What Inspired You to Begin?

I get a little emotional the second Sunday in December. That’s the date of the Dallas Marathon, my hometown race.

I have lived in the neighborhood that the course runs through since I moved to Dallas. Oh, how it would piss me off to see my streets blocked on a random Sunday morning, making brunch plans impossible. To say I wasn’t a runner was an understatement.

In 2011, I topped out at 75+ pounds overweight. I was miserable. I was sedentary. I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I was headed down the same damn path that so many take. It was my primary care doctor that just made an off-hand comment about how “this is as good as it gets” and “it’s all downhill from here.” I hated him at that moment. But a few weeks later, sitting on my hotel bed watching tv after a long day at work in another city, room service carnage all around me, something snapped. I literally, out loud, said “GET UP!”

I walked over to my laptop and joined Weight Watchers. I found a meeting at a location nearby and walked out of the hotel room. I stopped by the concierge desk and instructed them to remove the television from my room before I returned. They looked at me like I had three heads, but they said they would get it done. I sheepishly slinked into that first meeting to figure out if they could help me take control of my life. I was overwhelmed, but there was this insane drive to just make the change. I stopped by the Sports Authority that I saw on the way and bought a pair of workout pants and a pair of clearance shoes that I now know were nowhere near the right size. But the beauty of buying a pair on clearance was that no one had to help me, which meant I could remain as invisible as a fat middle-aged woman could be in a store she never thought she would be in. When I got back, I put those Nikes on told myself that if I was going to watch tv, it would be while walking on a treadmill.

But I digress… this is about the MARATHON!

So, fast forward a few months and it’s an insane, cold, stormy December morning in 2011. The family slept in, as usual, and we went out for a lazy Sunday meal. We went north, to Panera at North Park Mall, rather than our usual spots south of us because of the street shut downs. As I unapologetically ate that macaroni and cheese (side note: that stuff is amazing! All 950 calories of it!), the door opened. In walked a guy all bundled up and a woman who had just run the race. She was drenched, shivering, wrapped in a heat blanket and wore a medal.

She seriously looked like hell. Most would feel sorry for her, because seriously, it was COLD and WET that day! But all I saw on her face was exhausted confidence. She finished! She had an air that said she could conquer anything.

I turned back around and looked Sean right in the eyes and said, “I’m going to do that race!” His eyes widened and the concerned look came over his face.

“You know what race she just ran, right? I mean, do you even know how LONG the marathon is??”

“I don’t know, but I know I want to do that race. I want to know what that feeling is like. She looks like she can do anything!”

I hadn’t run a single step, but at that moment, I became a runner. I spent the next year tackling 5Ks and 10Ks and registered for the Half Marathon. I eventually ran the Dallas Marathon a couple of years later. Now, it’s a permanent spot on my calendar, either running or volunteering. I love this race and I love the people in it.

But the weekend always brings back that sense of nostalgia. I have no idea who that girl was. I don’t know if she ran the full, the half or even the relay. Maybe she was a “one and done-er.” But every year, I am reminded that the power of one person can profoundly change your entire life’s trajectory. So, my annual “thank you” goes out to her. Thank you for bringing me a confidence that I never had before. Thank you for helping me turn my entire family into a family of runners. Thank you for the amazing people that have been brought into my life. Thank you for showing me how awesome running and friendship could be. Thank you.

Limiting Language: Or How I Learned to Fly…

“I am ONLY running a half marathon this week.”

“I am JUST a beginner.”

“It’s JUST a LITTLE sprint triathlon.”

“I would love to join, BUT I probably couldn’t keep up with you guys.”

“I don’t have one of those fancy bikes.”

“Thanks, but I have so much more to lose.”

“Have I reminded you lately that I’m not fast?”


I have heard it a million times from my husband, gently correcting me and telling me how proud he is of me; that I am “doing fantastic.” I hear it from my guy friends that I always worry only run with me to humor me; “you’re doing great.” But something about being called out by a coach you really respect hit me like a lightning bolt. He did it so perfectly, so respectfully, but in a way that told me that he was serious and not just humoring my lack of self-confidence.

“Let’s remove that limiting language. You’re going with the flow, so just enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.”

