Turkey Trot had over 20,000 people, so relatively speaking, this was nowhere near that mayhem, but 1. the turkey trot  was spread across an open Austin area (not a Central Market parking lot) and 2. that was a 5 mile race for runners.

This was more of a “green fashion statement, don’t get sweaty because it’s a long day of parade watching and beer swilling, hey, let’s have fun!” kind of race. Which would be awesome except I really wanted to see if I could break 30 minutes for the first time ever and GET OUT OF MY WAY PEOPLE.

Yes, even you, adorable girl in a green tutu.


I really did not know how to run this race, to be honest. The last time I ran a 5k was in September for my annual Heroes for Children 5k, and I ran a PR of 32:13. I know I can run faster than that, but I’m so used to pacing for 8, 9 and 10 mile runs – I genuinely had no idea how to push myself, but leave myself enough gas to finish strong.

The matter was out of my hands for the first 3/4 of a mile or so. The crowds were so thick (and I’m not experienced enough to dodge and weave well, which apparently, my husband remembered from cross country 20 years ago because he was GONE), that when my 1/2 mile Runkeeper pacing program told me I was only at an 11:10 pace, I cursed out loud.

Now I didn’t know how fast to run and had to make up time. Well…crap.

Also, my left hamstring began complaining about 2 minutes into the run. I chalk it up to running a ridiculous (for me) number of miles this week, but I’ve never run with a muscle hurting before, so that was new.

As the crowds thinned out a bit, I cautiously began speeding up. And speeding up. And speeding up. I wasn’t tired! I wasn’t out of breath! But wait, do I have enough for another mile and a half? Now it’s only a mile left. HOW FAST SHOULD I GO?!

I’m still figuring out this “racing” thing.

I know I didn’t go as fast as I could have, because I easily sprinted (as much as I could with other runners surrounding me) the last .25 mile or so.

My splits:

  1. Mile 1: 10:29
  2. Mile 2: 9:26
  3. Mile 3: 9:18
  4. Last .09: 7:52 min/mile pace

I finished feeling great. Runkeeper got me at 29:58, but my “official” time is 30:06 (in my  mind, I’m still claiming a sub-30 min 5k). When I checked the results later in the day, I was stunned to find that I placed 55 out of 271 for my age group (and I’m only in the age group for another 4 months, so I’m one of the oldest).

I’m interested to see what my next 5k race time will be, now that I know I can definitely run 3 miles in under a 10 min/mile pace. I never thought I would be running enough where I have to figure out strategies for 5k vs 10k vs  half marathon pacing.

*oh and the whining, out of running shape, husband? Smoked me by 2 minutes, finishing in an official 27:58. That’s with no training at all. It’s a good thing he’s cute.