Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Race Recap ~ 26.2 with Donna (Half Marathon)

Earlier in January one of my best friends Crystal mentioned that she really wanted to go back to Jacksonville to be apart of the 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon weekend. She had been in previous years and received a free registration for the 2013 race due to issues from the 2012 race. This is a race that everyone talks about. It seemed to be a "must do" race, the only problem was that my race calendar for January and February was pretty full. After some thoughtful consideration I decided to register for the 26.2 with Donna and complete the Half Marathon with Crystal. We managed to convince Allison to join us for the race as well. This race would mark the 5th race in our quest to complete 13 in 2013 so we were pumped!

Friday afternoon, Crystal and I headed out to Jacksonville to begin our getaway. About half way into the 2 and half hour drive we realized that in our almost 11 years of friendship we'd never gone off alone together. We'd always traveled with our other best friend Christina or our families, or other girls for "Girl Getaways",  etc... never in 11 years had we gone off just the two of us. Now, some of you reading this are laughing because you know in our previous lives there's a good reason why no one left us unsupervised, ever! We can't help that we are the life of the party.  We laughed and told stories the rest of the way! After checking into our lovely suite at the Crowne Plaza we headed over to the Jacksonville Landing for dinner. It was about 8:00pm when the river taxi dropped us off and he quickly let us know the last return boat was at 11:00pm. We had a yummy dinner at Fionn MacCool's, an Irish Pub / Restaurant. We enjoyed having a chance to catch up. Life for both of us has been crazy lately so it was nice to hang out. We made sure to catch that last boat back across the river!

Saturday morning after a quick breakfast at the hotel we headed to the convention center for the 26.2 with Donna Expo and Packet Pickup. I was anxious for two reasons, #1 - we were in charge of not only getting our packets but Allison's as well. #2 - I needed to find the booth for the Lady Speed Stick Women's Half Marathon to register Allison and I before I spent any money at the Expo. Both of these tasks were accomplished with ease. So yes, you read that right we signed up to run another half marathon next fall! The expo was packed and they could probably stretch it to cover two rooms. They had over 9,000 runners/walkers register for this race so you can imagine the crowd. We spent about 2 hours total at the expo checking things out. It was a great fun, even with all those people! We headed into the San Marcos district to get lunch at the Metro Deli. We ate entirely too much food. If you are ever in Jacksonville you must eat there! It's worth the little wait, promise!!! We spent the rest of the afternoon at St. John's Town Center picking up gloves, sweatpants, etc.. in preparation for the race on Sunday. We knew it was going to turn cold so we wanted to make sure everyone had the right gear.

Saturday evening once Allison was in town we went to the Lots of Love Pasta Party hosted at the start line. We were so lost inside the Sawgrass golf community that we wound up at the club house (aka, home of the PGA Tour). Keep in mind this is a private gated community and we talked our way in!  I wish I had snapped a photo, the club house was beautiful. Once we made it to the party we were blessed by stories of survivors who planned to run the race the next day. We saw several people from the national running community and enjoyed a wonderful pre-race meal. It was a great evening!! 

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:15am, yes 4:15am! We were finally out of the hotel an hour later headed for the race. Once we turned onto A1A from Butler Blvd and we sat in traffic for the next hour and a half. The race was to start at 7:30am but they pushed it back to 8:00am to allow time for most to get parked and at the start line. I believe all 9,000 runners had to potty at the same time (see photo below). The race started promptly at 8:00am and off we went! Allison and I had promised Crystal we would stay with her the entire race. Crystal had suffered an extreme case of shin splints during the final days of her training so running wasn't an option. This wound up to be a blessing in disguise! I "tweaked" my IT Band during the RnR St. Pete. I tried to jog a little bit to warm up and that proved to be difficult. We spent the next 4 hours walking through the Ponte Vedra beach area through Atlantic Beach down Butler Blvd including the Bridge to the Mayo Clinic. I walked over the bridge without a major panic attack - that's accomplishment right there! We had a blast! We danced, we laughed, and we took tons of pictures along the way. We accomplished our goal! We finished the race with a new Personal Fun Record = PFR! We enjoyed seeing all the beautiful homes in the area. The three of us just simply had the best time, despite the freezing cold weather! Crystal had so fun that on the bus ride back to where our car was located she even committed to more training and running more races with us. Mission Accomplished, she'd been bitten by the "running" bug! She had a glimpse into how much fun race weekends can be when the only goal you set yourself is a PFR! 

