Monday, April 16, 2012

A year later....

When I started running a little over a year I didn't ever really think that I would be sitting here and writing about being a marathon runner. I thought if there was any chance of me running 13.1 miles that I would have accomplished more than my body and my mind could ever dream of. This weekend I learned  a lot about myself and what I am capable of accomplishing.

My marathon weekend started on Thursday afternoon when I went to pick up my race packet at the Run On! Store here in San Antonio. It was all very surreal walking into the store and picking up one of the race numbers for the marathon. I still haven't quite convinced my own brain that I am a real runner. When I go into running stores and to races, I keep waiting for someone to ask me if I'm lost! That aside, the folks at the store did in fact believe that I had signed up for the correct race and did give me a beautiful blue bib for the marathon.

College Friends!
On Friday, I decked myself out in the race tee and my 26.2 Sweaty Band  ready to conquer the day. I checked my email at lunch on Friday to find an email from the race organizers regarding potential inclement weather. (Let the freak out begin!) I spent most of Friday afternoon obsessing over the weather and imagining a tornado dropping down and chasing me on the race course. Luckily, I had a fun distraction that evening as we celebrated Doug's birthday by heading downtown.

Ready to Go!
Saturday morning, we woke up and packed the car and headed off to Dallas. We had a great time seeing the Sweeny's and Wolf's from our LifeHouse group in Lubbock. In pre-marathon tradition, we feasted on pasta at Maggiano's with Cynthia, Greg, Jessica, Matt, Courtney, Kasey, and Michael. There were lots of laughs, tasty food, and good times had by all. After dinner we headed over to Pokey O's for delicious ice cream sandwiches. It was time to head for bed after topping off my carb tank. I was definitely feeling tired and anxious since the weather wasn't really looking all that much better. When we got back to Kasey and Michael's I laid out all my race day gear climbed into bed, set the alarm for 5:40 and fell asleep pretty quickly.

4:30-7:30 am: I had no trouble falling asleep but when I woke up at 4:30am there was definitely no going back to sleep. My emotions ranged from excited to terrified. I did my best to fall back asleep, but ended up just getting out of bed and getting ready by about 5:30 because it seemed pointless to lie there. I ate some oatmeal, drank a bottle of water, watched the weather which had been downgraded just to rain rather than thunderstorms, and by 6:20 we were out the door and on the way to Fair Park. We got there fairly easily, though Cory had to employ some daredevil driving techniques for us not to get stuck at a train crossing and then cut in front of several people in a fairly sizable line to get into the parking lot. We may have gotten a few dirty looks and choice words from other drivers, but I think it was probably worth it for Cory to not have to deal with my nerves in the enclosed space of the car while we waited for a train or in a long line. When we got parked, we headed for the porta-potties where I saw something I had never seen before at a race--- NO LINES! Then it was time to stretch get a few pics at the start line and get ready to go. I lined up with the 4:20 pace group hoping that I would be able to hang with them. And then the gun went off...

Miles 0-5: EVERTHING I have read about marathons say the biggest mistake people make is to start too fast so I made a concerted effort to not get ahead of myself early. I got out ahead of the 4:20 group and settled into a comfortable 9:15 pace. I could even see the 4:00 pace group ahead of me during this whole stretch. Cory popped up about mile 3 and I was feeling great. The humidity was pretty thick as it had been raining just before the race started, but my legs felt good; it wasn't too crowded like other races; and once we got out of the park, there was plenty to look at. Around mile 4, we got onto the path around White Rock Lake which was pretty cool--- only bad thing here was the bridge that bounces up and down. I was pretty much all smiles during these 1st few miles!

Here it comes...
Miles 5-10: Cory was my own personal paparazzo during the miles around the lake and  I felt really good. This is where I got my first glimpse of the incoming front and knew the rain was on its way. The sun was partially out and I was starting to get warm and my mindset at this point was at least the rain is going to feel AWESOME! The hardest portion of these miles was the ascent out of White Rock Lake into the neighborhoods. We had had some hills to this point, but this one was a doozie! Cory was at the top which gave me the boost I needed to power through into the next part. Around mile 10, I got my first gust of cool air-- the rain was near.

