A new direction

My last post, End of Season, pointed out that I was kind of at the end of a lot of things. I made that post over a month ago and haven’t posted since. To be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. I’ve been making all of these strides in other aspects but I felt like things were taking a turn. So, I walked away. I need some time to think, see if I missed it. Did I even care? Turns out that I do. Regardless of if anyone reads this or not, I like just putting stuff out there. I kept saying “oh, this would make a good blog post, etc.” I knew I missed updating. My holdup was the name. My heart isn’t really in triathlon right now. I can’t tell you how many drafts I’ve written about why, mostly because they make me look like a bitter ex employee, but it’s true. Also, I realized that the swim terrifies me. I wasn’t having fun and I needed a break! I decided it was time for a name change, a different perspective, and well, just something NEW! I’m working on getting things switched, and you’ll see it in a few days. Sooo, don’t be surprised if the next time you visit the page it’s all new!

Also, I’m not very web-savvy so I’m just re-directing and updating here. If you happen to be web-savvy and want to assist me, let me know, lol! Thanks and see everyone soon! Hope you enjoy the update!

End of season

Florida pretty much has the reverse seasons of most other states. While my friends up North are gearing up to begin their running/triathlon season mine is just ending. As the temperatures climb, and worse the humidity climbs, our outdoor activities decrease.

Now that I have reached my goals of this running season, getting faster in my running, it is time to look at the rest of my goals. Refine, retool, and reconsider what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

And ya know what, I have no idea. This summer I’m going to work on improving my 5K times but I really have to start strength training and I’m dreading it.

I’m also considering a blog change up. I’m not doing much in the realm of triathlon these days and it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

I also have some pretty lofty work goals that I’m not sure how to prioritize. As you can probably tell I’m a little all over the place. Which I guess is a great time for some real introspection (that’s the word I want, right?).

Anywho, time for some coffee and deep thinking? Orrr maybe just some eggs!

Excalibur 10 Miler Race Review

Ok, I’m going to start by being totally honest. I’m not a fan of this race. I signed up for this race last year because I ABSOLUTELY loved the medieval theme and the opportunity to earn a CROWN and a CHALICE! However, the course itself leaves a lot to be desired. However, I CRUSHED it this year so they have me for at least 2 more years.

The medals for each year

yay races with photo stops

This was year 2 for the Game of Stones challenge. See the medals above. This was the Sapphire year. We will start at the beginning with packet pickup. It is quick and easy at The Running Zone in Viera/Melbourne. They posted earlier in the week the shirts and items they would have for sale. I was gunning for a pretty blue silipint (these things are awesome). I was happy to see that Tricia and I got the last 2 cups! I LOVED this year’s shirt. A really nice royal blue and even though the women’s sizes suck as usual at least this year’s shirt fits.

yes, I do love this cup!

We stayed about 5 minutes from the start area so it was a pretty easy morning. The best decision I made was to get my own hotel room. I went with my friend Trisha, her twin boys and their exchange student (all 3 are 16).

bathroom lines

One of the nice things last year was there were 2 sets of bathrooms open. This year it was just the one. Now, thankfully it moved kinda quickly but still! Why do races not understand the bathroom importance!!!

The finish line at dawn

We then started the walk to the start area. I say area because they do a sword fight before the race. Now, double edge sword here (haha get it), I love the idea but to be honest we have to go stand in a field for the fight and then walk over to the start. This doesn’t really allow people to place themselves correctly for a mass start.

Ok, side note, when did I start caring about where I was at a start line? I’m not winning this thing! The downside to getting faster is that I’m running with more of a pack now. This course is VERY full! I did 10.6 miles which means I was weaving a good bit and I felt it! The first 2 miles are out on the road and the weather was GREAT! I know this course has no shade so I decided to push in the beginning with the anticipation of slowing down towards the end as it got hotter.

Then miles 3 & 4 are on this sandy back road. Please note this isn’t like a slightly sand covered paved road. This is straight up sand and dirt. Everyone was trying to find the areas that was more packed. Then at mile 5 you made the turn into the sun!

Mr. Sun sun Mr. Golden sun

Miles 5, 6, 7 look just like the above picture. Except a lot of it they are building houses so it a SUUUUPPPEEERR scenic (please note the sarcasm). This is about where it started to get hot. No breeze, no shade, no fun, lol.