This race marked the 5th race toward our goal, hard to believe it's only February and we're at number 5 of 13! This is a race that I would run again, if it fit into our schedule. It was well organized from start to finish! My only complaint was traffic but now we know what to expect and we'd be more prepared in the future. 

Here's few highlights from the trip: 

The Jacksonville Landing

Lots of Love Pasta Party

Team Track Stars (never saw those these again during the race, ha!)

The Potty Line!!

Mile #1

Mile #7

Mile #12 - On the BRIDGE - WOOHOO!! 


Love you girls! 

Can't wait for the next race!!

I'm so excited to that our girl, Crystal, has agreed to attend several local 5K's with us! She even joined the Tallahassee Mom's Run This Town group. I am so excited that she's going to join in the fun. 

Also, many have asked about my IT Band issue. I am taking a week or two off from running. I will be back for the TRBC 5K and will run a few other 5K's in March and April. I appreciate all the sweet thoughts, I will be so happy to run the longer distances again! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Riley's First 5K

Riley has been attending the Run for God Bible Study with us. Scott and I were a little apprehensive about him doing the study with us but he begged us. It has turned out to be an awesome experience. He really listens to it all and soaks it all in, even the local experts that we've had join us. He asks questions, he volunteers to read the weekly bible verses, Riley truly loves this bible study. Scott and I have taken him on handful of practice runs and learned that he will be a better runner than either of us. He really is a natural! 

Riley's Aunt Kim and her daughter, Megan,  helped plan the Break-A-Leg 5K to benefit Young Actors Theatre. After a few weeks of him asking me to please sign him up for the race Kim, Scott and I agreed that if we could work it out with his schedule at his Dad's house that he could run. Long story made short, Kim registered Riley and made arrangements for him to be at the 5K this past Saturday (2/16/13). I was a little bummed because I had already made plans to be out of town at a half marathon the same weekend. I struggled with possibly changing plans but that would effect people going with me. After talking with Riley I felt better about going on with my trip. My best running buddy agreed to run the 5K with him so that made me feel even better. Riley admires her, we call him her "little boyfriend". 

Saturday morning I received this picture of the running duo. They were about to run their race and they were pumped! 

Well, a quick 45 minutes later I received this picture of Riley letting me know they had finished.

Not only had they finished but Riley finished in 26:00 minutes and Ms. Allison had finished a little bit behind him - WOAH! They both smoked that course! She had planned a leisurely stroll through midtown Tallahassee ; however, she quickly learned Riley was in race mode. There would be few walk breaks even the uphill portions. My heart gushed with excitement at how well he had done. 

I had a little tear in my eye when I was talking to him on the phone. Here's our a little bit of our conversation: 

Me: Hey buddy, I am so proud of you. I hope you had a great time running with Ms. Allison.

Riley: Mom, I beat her! The course was very hilly! 

Me: I love you and be nice to Ms. Allison she did Mommy a favor by running with you. 

Riley: Yes, but I beat her! Have a good run tomorrow, I love you! (click the conversation was over, haha) 

Needless to say, it will be a little while before someone lets my BRB forget she was beaten by a 9 1/2 yr old! I am one proud Momma! I knew he'd have a good run but he even shocked me with his time. I am glad that his Dad, Aunt and favorite cousin were there at the finish line to see him in all his glory. That was a special moment for all them for so many reasons! 

Megan and Riley at the Break A Leg 5K

It looks like Riley and Allison will get a chance to run again this Saturday, if the weather cooperates to support LC's school. We'll see who wins their friendly competition this time!!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

RnR St Pete Recap ~ Looking ahead The Donna

Me, my brb and her family headed out late Friday afternoon for St. Pete. Before getting to the Carter's we stopped to eat at Ocean Prime in Tampa. Let me just say, we did arrive a little later than planned and boy did we learn alot! The shorter the skirt the higher the heels! WOAH, the fashionista's were out on Friday night! We had a few laughs and reminded little LC that we'd all collectively "kill her" if she ever showed up looking like that :-).

