Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Toughest 10K | Kemah, TX

My 1st 10K!!!

I signed up for this one with the husband on a complete whim! We were headed to Galveston for the weekend to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary and the Monday before our trip I decided to see if there were any races happening in the Galveston/Houston area.  Low and behold, I found The Toughest 10K in Kemah, TX.  I wasn’t specifically looking for a 10K but as soon as I saw it I was hooked.  I told the husband about it and he was just as excited about giving it a try as I was.  Everything, from packet pickup to the actual race, fit in so perfectly with our plans.  I was pumped for this race the minute – no – the second we signed up for it!  The race has a great Facebook page that they kept updated with little race tidbits that just fueled the excitement and anticipation.

It didn’t phase us that we hadn’t run a 10K before – we planned to take it nice and easy, run as much as we could and do a walk/run interval after that.  We were a bit nervous because the course went on the Kemah/Seabrook Bridge – four times, but I felt up for the challenge!

I could barely sleep the night before the race and jumped out of bed well before the alarm clock rang I was so dang excited.  I truly felt like a kid on Christmas morning! I never was so pumped and amped for a race before!

It was cloudy and humid – I was so thankful the sun decided not to show up for the race because it could have made things icky weather wise. A nice little breeze kept us cool – especially on the bridge.

There were close to 2 thousand people running the 10K, a good amount of spectators, and a large group of beyond awesome volunteers.  The volunteers rang their cowbells, yelled, and cheered for us – oh, and manned the water/Gatorade table like nobody’s business.  I was able to pick up a cup without ever breaking my stride. At one point, I told one of the volunteers that she was awesome, and she replied, “No, you’re awesome!” – and dammit – I felt awesome!

Steve and I had a really good supportive race.  If the water stop was on my side and he wanted a drink, I got it – and vice versus.  We talked to each other and kept each other going.  Definitely a nice way to celebrate an anniversary and I was (and am) so excited that we did our 1st 10K together.

We kicked ass, if I do say so myself.  We ran the whole time, kept a decent and consistent pace and finished just slightly over the one hour mark.  Official results have not been posted due to some technical difficulties, but preliminary results have us in at 1:01.  We were blown away with our performance and we were on a runner’s high for days! DAYS!

 High lights: So much to say! But, I think being able to run the whole darn thing will be one of my fave race moments ever.  Just performing beyond expectation is pretty sweet in and of itself.

Low lights: it started pouring rain as we crossed the finish totally killing the post race festivities.  Tents with food were set up around the beautiful Kemah boardwalk area and it would have been nicer if the rain held out just a little longer.  Still really didn’t stop us from inhaling the yummy treats and chatting with fellow finishers.

Race Swag: A kick ass technical shirt (no sponsors on the back, yo!), a hat, and finisher’s medal.

Post Race Eats: Breakfast burritos, ice cream (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Power Bars, Muscle Milk, Soda, water, and fresh fruit.  The best post race spread I have encountered thus far.

Miracle Mile: During the race I really paid attention to the volunteers. Kids and adults of all ages giving their all to make it a great race.  All of them seemed so friendly – from packet pickup to during the race – to post race.  I remember seeing kids raking up discarded cups on the side of the road with so much oomph and effort.  It was really cool to see.

I have to give it up to the Running Alliance Sports (RAS)! They put on a great race.  The Toughest 10K Kemah is part of  The Texas Bridge Series, the others being, The Toughest 10K Galveston and the La Porte Half Marathon.  I’m bummed that my schedule doesn’t allow for me to take on the 10K in Galveston this year, but I am keeping the race on my radar for next year.  Who knows, maybe we will take on the Texas Bridge Series.  I wouldn’t mind doing my first halfie organized by RAS. Dun dun DUN. Well see.

kemah boardwalk sign ginastevekemah ginapolicekemah ginakemah

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Electric Zombie Run 5K | Denton, TX

A night run? Zombies?! Glow sticks?!? Yes, please! The minute I read about this race, like two months ago, I knew I HAD to put this race on the calendar.  Since the race was at night and involved zombies. I figured it would be a good idea to bench my son from this race and secure a babysitter.  Friends of ours came through beautifully and made running the race sans son easy peasy.  The babysitters had everything under control before we even left for the race! We paid them in pizza, cupcakes and cake pops! I’d take that gig in an instant if someone promised me junk food for payment!

