Since last week I promised that I would comment about the FUN I had last weekend and I never got around to it, here it is... KOI!
Alright, I saw more than koi. I took my son to the Houston Zoo for Zoo Boo! Special Trunk Or Treat stands were set up around the zoo and kids were handed a bag for their goodies when they entered the gates. There were also Tattzoo stations, places where you could make animal masks, and a pumpkin patch where all of the kids got a mini pumpkin to take home. The Extinct Species Cemetery was next to the Children's Zoo where special animal encounters were taking place. We got to take in the Sea Lion show and paid a visit to the Elephants. I could not resist getting a picture of my son drinking out of the lion water fountain because my dad had taken a picture of me in very much the same pose at a lion water fountain when I was a kid. After the zoo, we walked over to go take a ride on the Herman Park Train. The train has been around for years but last January it was shut down to make way for the new train which made it's debut in March. Since then, more track has been laid around the park and the journey lasts a good 20 to 25 minutes. A new depot is being built and should be ready next spring.
Ok, for this weekend I was getting ready for my 21 mile run leading up to the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon. I had been experiencing congestion, but a relatively dry nose. Houston had a wonderful cool front that rolled through on Thursday morning and had dried up the humidity. I felt like my sinus area was swollen and restricting breathing, but since there was no mucus I knew it had to be swelling due to irritants. I picked up a Netti Pot sinus cleansing system at the local CVS. This had been recommended to me by both my allergist and my sports doc so I thought I would give it a try. I never knew how much fun pouring water up my nose could be! Well, I followed the instructions on mixing the saline solution and started on the right nostril. Constant breathing through the mouth is necessary to keep the saline solution from draining down the back of the throat rather than out the other nostril. It was a very bizarre feeling. I was having tears streaming out of my eyes from the saline solution coming up the ducts that drain tears away from the eyes. I had some clear mucus and then some yucky hard green junk come out of my nose. It was not much but it looked like it was dried stuff that had been stuck up in the upper part of the nostril. I repeated the process on the other side and only clear mucus came out. Immediately I felt like I was able to breathe better through my nose rather than feeling like it was corked up. I am still breathing easy tonight but the best part was waking up without being plugged up and a dry mouth from not being able to breathe through my nose while sleeping.
So I got up early and had my pre-run banana and Nutella breakfast and then started rooting around in my gear box for my gloves and my run vest. The temp this morning was a brisk 48 degrees. I know most of you are laughing at me right now, but for Houston, that is chilly. I put on my TNT run shorts, TNT jog bra, a long sleeve Under Armor type of shirt, my TNT thin run vest, and grabbed my new Headsweats hat from the Longhorn 70.3 race and my gloves and rolled out of the driveway a bit late to go to Terry Hershey Park for our "All Team" 21 mile run. I hate running in Terry Hershey Park for 2 main reasons. First, there is only ONE bathroom. ONE! You hit it at mile 3.5 and again at mile 10 and then if you have to go, you hit the woods and you had better have some TP or wet wipes on hand. Trust me, I have had to resort to this and it is not fun because there are a lot of people who are running and biking the trails and you end up mooning someone as you take care of business down by the bayou. Well, the West Houston group rented a port-o-can this year! It was at the end of the parking lot and no where near the trail that we would be running on, but it was better than nothing. I did not have to use it, but lots of people in the group did. Hats off to the West Houston group for making life a little easier this morning. The second reason I hate running in Terry Hershey park is that each year, we get sent out on the easy part of the trail first and the last 9 mile out and back is four and a half of the most hilly miles in Houston. These hills are steep and sharp. We basically have to go from street level down to bayou level to go under the roadway and then back up to road level. This happens 5 times before you get to the turn-around point and then you have to do that up and down C*R*A*P 5 times on the way back when your legs are screaming tired. Oh, there are sprinkler systems to dodge as well. Needless to say, my calves are trashed and my left knee is sore tonight and it has never given me problems before.