“Limiting language.” Wow, I hadn’t heard it that way before. It’s always been “don’t be so hard on yourself.” Which, let’s be real, is code for “stop it, you’re fine, insert gratuitous comment and eye roll here.”

I’m a slow learner and it’s take a few weeks for this to sink in, but I see it everywhere now. I have observed it in almost every interaction I have had. I am constantly limiting myself by subconsciously telling myself that I’m not enough. I see it in all of my friends, too. We are always putting ourselves down in that stealthy way and we shouldn’t be. We like to think that we are telling ourselves that we are enough, but then that little demon that sits on the left shoulder whispers in our ear the complete opposite. It whispers those stupid words: ONLY, JUST, BUT.

When we limit our language, we limit what we are capable of.

Enough! I am making the commitment to stop my limiting language NOW. I am proud of what I can accomplish. I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself. I am not who I was yesterday, three months ago, or three years ago. I am choosing to live in the present and find the joy and satisfaction in doing exactly what my body, and my mind, allows today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. On the contrary! But by releasing myself from the chains of “not enough,” I will build a far better foundation with which to reach those goals because I will have the confidence that I CAN.


So my challenge to all of my girlfriends – remove your limiting language and let your truths shine on their own merit. Own it all and be joyous in what your body can accomplish today, because seriously, we are all doing truly epic stuff.

“I am running 13.1 miles this week!”

“I am so excited to learn something new!”

“I am training to swim, bike and run – all in the same race!”

“Thanks for the run, guys!”

“I am squeezing every ounce of awesomeness out of this bike!”

“Thanks for the compliment, I’m working hard!”

“Hey Coach, watch me fly…”


When the run just finally feels right…


My unassuming running trail…

Of course it would finally happen while I was out of town. I run with my peeps because I need the accountability. When I lost my long-time running partner a year ago, I was left like a boat adrift on the high seas. My running suffered because I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there. But new running partners came into my life and kept me out there for those group runs, thank goodness. I can’t say I have ever actually felt good on a solo run. My demons would always come along for the ride, reminding me that my shoelaces were a little too snug or that sports bra was chafing my shoulder. They would imagegive me an out, telling me it’s ok to turn back early and only get a few miles in, despite my training schedule requesting a 90 minute run.

But last night I was out of town and couldn’t find a group that I felt comfortable joining. What I did find was a popular running trail about six miles from my hotel. I’m not ashamed to say I totally ubered to the trail. The sun beat down and the humidity was a real treat. I saw a couple coming off the trail and asked them about the trail – very few water fountains, but it goes 14 miles, they said. Sounded perfect – so I set off with the intention of just getting maybe three miles in.

imageHalf a mile into the run, the sounds of the city were completely gone and all I heard were the squirrels rustling in the woods and a babbling brook. Who knew that little streams of water actually made the babbling sound?? By a mile, I saw two beautiful deer off to my left enjoying some foraging. I kid you not, they were no more than five feet from me. I just kept going, hoping to see something new and wonderful. No demons came to join me. I didn’t ever look at my watch to check my pace. I would occasionally come across a cyclist or another runner, but it was truly a peaceful run. I finally decided to turn around after just under three miles, mostly because I still wanted to get a swim in and knew that the sun would be setting soon enough, but I felt like I could have gone far longer.

I found myself sweaty and spent and so full of energy after my run. Exactly as it was meant to be. I may even try another solo run back home soon. Maybe – I like my running tribe…



Rock n Roll New Orleans Race Recap


Oh, Rock n Roll, how you tempt us. A year ago, friends convinced hubby and I to take advantage of the deep-discounted registration fee for Rock’n’Roll New Orleans and join all the cool kids. Never mind that I knew full well last January that 2016 would be completely crazy with Alex’s final semester of high school. Never mind that planning a year out for me is completely dumb. The only smart thing I did was register for the half marathon instead of the full.

Fast forward a year, NOLA was looming. A hotel was booked, although I didn’t know anything about the hotel. All I had to go on was that “it was on the list” of host hotels. I looked at the hotel’s site and the sparse photos. I just went for it. I had no idea how far away the hotel would be from the start line or the finish line or how any of this would work. We booked airfare and made sure my parents could watch our little girl. I figured my boy would be ok on his own.


