Week 7: RACE WEEK! Plano Balloon 5K + Half

And just like that! I’ve completed the Plano Balloon Festival Challenge! This was my first time doing two races in one weekend and, I will tell you, I underestimated the challenge of doing a 5K and Half Marathon back-to-back! Besides running a full marathon, this is the hardest I’ve ever pushed my body. Overall, I am extremely proud of myself for the hard work I put in this weekend. It was an amazing experience.

THANK YOU to Lifelong Endurance for continuing to help me reach my goals. I did not do this alone and would not be where I am at today if it weren’t for your guidance. Truly, thank you.

Let’s see how the week leading up to RACE DAY went!


Plan: 6 miles easy/58:17/9:43 min/mile

Ran: 6.01 miles/56:48/9:27 min/mile

I felt stiff and tired at the start of this run, for at least the first mile, then started to loosen up and feel better as time went on. I actually ended up having to slow myself down! It’s funny how a run can change on you like that. The last 1-2 miles were a challenge, though, as the heat got to me. I was tired. It was 95 degrees.

It’s not just one run in the heat that pushes me over the edge, but an entire summer – months – of running in the heat is extremely draining. It’s still full-blown Summer in Texas.


Plan: “Pre-Race!”/2 miles easy, 2x 1 mile @ 7:45, 7:35, 3:00 rest, 4×400 @ 7:15, 90 sec rest, 2 miles easy/7.5 miles/1:07:38/9:01 min/mile

Ran: 7.51 miles/1:05:56/8:47 min/mile


Yes, I wrote this in all caps in my journal. I remember the feeling I had after this run. Again, the heat is making me cranky. I think it’s because the weather “teased” us with slightly cooler weather last week, so this whole 100+ degrees thing is like a slap (punch, rather) in the face.

“TOUGHEST RUN. EVER?” I wrote. I started slow, stiff, tired, hot, and doubtful. I surprised myself when I was even able to run in the 7’s. How am I even doing this? I thought. I was and am seriously proud of myself for pulling this one off. I planned to savor my mid-week rest day tomorrow!


Race week rest day!


Plan: 4 miles easy/39:00/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 4.01/38:54/9:42 min/mile

It was one of “those” days. “I did not want to do this,” I wrote.

It did not feel good. I hoped to be out of this funk tomorrow, and especially by race weekend! This run was not easy and had me worried about reaching my goals this weekend.


Plan: 3 easy miles + 3x100m strides/3.0 miles/29:00/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 3.20 miles/30:02/9:23 min/mile

This one felt good! It was hot (what’s new?) but my legs felt fine. Just hoping for fresh legs this weekend!

Saturday (RACE DAY #1: 5K!) 3.1 miles/21:59/7:05 min/mile – 1st in Age Group!

I’ll just start with the good news: Personal Record!!! AND a time good for 1st in AG!

Starting off, I didn’t think I’d PR. I’d look down to see “7:20” on my watch and knew I needed closer to a 7 flat to beat my previous personal record (the only other 5K that I’ve raced). I was in between thinking I could just run easy for this one and save my energy for tomorrow’s Half, and wanting to push and do my best.

I felt good, running in the 7’s felt easy to start (thanks, adrenaline!) so I decided to cruise for the first mile then push. Push is exactly what I did. I pushed hard enough to PR (YAY!), but also hard enough that after rolling through the finish line then coming to a complete stop, my calves cramped. BAD. I ended up sitting in medical for about an hour before I could manage to stand. I did manage to get up and walk around after a while, and fortunately was so chuffed with my time that I didn’t care what else happened. I eventually got to walk around and enjoy the free breakfast and the festival before heading home to ice, foam roll, and do anything in my power to get the calves to cooperate before tomorrow’s race!

Sunday (RACE DAY #2: Half Marathon!) 13.1 miles/1:54:54/8:46 min/mile

Needless to say, I was nervous for how I’d feel this morning. My calves felt like they were used as punching bags then I did 99,000 calf raises. Not great. But the more I moved them (stretched, walked around), the better they felt. So, yes, I could’ve taken my PR and just called it a weekend, but I don’t give up. I would be at the Start line for the Half Marathon. I woke up extra (extra) early so I could stretch, foam roll, move, and do everything that loosened the calves up.

