State Fair of Texas, Y’all

Everything is bigger and better in Texas, especially the State Fair!

I’m sure that other states have state fairs, but none are as famous and amazing as the State Fair of Texas.  For one, I think we have cornered the market on original food creations that are battered and fried.  Yes, in Texas we want your fair experience to contribute to your heart disease and eventual demise.  Seriously, though, it takes creative people to dream up these creations and talent to make them taste good!  I never did get my Fletcher’s Corn Dog because the lines were too long, but I did get to try a couple of the top 10 new foods this year.  Neither one disappointed, especially in the artery-clogging department!

Alli and I LOVED the Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly!
Alli and I LOVED the Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly!
Cowboy Corn Crunch in a corn husk container.
Cowboy Corn Crunch – corn, cheese, jalapeno and onion –  in a corn husk container.

Texans LOVE Texas and there is no better place to witness this than at our State Fair.  At least 50% of the fair-goers had some sort of clothing that represented Texas.  It was AWESOME!

I’m going to try to just hit the highlights:

We started the day with breakfast at IHOP, and I took a picture because I knew that my bacon, meat-loving Canadian friend, Jane would NEVER believe that I ate this.  And yes, I did eat sausage.  Mark it down as a Red Letter Day!IMG_5617

Our first stop at the fair was the Chainsaw Carver….Bobby was excited about this one!  It was interesting but I can honestly say I will never become a chainsaw carver.  He carved a raccoon out of a stump right before our eyes in the span of about 30 minutes, which was pretty incredible.IMG_5622

Our favorite carving that he displayed was the Doxie, of course!

Too bad it wasn't a Piebald Doxie!
Too bad it wasn’t a Piebald Doxie!

Next stop was Big Tex for the cliche State Fair pic.  This is as necessary as taking a pic in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom.IMG_5632

At this point, Taylor and Logan went off on their own while Bobby and I took Alli and her friend to ride rides.  The Texas Star provides a great view of Dallas.  I was so relieved that I didn’t drop my phone!IMG_5637

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After we spent more time that I cared to spend riding rides, we were off to the Lone Star Horse Show.  It was broken down into the different stages of Texas history and was entertaining to watch.  My favorite part of this show, however, was at the end when a performer started singing Deep in the Heart of Texas…..of course everyone started clapping and singing along, because, well, Texas y’all.

A Vaquero showing off his lasso skills. Of course I didn't take a pic of the lady singing Deep in the Heart of Texas....I was singing and clapping!
A Vaquero showing off his lasso skills. Of course I didn’t take a pic of the lady singing Deep in the Heart of Texas….I was singing and clapping!

The most rewarding performance was given by the Marine Drum and Bugle Corp.  It was deeply moving and I left with a renewed patriotism, plus a reminder of the sacrifices that the men in the Armed Services make for our country.IMG_5663

We ended the day with the Pig Races.  Sooooo cute and entertaining!  I had trouble moving on from the giant 1200+ lb. pig they brought out before the races….that could be a lot of bacon for Jane!IMG_5669

Training update:

The last couple weeks have been tough.  Running Plano was a bad decision.  I wish I had listened to my gut.  I always regret not listening to my gut.  My run last Monday was terrible….it was a mere two miles, but every step was filled with pain.  At the time, I was certain that I was doomed.  (Sometimes I’m a little dramatic.)

Tuesday I had an appointment with a guy that does ART (Active Release Technique).  I was actually looking for ART when I found my myofascia guy and when he moved to Colorado I started the search again.  All I can say is: I LOVE it!  I felt immediate relief in my ankle and by the next morning I could barely tell that there were any problems.

Oh, and I have a new coach.  I don’t have enough sense to do this on my own and I’m really excited about this new partnership.  He is fully aware of the issues that I need to overcome, but I feel confident that he can navigate me to a strong finish at Dallas.  I know I may not be strong enough to run the time I had hoped, but I’ll have to be OK with that (maybe).

Of course, he wanted me to run a threshold test to see where I stand fitness-wise.  He told me ahead of time to immediately stop if I had any pain.  I ran this workout without ANY pain!  I actually did better than I expected, considering my point in recovery and the fact that I never, ever get to run anything as hard as I can.  Naturally, my ankle was irritated afterwards, but with ice, foam rolling, stretching and KT Tape it recovered nicely and behaved on my “long” run yesterday.  Even though it was a little uncomfortable during the run, I didn’t experience ANY post-run issues.  This tells me 2 things: the workouts are appropriate for me and the ankle is healing!

Make the best of this beautiful Monday!

Jen

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Dads are softies and double-digit long runs!

Not having a litter box was fun while it lasted. 

If you read my one post last week (I SWEAR that I’m trying to get back on a regular-posting schedule!), you know that we gave away our guinea pig (which we had owned for only one week) and it was murdered by our dachshund, Sophie, before the new family could pick it up.  This put us on the market for a kitten, which is what Alli really wanted in the beginning.  I think Taylor pushed the guinea pig idea because her one guinea pig died suddenly and not too long after she got it and she was trying to relive her childhood vicariously through Alli! LOL!!