French Quarter shenanigans before our weekend went from adult to family


Two weeks before race weekend, my life (as expected) took a turn for the crazy. Alex was scheduled for an audition with the LSU marching band director for that following Monday. Oh, did I tell you, my sweet boy decided on LSU for college??? Hubby got a bad strain of the flu that knocked him completely out of running. I battled turf toe from mountain climbers. That is a whole-nother story!

So, I registered Alex on the very last day of on-line registration for the RnR NOLA half marathon. It was oh-my-god expensive, but worth it. But then came the next chapter of crazy: boy had a track meet for his high school the day before the race. No big deal, I’d just shuffle around flights so that he could fly to NOLA after he ran. It would be tight, but we’ve done stupid stuff like this before. Flights had to be changed and a rental car had to be booked because we would now fly home from Baton Rouge on Monday. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I should have just cancelled the trip and eaten the $50 race fees paid a year ago.

Race Recap

Expo: Well, it was just hubby and I at the expo. Boy wasn’t able to make it because of


RRCA RoadRunner at the Expo

his track meet. The volunteers and race director were dead-set that I would not be able to pick up my son’s bib without him with me. While I understand policy, there is always room for a race director to show a small amount of compassion and reasonableness on a one-off situation. Not even a quick facetime with the boy would have swayed them. Instead I was given the “show up at 5:30 am on race day and add a little more stupid to the day.” The expo was smaller than I had expected, considering there were so many registrants. Even worse, they shoved all the vendors they did have in an extremely tight part of the convention center. It was worse than Manhattan at rush hour. You couldn’t move and the effect was beyond claustrophobic. I was able to register for a couple of races I already planned to run in the coming months while I was there and save a little money, but after the debacle with the bib for my son, I was pissed off and not really in the mood to be there so we didn’t stay long. (For the record, no volunteers were harmed in the making of this blog post. For real, it wasn’t their call on whether or not to be completely unreasonable, so I let it be.)



How is it that this kid still needs help pinning his bib?

Pre-Race: 5:30am came pretty damn early. There were something like 25 or 30 corrals and they were completely open with no one to ensure that we were going into the right ones.  I can only call the process “stupid.” For a race director that purports to take the rules pretty seriously, one would think they would enforce people going into the correct corrals. But being the rule follower I am, I went dutifully into my assigned area. It was chilly enough to need a ditch shirt or jacket at the start line. I elected to just go with my tank, a pair of arm warmers, ditch gloves and my favorite running skirt and shiver until the race started. My 2:30ish estimated finish time landed me in corral 19 which resulted in not even beginning my race until 47 minutes after the start of the race. It’s always a little disappointing to think that the first place winner would likely cross the half finish line before the last runner crosses the start line. Insert eye roll and pursed lips here – whatever…


Mile 1: The race began along Poydras and made a couple of turns to make it over to St. Charles Ave. I was a little faster than my target pace for the race, but I always give myself the first mile to settle in to the race and it wasn’t so fast that I would tire.

Mile 2-almost 8: This is an out-and-back along St. Charles through some really pretty old homes. I feel like I missed a lot of the course because the road was so crummy that a lot of people chose to jump into the median and run on the trolley tracks. I remember seeing a band early on and they were not bad. I think the balance of the music was mostly piped in, which is kind of a bummer. My pace was just about what I was looking to target, considering I didn’t really have much of a goal time. The temperature was really climbing fast, so I ditched my gloves and arm warmers early on and made a conscious effort to stop at the water stops and ensure I was staying hydrated.

Mile 8-10:This stretch was through the streets where all the hotels were at. I had to giggle a little as we passed right by our hotel and I “offered” myself an out to just go back to bed. It was at this point I was getting a little hungry and craving a taco. My pace was picking up and I felt really strong. I remember distinctly hitting the 10 mile mat and looking at my watch. I had never run ten miles that fast (ok, we’re talking about only shaving off a couple of minutes here, but it was faster!) and I actually pulled out my phone to text hubby about it! Yep, this is what it’s like to run with me – be ready for texting and selfies! But then I got to thinking, that’s only a 5K left and I know how fast I have been able to run that distance lately. A PR was possible! Are you kidding me??? That poor little half marathon PR has stood for years! The phone immediately went back into my skirt and I began to focus.

