Can I run a half marathon with a fever? With the flu?

These are the questions that I found myself facing Saturday and Sunday. After two days of having a sore throat I attributed to my overzealous use of a space heater, I found myself, on Saturday, a tad hung over and all the way miserable. I could barely keep my eyes open, my throat was in tremendous pain, and after weeks of wearing three pairs of socks and multiple pairs of pants just to sit around the house, I dusted off my summertime pajama shorts and was rockin’ those.

The day progressed and I just got worse. Noises seemed louder, my head hurt. How was I going to do the race the following morning?

After getting a few things ready for Mark, I, still without a firm decision as to what I was going to do the following day, was in bed before 7:30 p.m.. I slept like a rock, lemme tell ya. I had dreams of sleep, for crying out loud, but by 4 a.m., Mark was up and raring to go. I thought about the new race medal rack I just bought and little else, drank a few sips of the coffee my husband had prepared for me and found the clothes that I hadn’t set out the night before.

I warned everyone I came in contact with about my ailment, gave air hugs, and then started the race with only my nap afterward in mind. During the first mile I could feel sweat all over my face, whereas usually I sweat first elsewhere, and definitely not until after the first mile. It was fever sweats, and it was at that time I knew that I definitely wouldn’t achieve a PR that day. Despite this, I had plans to meet friends at the finish line, so I ran the entire time outside of a bathroom break (which I would usually take reluctantly) and for all the water stops.

At 2:24:49, it was undoubtedly my worst half marathon time by a lot. But, boy did I give it hell.

So, can you run  a half marathon with flu-like symptoms? Apparently, yes. SHOULD you run a marathon with flu-like symptoms? Emphatically NO.

After running half marathon sick: 2015 Aramco Houston Half medal
But I sure liked the 2015 Aramco Houston Half bling!

 Featured image by Ryan Hyde on Flickr.

So, Your Friend is Running a Marathon: 11 Tips for Marathon Spectating

A friend of mine is running her first marathon this weekend at the Chevron Houston Marathon. I’m SO excited for her, and she sent me a text the other day asking if I had any suggestions for her boyfriend, who will be spectating.
Well, YES. Mark and I have been marathoners our entire relationship (though I’m mostly cheerleader, only two 26.2 races for me so far!) I’ve cheered him on in Detroit, San Diego, Minneapolis, Provo (UT), Chicago, Houston, and most recently, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.. I’m almost a pro!
Tips for marathon spectating
Mark and I after the Detroit Free Press Marathon; it was the first I spectated at. We had only been dating about three months. Go dirty Nerdy!
If you’re looking to cheer on your lobster at an upcoming endurance event, here are some tips:
Where to be
  1. Check the course map to see how many places you can cheer on your friend. Some Marathons are one huge loop and few are one long line, but most are obscure shapes. Many times there will be spots a block away that are miles away on the course. Each map is different, be strategic & let your loved one know where to look for you.
  2. When you’re planning your map, plan to go nowhere that’ll have you cross the race. If you’re on foot, it’s not a big deal, you can run in the same direction as the racers and keep making your way to the other side. If you’re on a bike, you’ll be the biggest jerk for miles, and if you’re trying to spectate with a car (not recommended)-then, well, you just can’t.
  3. Don’t expect to see your runner during the first mile or two. The crowd of runners is just too dense. You can try to see them off, but its unlikely and you could spend that time getting to a further destination where he’ll appreciate seeing you more.
  4. If you’re meeting your runner at the finish line, make sure your last cheer spot allows for a lot of time for you to get there. With crowds, road closures, and, because of the Boston Marathon Bombing, bag checks near the area, you will likely run into more than one obstacle
  5. If you’re not meeting your runner at the finish line, please cheer at a spot before the last mile or two! That’s where runners need your support the most, and unfortunately it’s the most sparse.