Mile 10-13.1:  These miles were WET. The first drops of rain felt really great and for the most part the rain didn't really bother me too much. The neighborhoods were were running through were really beautiful---but hilly. I was patting myself on the back for running through Olmos Park a couple of weeks ago and having faced hills that were bigger so that I wasn't completely deflated. Cory was at the halfway point and it was definitely a mental milestone in the race as I could switch from counting up to counting down.

Miles 13.1-17:  The rain continued here and I was really starting to feel the effects on my feet as my shoes and socks were pretty much saturated by this point. I did a fairly good job and getting through these miles. At around mile 15, I went through an aid station that had the usual drinks but had gummy bears as well. Gummy Bears have never tasted better in my LIFE! I was expecting to see Cory again around that time but he didn't pop up until the aid station in mile 17. I could tell that I was definitely slowing my pace from the 9:15 mark to around 9:30 at this point but with the exception of aid stations and fueling stops I was pretty much running all of it. I even had a few of those magical  running moments when you disconnect and float along for awhile.

Miles 17-21: For me, this was the most MENTALLY challenging part of the race as well has having one hell of a hill between mile 20 and 21. This was where the wetness in my feet started to take its toll. I also had slowed down to a 9:45 pace, but I just didn't see how I could go faster and still run a majority of the remaining part of the race. As I came into mile 20, I looked behind myself and saw the 4:20 pace team. I actually got mad at myself. It was then that I had to do a little pep talk for myself and remind myself that I had started with that team because it was a realistic place for me to finish the distance. After the monster hill at 21, I was angry and tired because the 4:20 pace group had just pulled ahead of me.

Miles 21-24: Just when I was about to continue my internal tirade, I heard a voice behind me that said "Come on let's finish with them". I looked to my left and a girl pulled up beside me. We started a conversation and by 21. 2 we were in front of the 4:20 group as the leader called out that we had 5 miles left! The girl who was next to me, whose name was Jaime, happened to be a teacher as well. We held a conversation and managed to keep each other going through the next 3 miles. At around mile 24, I had to take my last gel and get a drink at one of the aid stations which required me to walk. Jaime kept going and I never quite caught back up with her, but she was definitely a major blessing in those miles and kept me moving forward at a run.

Miles 24-26: At around 24.5, I was back with the 4:20 pace group and joined them for the rest of the race. Another girl, named Nicole,  who I had been close to for the entire race started a conversation and that took us through to the end. These were the most challenging miles PHYSICALLY. At this point, I could think of nothing but crossing the finish line. The rain had stopped but I was soaked, my feet were numb, but not numb enough and I could tell that something was going on with my toenails. For most of these miles I could see the Fair Grounds and the top of the building that the finish line was at. I can easily say that mile 25-26 was the longest mile I have run in my life as the end was so close!

Mile 26-26.2: All of this was run between the buildings at Fair Park and was agonizing as you couldn't see the finish line. Just before the finish line Cory was there snapping pictures and I caught a glimpse of the finish. Nicole and I took turns congratulating each other and crossed the finish line together.  I pretty much instantly had a medal around my neck and a finisher's cap in my hand and that was it. I am a marathoner for life. I didn't cry-- I was extremely excited and proud of myself. The first thing I said to Cory was "I DID IT"! Official Time: 4:18:06

Debrief: Training for and completing this race has been invaluable to me. I feel like if I could and did complete this race then I can pretty much do whatever it is I want in life. I really believe now  that no goal is insurmountable but  hard work, sacrifice, and determination are necessary ingredients in getting what you want. I don't have any other races planned in the near future, but I plan to maintain my running so that if I want to do a half that it isn't a big deal and to focus on cross-training. (And I still have to get my 26.2 sticker, but it will be making an appearance on my car in the near future!)

One Mile at a Time....

