Tag Archives: Texas

Wildseed Farms 5K, Fredericksburg, Texas

This was one of the prettier courses I’ve run! Granted, there weren’t as many flowers as I thought there would be but we are still in drought conditions. The weather was lovely, although slightly warm. However, the skies were blue and sun was shining! The Wildseed Farms is a lovely place to visit if you’re ever in the area!

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We all lined up to get ready to run through the wildflower farm. This was a women’s only run, but there were one or two men there to support their wives/sisters/girlfriends/friends. The line wrapped all the way around to the main building.

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They sounded the bullhorn and we were off!

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We stayed on the farm and even went next to a creek. It was quite peaceful and the flowers were beautiful.

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Most of the flowers were found toward the front of the farm and building. They had a test area where they grew different flowers in patches.

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Breakfast was provided along with wine tasting and mimosas! There was a band for our entertainment as we relaxed afterward.

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All in all it was a fun race! Maybe next year they’ll have better luck with the flowers throughout the race area.

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I just couldn’t get enough of the poppies! So beautiful!

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We walked most of it with intervals of running. Then toward the end we hooked up with some other ladies and did 1/1 intervals. My Garmin showed 3.5 miles and finished in 53:19.

Hot Chocolate 5K, Dallas, Texas

On February 9th, Amy and I decided to split the distance and travel to Dallas for the Hot Chocolate 5K! I originally wanted to do the 15K, but once I saw you had to maintain a 15 minute or better mile, I knew it was probably best to stick with the 5K this time around. I have driven through Dallas many times but have never stayed there. It’s fair to say, it wasn’t the best trip!

Amy and I went to the expo on Friday to pick up our race packets. I fully expected something fun but there were very few people there and not many vendors. Fail. The best thing that came from it was the swag!

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The race bag was pretty cool. Mine was red and Amy’s was blue…we decided to switch! The only thing in the bag was the technical hoodie. I have to say, I really like this sucker! It’s quite comfy. The inside of the hood is orange to match “Chocolate”. There was a vendor there with Biscoff cookie spread. We had seen some people leaving with cartons of this stuff. We could either choose a carton (12 jars) of one type of spread or we could take 1 of the crunchy jars and 1 of the creamy jars. Amy and I opted for taking one of each since we weren’t entirely sure what it would taste like. It’s extremely non-nutritious! Basically, it’s just ground of cookies to make a spread. The crunchy was delicious and I swear laced with crack. That’s beside the point…

After the expo we went and watched “Side Effect” at an old mall that had half of their stores closed and the other half weren’t really worth shopping in. Oh, there was a tattoo parlor too. You know…just in case you want to get some ink done while you’re there. We also found a local BBQ place for lunch which was quite good!

The next morning we left earlier than planned, which was a good thing since the race organizers and Dallas Police really made a mess of things. Originally we were told we could use gates 5-12 to park. When we got there, they only had gates 9 and 10 open. They were funneling 12,000 participants through 2 gates. The police weren’t really directing traffic well either. On top of that, they closed down the extra lanes which forced everyone into one lane. Ok, fine…but did you really have to close them off so 3 lanes were merging into 1 in the same spot? Not very good planning…and, the police directing traffic? No where to be seen in those areas. Well planned, Dallas, well planned.

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We parked a mile away from the start line/corrals…yep a mile! So, we got a bit of a warm-up in on our way! It was in the 40’s, maybe right at 50 (can’t remember exactly), so that extra walking at least got us a little bit of heat started on the way to the corrals.

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We passed the area where you pick up your goodies at the end and saw an odd sign:

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We were wondering if we were supposed to use that area to lay down in once we finished the race!

Since Amy and I are not the fastest of runners we were in the very last corral, Corral G.

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We had just enough time to cool back off before the race started! Everyone was bouncing around trying to stay warm. This is us before!

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They let all of the corrals go one at a time. Once A was gone, we waited 3 minutes and they let B go. While it is a good idea to allow a little bit of space, I was ready to go!!

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We finally got to the start and were able to get the party started.