What to wear

  1. A runner needs to wear what’s most comfortable for them, but if your runner wears a white shirt or white cap, you’ll have a hard time finding them! There’s a lot of colors out there but white is the hardest to spot. Red might be easier to spot, but no amount of neon will help you see your runner.
  2. For you, wear something silly if you want! It’ll make people laugh and make that long distance a little more interesting. If not, dress like a runner. During the Marine Corps marathon, I was running late to the finish line and came to a bridge that only people in the race were allowed to cross. I couldn’t take a chance on the next bridge that’d cross that body of water, so I just acted like I was a part of the race. (Naughty, I know. Desperate times!)
  3. Only bring the essentials. Back when Mark did Rock n’ Roll San Diego, I had a whole backpack full of water, snacks, fuel for him, loud bang sticks, my wallet, his wallet, my phone, the course map–everything I could have possibly needed. That was fine for then, but, since the bombing, there are officers who search bags at the finish. If you don’t have a bag, you don’t have to wait in that line.
MORE COWBELL! (What to do)
  1. It seems silly, and I can’t explain it, but endurance athletes love a good cowbell! Nothing picks up my pace when I’m starting to drag like hearing a cowbell. If you’re out there clapping for a long time at a lot of strangers, your hands can get red and tired. Cowbell all the way!
  2. If you read that last suggestion and thought, “Strangers?! I’m only cheering for my man/friendf/girlfriend/mama/sister-in-law’s baby cousin Tracy!” PLEASE don’t have that attitude! Don’t just stand there on the sidelines while everyone runs past. Your energy and support helps these people achieve their goals, and they worked just as hard as someone you know to achieve it.
  3. Most names are written above the numbers on their chests, also known as bibs. Call out their names and make them feel awesome!

What to NOT do for your first 70.3

Just like running marathons, triathlon is something that found me. After my first race, (formerly) Livestrong Austin Marathon, I knew only one other person who had completed a race of that distance and was still very alone in my new interest. At 22, that wasn’t something on my peer group’s radar.

Friends and family began to ask me, “What’s next?” and “Round 2?” right away. Continue reading “What to NOT do for your first 70.3”

Metro PCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon 2014

On Saturday, we gathered with three of our closest friends and trekked from Houston to Dallas for the Metro PCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon. I’ve been to Dallas more than a couple of times in my life, and well, it’s Dallas. So I don’t have nearly  as much to say as I did about the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C..

But! I will say that if you’re making your way from Houston to Dallas, I highly recommend stopping off for lunch in Leona, Texas at The Pecan Grove Cafe. The teeny tiny town only has one hundred and eighty people, and we were surprised how downright delicious their only lunch restaurant turned out to be. Best dream bar of my life!

The race expo had all of the usual vendors there, and the guys couldn’t even find a hat that suited their needs. We grabbed a coupon to Luke’s Locker and drove to the one in Colleyville, where we stayed the night with our friend’s parents.

My friend’s mom made a super cute sign for the race evoking everyone’s inner Jimmy Fallon.

marathon spectator sign EW

Continue reading “Metro PCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon 2014”

Marine Corps Marathon 2014

I already went into detail about my Halloweekend, but information about the Marine Corps Marathon from the weekend prior had been sitting half done in my drafts. Whoops! We flew out to Washington D.C. on a Friday and were back the following Monday afternoon. We didn’t have near enough time to see all of the things we wanted to see or go to all of the places that we wanted to go, namely because we needed to stay rested prior to the race and Mark was definitely exhausted after the race as well.

Continue reading “Marine Corps Marathon 2014”

Before the Bucket List

The journey didn’t start with the list. It started with a hangover. It was the day after my 22nd birthday and the primary gifts I received for that one were a cookie cake, a few failures, and a dash of embarrassment. We’ve all been there.

This time it was different. Everything aligned in just the wrong way, all the wrong things happened, and I didn’t like the way it rubbed me. The journey started with a declaration of desperation: no more drinking for a month–no—a year. And I’ll find other ways to have fun. It’s as simple as that.

After a month of no longer working at the bar, my house was cleaned, my yard was trimmed, I had been journaling the heck out of how I felt about the whole ordeal and I was sleeping outside in the hammock during my son’s naps. I was unemployed, waiting for the fall semester to begin, and I was bored. Boy was I bored. I was ready for something more. Anything more. I didn’t even know where to start.

So I started at the gym. A lot. I was going nearly every day when one day I ran into a couple of my old bar regulars, Mike and Mark. Mark had lost tons of weight, I didn’t even recognize him. He said he was training for a marathon, and I was impressed. I had started running when my son was born, and always thought the “eventual” goal would be to run a marathon.

I went home that night and didn’t like the idea that another person that I know was going to achieve a goal of mine before I was. I then did some research, picked a race, charged it to a credit card (hey, I said I wasn’t working) and although I didn’t write it down yet, I started training to
1. Run a marathon.

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