We Were Outside and Running!

Sunday morning we ran outside for the first time in over 2 months.  We were both a little nervous to see if our indoor training would prove sufficient when we actually on the road.  All of those hours on the treadmill was surely going to pay off, right?

County Y Sheboygan, WI Pigeon River Sheboygan, WI Goking Livestock Sheboygan, WI

With our new Nikon Coolpix AW120 camera in hand, we hit the roads.  We wanted to test the quality of the VR system, so all of our pictures were taken while running.  We snapped over 130 pictures and less than 10 were blurry.  (To be honest, Nick carried the camera on the run.  I cannot take credit for these pictures.)  Although, I was very impressed with the sharpness of the pictures and ability of the camera to focus even while being jostled around.

Hwy 23 Sheboygan, WI Kohler, WI Emily and Nick on the run

Our goal for the day was to run a minimum of a 10k, and we did just that.  We climbed hills, welcomed descents, and dodged sheets of ice on the sidewalks. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, either.  The sun was bright, the sky was a beautiful blue, the temperature cool enough to keep us from becoming overheated yet not too cold, and the wind was bearable not strong enough to slow us down.

Sheboygan, WI County Y Sheboygan, WI County Y Sheboygan, WI

The run was fantastic!  Our training in Houston was flat, with our largest elevation gain of an entire run approximately 100 feet.  The topography is definitely different in Wisconsin.  We powered through one hill that was 100 feet elevation change, nearly half of our overall 200+ feet elevation gain.  Nick and I were ecstatic about our pace and the ability to overcome the hills.

All of that hard work on the treadmill and bike trainer were really paying off.  We maintained a good pace, our legs weren’t tired, and at the end of the run we both felt like we could’ve kept going.  Not wanting to overdo it, we decided a 10k was a fair distance and we would have ample opportunities in the near future to run outdoors.

2014 Muddy Trails Bash 10k

On April 5, 2014 we ran the Muddy Trails Bash 10k in The Woodlands, TX.

Emily & Nick 2014 Muddy Trails Bash

Emily & Nick 2014 Muddy Trails Bash

This, of course, is our second year running this race; we really enjoyed the atmosphere last year, therefore we decided to run it again this year.  It is a trail run that takes you through the George Mitchell Nature Preserve with race options for the entire family.  There is a 1k for kids, a 2K-9 race with your dog, as well as a 5k and 10k.

The weather threatened to rain all day, but we weren’t going to let this stop us from having a good time.  We arrived in time to see the kids finishing the 1k race.  Next up was the 5k.  Our friend Kellie entered this race, and we were able to watch her start.  Then Nick and I lined up for the 10k, which started 20 minutes after the 5k.  While waiting to start the race, we saw a few 5k participants cross the finish line – the winner finishing in 17:35.  Then the horn sounded and we were off.  (We weren’t able to watch the 2K-9, as this took place during our 10k race).

Nick and I didn’t have plans to stay together for the race, but we did begin the race running next to one another.  After the first hill, Nick ran ahead into a pack of people and I was never able to catch back up with him.  My goal for the race was to beat last year’s time, which shouldn’t be too difficult since last year I finished in 1:25:10.

The weather was cool, approximately 67 degrees with a little wind, making the air a bit dry (only 47% humidity, which is very dry for Texas).  The course had twists and turns, with a few loop backs.  We hadn’t really ran since our half marathon on March 23, so my legs  were wanting to give up shortly after we started.  Finally, I convinced my body that I could would finish this race.  I allowed myself two one-minute walk breaks – the first was just before the three-mile mark and the second around the five-mile mark.  After that, I knew I had to run until the finish line.

Kellie was waiting for us and snapped a few pictures as we approached the finish line.  The post-race party includes boiled crawfish, pizza, beer and other refreshments, as well as live Zydeco music.  Due to the threat of bad weather, the turnout this year was low, but we still had a great time.