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The horn blew and we were off. It felt good to get moving and start warming up some. The weather was perfect for running, not so much for standing around! We were a little packed together at the beginning, but much better than several of the other larger races I’ve done. This one was by far the largest I’ve ever done though.

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The trail mainly went around the streets surrounding the Cotton Bowl area.

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We had an overpass with a view of Downtown. To infiniti and beyond!

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Toward the end there was a live band playing…that was pretty awesome!

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Finally, we reached the finish line with a time of 49:40. Amy beat me by 1/100th of a second! 😀

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It was after we crossed the finish line that I understood the “No Sitting or Standing” sign!

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The line was well managed to get your hot chocolate. We didn’t have to wait at all.

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We threw caution to the wind and sat our happy butts right next to the sign and enjoyed our hot chocolate and various goodies to dip in the chocolate fondue!

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While the route to get in to the park was a mess, the race itself was well organized. While I enjoyed the race, the stress of the traffic before and after left a bitter taste in my mouth. If I do this race again, it will be if it comes to Houston or Austin. I won’t be going back to Dallas!

 

 

Texas 1/2 Marathon, Kingwood 2013

This year I decided to do the 1/2 marathon again on New Year’s Day. What a great way to start the new year! Unfortunately, this year it was a bit rainy. However, it did make for almost optimal running with the cooler temps and no glaring sun!

Last year was the year of the pig. This year was the year of the rat. Nice, right?! They did have a cute inflatable rat in a trap though. It looks all shimmery but that’s just because it was raining.

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My running coach, Liz, was there to cheer us on this year! I also met Sandra and Ruth (Sandra in middle) who will be part of our 4 man Marathon relay in March! That was a pleasant surprise.

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We all gathered around the starting line trying to stay warm as we waiting for the sun to rise. The park is closed from dusk to dawn, so we had to wait for the dawn to move in!

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At 8 AM, it was officially start time for the Marathon. I had originally signed Mike and I up for the 1/2 Marathon, but Mike decided he was going to run the full. Yep…not training…just jump in with both feet! Doesn’t he look excited?!

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They counted down the seconds then the Marathon group took off. We 1/2 Marathoners were left to wait 15 minutes to give the first group a chance to spread out some.

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This year I had completed all of my training and came through without any injuries, so I was feeling pretty good! When 8:15 AM hit, I was off like lightening! So fast, I’m nothing but a blur!

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Ok, so I wasn’t that fast but I was going faster than I should have been that early in the race. My adrenaline always gets the best of me. I tried to slow it down a bit but I was already starting to get some shin splints. Thankfully they were gone by mile 3. Normally they have signs posted on the trees with everyone’s name, but since it was raining they didn’t have them this time. However, it was still a nice run.

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The loop goes along the greenbelt trails behind and among houses then wraps around Lake Houston. This is one of my favorite parts because you can always see ducks and other birds hanging around.

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There’s a man-made lake that we also run around after the turn around and on our way back to the start. That’s a nice little loop as well. For the 1/2 marathon we get to go around it twice! This is where Liz was waiting to cheer us on. More cowbell please! This photo was after the first loop. I was a bit more fresh that time than the second.

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I passed Mike several times, as I did many other runners. Since the Marathon people go around the loop 4 times you’ll see them going and coming! I was passed by the two lead Marathoners before I finished my first loop. They were hauling. I believe first place finished in 3:10:00.

When I made the first turnaround, I decided I was going to run until I just HAD to walk. It was too hard to do intervals with all the stopping and starting. Once I stopped running it was very hard to get going again. So, I ended up running (albeit slowly) the last 10 miles of the race! I was hurting toward the end. Mike passed me the last time and made the comment that he was hurting at that point too. Unfortunately, he was just heading out for his last loop while I was about a mile and a half from the finish!

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 3:14:43 which put me at a sub 15 pace (14:52) and was a PR (205 out of 259)!! I was about 9 minutes faster than the year before. I was hurt last year though, so it makes me wonder a bit if I hadn’t been hurt what I could have done. *shrug*

The race photos were kinda funny this year. I looked way too happy (first loop…again!):

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And Mike looked just flat out bored!