After warming up pre-race and a few miles into the Half, the calves were OK. More than anything, the extreme humidity and heat got to me this race. It was a TOUGH morning for a run. Everyone felt it. The last few miles were grueling. I knew pretty quickly that I wouldn’t PR (needed something under 1:50 for that), so I just ran at an enjoyable pace. Not easy, because it wasn’t easy, but enjoyable. I didn’t kill myself. I went with an alternative goal. I’d be happy just to finish this run and enjoy it along the way. I set a new goal of sub-2 hours, which I just barely managed.

It was nice to enjoy the scenery and not expect too much. I am extremely happy with a 5K PR and even with how I preformed on Sunday. I gave it my best. I still have work to do and am more excited to run and determined to reach my goals than ever!

Now, today is Monday and, despite what a sane person might think, I am actually really excited for a (easy) run today!!! This weekend I proved to myself that I have the potential and just need to continue to put in work!

Race reviews:

Here are links to my full reviews (course, race management, swag, etc.) of the Plano Balloon Festival races on BibRave.com. Remember to read & review your races on BibRave.com and find the perfect race!

Plano Balloon Fest 5K review: https://www.bibrave.com/races/plano-balloon-festival/8187

Half Marathon Review: https://www.bibrave.com/races/plano-balloon-festival/8188

Do you have alternate (a, b, c) goals during races? Or is it “all” or “nothing?” 

What time of year do you most enjoy running races? 

Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Week 6!!! And THIS Saturday and Sunday are my first of a few upcoming races! Yep, I have the Plano Balloon Festival 5K and Half Marathon THIS weekend! I had a great week of training, and this week is a bit different for race-prep. The goal is to beat my Half Marathon PR of 1:50:00. I have done 3 half marathons and think I have a lot of room for improvement. My ultimate goal is to get in the 1:30’s but I do know that it’ll be a process! I’m just happy to run a race that’s overall fun and feels good.

I am also confident that I can get my running level to where I want to be with consistent work, determination, positive thoughts, and the brilliant coaches over at Lifelong Endurance. HUGE thank you and shout out to LLE for coaching me through my running journey.

Let’s dig in!


Plan: 6 miles easy/6.0/58:17/9:43 min/mile

Ran: 6.03/58:19/9:20 min/mile

Runch! (Lunch run) – the weather was perfect and this run felt amazing and easy. According to my journal, this one deserved THREE whole smiley faces.

I was looking back at old pictures and saw that 6 months ago, I ran 14 miles at an 8:30 average pace. That was an easy run then. Lately, that would’ve seemed impossible – but not today. 8:30 felt easy again!


Plan: 2 miles easy, 12 x 1:00 @ 7:15-7:10, 1:30 @ 8:30, 2 miles easy/7.5 miles/1:07:38/9:01 min/mile

Ran: 7.51 miles/1:05:06/8:40 min/mile

Tough run, but I felt pretty strong. It was warm, but not completely unbearable. I didn’t stop to walk once! I really wanted to at that 10th rep, but I kept telling myself I could do it and kept pushing. I felt powerful and energized after this run!


Plan: 5 miles easy/5.0 miles/48:45/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 5.01/47:52/9:33 min/mile

I felt stiff and tired to start but felt better throughout this run and overall it was a good run. It was warm again – we were teased with some cooler days last week – but again, not completely unbearable. In fact, it was a lovely day and overall enjoyable (warm) weather. 🙂


Plan: 4 miles easy/4.0/39:00/9:45 min/mile + Crosstraining

Ran: 4.02 miles/38:48/9:39 min/mile

I didn’t like today. You know those days? Just the entire day is off, doesn’t quite go your way, etc. Yep. It was that day. Work was stressing me out, I was tired, all of the above. I missed my 5:45 am spin class… I even woke up, got up, fed Derby, then just didn’t feel great. I felt like I’d be pushing it if I went. I thought I could use the extra sleep vs. the extra workout. Though bummed, I listened to my body. I got my run in, so there’s that.