IMG_0982          IMG_0983

Nick’s Official Time:  1:05:55                    Emily’s Official Time:  1:13:47

– 196 of 285 finishers                                  – 234 of 285 finishers

– 124 of 149 all males                                  – 101 of 136 all females

– 37 of 43 males aged 30-39                      – 45 of 63 females aged 30-39

2014 Muddy Trails Re-Cap from Nick

An oddity of sorts, this race is in the afternoon.  I am so used to waking up early for races that my day feels odd when I get to hang around for the entire day before the race.  We spent the morning taking a walk with the dogs and grocery shopping, then stopped for a sandwich.  It was our first time to Katz’s deli.

We left the house around 3pm for a 4.20pm start time.

Parking for this race was similar to last year, we parked at a church about a mile away.  The organizers have buses, but they don’t seem to be enough as there is always a line waiting to get on.  So, we made the decision that we were already going to run 6 miles, so walking 1 shouldn’t be that big of a problem.

Bag drop moved this year and we had a hard time finding it, all kinds of people lined the paths to move around.  I dropped my bag and we made it to the start line in time to see a friend start her 5K race.  We saw the start and were surprised to see some very quick teenagers at the start.  

The line up for the 10K started and since our pace is not that quick, we were close to the back, this changed quickly as they pushed everyone forward.  I think the race organizers were lucky that a lot of people were scared of the weather and didn’t show up, otherwise the corral might not have held everyone.  Moments before the 10K start, we started to see 5K finishers.  This meant they had a time around 20 Minutes.

The trail for this race is very hilly and sandy in spots.  I really enjoy it as something different than road running.  The first mile or so is done in multiple loops where the organizers have the first aid station.  Nice that they have this station, but the trails are narrow and it got congested, I vaguely recall the same thing from last year.  After the two loops to complete mile 1 and maybe another 1/2, we head off into the trees where I was passed by the same teenagers from the 5K race who were finishing when we started.

The run through the trees is fun, no cars passing and no police holding back traffic, but due to the size of the race, one tends to be running alone.  Around mile 4 I started to see people heading back to the finish, I thought this was encouraging because it meant I was getting close to the turn around.  At the same time, I started running with a guy from Scotland.  We talked while we ran and maintained the same pace for another mile and a half.  We even picked up another runner at our pace who told me that she was happy to find a pace with other people since most others she had tried with started walking.

Mile 6 came pretty quick and as I got back on the road heading to the finish line where I started running at a much quicker pace.  I finished in 1H5M55S.  This was a little over 8 minutes faster than my 2013 result.  My goal was to beat it by 10, but this was acceptable.

I waited with our friend for Emily to finish and we were excited when we saw her heading towards us.  She crossed the finish line and we headed over for food.  The line for crawfish was too long, so I picked up some fruit and a couple of beers and had a relaxed time the rest of the afternoon.

This is a really fun race and I really like the activities afterward.  I look forward to beating my time again next year.

One last story from the race, at the beginning we were near quite a few people, one was telling a story to his friends about his daughter.  She had apparently dropped out of college and was earning a living going from town to town participating in trivia contests to earn money.  My only thought was “you must be so proud”.


2013 Lake Houston 10k

Nick and I ran our second 10K on August 24th, the Lake Houston 10K in Kingwood, TX.  The weather was a tolerable 81 degrees with approximately 84% humidity, and the scenery was beautiful.  We ran over Lake Houston, an amazing site at sunrise.  

Nick and I ran together for the majority of the race.  This was good for me, bad for him – I beat my previous 10K time, whereas his time increased.  But, I have to say, it was really nice to be able to run next to him, especially when I was getting tired.  

Official results for Lake Houston 10K held on Saturday, August 24, 2013: 

Emily’s Official Time:  1:16:29.4

– 344 of 397 finishers

– 162 of 206 all females

– 69 of 89 females aged 30-39

Nick’s Official Time:  1:16:31.6

– 345 of 397 finishers

– 183 of 191 all males

– 70 of 75 males aged 30-39