Monday, April 9, 2012


T minus 6 days and counting and I'm am definitely starting to get nervous and wonder what it is I've signed up for. In one of the marathoning books I've read, it suggests that you write a list of all the different things that make you nervous, scared, TERRIFIED about running the race and then to write down why those fears are ridiculous. It also suggests to write down what makes you excited. So here goes...

Things that make me nervous:

1. I won't be able to finish--
  •  Ridiculous because I have put in the time to train-- so I should be able to finish.
2. PAIN!
  •  A certain amount is expected-- as long as it's not injury pain it's ok!
3. Nutrition-- getting enough of the right kind of nutrition at the right time
  • Ridiculous because I've practiced fueling before and during almost all of my training runs and races to this point--I'll just pack some extra gels.
4.  It's going to be too hot and I'll dehydrate
  • Temps should be between the lows 60s and mid 70s for race time---I'll drink some extra water and there are 13 aid stations to provide me with water.
5. The last 6.2 miles
  • This will be the most challenging part--- but the finish line is at the end of these 6 miles.
6. Hills
  • Can't be worse than Austin or the "mountains" I climbed in Olmos Park a few weekends ago.
7. Neck/Shoulder Problems
  • My neck/Shoulders have been getting ridiculous knots in them the past couple of weeks-- luckily I have a great husband who'll give me massages and a just in case stash of muscle relaxers

Things that make me EXCITED
2.  Putting a 26.2 decal on my car-- don't typically like bumper stickers but might amend my rule for one of these.
3. Pasta party with Dallas friends on Saturday night.
4. Getting to run around White Rock Lake which is apparently pretty great.
5.   Completing a goal and getting to encourage other people to go for their goals-- be it running related or not.
6. Bragging rights-- I'll FOREVER be able to say that I completed a marathon.
7. The Guilt Free Meal after Marathon
8. Figuring out what will be next after crossing the finish line. 

"There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have."
One mile at a time...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Statesman Capitol 10K

Carb-loading for a 10K is different :)
After the 58 miles I ran during Spring Break, this was a welcome week in training. It was definitely hard to get back into the swing of things at school after having a week off, so I gave myself a little pre marathon break in training. (I don't think I'm technically supposed to do that, but I definitely needed it!)

Cory's carbs
We went to Austin to run the Capitol of Texas 10K (largest 10K in Texas) this weekend. Both Cory and I participated this time and it was fun to get to cheer Cory in at the end-- something he has done for me many times. The course was definitely challenging and I can now confirm after running the 3M Half and this race that all roads that lead to the capitol building are UPHILL. I had a pretty decent time of 54.27 with an 8:46 pace. It was hot, but fun. However, the heat definitely has me concerned about the marathon in a few weeks. ( I'll start praying for a cold front now.)

Here's a few pictures of the weekend.
Lining up

Matching bibs---almost!
Friends at the end!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kissing the Wall---

"Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not."  
 ~ George Sheehan

Yesterday, I rolled out of bed, laced up my running shoes, and packed my energy gel and went to the gym. I knew I could do it but whenever I run a new distance I get a little nervous. But, I did it. I ran 20 miles. The last five miles were not easy-- my feet hurt; I was distracted with the other things I had going on that day. But, I was mentally and physically strong enough to finish 20 miles on my own---on a treadmill. 
3.19.2011-Warrior Dash
This was me a year ago--- 
Visually, I pretty much look the same, but mentally and physically, I am completely different. This girl couldn't run a consecutive mile and wasn't entirely confident that she would ever be able to do it. This race is where my mindset changed and I became discontent with what I was willing to accept as my reality.  My change has been slow in some regards-- like those slow first miles-- but very quick in many others. If I can change my thinking and confidence and physical ability from where I was in this picture to where I am now-- then I am excited to see what growth will take place in the next year.  Running has made me so much stronger in so many ways. It has been a place for me to challenge myself-- but also challenge others.  It's an exciting time--- 

Also, I'm 4 weeks away from being a marathoner-- exciting, scary, crazy!

