Running Recovery

Running recovery. Those words seem to almost stand in stark contrast to one another.

Do you know that goofy, excited feeling you get when you figure something out ? Like you somehow wander into that “ah ha” moment and you’re on your way to solving and fixing a problem ? It makes you feel like Einstein sometimes 😉

I had one of those moments this past weekend.

If you have been following my poor tales and woes of not really being able to run #notrunningsucks  then you know I’ve been an unhappy runner.

Note please the difference, not unhappy, unhappy runner.

I mean well seriously, if you run and get injured, what runner IS happy about that ???

This is what it’s like:

You see someone running down the road and you are flat out envious that they are running. Double jealousy if they’ve got a serious sweat going on 😉

You don’t want to see your Facebook posts from running pages about everyones races and training. You feel a little bit like  Scrooge… “Bah Humbug!” …..

You DO pay attention to the wounded running warriors to see if they have an tips or suggestions that might help what you’re going through. You are game to doing anything even if it means a boiling pot with spiders and hairs of an exotic cat to heal you.

The idea of having no races in your immediate future causes a pain in your chest.

You don’t want anyone to ask you how your running is going.

You think maybe pain isn’t so bad and flip this… you’re going for a run…

You think about the new gear you’re going to get once you’re back out there again…being a real runner.

You fantasize about long runs and even convince yourself they aren’t so bad after all haha

Yeah, there are lots of things that go through your head when you’re sidelined. I guess in ways I’m just frustrated ’cause this is really the first injury that’s knocked me out of the game.

( I don’t count the incident when I was brutally attacked by a can of chicken broth sailing off the counter to directly slam my big toe, dead on in the middle of the nail, not once, but twice, leaving me limping for days unable to wear a shoe and definitely not run… WHAT are the odds of that ??? )

After meeting with a sports doctor in the summer and getting an Achilles tendonitis diagnosis I have limped along but not seemingly gotten to that 100% zone. I’ve been doing the prescribed things but not feeling like I should be running.

So last weekend I was using my rolling pin I had purchased to roll my calves and hammies. Seriously, foam rollers work great, but that rolling pin gets into those muscles in a good, yet painful way.

I started rolling the arches of my feet when it hit me… that “OMG this is killing me yet feels amazing” all at one time. I was brutal about my use of that rolling pin on my feet. Something was working ’cause I felt better that evening. I’ve kept at it … rolling the heck out of my arches, calves and Achilles.

Yesterday, I went out for 4 miles. I decided if I was going to get back on the road I needed to get my body going through the motions ( cycling just isn’t the same) I kept the brakes on and went easy and did a lot of walk/run… short run… but oh my it felt good. Today, I did it again. This was the first back to back “run” I’ve done in months. Again, I kept distance short, and held myself in to walk and short spurts of running. I kinda felt like my newbie runner days… but the idea of course is to not overly work my body as it gets better.

The tell tale sign? that I feel good hours after my workout… not worsening pain.

I’m so encouraged.

I’ve already got a 5K distance down, well more than that. My next goal is to work up to 10K distance. I need new running goals right now!

I think there’s a strong possibility of  lovely plantar fasciitis going on… but I’m getting strong and aggressive with it…. and glad to have something figured out.  For the first time in months I feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Yay for light bulb moments in our lives!

Here’s some other things I’m doing to help my healing….

Ice of course. Or in my case, bagged peas have become my best friend =) They mold nicely around the hurt areas.

Deep stretching. I’ve been stretching my calves, legs and feet more, but also doing some yoga moves to loosen me up.

That rolling pin. Seriously, I work that thing into my foot till everything has released. It’s also awesome for working out your calves and those areas that are trickier with a foam roller.

I stretch before I get up in the morning to loosen things up.

I’m not big on taking meds, but some Ibuprofen helps with inflammation.

And something I just got today, but am going to be trying soon is KT Tape. It’s supposed to be great support to help healing. I’ll tape and wrap my feet before I take off for a run.  Of course, I had to get the hot pink 😛 I promise to do a review on this after I’ve used it for awhile.

And finally, just getting back on the road doing some strong power walking with short runs segments to get my body in motion again. Mentally I have to keep myself reined in ’cause it feels so natural to be running. I am also trying to be smart and not over do it even though I know I can run for longer periods of time (that’s a good sign).

