Pacers in Skirts at Libby's Half Marathon this weekend. Courtesy of SportPhoto.

This week’s recap: In terms of running, I was kind of lacking. I shortened my weekly distance by 8.5 miles. However, in terms of doing things in the running community, my cup runneth over. I directed the 5th annual Heels and Hills Half Marathon 10K, 5K, and 1 Mile. Almost 2000 women ran in cold, wet, and windy conditions to celebrate getting active. We stress providing a fun and unintimidating atmosphere you couldn’t find at a lot of half marathons. To that end, one thing we provide is 23 half marathon pacers, with finish times ranging all the way from 1:45 to 3:00. All the pacers up through 2:30 are MEN IN SKIRTS. The women participants find it entertaining, these guys keep them motivated through the course, and it takes these seasoned very fast male runners and makes them human and far less intimidating to the ladies they pace!

So it was a week that culminated in the success of providing a great running environment to so many people. All the rough moments disappear when you see the smiles at the finish line. And for some, the tears of pride and amazement at just having tackled the 13.1 miles. I think there’s a good chance I’ll look like that finishing my first marathon at San Francisco July 31st. I can’t wait!

So frankly, there just never was room in the week to get more than the 2 workouts in. But, the improvement is that in the past, the chaos and stress of race week would typically result in no runs AT ALL that week, so I did a better job of making the runs a priority and getting some in. Now that I’m past it I just need to recover quickly from the sleepless nights and long hours

Love The Hills

Both workouts last week though were much higher intensity. What I couldn’t fit in with my time constraints, I made up for in sheer effort.

With friends, we went to a hill that people describe as “San Fran steep”. Dallas is considered very flat by San Francisco standards, so finding places for hill workouts isn’t easy. When I learned of a hill just a handful of miles from home, I had to check it out.

This hill rises 60 feet in just 0.14 miles. It’s short, but as good as we’re going to get for practicing for San Francisco. Monday I did 4.1 miles which included 8 hill repeats, and Wednesday I did 4.4 miles with 9 hill repeats. Since I’m planning on doing prescribed walk breaks in my marathon on major uphills, I ought to practice that. I practiced good posture and a fast walk, and then would sprint the downhills.

This week: I’m still recovering from race weekend. Wednesday night is a speedwork night for our local running club, the North Texas Runners. And then Thursday, I’ll do hill repeats at that hill again – the plans have already been set with friends. And then hopefully a 16 miler this weekend!

Libby Jones has been running for 5 years, is a self-described “serial half-marathoner”, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is also an active part of the Dallas-Fort Worth running community.  She is the Founder and Race Director of the New Year’s Day Half Marathon in Allen, Texas; the Executive Race Director for Heels and Hills, a non-profit geared towards getting women fit and active; the North Texas State Representative for the Road Runners Club of America; past Dallas Running Club President & 2008 RRCA Scott Hamilton National Outstanding Club President Award Winner; and an RRCA-certified running coach. She’s also a wife to Steve and a mother to Marissa (3 yrs) and Sophie (3 1/2 months).  Read her blog “The Active Joe” and follow her on Twitter @libbyruns