One mile at a time....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lessons Learned...

This has been an eventful week; full of highs and lows. As a family, we have had to cope with the loss of my brother's twin boys who were born yesterday at 23 weeks. We are brokenhearted and sad, but I am glad  I was able to be there to support my brother and his sweet wife. In the midst of this sad time, I am reminded about how much love is in my family and in the community of people that I am so privileged to be surrounded by-- and that ultimately, LOVE WINS.

In terms of running, I am running my longest week of mileage before the marathon-- 40 miles in 4 days ( which will include a 20 mile run on Saturday morning). Technically, I'm supposed to do this next week, but I figured that Spring Break would definitely give me the time to actually fit in a 10 mile run during the week and mentally prepare to run 20 miles (CRAZY) on the weekend. Running has served a dual purpose for me this week-- it has been a giant step forward towards my goal, but more importantly it has given me a still, quiet place to think, reflect, mourn, and to breathe.

As I've had many miles to run already (20 miles so far-- only 20 more to go!), I've been thinking alot about what I've learned my journey of about 500 miles over the past year. Here's what I've come up with so far...

1.) Don't get ahead of yourself-
  •  For me, I can't think about the cumulative distance that I am about to run. Yes, I set long term goals-- like I want to run a marathon. However, when it comes to lacing up my running shoes I really try not to think about how far I am going to run and to embrace my experience wherever I am in the run. By doing this, I am able to listen to my body and focus and appreciate exactly where I am. I can always appreciate how far I've gone when I have completed the distance--- but if I think about the distance before I often get distracted and spend my run focusing on everything but the moment I'm in.
2.) Food is Fuel-
  • I love to eat. I love to cook. The good news is that both these things can be reconciled into a runner's life. In fact, nutrition is essential in maximizing our performance as athletes. Sometimes I even get to eat while I'm running. It's really simple though, if you eat crap-- then your run will be crap. (I know this from experience-- and it's a hard lesson to learn- especially for those weekend long runs when making poor food or drink choices is easy on Friday or Saturday night) I can always tell an immediate difference how quickly I can settle into a run or conquer a new distance when I have done what I'm supposed to do in terms of nutrition. I think this is something I will continue to have to work on.
3.) Shoes really are a girl's best friend-
  • I've said it before, but your shoes are really the biggest tool and ally should  you decide that you want to be a runner. In a lifetime landmark, I officially wore out a pair of running shoes. I don't know that I have ever actually worn out ANY piece of sporting equipment to the point it had become obselete. A couple of weeks ago, I got to go shopping for new shoes. The sales lady looked at my old shoes and her comment was "Girlfriend, these shoes are DONE." I took a lot of pride in the fact that a pair of shoes I bought in OCTOBER were spent. ( The blue ones are old- green ones are new)

4) Running doesn't ever become "EASY"--
  • When I started running, it was HARD. I often wanted to quit because I was hot; I couldn't breathe; and the whole running thing was not getting easier even after sticking with it for awhile. But I kept going-- mostly because of pride and the fact that I had already mentioned to some people that I wanted to do a half. After being a runner now for about a year, I have come to the following conclusions:
    • The first mile is always hard because it is a about finding your rhythm.
    • Even when the process becomes less stressful on your body, running isn't ever easy. I believe it is more about your body becoming accustomed to being challenged and accepting the challenge more willingly.
    •  Just like life-- there will be good days and bad. Some races will have perfect conditions and on other days you'll wonder why you signed up and PAID to do this. 
5) Trust the training--
  • Since last July, I have raced a 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K,  and 2 Half Marathons--- I trained with intention for each one of those races. I set PRs at every single one (granted this most likely has alot to do with the fact that I am a very inexperienced runner-- and started as a pretty slow runner). When I made my training calendars for the half marathon and now for my marathon, I experienced alot of self-doubt about how I was going to conquer each distance-- whether it was a training run or a long run on the weekend.  But never fail, as each race approached I felt confident that I could complete each distance-- and I've yet to not be able to do something. Make time to plan ahead-- use a calendar or an app and celebrate each day that you cross of your list. 