I pretty much ran by myself which is odd since there were about 100 of us out there to run. I am not as fast as my buddy Terry and the other fast boys, but I am faster than many of the gals. Many of the fast chicas had done their marathon last weekend in San Francisco at the Nike Women's Marathon. They came out to cheer us on at the 12 mile/Finish water stop. We took off in the dark. There are areas along the trail that has no lighting so I had gone to REI and purchased a new Petzl LED light that I ended up strapping around my chest and made fun "I am IRONMAN" jokes with Ryan and Terry. The Petzl light was great! I was heating up and I stuffed the gloves in the back pocket of my Race Ready shorts at mile 3 and I stopped to use the bathroom and peeled off the long sleeve shirt and tied it around my torso and took off again. So now I only had on my thin vest with a mesh back over my jog bra but it seemed ok. It was still dark and I had caught up to a few people that I had passed early on and who had passed me while I was taking the bathroom/clothing break. At the far west end of the trail there is a dam at a reservoir and I ran with two other gals and the Clear Lake coach only so I would know where I was going once we passed the dam since this was a new part of the route that had been added. Once we ran a mile south, there was a gravel drive that went up to the top of the dam and then we ran back along the gravel path on top of the dam and down a paved hill that got us back to the spill way. From there I got back on my own pace and left the gals I had been running with. I saw lots of people on the way back in. I hit the bathroom again at mile 10 and I was starting to feel my calves mildly tightening up around the 10.5 mark. I had Coach Dan run with me for a 300 to 400 meters and he said I was looking strong. I ran it in to the 12 mile water stop and dropped off the long sleeve top and filled up all the bottles on my Fuel Belt and started out on the dreaded last 9 miles. The Nike team gals were cheering me on and I would need it for the last hilly stretch. I was running into the sun now and the run vest was getting a bit warm. I saw Ryan heading back in and a mile and a half later I passed Terry headed the other way towards the finish. Then I had to play chicken along a 200 yard stretch where the sprinkler system was running and the sprinkler heads were shooting over the path. I managed to stay dry but my shoes got a little wet dodging into the grass. This made those super steep accents and descents a bit dicey. I felt like my feet were going to either fly out from under me, or I was going to topple forward and do a face plant on the paved trail. I finally made the turn around spot, downed another Clif Shot and took off for the last 4.5 miles with my screaming calves. There were many times that I contemplated walking up one of those steep hills, but I just leaned into the hill and took dorky little baby gate running steps to the top. What a relief it was the see the cars passing up on the road ahead when I came over a hill. I had not even seen the TNT tent yet. When I finished, the gang was all ringing cow bells and then Ryan yells out "Keep Going!!!" WTF??!!?? was my response and then everyone started laughing. It was all good fun. We cheered on other finishers and I was able to get a cup full of good salty Chex Mix even though it was going to make me itch.
Yea!!! Glad to be done!
Me and the Nike gals. The Nike Women's Marathon raised over 19 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to go towards research and patient aid! WHOO HOO!!!
Jarntip and me after my finish. Jarntip had to call it quits at the 12 mile mark due to a problem with her left arch. I coached Jarntip to finish her first triathlon this past spring.
Terry and Me at the finish tent that is stocked with all sorts of goodies that I really can't eat. Dang it!
Dave and Ben shortly after their finish. Way to go TEAM!!!
After getting in an ice bath and chowing down on some Pepper Steak at P. F. Chang's I took Buddy to the Fall Festival and 35th Anniversary at our Church. It was a good outreach program to invite the community to bring the kids to. There were lots of carnival games and big inflatable mazes, climbing walls, slides, and bounce houses. Lots of candy was being given out at the games and there were free hot dogs, bags of chips, drinks and cupcakes for everyone. Here is Buddy enjoying his hot dog.
So far the weekend has been great and I hope that yours has been just as enjoyable!