Plan: 2 miles easy, 4 miles @ 7:45-8:00, 1 mile easy/7.0 miles/1:04:45/9:15 min/mile

Ran: 7.01/1:00:40/8:39 min/mile

TOUGH run! I wanted to stop SO. BAD. so. many. times. Even just a half mile in to the 4 tempo miles (@ 7:45-8:00), I wanted to take a break. But! I DID NOT STOP. Not ONCE! I’m EXTRA freakin’ proud of this one. I ran at 5 am and didn’t feel comfortable going this speed in the dark, even with a headlamp (not worth tripping), so I ran EIGHT laps in a parking lot. I really didn’t mind. I just pretended it was a big track. I even had a homeless man for my cheering squad! Woo hoo! This one really boosted my confidence. I just kept telling myself “you CAN keep going, so just DO IT!” and sure enough, I did!


Plan: Long run! 6 miles easy, 3 @ 8:30, 2 miles easy, last mile hard/12.0 miles/1:57:00/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 12.02 miles/1:49:42/9:08 min/mile // last mile: 7:56

This long run felt good! Easy miles felt easy and I felt strong throughout. The last few miles were tough and slightly grueling, but again, felt strong. It was humid and quite warm even though I started at 6:00 am, but it could’ve definitely been worse. I felt like this was a solid and successful long run and felt good afterwards. Post-run tacos helped. 🙂


Rest day!

Miles for the week: 41.5 (67K)

What keeps you going and motivated when you want to stop during a run?

What motivates you when you don’t want to/feel too tired to run/workout?

Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Speed-work has become my favorite! This is really my second week (ever) doing it, and despite being originally intimidated by seeing paces in the 7’s and terms like “4 x 1200” – once I broke it down and got out there and did it, time flew! Plus, hitting all my paces gives me a nice confidence boost. I’m truly enjoying the challenge. I do love leisurely running, but it’s nice to have a goal and something challenging to work towards.

If you have goals of your own and aren’t sure where to begin, or feel intimidated by certain numbers – paces or miles – my advice is: don’t hold back! It won’t come easy, but you can do whatever you’re willing to work towards. My other advice is to consider a coach to set you up for success for your specific needs and goals. Lifelong Endurance is who I trust with my coaching and I have been pleasantly surprised at how they’ve helped push me to reach my goals. I’m even more excited for what is to come as I continue working with them!

So, let’s look at how week FIVE went!


Plan: 6 miles easy/6.0/58:17/9:43 min/mile

Ran: 6.03/56:05/9:18 min/mile

This run felt AMAZING! I can’t even believe that last Monday I was too exhausted to even crank out a run at all. I guess that extra day off did me good. I felt GREAT yesterday and today! I felt like I could run forever! This one truly felt effortless! Plus, I ran over by the University with a run-buddy so time really flew!


Plan: 2 mile warm up, 1 mile @ 7:35, 4:00 rest, 6 x 400m @ 7:10, 90 second rest, 2 mile cool down/7.0 miles/1:03:07/9:01 min/mile

Ran: 7.01/1:01:05/8:34 min/mile // splits: 10:25, 9:46, 7:20, 6:58, 7:49, 9:09, 9:33

Lunch run! (“Runch”) So it was a bit warm, but nothing crazy. This one was tough but manageable. It gave me a nice confidence boost that I needed. Like I mentioned before, this was one that intimidated me on “paper” but I was able to do it! I CAN DO THIS!


Plan: 5 miles easy/5.0/48:45/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 5.02/48:11/9:36 min/mile

It was nice and COOL out!!! What?! It was amazing to walk outside to fresh, cool air rather than a sauna. This run felt easy and fabulous. Every time I looked down at my heart rate (I’ve been interested in it lately with my new watch), it was below 120! Easy peasy!


Plan: 4 miles easy/4.0/39:00/9:45 min/mile + cross-training

Ran: 4.01/38:15/9:32 min/mile + spin class

I did a 5:45am spin class, which is always a nice way to kick off the morning, then did my run in the evening. The weather was amazing once again so it felt nice. I was pretty pooped once the day was done so I was wondering how tomorrow’s early morning speed-work would go…


Plan: 2 miles easy, 4 x 1200m @ 7:45-7:30, 2 miles easy/7.0 miles/1:04:45/9:15 min/mile

Ran: 7.01/59:39/8:31 min/mile // splits: 9:29, 9:31, 7:30, 7:21, 7:22, 9:08, 9:14

I try to make it a point to do my Friday runs in the morning so that I have a little rest time before Saturday long runs, so I headed out around 5:30 am and IT FELT FREAKING AMAZING! It was only 63 degrees!!! That’s practically winter in Texas. Again, I thought this run looked scary on “paper” but I DID IT! And I actually really enjoyed it.I’m looking forward to more runs like this one!