Mile 10-12.5: This portion of the race was all down Esplanade Ave. and the French Quarter area. It is probably my favorite part of the race because there is so much activity. This is where I remember hearing the bagpipes. For real, I’m a sucker for a drum line or bagpipes. I realized that I had watered down my Tailwind over the last six miles through refills to the point where I absolutely had to stop and refill my water bottle at the final water stop. I was sweating pretty badly and fading fast, and I don’t use any other nutrition than my trusty Tailwind. It took a little more time than I would like to deal with my little Ziploc baggies of white powder (LOL), but it was a must. Note to self, I must figure out a better way to deal with this stuff on my road races… Up til now, the marathon and half marathon course was shared, but I was never so happy about my decision to run the half as when the branch off occurred. My pace was good, but not good enough for that PR. No biggie since I hadn’t aimed for a PR in the first place.

Final 3/4 mile: Yep, so this is where we enter City Park. It’s really big and pretty. It might officially qualify as the longest “finisher chute” ever. After such a strong race, I almost cried when, with more than a quarter mile to go, I took a step and my leg wouldn’t move. Yep, calf cramps! Are you kidding me??? I must have looked like a complete lunatic shaking my leg like a wet dog out there mid stride. This was just going to be one of those races that I couldn’t speed up at the end or give that little extra kick. The one thing Rock n Roll generally does well is the finish line. Plenty of water and Gatorade, bananas and salty snacks. I got one of the coveted finishers medals with the Mardi Gras beads. Some of the later finishers got a printed ribbon instead.

Finish: The tough part about a point-to-point race is the travel back to the start line. As in most cases, the race used school buses to transport everyone back. I feel bad for the kids on Monday, because we sure were a stinky bunch! The bus ride was a very long thirty minutes that we shared with an extremely loud guy that had far more energy than the rest of us. My son and husband said they enjoyed the concert put on by Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but I was tired


You know you’re in NOLA when a girl is willing to run 26 miles with a veil and a bouquet.

and really just wanted a shower, so we didn’t stay for the party after the race. I felt like I had run a trail race, I was so beat up. Overall, I didn’t remember a whole lot of bands on the course (mostly it was just music being played like a DJ) and the water stops felt sporadic at best.



We stayed at the Old No. 77 Hotel on Tchoupitoulas St. It was listed as a race hotel on the site and looked pretty modern and edgy. I was able to get two queen beds at the last minute when my adult weekend went family. It was fairly spendy for my taste. If I spend $250 a night, I better be treated well. We weren’t. Check-in was delayed because rooms weren’t ready. We were exhausted from an early morning flight and being on our feet all day and the best they could do was say they were sorry. Ironically, I saw plenty of people checking in quite early, so I’m not sure why they couldn’t just find us an available room if the original one was still dirty. The hard wood floors were sticky and we didn’t have enough towels. Thank goodness we were able to run down a poor housekeeper on another floor and beg for a few more. The walls were a bit thin, but at least the beds were comfortable. Or I was too exhausted that I could have slept on cement. Who knows.

Travel from the airport

OK, so this is what you need to know about traveling to New Orleans for races. Parking at the hotels is stupid expensive and it is a solid eight hour drive, so it just didn’t make a ton of sense to drive for a short weekend trip. But, airfare is fairly pricey from Dallas if you don’t get it on a deep-discount sale that Southwest does periodically. And even with the sale, the best you can do is about $73 each way. However, I was able to secure airfare on American Airlines from Baton Rouge to Dallas for less than $100 per person a week out! I’m not a great planner when it comes to travel and really just fly by the seat of my pants. I figured we would use Uber from the airport. However, know that it is a minimum trip of $75 from the airport to the French Quarter and surrounding areas. A cab is about $45 each way. There is a shuttle that you can book online with 24 hours minimum advance notice that is $24 per person.

Would I do this race again? Well, that’s a big question. I felt like everyone I knew from Dallas was in New Orleans for this race. So it’s no surprise that the group is already planning their trip for next year and taking advantage of the $50 race entry. Sure, it’s a flat course. But it wasn’t anything to write home about. The cost of the race wasn’t bad but all the rest of the costs really add up. Ultimately, I won’t run this race again. It wasn’t as great as it should have been. But every race teaches us something about ourselves. This race taught me that running a smaller, local, more personal race is what I crave. I prefer to be a runner and not just another damn bib number.


