#MilesToMagnolia

This vacation was about spending time with my sister and her boyfriend and watching her cross the finish line of her first marathon. I would have gone regardless had we done a race. I needed a break from my day-to-day and honestly it was fun looking forward to this as the winter seemed to not want to leave Ithaca.

Driving down was relaxing and I enjoyed the few miles I ran each morning. Running is my favorite thing, but I don’t need a certain number or distance to feel like it mattered or was enough. I just like getting out there. Sometimes during training, I fall into the trap of “enough”. Was this enough miles for the day? Did I train enough? Did it further my goals?

Well, on vacation, and this mindset is one I will continue to pursue, I completely let go of training. I let go of whatever running mindset I had and just made a point to relax. I used running to rejuvenate my mind and body, not to train. It was wonderful.

So, back to race weekend. We woke up Saturday and I got in a few miles watching the Texas sun rise. When I got back, my sister suggested trying to go to Joanna’s restaurant, Magnolia Table, that morning instead of Monday like we planned. I thought that was a good idea, so we tried…but the wait was over 4 hours…and so we decided to try again Monday and went to a place called Tesla’s Cafe instead (named after the inventor). It was really tasty, I got a bean and cheese breakfast burrito and coffee. The cafe is actually more of a coffee bar for people who know good coffee. They had many different roasts for different regions in the world. They didn’t have decaf…so I got the house blend. Connor tried some sort from Ethiopia I think. We like our coffee, but aren’t super versed in this kind of tasting. It was good.

After breakfast we made our way to packet pick-up which was moved inside due to rain. It didn’t rain the whole weekend fortunately. After getting our bibs, we went to walk around Magnolia Market, which is the Gaines Family business.

A bit of background, the Silo District Marathon is put on by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. They also run the Magnolia District and now Magnolia Table in Waco, TX. They held this marathon to raise money for a charity associated with elite runner Gabe Grunewald (sp?). In total, the race raised $250,000 for the charity and it was Chip’s first marathon. My sister’s low key goal was to beat Chip. Spoiler: she did.

The market was buzzing with people, so we walked around, picked out some souvenirs for Connor to get for us the next day while he waited for us as we ran. It was too packed to stand in line on Saturday, so we just looked. We also hit up the Waco Running Company, which was kind of like my local running store FLRTC (except not as cool of course). I got some stuff from their sale rack mostly for next winter. Can’t beat gloves and a long sleeve technical shirt for 75% off right?

After walking around for a while, we headed back to our AirBnB and hung out for the afternoon. We sat outside and I did exactly what I said I would do when it was snowing before we left…I soaked up the sun and exclaimed BURN ME TEXAS! It was wonderful until the next night…but I’m ahead of myself.

That afternoon we went to Mammoth National Park just to get out of the house. We didn’t go on the tour, but it was a beautiful place.

We watched the Hunger Games and I fell asleep.

Race morning we got up around 5:15AM and ate while talking and getting ready. My sister braided my hair and I felt really relaxed. I felt no pressure, but let myself go to the pain cave if I felt it was right. We got to the starting line with plenty of time.

The race started a bit late and it was strange because their was an elite wave…that no one knew about except the 12 or so runners. Maybe I should have gone with them, as they started 5 minutes before us…but it wasn’t too big a deal and actually took even more pressure off. I knew I wouldn’t catch them, so I didn’t worry about running any other race than my own.

When our gun went off I felt good and relaxed. I was between 6:15 and 6:25 for the first few miles before I realized I should slow down because there wasn’t Gatorade or Gu on the course…and that wasn’t good. I didn’t bring any nutrition with me as the website said it would have nutrition. At Buffalo I did the same thing, just drank Gatorade at aid stations, and it worked really well. I ended up not getting nutrition until mile 11…so I could feel a bit of shit show start. I did my best at eating a bunch of Gu and Gatorade, but it was starting to get hot. I kept trying to maintain my pace until about mile 18 when I seriously bonked. It was pretty rough. After then it was about damage control. I slowed down and tried to maintain the same effort. It was pretty nasty and I had a low 8 miles. A low, humbling 8 miles. However, getting to mile 18 at a good pace was a lot better than I thought I would do, so I tried to think of the 8 miles as a cool down.

It still sucked in that heat. I caught up to the half marathoners and started passing them and it looked to tempting to just slow down even more and run with them. I just did my best.

I crossed the finish line in 3:04:08. I’m happy with it as it is reflective of my marathon fitness and 2 week training plan. (Not 2 weeks from nothing, but 2 weeks with a marathon effort built in. Difference)

I found Connor and we went to the finish line to wait for my sister. I went through a lot of weird shit in the 2 hours waiting for her. Definitely heat exhaustion and dehydration, maybe some skin melting. I knew how to handle it though and did my best. Keep drinking and eat salty food (I love Corn Nuts) and the nausea will come and go. Eventually by the time she finished I was feeling good enough to care for her.

My sister did brilliantly! She crushed her goal, finished the race even though she definitely was suffering (we ended up in the med tent with her hooked to IVs). We waited for her to get rehydrated, after which she was pretty chipper for being out running in 85 degrees for so long. I am so proud of her! More than that, she is proud of herself and that she finished. That was the best part.