Long story short, Bobby, Alli and I were out running errands on Saturday (I KNOW Bobby planned this), when we somehow ended up at the adoption center and ended up bringing this little tiger home. IMG_5380

This is the strangest cat I’ve ever seen.  First, he gets his claws stuck in everything – even his own fur! LOL  Then he slept with Taylor Saturday night UNDER the covers.  I’ve never seen a cat that would sleep under the covers.  He is a very sweet kitty, though, and loves to be held and petted.  He doesn’t even mind asking when you aren’t taking his hints!  Asking, as in climbing up your leg to get into your arms.  Ouch!  He is still unnamed, but hopefully that will be resolved soon. IMG_5404

The Never-Ending Ankle Recovery Story

Running is still going very well.  I ran another “high mileage” week (high mileage, relative to the proximity to my injury) without many issues.  I did experience some ankle pain after my tempo workout on Thursday.  The workout was at a decent pace, but the time I spent on each tempo was quite a bit longer than in the last couple weeks.  I did my usual recovery routine, focusing on my calves to get them loosened up, but Friday’s easy run didn’t feel that great.  My legs were happy, my lungs were happy, but my ankle was NOT happy…at least for the first half of my hour-long run.  Since I’m hyper-sensitive to any and every ache and pain, I spend Friday evening and most of Saturday fretting over this.  I did no exercise on Saturday, which killed me because I was banking on a nice 20-mile bike ride.

My concern about the tempo aftermath caused me to be nervous about my 11-mile long run on Sunday – so much so that I didn’t sleep well and woke up with my stomach hurting.  Mental Martha strikes again.  I was even nervous about the weather because I dreaded being cold.  It ended up being perfect – sunny and temps in the 60s! (Go ahead and laugh.)  My nerves about all those issues melted away once my feet finally started pounding the pavement.  I ran in my Newton Gravity, to which my calves are finally adjusted, and didn’t experience any issues.  No issues, except when I was on Old Friend (my favorite hill).  My calves got tired and cranky, but after the hill the calf issues worked out soon enough.  The only other problem that I encountered was that I just got tired.  This is my fault, since I didn’t fuel on this workout.  I need to change my mindset….I don’t really consider myself to be in the midst of marathon training because of my up coming half marathons.  But, people, I’m in marathon training!

My gorgeous view on the way on Sunday morning.
My gorgeous view on the way on Sunday morning.
I love running in the country in Texas. Even the fields are breathtaking.
I love running in the country in Texas. Even the fields are breathtaking.

My legs were very tired and a little achy yesterday afternoon, which sounded the alarms in my brain.  I stuck with the recovery plan and wore compressions, stretched, rested with my legs up, Epsom salt bath and lots of foam rolling.  Today the legs are feeling amazing!  My biggest mental challenge this week will be to make it through the taper to my race on Sunday!  🙂

I’m not a camel

Anyone that knows me knows how I LOVE the long runs!  I love the battle; I love the challenge; I love the time out there on the road; I love the feeling after the run is finished.  One thing that I don’t love is carting around my water.  I have typically worn a 4-bottle belt on my waist, but was so heavy at the start that it had become a mental drain (not to mention a physical one).  I have been researching different products to find the best replacement.  I considered CamelBak, but sometimes I like to bring chia water or Accelerade in addition to my water.  I can’t even think about cleaning a CamelBak after carrying chia water in it.  Plus, I wanted the option to carry water plus another type of drink.  My bad-ass ultra runner Twitter friend, Chad, is an ambassador for Orange Mud and I’ve been eyeing his hydration vest for months.  So, I asked him about the pros & cons of the Orange Mud vest versus CamelBak and I was sold!  I received my new vest just in time for my long run and I loved it!  The water sits high enough on my back that I really couldn’t tell I was carrying around 50 oz. of water.  In the beginning, I was concerned that the vest would cause chafing around my armpits, but after the run I could find no signs of chafing from the vest whatsoever!  There is also so much storage that I will have plenty of room to carry my fuel on the long runs, plus my mace…and my phone…and whatever else I decide I can’t live without for 2-3 hours! I am very pleased with this purchase and am so glad that I finally bit the bullet and bought it! IMG_5387

Turns out I’m not the only endurance runner in Fannin County

I got a message this weekend asking me to check out a new running club in the area, Renegade Endurance.  Apparently there are quite a few endurance junkies in the good ‘ole FC that I didn’t even know about!  I was excited to have been referred to this group and joined almost immediately!  However, I’m a little concerned because I’m pretty sure that everyone else are speedsters compared to me! LOL  In any case, I’m ALWAYS happy to connect with runners, especially when they are practically in my own back yard!! So, when you see me posting with the hashtag #areyourenegade you’ll know why!

Happy Monday!!

Jen