Saturday morning we went to Tropicana Field for the St. Pete Rock 'n Roll Expo. We were impressed from the second we walked in the door. They hosted the expo on the field! At that moment I so badly wished my fellas had made the trip with us. They would have loved being on the field! We got our bibs and finisher t-shirts with great ease then it was time to "shop" for running gear. There was plenty to be purchased or won! We tried a multitude of new products. One of my new favorites are Sunogoly. Sunogoly is an all natural sunscreen. It smells good and feels like regular lotion when applied. (side note: I used it during the race on Sunday and it wasn't gross even after sweating!) We also visited with the folks from the Lady Speedstick Women's Half Marathon. This is a race that we have looked at before but couldn't fit it into the calendar. We didn't sign up for it during the expo but we are considering it, seriously considering it! In my last post I mentioned that we always get suckered into something at the expo, well this expo was not any different! We bit the bullet and signed up for the 2014 St Pete Rock 'n Roll! Yes, we hadn't even completed the 2013 version and we signed up for the next one. As they say, we're half crazy!! After we visited the other booths at the Expo we headed out to do some other shopping and get some dinner. We carbloaded at Bonefish Grille.

Sunday brought about a very tired runner in this Momma. I only got about 4 hours of sleep so at 4:00am I was wide awake! Race nerves got the best me which was unepxected considering this was not my first run. TC drove us to the start line, literally right to the start! It helps that he is a FL State Trooper plus he grew up in the area so he knew exactly where to go. Once in the corral area we met up with two of the ladies from our Moms Run This Town group. After a few pictures, we all headed to our corrals and awaited the start. The beginning of the run was awesome. I had a great pace and was keeping up with the 2:30 pace group. Even though I was a little tired, I felt great overall. I got off pace around mile 4 but continued to run until mile 6. At mile 6 I decided to walk through a water station so I could hydrate and that's when things took a little turn. I started to run again and had some discomfort in my left leg. I tried to run on pace one more time at mile 7 and that same feeling came back. At that point I decided to listen to my body and walk. I continued the rest of the race at a decent walking pace. I truly enjoyed the entire race. I took pictures and just enjoyed seeing St. Petersburg, FL on foot. I had fun encouraging and talking with other runners along the way. I have always said that once my running isn't fun anymore I may not continue running. My ultimate goal each race is to finish no matter the time. Did I want to break 2:30, yes! Breaking that time isn't more important than being able to walk! I will break 2:30; however, it won't be anytime soon. I am not giving up, just going to adjust my training. I just want to have fun and that's what I did! It's always great to see my brb at the finish and I love to hear her version of the races. Our race experiences are always different so it's fun to compare notes. We are not competive with each other, just others around us :-) (totally kidding). We both agreed that we are super glad we signed up for 2014 and we can't wait to run with the Rock 'n Roll Marathon series in Savannah in November. Overall the race was amazing and we completed our 4th race toward the 13 in 2013 goal!

Here's a few pictures from the weekend:
Allison, LC and I at the Expo

2014 Registration - Check!
Start Line

Tallahassee Moms Run This Town

Finish! Great job AC on your PR!

A beautiful day!
Up next is the 26.2 with Donna - The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. We have signed up to complete the Half Marathon in Jacksonville with the newest member of Team Track Stars, Crystal. She has completed this race twice before and we can't wait to enjoy this race alongside of her. We plan to attend the expo on Saturday and who knows what we will get into at this one! Then Sunday we race!  This weekend is all about girl time and enjoying life! We are going to have a lot of laughs along those 13.1 miles for sure! There will be a post race recap that I am sure you will not want to miss!
Watch out Jacksonville, Team Track Stars is heading your way!! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Looking back....

This is race week for the Rock n Roll ~ St. Pete Beach Half Marathon. This journey into half marathons is approaching its one year anniversary. In fact this very weekend a year ago I ran my last 5K before resting and preparing for my first half marathon. 

On February 11, 2012 we ran the Run for the Cookies 5K. That is one of my favorite races in Tallahassee. It's an easy flat course and one of the first 5K's I ran back in 2010, when I decided to get serious about my running. I had completed many 5K's and somehow along the way I convinced myself I could venture into the half marathon world. 