And you, my lovely readers, maybe one of you are struggling through an injury issue or know someone who is. Continue to be aggressive about how to treat yourself and get better. Don’t get discouraged but keep looking for ways to stay fit while you get over the injury.

Be patient ( I am the worst!) stay hopeful ( I have definitely had moments of feeling sorry for myself with this) and set goals for yourself so when you are back at it again you have something to shoot for.

Anyone out there besides me, going through a recovery time right now ? You’re allowed to cry, whine, and vent here  =)

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The Gift Of Running

running giftRunning. Let’s talk running. I like it a tiny little bit haha

I shared with you awhile back I had picked up an injury that was really putting the breaks on my running. It seems like pushing it to a certain point just stirred it back up again. I’m starting to feel like it will never go away and get better. This isn’t a whining post, but more a reflective one.

As the photo states … running is a gift.

I had always thought that but never more than being sidelined and having to watch running from afar. This is the first season in the past few years I’ve been running I’m not doing a half or full marathon.

It feels weird not training. I love training for an event. I love the structure and planning of it. Probably more I love the discipline it requires to train well. Yes, I am dedicated to my daily workouts, but it’s a whole different animal to me when I’m training for something specific.

I haven’t always been a runner. I didn’t start easing into it until about the end of 2010- first part of 2011. And when I say “running” it was short running mixed in with more walking… but I started… and it moved on to full fledged running.

And one thing I love about running is there is never a limit on new goals to tackle and accomplish. You can always run a little faster, go a little longer, set your sights on bigger races. There is always the challenge to beat your own personal best and the huge satisfaction you get in doing that.

Running has taught me so much.

Perseverance. Dedication. Sacrifice. Big goal setting. Overcoming obstacles and challenges. Not being content to stay in one place without wanting more. It’s built a mental toughness in me that should scare you.

Running put a confidence in me that I really could tackle anything in life.

Along the way, I guess I just started identifying with it.

I’m a runner.

Of course for years, I was in the same non-runner shoes many of you are and many of my friends are. The concept of running unless my life was in danger seemed completely foreign and crazy to me. I laughed about running and admired runners in that way of awe and craziness.

Then I became one.

And I see those words “running is a gift” and I never realized it more than now…. now that I can’t. Now that I have to watch from a distance. Sometimes I’m left wondering if I’ll ever be back out running the miles I was running only earlier this year.

When I hear people joke about not running and know they have the physical ability to do so… I think… you don’t know what you’re missing.  You have the ability… it’s a gift…..

Yeah, running is hard work… not gonna lie about it. But it’s the most rewarding kind of hard work I’ve ever done. And because it is hard people don’t want to step into that uncomfortable zone. It takes time and effort to build strength to make running …look…. effortless.

I went out this morning wanting to be on the road.

Wanting to feel the familiar things I’m used to… my running shoes under me.. the feel of the road under my feet ( and not my tires as it has been so much lately) embrace how my legs feel in that form of activity from cycling and have the familiar feel of sweat building up on me in a way that it doesn’t when I’m on the bike.

I vowed to walk briskly and only do small segments of “running” .  After all, I started out as a walker, I figure I can push myself with brisk walking ( and a 12 min per mile pace, I think, is fairly brisk) I also set a short distance, a little over 3 miles and no more. I had no agenda and kept reminding myself that for now ( or a long time) easy, easy, easy is the plan.

I didn’t need to run the whole time, but for the love of all things running, I needed to feel my body go through those motions again. I was  a good girl and kept my running segments very short. I have to. Oh how good it felt to be in that zone.

Yet, how quickly your running fitness can drop when you aren’t actively working it! I want to be back at that level of fitness I had earlier this year training for my 50K.

When 20 mile runs were starting to feel “normal” and I felt tired but exhilarated after finishing them. When mid-week longish runs were 10 miles that I crept out at dark thirty to get done before the kids were off to school. When my body had that lean, chiseled look from burning more calories in a day than I was taking in.  I’ve never been at a more strong physical peak in my entire life than when I’m in the heavy part of training for long races.

And  I love it all. I miss it like crazy.

I will get back to where I want to be.

I still have marathons to conquer, I want another shot at a 50k, I want to see if I can ever, ever get my half marathon sub 2:00. I want to get my personal best on a 5k down from 27 minutes to 25 or less.  I want to do a duathlon and that requires running and cycling.