Plan: Long run! 10 easy, last 4 progression 9:00-8:30/14.0 miles/2:16:30/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 14.01/2:10:36/9:19 min/mile // splits: first 10 mi @ 9:30-10:00ish, last 4 @ 8:58, 8:38, 8:19, 8:06 min/mile

Successful long run! It was nice and cool – 60’s again – and I felt great overall. Legs got a little heavy toward the end going up-hill and picking up speed after 10 miles, but I did it and felt good about this one! I felt really accomplished afterwards and overall felt like I had a really successful week!

Weekly miles: 43 miles (69K)

That’s a wrap! On to week 6!

Have you ever had a running coach?

If so, what did you like/not like about having a coach?

If not, what are your fears about getting a running coach?


Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Week FOUR! We’re getting into the nitty gritty! I did my first “track workout” this week, had ups and downs, did runs as planned and didn’t do runs as planned… the whole sha-bang! The best part about a plan is that it is a PLAN. Things don’t always go as planned, but we do our best. Sometimes we don’t hit goals, sometimes we exceed them. In running and in life. I’m so thankful for Lifelong Endurance for working with me to reach my goals and understanding that I am human. No matter what, we move onward and upward.

So how did this week go?


Plan: 6 easy miles/6.0/58:17/9:43 min/mile

Ran: 0 miles

My body and mind were begging for a rest day today, so I listened. As much as I hate to miss a workout, I have learned that sometimes you just have to accept the need to rest.


Plan: 7.5 miles/1:07:38/9:01 min/mile

Ran: 7.52 miles/1:09:07/9:12 min/mile

I thought today’s run was just an easy run, but I was supposed to do 2 miles easy, 5 x 3:00 @ 8-8:30, 2:00 @ 9:30, 2 miles easy. I will be more careful next time. I will say, though, I felt AMAZING after yesterday’s rest. It’s amazing what rest can do! Onward and upward!


Plan: 5 mile aerobic run – smooth & easy/5.0/48:45/9:45 min/mile

Ran: 5.01/46:28/9:16 min/mile

I felt great today! I ran in my new Asics Nimbus (same shoe I’ve been wearing, just a new pair) and I forgot how nice it feels to have a fresh pair of shoes on your feet. This run felt great and effortless – I had to slow myself down! I ran at lunch (“runch!”) so it was warm, but it felt good!


Plan: 4 easy miles/4.0/39:00/9:45 min/mile + Crosstraining

Ran: 4.02 miles/38:59/9:42 min/mile + Spin class

I did a 5:30 am spin class, which was challenging, then my 4 miles run later in the day. The weather was warm but the run felt easy peasy! Really thinking that one extra day of rest made a hug difference!


Plan: 2 mile warm-up, 6 x 800’s @ 7:30, 2 min rest, 2 mile cool-down/7.0 miles/1:04:45/9:15 min/mile

Ran: 7.01/58:45/8:23 min/mile // splits: 9:38, 9:26, 7:20, 7:10, 7:04, 8:36, 9:07

This was my first time doing a “track workout” and it went well! Very well! In fact, this run was the real confidence booster that I needed. I was beginning to wonder if I could ever be “fast.” I hit (and exceeded!) all my paces and felt STRONG! I can do this!!! I’m excited for more workouts like this!


Plan: Long run! 13 miles easy, last 3 miles up-tempo (8:30)/13.0 miles/2:13:15/10:15 min/mile

Ran: 13.02/2:03:08/9:27 min/mile // first 10 miles @ 9:30-10 min/mile, last 3 miles: 8:17, 8:14, 8:02 min/mile

I was very pleased with this long run! Again! It felt like a strong, solid run. I ran with my running group and time flew as we chatted along the way and it really helped that the temperature had dropped significantly. It was a really nice, enjoyable long run. Those last few miles were tough, but as expected at an up-tempo pace. I was pretty wiped out afterwards – it’s always a hit or miss whether a long run will wipe me out for the day or give me an energy boost for the day – so I took it easy and rested afterwards.


Rest day!

Miles for the week: 36.5 // Monthly miles (August): 156.2 (251K)

Do you set monthly goals? What are your goals for the month of September?