At mile 7.5 I started doing the math (for a half mile, I can’t run and do math well). When I ran Gasparilla I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:09:00 so I knew it was possible. My PR from 2011 was 2:10:00 and my average has always been 2:18:00. I REALLY wanted to hit 2:10:00 but would have been happy with 2:15:00. At mile 7.5 I started to realize that if I did 15 minute miles I would finish in the 2:15:00. I was also being generous with time cause 5’s are easier to add then 3:30’s.

1 lane fun

Mile 8 I realize that my PR is possible. Then I make the turn where we get down  to 1 lane, maybe 2 people wide with minimal traffic. When these folks walked they were not walking on the grass and weaving was much harder. This was SUPER annoying. It is a mile out and back with the small lane crap. I actually feel bad for the people slightly faster than me who probably had WAY more people to deal with.

I made the turn at mile 9 into the home stretch! A little math again and I knew I could get under 2:10:00. I had maintained my 1:30/1:00 run intervals and had averaged a 13 minute mile or less the whole time. This PR was mine! 5 years in the making and I was going to get this! I crossed that finish line in 2:08:36 and I started crying. Ok first I got this super awesome finish photo.

The BEST part about this race is the ice cold coke that they have at the finish line! I don’t drink much soda but it is my favorite post-race treat!

Also treated myself to a hat

Is this the best race ever? No. Is it well organized? Yes. Is it the theme that makes it? ABSOLUTELY! They do put an attention to medieval detail into it that is very much appreciated. I just wish they could find a way to widen the course in a few areas!

I LOVE this photo

So if you are in Viera, FL give it a shot. They also have a 2-miler, and a relay so it is fun for all! Hope to see you next year for the Ruby and my CROWN!!!

Chasing that PR

I think almost ever runner has that goal they are chasing. For most it is getting faster, can’t say I stray far from the average. When I first started running 6 years ago it was to try to get active. I met some awesome people and running became the norm for me.

All of my best running times, or PR’s if you are in the know, happened in 2011 & 2012. Or if you are counting 5 years ago. This happens to lots of runners. They start running and everything looks awesome and you get faster the more you run. Then, like most, I plateaued. My times started to be around the same. At this point, I could have put in the extra work and kicked it into gear, or I could rest on that speed and be cool with it. Like my running friends at the time we were cool with the later and basically maintained our speeds.

Now, fast forward to 2015. Jon and I move to Florida and our running picks up. Sadly, so does the heat! However, and if you’ve been reading my stuff, I took a big long running break. I think, ok I know, I was burned out. Combine the heat and a year long break and you get a lot of frustration. Who knew if you stopped running you couldn’t just pickup where you left off? My frustration was HIGH! I decided to focus on my weight loss and just make running something that helped with that INSTEAD of the goal. A year later and I am down almost 25lbs and can focus on both the weight loss AND the running.

I knew I was getting faster in my training runs, but I hadn’t had the chance to race. Gasparilla half I had a PR in my sights. If I could hold on I would break my 1 and only half marathon PR by a minute and a half. 4 miles of super awesome headwinds killed that dream! However, I realized that my 10 mile time during that race was pretty good. I hit mile 10 in 2:09:04. That was a little over a 1 minute PR for me. I knew I had the Excalibur 10 miler coming up and I made that my goal race.

So, what did I do? I took basically a 2 week break. I was traveling for work and we had house guests for a week. Perfect plan for hitting a goal right!! Soooo, I started the race with the hopes of beating my usual 10 miler time of 2:18:00. Back when I was running a bunch that was always my number. The year before at this race I ran a 2:25:00 (bleck) so I knew I could beat that!

At mile 7.5 of the course I started doing the math. If I could maintain at least a 15 minute mile for the next 2 miles I would finish in 2:15:00 and that was good enough for me! Then I hit mile 9 and I knew it was there! I knew I could finish 1 mile in under 15 minutes! I crossed the finish line in 2:08:53 a 3(ish) minute PR and a 17 minute course PR! I actually started to cry.

Do you ever just need the win? Need to see that your hard work is paying off? That you can actually catch the goal? I’ll have a race recap later this week but I am just so excited to hit a goal I feel like I’ve been working towards for years! Now to make plans for the next goals!

What is everyone else shooting for??

Here we go again

Ok so I didn’t really fall off the wagon, more like kinda ran along side it. 