Gosh, I want a lot, don’t I ?

I’m determined and stubborn… it will happen…. and when I’m well and back at it again full speed… I’ve already reminded myself I will never, ever, forget this truth…..

Running is a gift.

Things You Never Knew About Running

The other morning I’m in my happy place at Starbucks drinking coffee, writing and pondering new blog ideas when I hear my messenger notification go off. Popping it open I start reading a message from a friend who begins sharing with me that he had been out for an early morning run and how glorious it had been ( I started secretly feeling jealous that he had been out doing it ) but I am proud of him ’cause he’s a new runner and has really been sticking with it.

The next part of his message had me choking on my coffee, almost spitting it out, and then, laughing hysterically.

I am using his message here exactly as I got it….

” But after about a mile, I felt something bad in the lower intestinal area. It was not a desperate situation; the Vikings were not at the back gate with a battering ram but they were fast approaching. I don’t normally need to poop before 6 in the morning but I must have shook something loose. I am sure you wanted to know that. At the very least, I gave you a new blog topic.”

I was dying. It was so his style to fire off something like this to me. I assured him he was right, it definitely added to my blog fodder of ideas… and here we are…. things you never knew about running.

So we’ll begin here since…. he started it 😉 I’m not gonna go all into the poop thing (eww gross) but I told him some runners did have issues with it, sometimes it had to do with what had ( or hadn’t been eaten) or what’s taken in during the run. Some runners just have super sensitive tummys  and they deal with it all the time. It usually doesn’t bother me unless I’m running hard and fast for awhile. I mean honestly all that pounding and slamming your insides around can shake things up. It’s a risk you take running. Some runners develop a good skill of finding trees 😉  My poor friend got some personal experience with it haha…  at least he now knows something else about running….ok… that’s all I’m gonna say on this topic….

run tp

You develop a love/hate relationship with it.  You commit to a run and in that first mile you’re thinking… WHY? and then you ponder the fact running is hard work and that’s probably why everyone isn’t eagerly out on the street doing it and why your friends tell you that you’re crazy. To run requires work… and serious work. And then you realize you feel kinda bad ass ’cause you ARE out there doing it. And you finish beat up and exhilarated thinking of your next run….

run another step

Shoes. You will develop a fetish for new cool running shoes and you will spend more money on them than any other footwear you own. You will become committed to a brand and even a particular style. You will pout like a child when they decide to change up and “improve” your favorite style.

Running clothes. You learn terms like moisture wicking and dri-fit. You make sure those terms are on whatever you buy. You ponder how could a pair of barely there shorts cost that much ??? You buy them anyway ’cause when you know what you like, what you run most comfortably in, there is no guessing game.  You don’t wanna have to think about what is on your body when you’re running.

Cotton garments and baggy shorts are the kiss of death. I wear neither of them anymore.

Gu’s, gel’s, sports beans and the like. You’ve most likely never even heard of these things till you start running. On a stand alone basis, they are almost gaggingly disgusting. Thick, gooey and super sweet you don’t intentionally make a meal of them. However, when you are out on a long run and your body desperately needs sugar and an overload of immediate high octane carbs, they taste like manna from heaven 😉

You will sweat like crazy and smell like a middle school boys locker room.  And there isn’t a runner in the world who doesn’t take that as a sign of a successful run. We are sorry if you have to be around us before we hit the shower.

Oh yeah… showers…… never feel more amazing than when you are dead dog tired after a hard run. Seriously.

You learn to appreciate the aches and pain of sore legs muscles after a long run. Sounds crazy but you feel awesome even when they ache.

You never plan to be a runner.  You don’t. You swear it’s only something your neighbor does or the crazy health nut across the street from you. But one day you’re out there on the road and you’re doing it and you wonder when THAT happened.

You get really, really testy if you can’t get your run in. You don’t really mean to be grumpy about it, but dang it, you want to be out there.

run crazy

You won’t win any gorgeous foot awards. Thankfully I’ve never had the problem of toenails turning black and losing them ( many runners do) also through constant pounding of miles you can build up some serious pads on the bottoms of your hooves. Oh, well. I’d rather be a runner and have those than not.