When we got there, we heard some announcements about how the course would have no lighting and would be on x-country style terrain.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting THAT! The race director advised us not to make this a PR race or focus on our time as there would be no awards. Just go off and have fun with the zombies – and that is just what we did!  The race had such a cool atmosphere and everyone seemed so excited and pumped to go out and play with the Zombies. There was a really fun DJ and some people came in costumes and everyone was sporting a crap load of glow sticks! It was AWESOME! If you came in under 35 minutes you received a glow in the dark finisher medal that said I SURVIVED THE ELECTRIC ZOMBIE. If you came in after 35 minutes, you received a medal that said something like, YOU’RE TOO SLOW. YOU ARE A ZOMBIE.  You know I couldn’t bring home a you’re too slow medal for the medal rack so we had some good motivation to bust our asses a little bit.

As promised, the course was dark! Zombies stood on the side of the trails and did a really great job of jumping out at us from behind bushes, trees, and rocks.  Some runners had head lamps (why can’t I be that smart?!) but other than that and the moon, you couldn’t see too much.  Which is kind of a bummer because the zombies (whom I am pretty sure were volunteers) worked hard on their zombie looks, but it was a little too hard to see all the greatness. I only really got a good appreciation of their get ups after checking out some pictures on Instagram (thank you hastags!).  The zombies also set up the occasional strobe lights on the course which just made everything more creepier, haha.  Despite all that, I was only caught off guard once by a zombie when I was coming into the finish line.  They were hiding under a bridge and banging on it and I admit it, I totally yelped.  Out loud.

I had a really good run, felt great the whole time and came in under the 35 minute mark with plenty of time to spare.  We watched the other runners come in and yelled for them to pick it up so that they would be survivors!

All in all, it was a nicely organized fun run.   A perfect run to get you in that Halloween spirit and usher in fall.  Now, if only Texas would get the memo and turn down the heat. From what I understand, this was the inagural race and is part of a zombie series.  So, if you live in the Texas area or will be in the Texas area, you might want to go and check it out.  No need to be a hardcore runner to enjoy this one!

High lights: Being a survivor, yo! Take that, zombies!

Low lights: not knowing course terrain before the race. I kinda wished that the website had more info on that so I would have been better prepared (mentally). No biggie, though. I probably was taking this race more seriously than I should have been.  I definitely had to change gears on race night.

Post Race Eats: water and Nutri-grain bars. Leftover deep dish pizza when I got home. Nom!

Race Swag: Cotton t-shirts, glow in the dark glow sticks and finisher medals.

Coming soon! Race recap of my first 10K!!

ginastevezombie ginazombiereportingforduty ginazombieahead


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September Soaring Virtual 5K | Wherever I Damn Well Pleased, TX

I was sent a link to virtual race organization and I was instantly intrigued. You pick the race distance, when you want to run your race (in the prescribed race week) and where you want to run your race.   After paying the race fee, you get your bib via email and you’re good to go! No dealing with packet pick up! I decided to go for it and signed up to experience what doing a virtual race would be like/feel like.


September Virtual 5K bib by

I had a training run scheduled for the same day my virtual race week started so I decided to run my virtual 5K on the first day. I woke up, got dressed and started the race right outside my driveway! Can’t beat that! No fuss, no muss. I liked that i could pick the day and time to run my race.  I also liked that I didn’t have to disturb my sleeping son and cajole him into a jogging stroller.  He was still sleeping after I returned from my race – score!

I ran my virtual 5K like i would any other race and earned my fastest 5K time, yet! It did feel a little anticlimactic when there was no one waiting for me at the “finish”.  Although, bonus points: My husband had some cold water waiting for me when I walked back into the house! All I had to do post race was shower and send my race time to the Virtual 5K company.  In a few weeks they will send me a finisher’s medal! This month’s virtual race theme was airplanes and I cannot wait to get my airplane medal in the mail!

Would I do it again? Sure, why not!  I wouldn’t do all my races, this way, but I would certainly add some to my race calendar. It’s so easy to do and I never have to worry about emailing race organizers to see if jogging strollers are permitted.  I can map out my own course and make it as flat or as hilly as I want.  I think it would be fun to organize your own race and get a few local runners involved.  Think about the fun post-race party you could throw! Virtual races are definitely a great way to inject some fun into a training or long run! The virtual race didn’t have the same feeling or atmosphere as an in the flesh real race, but just knowing I would have to submit my time kept it competitive enough for me.

I’m sure virtually running is not for everyone, but for this girl – it worked! I liked the fact that I didn’t just dismiss it and tried something new!

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A Magic Mile Moment

One of my favorite things I like about running are the athletic supporters…err…the supportive peeps in my life.  Whether it be friends truly interested in your running class; a congratulatory high five from a fellow runner in a running group; or from spectators that trek out early one (weekend) morning to cheer you on during a race.  Having someone in your corner is a fantastic feeling and a great motivator.