6) It's important to share your story---
  • I've always been an introvert. One of my favorite things to tell people who think that I'm shy is that " I'm not shy--- I'm listening." I love hearing other people's stories, but I have always felt more comfortable listening to other people's stories or even telling other people's stories (History teacher here!) rather than sharing my own. I have read blogs, magazine articles, and entire books about running. This blog has been my outlet for sharing my journey. Alot of times I wonder who would want to listen or read as I blabber on about running, but then I get to look back at all the positive things people have told me about reading this blog or comments after seeing something about my runs on a facebook status. People have even told me that I inspire them. Sharing my story with other people has allowed me to grow my support team who have encouraged me; often at the perfect time.  What I hope people get from reading this is that each of us have a story and that your story, your journey, is important. Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adios February!

To be blunt-- February has sucked! I have been completely distracted with my schedule at work and as a result, I haven't been able to fully commit to my training schedule the past couple of weeks. In the midst of the chaos though, I have managed to squeeze in my long runs on the weekend. I am slowly but surely still moving closer towards my goal to complete a marathon on April 15.

Today I completed a 16 mile run. It took 2 hours and 40 minutes. It was hard.  My muscles are sore. But despite the challenges, I am very proud of my accomplishment. I have been able to get to a place while I'm running that I can completely relax and just run. I wasn't really sure that I could ever get to a place mentally where I could disconnect from all the other distractions in life and just be in a moment, but running provides that time for me. When I first started this journey, I was constantly distracted. I needed to change the music; I focused on every muscle twinge; temperature; and mostly my own self doubt about my ability to be "a runner".

In the midst of my distractions this month, I have missed the part of running that let me blow of steam and shake off the stress from the day and think about something other than my To-Do List. Especially the last couple of weeks, running has become something on my To-Do List rather than the escape it had come to be. I am hoping that now that some major events got checked off my list this weekend, I will start to look forward to that time at the beginning or end of the school day as a time of release rather than an obligation.

So I will start March with a fresh perspective and new energy. Here are some of the things I'm excited about in March
1)  My little brother is getting married!
2) Day Light Savings Time Ending--- Longer Days= more time for get outside and off the treadmill!
3) Spring Break
4) Capital of Texas 10K with Allison
5)  Running 20 miles--- this is both exciting and scary-- but it is the longest run prior to marathon! (and I'm only under this by 4 miles right now!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I've officially reached the end of my comfort zone...

This week was REALLY busy and the rest of the month is not looking like it will slow down. In the course of the week, I have managed to complete the longest week of training yet and possibly one of the hardest weeks of training since I started this whole running thing.

The week started out pretty strong with me getting out of bed at 5am on Monday to run my usual 3 miles-- EASY.  Tuesday held a before school meeting and a basketball game after school and a scheduled 7 miler-- couldn't fit in the run that day and planned for an after school run on Wednesday. I had a meeting for our Greece/Italy trip at 6:30 pm on Wednesday so I packed my running clothes and headed out to the greenway for my 7 miles in between the end of school and the meeting. It was hard and I didn't really enjoy myself much. On Thursday I rounded out the week with a 4 miler-- I had to stop midrun and stretch out my hamstrings --which annoys me. The light at the end of the tunnel was that Saturday was a step back on my long run and was only 10 miles AND I was going to get to run long with my friend Hope, who has a few marathons under her belt, and I knew a companion would help break the monotony of running long.