Entering a race will bring out the competitive beast edge in you. Ok maybe not everyone. I see lots of well behaved happy, chatty, selfie taking people on the race course… and I’m thinking… “really? we’re in a race here” haha

After long runs or races you will feel your legs in ways you never have before. After running marathons I have to walk down TONS of stairs to head back to my hotel. That is a total blast.  What sicko laid out that path for runners after a race?? 😉

stair pic

Running becomes addictive. Relax, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a good kind of addiction.

It will build your confidence and empower you like nothing else. I remember after training for and running my first marathon thinking if I could run all those training miles and then do a 26.2 mile race, I could take on anything life threw at me.

marathon idiot

You meet super cool and supportive people. Probably enough said there. Get involved in the running community and you’ll see =)

You will sport interesting tan lines. And you get the interesting comments like… “why are you always so tanned?”

running tan

99.9%  of us know we’ll never “win” the race. However, when you cross that finish line and collect your medal, you’ve won. You’ve met your own goals, overcome obstacles, and have your own triumphs. We deserve that medal as much as the first one who finished.

We are a stubborn lot. Runners don’t give up or give in easily. We run early. We run late. We willingly leave warm toasty beds on cold mornings to go run in the dark. We’ve been known to run in the rain and cold weather. If we’re training… it’s even worse 😉

Running builds your body. Running can carve out some amazing legs, build your butt, lean out your abs and overall contribute to losing weight. It is the best cardio for losing weight… at about a 100 calories burned per mile… it’s a fat burner for sure.

running pain in ass

And not just physically….. running also clears the mind, helps give clarity, brings peace and helps you refocus. I do my best thinking and creative brainstorming when I run.

run relaxing

Ok… so now that I’ve clued you into the secret truths of running…. you’re  ready to get after it, aren’t you ?

Runners…. is there anything you’d add ?

runner reason

On The Road Again, Sorta

Did the title of my blog just generate that old Willy Nelson song in your head ? It did mine. Please… please…make it go away….

Ok… on with business… I’m talking about… me… on the road…  running….finally… well sorta running. You gotta start somewhere and sometimes you gotta start small again, right ?

If you read a previous post of mine, “Not Running Sucks” you might remember me sharing I was sidelined with a diagnosis from my sports doc that I had insertional Achilles tendonitis. That’s a mouthful isn’t it ?

Ugh. My first running injury ever.

But hey, play hard, invest yourself into something 110%, getting hurt is a part of the game sometimes. In my opinion, it beats sitting on the sidelines, right ??

So I got the instructions from doctor… meds, icing, rolling the heck outta my calves/Achilles/hammies, modified exercise (no running) but I did get to spend a lot of time on my bike which was a second substitute for NOT running. On other days, boxing and strength training were my friends.

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No, I’m not cooking. These are runner recovery tools 😉

Overall, I guess you can say, I’ve been an “actively” recovering runner =)

Last Wed. I went in for my follow up with him to see how my 6 weeks had gone. Long story short, he gave me his blessing to hit the road this week. His words… “ok my ultra girl, we’re gonna start off short and sweet, no more than 1 1/2 – 2 miles to start”

*** the running gods were smiling down on me ***

Ok, I’ll take it, although secretly I had been thinking 3 miles would be a good first run back out….

You know I took the full two miles, don’t you ? 😉

It felt nothing short of amazing slipping into my running gear that morning, putting on my shoes that I only wear for running, strapping on my Nike watch knowing I’d use it for my mileage and not just for time, and then going through routine stretches and warms ups before I took off.

I had already given myself instructions… 2 miles… add in walking… no pushing hard, easy, easy pace… listen to my body.

With my first step, my heart was singing.

Being out with the sun coming up, the road under my feet, the wind in my face ( even though it was a lovely humid Tx morning) feeling the familiar response of pulling a hill and my body responding and doing what I’ve trained it to do….. priceless.

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Messy, happy, sweaty runner girl. First run after 2 months off ? Delicious.

I returned from my 2 miles sweaty and feeling amazing…. thinking I could still continue on… but knowing I still need to be careful and let my body adapt and not stress it with to much.

My goals are small at this point. I want to add another 1.1 miles to those 2 so I can be in at least in the 5k zone again.  I have plans for that distance 😉 I also know my days running in a week will be few for awhile.

