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.

3 thoughts on “#MilesToMagnolia”

  1. Wow I can not even imagine running in 85 degree heat for 26.2 miles. You girls are amazing; and I think it’s so cool how you are Laurel’s biggest cheerleader. Both of you knocked it out of the park, and I appreciate the mindset you took to it Ellie of being relaxed and just getting out there to refresh and rejuvenate. It sounds like this trip was just what you needed.

  2. I am finally getting around to reading your post! Whew! I love your mindset about running and it being enough and just enjoying your vacation! Tesla’s sounds so yummy, and I’m glad you could spend time with your sis and her boyfriend in such a beautiful location!

    You guys did great on your race! I am so impressed! Especially with that Texas heat! SO glad you had a fun time 🙂

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