Yesterday, I got up early and stretched, ate a carb-tastic breakfast, and suited up for what I anticipated would be a much easier 10 miles than I had had in awhile. It was chilly, but not frigid by any means;
Mistake # 1--- thinking 10 miles could be easy after the whole week had sucked
Mistake # 2--- Wearing too many layers which resulted in fidgeting and stopping to remove gloves, and jacket
Mistake # 3--- Not being super diligent about stretching all week
The result was a HARD 10 miles-- even with a great companion---my mind going crazy the whole time. Here were a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind at some point:
  • If 10 miles is this hard how the HELL am I going to complete an additional 16.2 miles.
  • Ouch--- my butt hurts.
  • Why can't I feel my feet?
  • Maybe I need new shoes-- or socks---- or a miracle
  • Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • I wonder how gross I look with all this snot running down my face.
One of my friends from college, Cynthia, is  training for a half and is also keeping a blog to chronicle her journey.  Funny to think we both tried to run in college and did the Cowtown 5K together. We've both come a long way since then.  She posted today about her training week and based her blog around the the following quote,
"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you its going to be worth it."
It was something I needed to hear.   I know how good I felt when I finished the first 13.1--- and then ran sub 9 minute miles for 2nd  13.1 a few weeks ago-- all things I was convinced I was incapable of doing not very long ago.  I venture into new territory this week with a new mantra to repeat -- "life begins at the end of your comfort zone".  On Saturday, I'm running 15 miles-- I'm nervous about the mileage but I am going to do something that I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE. I'll be living beyond my comfort zone---easy; no BUT exciting; ABSOLUTELY

One mile at a time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Double Digit Weekends

Tired and hungry are two sensations that are beginning to become permanent fixtures in my life. From now until the weekend before the marathon I'll be covering anywhere from 10-20 miles on my weekend runs. Part of me is really proud of myself for going on this journey... the other part of me is thinking that I may have gone off the deep end!

I don't really have too much to report or any excellent insight to give into my running this week. I took a few days off after the half last week and got back on schedule by Wednesday.Yesterday we went to Houston for the "Energy for Life" walk for my sweet nephew Trace. The walk benefits and promotes mitochondrial disease research and awareness, a disease which Trace has been diagnosed with now for a couple of years.  I love getting to spend time with Trace; he reminds me to be appreciative of all the blessings in my life, that joy is possible in any situation, and that energy comes in more than one medium!

I'll leave you with a little runners humor that I discovered on I may have to print out a couple of these!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Like a Boss...

Chilly at the starting line
I ran my second 1/2 marathon today in Austin.  I mentioned on a previous post that my goal for this race was 1:59:59 and I am proud to report that I am now officially a sub 2 hour half marathoner. I finished today in 1:52:32 @ 8:47/mile. 

A few negatives: cold start, wish I'd eaten more that morning or maybe the night before so that I could have had a little more get up and go for the last 3 miles; uphill in the last half mile

Lots of positives: did ya see the time?!?!?!; Got to run a few miles with my cousin; Cory managed to find me three times on the course instead of the two we planned on; enjoying a blue cheese burger afterwards with ZERO guilt (this is always an excellent perk if you're trying to decide on whether or not you'd like to become a runner); only walked through a few aide stations!

Mile 6: Hot-- please take this!
Next challenge-- Capital of Texas 10K 3/25 (excited to see how fast I can do 6 miles) and Big D Texas Marathon ( right now doing today x2 seems like a large hurdle to jump with my short legs-- but 13.1 seemed that way not so  long ago)

Here's some pics from today! One mile at a time (or .25 mile at a time as was the case today for the last few miles!)---

Mile 7: It's blurry because I'm fast :)

Mile 13- Glad this isn't a close up--- it would not be pretty
Mile 13.1-- Thank you JESUS!  

Best husband ever!

Endorphines--- Yes Please!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Running Isn't Free....

All you need to be a runner is an open mind and the open road. One of the most appealing things about running is that technically it can be a "free" form of exercise--- unfortunately, this is mostly untrue. As a baby runner, it's true you can get a feel for what running is like if you just walk out the door and onto the road in your usual cross trainers and a cotton t-shirt. If you stick with running through those first grueling weeks and decide to add miles, I've found its a good idea to shell out some cash for some real deal running stuff (which also helps to convince your brain to actually believe that you are a runner)!