Right now, if I can do that, stay injury/pain free then that’s a major victory. I know I might have to adjust goals I had for end of year ( marathon) and I’m not even sure of a half at this point.

However, I DO have a new challenge on my radar screen and that’s all I need right now. ( I will share more about this later)

So, yeah, not running DOES suck. I hate not doing it. I miss it. ( someone… when I’m better… and knocking out a 20miler…remind me I said this haha 😉

I want to remind you, my faithful 1.5 readers, whatever obstacles you might be up against right now, you can always find another way to continue to get you to your goals.

Oh, and being a little stubborn, persistent, and hard headed don’t hurt either  =)

Anyone ? Anyone out there up against any obstacles they are working to overcome right now ?

Let’s Talk About Running

Running.

Have I ever mentioned I love running ?

I shared in a post here on my blog a week or so back that I was sidelined from running with an injury. If you’re on my Facebook page you might have seen my current update.

For those of you in blog world I’m gonna let you know where I’m at and what my current status is…. and if you run I know you’ll totally understand 😛

I had seen a podiatrist but wasn’t really happy with the visit on a lot of levels. He told me I had Achilles Tendonitis, terrified me with the outcome if I ran and didn’t heal properly, recommended I buy his pricey shoe inserts, and to take some Advil. He didn’t want a follow up with me.. that is… unless I wanted to be fitted for his inserts.

ok…..

I wanted a game plan. I wanted someone to understand my running goals and help me get healed and back on track again. Someone who understood me not only as a patient, but as an athlete too.

If there’s one thing that hit home to me in the last year as I trained really intensely is this…

I am an athlete.

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How cool is this shirt ??

When someone first referred to me like that my first thought was … “Me?”

I’ve since realized, it’s not just a title for the elite, it’s anyone who pours themselves with passion into a sport they love. It really is a lifestyle, I believe, a way of living, a mentality towards what you do.

So of all things, there was a sports med doctor two doors down from the podiatrist. I went home and set up an appt with him for a second opinion and hopefully, a game plan.

I saw him last week and I’ll say this. I’m excited.

One of the first things he asked me was what my running goals were for the rest of the year? And what other sports did I do ? ( I’m enjoying cycling more and more) I told him I had been cycling as cross training and also had a duathlon on my goal list.

Since he’s a triathlete I knew he’d totally get it.

Can I say it’s awesome having a doctor who understands your medical needs but also understands your athletic goals?

I felt almost giddy.

He assessed me, poked around on my legs and feet and then sent me down the hall for x-rays to rule out any stress fractures.

All was clear on that… however it did reveal I had insertional Achilles tendonitis… in both feet.

Ok at least now, I knew exactly what we were dealing with.

He laid out a med plan as well as other things like icing my heels ( hello bagged peas!)  rolling ( I bought a rolling pin to specifically roll out my calves and tendons) no running of course, but I can continue cycling and strength training. Thank goodness, cycling at least gives me the fast, forward motion that I’m not getting from running right now.

He did caution and remind me that this injury didn’t happen overnight and it would take time to heal.

I’m ok with that… I can be patient with the goal of getting out on the road again. He reminded me I might need to reset my goals…maybe run a half marathon in December instead of a full… to be open to adjusting my training and goals.

I understand about resetting goals. If that’s what I have to do, that’s what I have to do.

I miss running. I miss how it clears my head and helps me sort out … life.  Running has been probably the single most important thing in my life that has challenged me to go beyond anything I thought I was capable of doing.

Running… makes me feel strong, powerful, alive, invincible, empowered….confident.

And yeah, I get amused when someone teases me about running somewhere to get something, and know that I could do it 😉

Life’s journey is full of up’s and down’s.

I’m trying to be patient, learn, wait and look forward to the final result…. the day I lace up and hit the road again… which won’t come soon enough.

Tell me… are you working through any struggles right now? Is there anything in your life that’s teaching you to be patient, wait, and learn ?

50K’s, Color Runs and Mud

OK… this is my disclaimer to this post… it’s meant to be a fun thought process/commentary and not meant to offend anyone who enjoys the following events… ( you should be hearing this in like a…. Morgan Freeman voice 😉

I’m semi-squinting at the screen ’cause I had my eyes dilated today and it totally makes me feel awesome  jacks with my head the rest of the day/evening. I look like an owl for the next 24 hours….I’ll do my best to keep typos and such to a minimum 😉

I came into running all the wrong way.