Yep, could have slept anywhere after this weekend

A few of my favorite things, part 3: PaceBands! (And a giveaway!!)

imageOne of my must haves when I run races is my pace band. I learned early on that I wouldn’t always have a friend to run with and pacers are only hit and miss at the slower paces.  It’s not to say that someone who runs slower than 2:30 halfs and 5:00 fulls aren’t plentiful – indeed, there are an awful lot of us back here, race directors! – but we just don’t seem to be a priority sometimes. That’s ok, we just roll with it. That is where PaceBands come into play. About a year and a half ago, I found this small company while printing a band in paper online. I always told my husband that there had to be a better system than printing off a paper, cutting it out, laminating it with shipping tape and trying to tape it to my wrist. Not to mention they get nasty before the race is over when you run in the August heat of Dallas. It took me no time to order one and give it a try. Verdict? I loved it! I instantly felt a comfort that I could look down at my watch and compare that to my PaceBand and instantly know if it was realistic for me to finish in the time I hoped. The silicone band is just like those bands that people have worn forever, only a bit wider. The numbers are raised and their color is a contrast from the band itself. There is a variety of paces from super speedy to “I have endurance” and come in five different colors. I’ve found that the yellow and green pace bands are easiest to read with my old lady eyes, but that is just my personal preference.

The coolest part of these pace bands is that, as a pacer, I keep a variety of times available so that I can always grab one at a moments notice. At less than $10 each and free shipping, they are a bargain!

For the record: I own a ton of pacebands and paid for them all by my little lonesome. I love them and wanted to share them with you. All of the opinions in this review are mine and I have not received any compensation for this blog… However, the company has offered to let me give away one of these awesome pace bands to a lucky reader of my blog!  Woo hoo!

So, without further adieu, if you would like to snag a PaceBand of your very own for your next goal race, just click: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The “rules” are pretty simple, just visit and like (and maybe tag a friend!) the PaceBands page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pacebands) and follow my blog. If you already follow my blog, you’re halfway there! I’m using Rafflecopter, so on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 a winner will be selected. But seriously, I would love to help tell everyone about PaceBands. I wear them to all my halfs and fulls and everyone always thinks they are the bomb. If you would like to buy one (or two or three!), here is a link to get you started:PaceBands.com. Not only is shipping free, they come super speedy!

Medal Monday: Michelob Ultra 13.1 Dallas Recap

Marcy and I after the 13.1This weekend, I ran the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Half Marathon in Dallas. It wasn’t a race on my schedule, but when a friend of mine that was organizing the pacers asked if I would pace, I couldn’t say no. This particular race a couple of years ago was my very first half marathon. The course is really nice and it’s MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! I quickly asked one of my best running friends if she would be willing to pace with me. I was afraid she might say no because it would mean that we would be giving up an 18 mile training run and she is responsible for pacing our training group. I was so excited when she said YES!

The pace would be a fairly easy run for us with a 2:50 finish. I love pacing runners with a 2:50 or 3:00 finish time. Many times, they are first time runners not sure if they can finish and just praying they don’t get swept up by the SAG wagon. Other times, they are second-time halfers wanting that sub 3:00 finish and unsure if it’s feasible because they remember how bad they hurt trying to complete their first. Whatever their goal, they are some of the friendliest people you will meet at a race. They say thank you to everyone out there cheering them on, keeping them safe and handing them water. They have stories and aren’t afraid to tell them. Stories of how they got up of the couch and lost 100 lbs the hard way. Stories of battling a cancer that is ravaging their body and they want to accomplish something off of their bucket list after facing down death. This is a pretty powerful bunch of runners. We don’t have dreams of age group awards or elite status back here. Pacing this group requires more than just even splits and knowledge of the course. It sometime requires education, such as “what is this ‘gu’ that everyone keeps eating?” But mostly, it requires you to be a top-notch motivator and believing in the runners in the group when they are positive they can’t go any further.