Here's my list of cool runners stuff that I've spent money on and actually use:
Brooks Ghost4- My Favorite

1) Shoes--- you need legit running shoes. I didn't realize that I was wearing the wrong shoe that was really worn out until I had been running for 3-4 months. Go to a specialty running store at the end of the day after you've run to get the best fit. They're going to get on the floor and watch you walk-- they'll make you run on a treadmill-- and you're going to try on a million different pairs of shoes. Embrace the experience! Shoes can fix some common aches and pains, so if it hurts when you run you might be in the wrong type or wrong size shoe. Prepare to spend $100---at least!

2) Socks-- While we are on the topic of feet, socks are really important, too. Cotton socks + Texas heat= Moisture= Blisters=Stinky Painful Feet. Buy some socks that are made with moisture wicking technical fabrics--NOT COTTON. My favorite brand is Swiftwick ($12/pair)
You can also get super cool looking compression socks that come up to your knees if you lower legs give you problems (like Shin Splints). These are pricey, but a lot of runners swear by them. Cory has a pair and says they do offer some relief.

CW-X Compression Tights
3. Clothing: Much like the socks, you need to get clothes that are made from technical fabrics. In the summer they pull away the sweat and in winter they help keep you warm. When it is hot outside, and in San Antonio that's most of the year, I like to dump water on my head while I'm running to help stay cool; if I'm wearing cotton then I'm going to be wearing damp heavy clothes for the remainder of the run. No good. There are a lot of options here from really cheap to really expensive. Do what works for you.
On a side note, ladies you should consider embracing spandex. It may not be pretty-- at least not right away-- but I have found it to be the most practical thing to run in on the bottom because it doesn't move around and if you chose capri length like I do then you don't have to worry about the dreaded chub rub between your thighs.  As I've mentioned in previous posts,  I have struggled some with IT band pain and one of the best investments I've made is a pair of CW-X Compression tights (read super spandex) which have targeted bands of compression in areas that runners often have trouble with. If you've got aches and pains these have been great for me. Side benefit: they are the Spanxx of running clothes!

4. Water Holder Thingy- Dehydration sucks and is your worst enemy as a runner. If you're dehydrated you're putting yourself at risk in so many ways, not to mention your run is going to suck. Drink water during the day and make sure you have water with you or know where water fountains are on long runs or days when it's hot or humid. I use a water bottle with a hand strap on it, but there are belts and back packs, too. I also store my car key and energy gels in the pocket on the outside of the bottle so it serves a dual purpose.

5. Foam Roller- As you increase miles, the soreness tends to increase, too.  The foam roller helps to banish soreness. I try to roll out my muscles about twice a day but FOR SURE right after I run. Basically, it's used for self massage and massage has been proven to decrease recovery time (=less soreness) and decrease injury risk-- a win-win! I have just had one of these about a month and I have already seen a lot of improvement using it!

Finishing strong at RNR San Antonio 13.1
6. Races- Racing is not a mandatory requirement to be a runner, but for me I am alot more apt to get out there everyday and run if I have something that I am running towards. One of the best things I did for my running was to sign up for a race series to get ready for my half marathon because it gave me mini milestones every month to get ready for a longer distance. On top of that, the races were really fun and I usually ran better in the heat of the moment than on my day to day runs. In reality, the first race I did in that training series seemed alot more insurmountable than the half marathon because I wasn't sure that I could actually do it and all I saw around me were these crazy fast fit people. By the time November rolled around, even though the distance was much longer the experience was not as intimidating because I had run in a race before.  I can't wait to line up in Austin in a couple of weeks-- racing gives me something that just running can't! Costs on races vary depending on location, event size, and race purpose-- get on  the internet and find something that works for you!

So there you have it-- my stuff to spend your running money on! This week in training is a step back week to save up energy for the half on the 29th. I had a great long run this past Saturday of 10 miles and was actually able to run the last two miles faster than I was able to run the 8 miles preceding it!(a first for me, which means I'm learning to reign in the pace and save energy- a skill I will definitely need for the marathon in April!)

Training Runs This Week
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Saturday: 7 miles

One Mile at a Time!