She says she might stick to half marathons for a while now.

We rested and relaxed for the rest of the day and drove home (all 25 hours) the next day. We’re home, we’re relaxed and happy. It was a wonderful vacation. I can’t wait until the next one.


GETTING TO TEXAS!

Where to begin to describe a trip like this. It was everything I knew I needed, and even more than that.

When we left for the trip, I was exhausted. Point blank I was spent. My runs were sluggish, I was tired, I needed a break. I needed this vacation to force me to take one, because I simply don’t notice how burned out I am until I get injured or cry.

Yup, I cry because I am so overwhelmed.

This vacation came at the perfect time. In order to finish a marathon, I needed to rest a lot, both physically and mentally. That’s exactly what we did.

The first two days of driving, I slept a lot in the car. We started from my parent’s house (where I left my van) at around 9:00AM. We wanted to make good headway getting to Ohio and to Cincinnati that night.

My sister’s boyfriend drove, and he was great about stopping when we needed to stop, and indulged me when I found random trails or parks to take walks and break up the trip.

The first day we ate out of the car, then stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner near our hotel. This was the first night I slept in a bed in 4 months. It was excellent!

The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel, my sister and I ran a bit together and we hit the road again by about 9:30AM. We knew we’d be going through Tennessee and our goal was to make it to Little Rock, Arkansas that night. If you’ve ever watched the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives from the Food Network, you know the host has been to many places in the TN area. We googled a few of them and settled on Cajun food as our first southern culinary experience.

We went to Bro’s Cajun Cuisine, which was basically a shack on a freeway in the middle of Nashville. I was in love with the atmosphere. It wasn’t busy, the people were relaxed, the food was amazing and it was just, southern hospitality I guess. We even met Bro (who actually spells his name Breau) who brought Cajun from Louisiana to Nashville 30 years ago. Really nice guy, great food. Highly recommend it.

After eating, we continued our trek to Arkansas, stopping at a Diamond Cavern and a few other miscellaneous parks. It warmed up quite a bit, which was a relief considering we had come from mostly still winter New York.

The next day we only had a 5 hour drive to get to our AirBnB, so we took our time in the morning getting ready. We visited the Hot Springs and walked around there before it started to rain. We spent the afternoon driving and got dinner at Twisted Root Burgers in Waco before getting to our AirBNB.

The burgers were so good, as were the sides! I got a veggie burger made with chickpeas, black beans and rice with avocado and homemade BBQ sauce. As a side I choose the fried green beans and OH BABY they were dangerously good! The whole atmosphere in there was neat. The restaurant was a renovated warehouse with high ceilings, music videos and baseball playing on TVs on the walls and both booths and tables. My sister said that was her favorite place that we ate.

We made it to our AirBnB that night, hung out on the porch swings and relaxed.

The next day was packet pick up. That post, and the race, will be for another day.

Tiredness masks reality, I’m ready for a ROADTRIP!

This will most likely be my last post until we return from vacation. I am feeling a lot better this morning than the past few days. I think it helps that I slept last night.

I don’t know why, but the tiredness has really done a number on my self-esteem regarding the race. I just felt unfit the past few days. Not ready to perform. Tired.

I know I will have time to rest and relax before the race. Thankfully I slept yesterday and woke up feeling much better, but I need much more of that before the race in order to enjoy it and try my best.

I am not in PR shape, but I do want to try hard and give it my best shot. Getting to the starting line rested is the only way I can make an attempt to compete.

I think that wearing tired and busyness as a badge of honor is toxic. I do not do this, but I cannot lie, when I get all my shit done while exhausted I do feel accomplished. However, then these feelings, the ones I’ve had the past few days, make me doubt myself and my abilities. The tiredness masks reality in a way. It makes me think I can continue not resting enough and get by.

I don’t want to get by. I want to be happy, alert, present and enjoy my life. I want to give myself the chance to put something on the line and perform well. Getting by just doesn’t cut it for me. It never will.

I am ready for a bit of a break from the daily grind. I love my job and coworkers, but I want to spend some time with my sister and her boyfriend. I want a change in scenery and a change in the routine. I want to sit in the back of a truck, relaxing and talking. I want to leave tomorrow for TX and have a great time.

I am leaving the van at my parent’s house, and my dad is “inspecting” it as he calls it. That’s kind of him, maybe he’ll take her on a joy ride. It’d be good for the both of them.

We are taking my sister’s boyfriend’s truck and staying at an AirBNB in Texas called Billy’s Backyard Barn. I cannot wait for this! It seems so southern hahaha.

We have no set route or plans. We’re going to stop along the way. We’ve given ourselves three days to get there, a few days there and then a few days to drive back. It’s really relaxed, but we will stop whenever each of us wants to stop.

I plan to get some serious reading done, which reminds me to go to the library today and get book 6 in the series I’m reading.

I plan to come back tan or burned. I don’t care I want sun. All the sun. All the time.

I’m ready to go. I hope Texas is ready for us 🙂

Breakfast: oatmeal and PB

Running: 36 minutes