Marcy and I rode together downtown to the start line because the train tracks in downtown were under repair beginning that day, which is about typical. I hate driving downtown because I always get turned around – add a race with closed off roads and I have no idea how I managed to get there. LOL We had to be there by 6:15am so we could grab the pace sticks at the VIP tent and get a group picture taken before the 7am start. The first thing I noticed was that this race felt smaller than it did the last time I ran it, which makes me sad. It’s a good course and one of the few that are in downtown Dallas. We make our way to the start line and immediately begin to see people gather at all of the pace sticks. A few fast selfies with friends pacing other times and we turn our attention to the group. The usual deer-caught-in-headlights looks from people caused me to snap into pacer mode. We began asking questions to warm the up – is this your first half? how has training been going? are you by yourself or with a friend? We quickly told the group that we would be using a run-walk method of 1 minute run and 1 minute walk to get us to the finish. This finish time seems to lend itself well to the 1:1 interval and with newer runners, sometimes that is all they can muster by the time you hit 11 miles. It ended up working out for a girl in the group that was training with the Dallas Galloway group and was well-versed in 1:1’s. There were others that thought they would do a different interval and we encouraged them to do whatever they felt most comfortable with and just stay near the stick because we were running even splits.

imageimageEarly on, Marcy and I encouraged the runners to get water when they could because the water stops were spaced every two miles until we got to mile 7. In some cities, this might be ok. In the heat of Dallas, the first lesson was that you should always carry water, even in late October. I had to make a pit stop at mile 6 (WHY?!?) and send the rest of them on. Four people in front of me at the portos taking their own sweet time resulted in an 8 minute mile for me to catch up to the group. Thank goodness for run-walk, because I really needed walk breaks for a while after that! Hahaha

Some of the best moments of the race include seeing Devanghi hanging out on the corner while down in the M-Streets, cheering everyone on and seeing one of my son’s old hockey teammates on the Katy Trail working a water stop with his school group. Sunny with the BGR girls just in front of the AAC was superb and they gave the runners a much-needed burst of energy with their enthusiasm and a group working one of the final water stops had “Panther Pride” shirts on. I quickly asked if they were the Hillcrest Panthers. What an awesome surprise to see them out there! I yelled “Go Crest” and told them my son was a student there. They all knew him (I hope that’s a good thing!) and we cheered and went crazy for a second before I kicked it into gear to get us all to the finish line. This is why I run. There are so many great people out there and we are all brought together by this crazy thing called running.

The final mile of the course is all uphill and can be kind of intimidating because you can see it coming. I could hear the heavy sighing and I reminded them that we would finish this hill together, Marcy and I talking them though it. Baby steps, sixty seconds at a time, swing the arms more, keep your body as upright as possible. To see the smiles on everyone’s faces after the conquering of the hill was the bomb. All that was left was a couple of turns. Thanking them for letting me spend the morning with them, we told them to go grab their PRs because they earned them. This group of runners stuck with us the entire race, through a few tears of “I don’t think I can do this.” To have them waiting at the finish line for Marcy and I as we crossed at 2:49:14 (not too shabby, if I do say so…) was pretty stinking amazing. One of the girls actually won her age group!! Seriously, that never happens!!

imageSwag: This is a race shirt I will wear. It is navy blue and had a cool design by taking its cue from the Dallas BIG campaign. BIG things happen in Dallas with lots of B’s and G’s around town. You stand in between them be cause “I” am part of what makes Big D BIG. I’m a sucker for it, what can I say? Even better? The PACER SHIRT ROCKS! Oh my goodness. Adidas knocked it out of the park with their shirt. At first, we were disappointed because they were supposed to be singlets, but they were so light and airy, that they really kept you cool. There was so much s-t-r-e-t-c-h to this shirt I could have shoved a three hundred pound guy into it with me, but when it isn’t stretched, it was perfectly form-fitting. Definitely some space-age technology going on with this shirt.

Aftermath: I feel as if I have been hit by a car. I think the fast mile mid race about killed my knee because it is so stinkin’ stiff. No bueno. Lots of yoga and stretching, a chiro visit, epsom salt bath and a massage are all on tap for this week because I am running the DRC Half on Sunday for myself in hopes of a sweet PR. Shoot, maybe I’ll even use a pacer to get me there. 🙂