Pre-Race Photo "Run for the Cookie" Feb 2012

A few weeks later on March 4, 2012 we ran the Seaside Half Marathon. I remember being a nervous wreck the week leading up to the Seaside race. I had never gone quite that far on foot, I had never spent much time in that area of Florida and I just didn't know what to expect overall. We woke up very early on a very chilly North Florida morning and headed for the start line. The race was very well organized and I was overcome with excitement once we were at the start/finish line. 2 hrs and 37 minutes later I returned to the finish line. It is an out and back race on 30A in the little town of Seaside, Florida. It was a beautiful day and I cried as I crossed the finish line. I did it! I was headed to get my medal and my beautiful new Vera Bradley tote bag - woohoo! I was headed to hang up those running shoes after that race, I had planned to check that off my bucket list and move onto something different, like a wedding! I had a wedding to plan and a honeymoon to take, who had time to run! 

Pre-Race Photo  "Seaside Half Marathon" 2012

After all the wedding excitement wore off and we returned from our cruise, I decided I was willing to continue to run 10K's with my best running buddy. Afterall that meant fabulous trips to Atlanta and various locations for shopping and running. Let's face it that is totally up my alley! Fast forward to July 3, 2012 , our annual trip the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta!! During our visit to the race expo we were suckered into signing up for the Atlanta Monster Dash. We had the option of signing up for the 10K but oh no, Team Track Stars went for the full gauntlet and signed up for the half marathon. Wait, what did we do! We were supposed to be done with half marathons! Long story short, we ran another half and we're hooked - addicted as most now call us. We are even members of the national running group Half Fanatics, haha! Yep, you read that right we are officially fanatics :-). 

Now, this Sunday, February 10, 2013 I will run my 6th half marathon with my best running buddy and 2 other running friends. It's very surreal for me to think this journey is still happening! I'm just as much of a wreck this race week as I was a year ago! I'm a little better equipped for running 13.1 without any major issues. I still do not know exactly what to expect at this race or this area. We know there is a bridge; however, we aren't exactly sure how high that bridge may be - oh my this bridge thing is killing me! I'm a bit more sore this year leading up to this "anniversary" race than I would like to be but such is life. I have spent much of the week working on my core and upper body strength. As I spend the rest of this week "resting" my legs for this race these thoughts weigh heavily on my mind...

Stay tuned for a post race update with all the fun details and photos of our trip the RnR race expo and RnR race day. Who knows what we will get suckered into this expo!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The "End" of Whole 3/4 ~ R4G Week #4

The "End" of Whole 3/4
This week has been a struggle to keep on a strong path to the end of the Whole 3/4 aka the Whole 30 program.  Simply put, this final week has not been as successful as I hoped it would! You can read last weeks update and get a sense of the overall learning process throughout the Whole 30 program : I have been extremely stressed in a few areas of life (that's a different post for a different day) and I struggled with meal planning, etc... The main struggle for me this week is I have not seen the exact results that I had set out to achieve so I am struggling with feeling as though I failed. My goal was to loose 10 lbs by the end of the program, as of today I lost 8 lbs. I realize that's an accomplishment in itself but it is 2 lbs shy of my goal. 

So where do I go from here? I will keep working toward loosing those other 2 lbs and a few more! I will keep trying my best to eat the right foods and stay clear of all the "wrong" foods. I need to be better with meal planning for the week. Overall, I just need to stay focused on the final goal! I will get there, sooner rather than later! 

R4G ~ Week #4
This week provided us an opportunity to have a presentation by Karen Harvey, FSU Women's Track Coach. She shared information about Mercy Ministries and an the upcoming Run 4 Mercy 5K. This race is being held on May 4th in the Southwood community. Check out the information on both links. I plan to get more involved and help out as much as possible with this race. The stories attached to this ministry are remarkable! 

After Coach Harvey's presentation we went through the study which allowed for us to explore our passions and what keeps us going. Not just what keeps us going physically but spiritually as well. I believe that God is opening some doors for me lately, we will just have to see where all that leads. What is your passion?? I'd love to hear all about it! 

At the conclusion of our study Shannon Colavecchio, CEO of Badass Fitness, shared with us the importance of stretching before and after any exercise. She showed us a few very valuable stretches to prevent and help heal shin splints. Shannon also reminded of us of the importance of taking rest breaks and not overusing our bodies! 

It was a great night at R4G and we hope to see many more faces next week!

Funny how God works sometimes, I have been chatting with a few friends and co-workers this morning and it seems as though it's been a week of struggle for many of us! I tried to remind them and myself "Don't let the devil steal your joy!!!", Love y'all! 

I hope everyone has a great Mardi Gras / Superbowl weekend! My house will be wearing Purple this weekend - Go Ravens! Hey, if you can't beat 'em then join 'em :-)