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Liz, Sandra, and Ruth were at the finish line. It was nice to have people cheering me on at the finish line! I grabbed a slice of pizza, a couple of chocolate chip cookies (Hey, I earned it!), and some water while Liz and I waited for Mike to finish. He had a goal of finishing in 4 hours or less. His official time was 4:02:43 (9:16/M; 51 out of 248). That is outstanding for someone who didn’t run any further than 10 miles leading up to this! You could tell he was hurting though as he crossed over.

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I was, and am, very proud of him. We grabbed our medals and headed home. He was so cold afterward he was shaking and just couldn’t get warm. We had the heat up full blast in the car and when we got home I bundled him up in flannel pants, a blanket, and my space heater! This is one reason why we train people!! You have to get your body used to the distances. Mike swore he’d never do another marathon but a few days later he was already calculating how to beat this year’s time!

Even though I said I wasn’t going to, that this 1/2 was going to be my last long run, I signed Mike and I up for the FULL Marathon next year! Afterall, what better year to do my marathon than the Year of the Elephant!

 

 

Texas 1/2 Marathon, Kingwood 2012

What a gorgeous day we had for the race! Mike didn’t sign up to do the 1/2 marathon this time, mainly because he thought I was going to do the full marathon and he didn’t want to go that far. However, since I dropped down to the 1/2, he walked/ran it with me (unofficially). I had my own personal coach for the entire race!

We got there about 6:45 to pick up my timing chip and wait around until my race started at 8:15.

What’s a sure fire way to tick a bunch of neighborhood residents off? Hold a marathon for 650 people at a park with 3 parking spaces!

There were cars all down the main street so only one car could get through at a time. It was in the mid to high 50’s when we first got there but both Mike and I were starting to freeze by the time the race started. Ever notice how the National Anthem is one of the slowest songs ever sung? Well, maybe other than Amazing Grace.

At 8:00 they lined up all of the marathoners. They got a 15 minute head start to help alleviate the congestion on the trails. There was one gentleman there who was running his 300th marathon, an 82 year old marathon runner, a couple of people completing their 100th marathon, and a guy that was finishing his 50th state marathon. Imagine running a marathon in all 50 states! I think I’ll pass, but it is definitely impressive…as are all of the others.

We waited for another 15 minutes to allow enough of a buffer before we were lined up and being sent through the shoot.

There were several people wearing costumes of some sort. The sequin lady and I had a back and forth on the trail, but I was victorious in the end! Her jacket was so shiny my camera didn’t handle it very well.

As most of the other 1/2 marathoners were filing through I heard someone call my name. Suddenly there was my friend Samantha in front of me!

Samantha and I worked together for a few years at a jewelry store while she was studying for the Bar exam and I was finishing up my Masters. We chatted for a little bit, then she went to catch up with her Mother and her Mother’s friend.  I was running intervals (3 running/2 walk) so when I first started running I passed a lot of people…it felt great! Of course, many of those people passed me again at some point (including sequins).

The race was done completely on the greenbelt trails and was an out and back of 6.55 miles. The 1/2 marathoners made 2 trips while the marathoners had 4. There were aid stations at miles 1, 2, and 3, which means it ended up being an aid station at every mile. I decided to use the aid stations this race instead of carrying my water bottle and this race was set up perfectly for that. There was even a small loop around a pond.

They put every racer’s name on a sign that hung all down the trails. This keeps your mind a little busy as you try to find your name.

There’s mine!!

The tradition is to pull your name off the tree on your last loop and take it home with you. This was kinda neat because you could tell who was finishing up the race by the pink piece of paper in their hands! Mike and I made the loop around and was heading out for my last loop when I ran in to Samantha and her clan again.

My knee started bothering me at mile 4 so I had to slow the running down and do shorter intervals but I kept pushing through. I had two goals with this race 1) finish under 3:39 and 2) finish under a 16:00 pace. With that in mind I did what I could to keep my pace up without causing too much damage to my knee.

Mike was running loops around me and was probably bored going at my pace but he enjoyed taking action shots.