I wasn’t a school track athlete. I wasn’t a trendy 20 something wanting to be cool and do the “jogging” thing in the 80’s.

The idea of running for the sole purpose of… running….. was a completely foreign concept to me.

But then as I’ve shared with you in other posts, it just kinda evolved, and then, one day…

I’m a runner.

I was a runner who was popping off 6-7 mile runs as the normal routine. I mean, isn’t that what you did ? I was happy in my new little running world oblivious of things like intervals, and tempo runs and hill repeats or being happy with negative splits (what was that ??)

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Hills anyone ?

THEN….. one day… a well meaning friend said…..

“You should run the Rock n Roll half marathon in November”

I laughed. I told her other people did it, not me.

And when I stopped laughing she said, “well, you’re already running over half the distance.”

That was June and by July I had committed and was officially registered for my first half marathon.

I trained myself and took it on in November. I couldn’t believe I actually ran 13.1 miles.

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Tired and scraggly after my very first half marathon in 2011. And I gave up running in these types of shorts a long time ago….

I’ve learned a lot since then. I follow a structured training plan now (thank you Hal Higdon) I’ve learned lots of running terms, become particular about what I like to run in, and learned how my body responds to various things.

I also learned this: most people start with a 5K as a first race…. not a half marathon… haha

Like I said….. I came into this running thing kicking and screaming    in not the most conventional way.

All this to say, I’ve taken what I do pretty seriously since I started. I’m intense and every run matters to me. I am horribly competitive with myself…. and hard on myself to.

When I sign up for a race, I’m serious about it. Yeah, I get the world won’t stop spinning based on my performance, I’m still kind of intense about it.

That competitive thang…..

Which brings me to these other “runs” that are cropping up faster than weeds in the spring time.

Color Runs, Foam, Neon, Music, Inflatables,  Zombies, Mud, Obstacles……

I’ve been invited to participate in them all. I haven’t….yet….

Why?

Can I breathe this out loud ?

I guess, that serious, competitive part of me is focused on running and so many of these seem like a big party.

Nothing wrong with that. People running happy in costumes, snapping selfies, no worries about PR’s or negative splits. Running is in addition to other stuff going on.

This is what I decided one day. I fall into the “serious” runner category…. not the play category.

I mean someday I’d like to do a Tough Mudder or Spartan runs… that let’s  your total athletic self  get used…. but then I think… what if I injured myself in mud…or on a barb wire fence 😉 it would mess me up running.

See? Serious runner.

As a runner, I’ve tackled multiple half marathons, two fulls, and a 50K run this Saturday.  To me, personally, these aren’t fun and game distances.

When I mention this to my fun running friends they get this deer in the headlights look on their face and laughingly tell me……. I’m crazy.

Maybe I am…. I kinda prefer the word…serious though 😉 although, crazy IS  a pretty cool compliment to a runner…..

What do you think? If you’re a runner do you consider yourself “serious” ?  or do you just like to go do something fun and playful? Do you see a difference ?

Have you ever done a fun run ?

Race Weekend

Alright, I did give you a heads up earlier in
the week…..

It’s here.

Race weekend. It’s hard  feeling that hyper energy and excitement that comes with it.

I feel a connection to this half marathon.  This is the fourth year its been run and I’ve been able to be in each race.

Interesting tidbit, but it was after running my best half in this race that the idea of running a full marathon showed up in my head.

The start of full blown insanity…..

The first year seemed disorganized and a bit chaotic.
I pondered the idea it might not go further than one year.

However, as time has gone on it has gotten better. Its grown but still not so big you’re lost in a sea of people ( like when I run the Rock n Roll)

The coolest part of this race is that it
starts and ends at our historic Alamo.

Which is why the race is cleverly titled….

The Alamo 13.1 it needs to be mentioned you also get super cool finisher medals ’cause we all run for over ripe bananas that cool bling 😉

The course treks all over the beautiful downtown San Antonio area, along the Riverwalk and lots of other nifty scenic areas.

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Looking all messy and victorious after the finish in 2014
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A close look at the prize. Its nicer than a banana 😉
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Early morning at finish line

So….just a quick update here…stay tuned for weekend recaps 🙂

Happy running! Anyone else racing this weekend?