I noticed something fun on my Labor Day race that has stayed with me post race and several days later.  The course was an out and back and on my way back I saw a young girl (8 or 9 maybe?) running out doing a run/walk combo solo.  Some runners in front of me asked if she was doing ok and she answered in the affirmative.  I clapped for her as she passed by and told her she was doing great and a few other runners took my cue and did the same thing.  I wondered where her parents were because she seemed so young to do a race by herself.   I think I would have been overwhelmed doing 3.1 miles by myself at that age.  Heck, sometimes I feel overwhelmed NOW when I run a race solo, but she was indeed holding her own.  More about her in a little bit.

After I crossed the finish line, I hung out for a bit for the results and to see the other racers cross the line.  It’s really inspiring to see runners as they approach the finish line.  You can usually spot that moment of relief, excitement or accomplishment flash across each runner’s face when they hit the finish line.   Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a spectator near the finish line holding on to some balloons and a teddy bear and I realized that she was probably waiting for the little girl that I passed on the course.  Not too long after I saw the little girl approaching the finish line giving it her all! A crowd of people cheered her in and her mom (I assume) with the balloons and teddy bear in tow gave the little girl a huge hug the second she crossed the finish line! Seeing that gave me chills (on a hot and humid morning)!  It was truly an amazing moment and I was so happy to have witnessed that special moment.

At my first running  class, we did what the coaches called a “magic mile”. You run for a mile so the coaches can ascertain what pace group you belong in. I think I’ll borrow the “magic mile” term and use it for when I see something inspiring during a race. I’ll make it part of my race recaps. Hopefully it will be a good reminder to look outside of myself and make me more aware of the cool and inspiring moments that inevitably occur during each race.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own race; our own goals and our own performance that it’s so easy to miss these little moments unfolding during a race.

I hope the cheering and praise will carry the little girl on each of her runs and other future endeavors.  I hope that I’ll remember this moment and always be conscious of not just my race but to also be mindful of the “little big” during a race.

Let’s hear about your “Magic Mile Moment” during a race! Was it an awesome spectator giving you that extra push? A funny marathon sign; or a maybe an awesome volunteer giving you an encouraging smile?

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Labor Day 5K and 15K | White Rock Lake, Dallas TX

AKA my new favorite race! 

It doesn’t rain much here in Dallas during the summer, but of course the rain decided to make an appearance on race day morning! The hubby, my son and I woke up before the sun to trek down to Dallas for a Labor Day race.   I’m glad my son still doesn’t really know the meaning of too damn early, yet. Waking up before the sun didn’t phase him at all. It stormed all the way down to White Rock Lake and I was nervous we would have to run in the rain. I don’t care about running in the rain myself, but didn’t want my son to have to deal with sitting in a stroller and getting whipped in the face with rain.  Luckily, we had a clearing just as the race started and it lasted until well after we finished.  The humidity came out in full force, though.  

I felt like I had a really good race and felt good the entire time.  I decided to enter the Athena (weight) division for this particular race mainly because they offered it and because I never done/seen anything like that. It was a tough decision for me basically because I didn’t want to put myself in a harder division than the age group division.  I don’t normally ever place in my age group so I figured what the heck, I’ll give the Athena division a shot.  It’s basically all a crap shoot.  Case in point, I placed third in the Athena division but would have scored second in my age group.  That stung for a second, but I got over it.  Never the less, my goal is to someday not be eligible for the weight class division at all just so I don’t have to make a decision about entering into the age group division vs. weight class division. I don’t really see the weight division too much, anyways. 

I rather focus on the new PR I set! I wasn’t aiming for a new PR for this race but I am psyched that it happened! I just wanted to do a hell of a lot better than last years Labor Day race in New York.  And I did! By a lot! (Sorry just had to brag for a tiny bit!) I’ve been doing a lot more (for me) running in the heat and it’s paying off.  It’s nice to see. 

Highlights: It’s a tie between placing in the weight class division and setting a new PR!

Low-lights:  Humidity. Blah.  

Post Race Eats: Bananas.  Gatorade, water, beer, and expired soda.  I stuck with a banana and some Gatorade.  We ate a crappy breakfast at Paradise Cafe. My good post race meal came when I had some brisket for dinner compliments of my friend, Courtney and her fiance! SO. GOOD.

Race Swag: A pretty cool technical t-shirt.  Finisher medals for the 15Kers. The website just said Finisher’s Medals and did not distinguish whom would get the medals. That was annoying. Especially since the medals said Labor Day 5K and 15K on them.  Would it have been so difficult to extend that to the 5K finishers as well? I kid! A little bit. 

All in all, a good way to start Labor Day!  

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