Where’s Tammy?

There she is!

Those two guys behind me…would.not.shut.up. If you can talk that long without breathing then you’re not pushing yourself! There was a guy (1 of the people finishing his 100th marathon) that would cheer me on every time I passed/met up with him. It was nice! Congrats to him. (see update)

Race Shots’ Proof

As I got to mile 11 I started to realize that I may actually beat my time of 3:39 and pushed it a little harder.  The closer I got to the finish line the more I could hear the cheering and it motivated me to go a little faster. As I ran past the finish line the announcer said “In her first ever Texas 1/2 Marathon, Tammy Salo” which kind of surprised me. There were a few people cheering as I came through.

I was trying to find Mike in the crowd. He had gone ahead to get the finisher picture. I finally saw him, after the picture (of course!). I look a little goofy here but I was happy with my time.

I picked up my pig. Everyone got a pig with their finishing place. I finished 303 out of about 350 1/2 marathoners.

I also got my HUGE medal. This sucker weighs at least 1.5 pounds 3lbs!

We waited for a little while to cheer Samantha at the finish line.

We were there for about 30 minutes and I didn’t see sequin lady at all. Not sure if she stopped or what, but I had passed her about mile 10 and hadn’t seen her since.

All in all it was a fun race, very low profile and low key. Everyone was supportive and just there to have a good time!

I will probably do this one again next year. Let’s hope it’s the Year of the Tiger or something equally cool! My unofficial time was 3:24:13 (15 minutes faster!!) with an average pace of 15:44. I reached my two goals! I’ll update once I get my official finishing time.

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The older gentleman that kept cheering me on was Steve Boone.

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My official time was 3:23:34 with a pace of 15:32!! That was 16:19 faster than Angie’s…over a mile ahead of that race!!

 

San Jacinto Monument, La Porte, Texas

Amongst the many chemical plants and silos in La Porte, Tx is the United States’ tallest monument at 570 ft (15 ft taller than the Washington Monument): The San Jacinto Monument.

This massive stone pillar was built in commemoration of those who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21st, 1836. The Texans’ defeat over Mexico allowed the United States to expand almost another third to include Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and pieces of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. One of the more amazing feats of building this structure was the fact that no one lost their lives in the construction process!

Right before you get to the park entrance is a small cafe called Besaw’s. It’s not much to look at, but the food is quite good! Depending on when you go, it can be overly crowded with plant workers at lunch time, but if you’re at an off time I recommend grabbing a burger or BBQ sandwich while you’re there! FYI…Battleground Road has been renamed to Independence Pkwy.

Driving through the entrance, the first thing that should stand out are all of the beautiful Oak trees. There may have been a Pecan tree or two as well.

In the park is the San Jacinto Monument (to the right, which we’ll get to in a bit) and the Battleship Texas (to the left). There is a nice little park in the battleship area for relaxing and enjoying the weather (as long as it’s cool!).

The Battleship Texas was the first battleship in the US to have anti-aircraft guns, a commercial radar, as well as actually launching a plane from its deck.

You can go on deck as well, but I didn’t make it this go ’round. Across the street is the San Jac Monument. The carvings all around the outside show the story. The tale is also etched into the stone under the carvings.

Around the left side is a reflecting pool where you can still see the Battleship Texas. There are a couple of benches for visitors among the shade trees.

When you walk into the building, there is a museum to the left and elevators to the observation tower straight ahead. In the elevator area is a small art gallery dedicated to Texas’ fight for independence.

There are also tiny dioramas depicting the different scenes. All of them were well done!

The elevator ride to the observation deck is very quick and opens up into a rather small room with multiple windows for viewing.

There is a video that runs a constant loop describing what the area looked like back before the battle and the events that lead up to the end of the war between the US and Mexico. The windows overlook the front of the monument where plants line the street:

The reflection pool with a view of the skyline of Downtown Houston in good weather:

and last is the Ship Channel, one of the busiest ports in the US:

If you take your time and look around the battlefield, battleship and the monument you’ll see a small part of Texas’ history that many overlook because they can’t see past the chemical plants.