Post Gasparilla we had family here for a week and then I was gearing up for a big work week. 2 days of meetings in Orlando and our kickoff on Saturday. For my sanity I decided that taking some time off was a good idea. I didn’t want to force workout and I didn’t want to burn myself out. So, I gave myself 2 weeks(ish) off.

Tomorrow, it is back to work. Why do I always pick stupid days, like daylight savings, to make these choices. I have a 10 mile race next weekend so I need to come up with a plan for next week and after that. I don’t have any races until the fall, maybe I need to find some local short races. 

Back to morning workouts, nutrition planning, and generally being boring. Although, do you ever find that you are trying to lose weight and the scale won’t budge. You say f*ck it and do whatever and you lose weight? I mean it only last for a little but it makes you really question all the planning! 

So back to all the paying attention to life choices BS! Have a good week everyone!

Gasparilla Half Marathon 2017 – race recap

Where to even begin with this journey? Gasparilla was my A-race. I was planning to train for the Disney half, maintain my fitness, and then rock out Gasparilla. However, when Disney got cancelled my training plan went to hell. I was still hoping Gasparilla would go well but wasn’t sure.

Turns out Gasparilla went AMAZING! The weather was fantastic for Tampa and I felt good. Right after Disney I decided to up my intervals. I had been training at a 1:1 interval and I went to a 1:30:1:00 interval. I was excited because in training I was averaging a 12:45 – 13:15 minute mile. I told Jon that my plan was to keep each mile below 13:30 per mile and I would finish in under 3 hours, which I haven’t seen since 2014. I really like this race because it is fast and flat. It is also makes my PR easy to compare year-over-year. Last year my finish time at Gasparilla was 3:11:42 or a 14:38 minute mile. So, if I could keep it under 13:30 per mile that is 1 minute per mile faster this year!

On Friday, I headed to the expo, this race has a great expo. Lots of samples, freebies, and awesome priced gear! I did some networking for work and hopefully, I’ll get a few of the vendors for my events. On Saturday, I volunteered at the expo for the local Humane Society, Jon was a volunteer medic, and our friend Lee who came down was running the challenge.

Pre-race photo

On Sunday, we got to the race bright and early. What I love about this race is that we don’t have to leave early from home. We rolled up, met some friends, and headed to the race start. Jon and Lee are sub 2 hours and I am above 2 hour finish so we separated there. I started off a solid pace. It was strange because this is the first time in a while that I was surrounded by people. Last year, I was on my own for most of the race. This year I was yo-yoing with lots of people.

Finally, good race photos!

My race was going stellar! I was clocking 12:45 and less each mile! My stride felt good, nothing was hurting, and I was KILLING my time goals. There was a fantastic breeze coming off the bay that made for great weather. That was until mile 9. At mile 9 I made the turn to head back for the last 4 miles of the race. That’s when I learned that the awesome wind I’d been feeling was actually a tailwind. I realized this as I turned into a HEADWIND! 4 miles of HEADWIND to be exact.

I also learned that the trip back to the finish is a bit of an uphill. However, I’m hopeful to have good weather at my 10 miler in 2 weeks and get a 10 miler PR (current is 2:11:00 from 2011).

Paul got a shot of me on course

I took the headwind in stride but it seriously sucked. It also was a bit of a motivation killer. I had done the math about the amazing PR I was going to have just prior to making the turn at mile 9. I knew it wasn’t going to happen at mile 11. However, I wanted to get as close to a PR as possible. I also had to stop and use the portapotty which added a minute to my official time, but it was a necessity!

Somehow, I managed to push myself into the finish line. My watch had a finish time of 2:51:42 which was an average of 13 minute miles. My official finish time was 2:53:12 (stupid bathroom needs). Need to work on not having to go to the bathroom! However, I’m really happy to have my best time in 4 years and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can improve of the coming year! My goal is a 2:45:00 half by December! Here’s to the training!

Awesome medal as usual

 

Gearing up for Gasparilla

It looks like I’m finally going to get to race this weekend! Looks like the weather is going to be pretty good! I’m heading over to pickup my packet today and taking a look at the expo. Tomorrow I’m volunteering with the Humane Society at the expo to hand out bibs. Then early on Sunday I’ll take to the streets of Tampa to run my first half marathon in quite a while.

My training has been pretty good. I even have the chance of a PR. I don’t know that I get to my half marathon PR from 2012 but I think I can get pretty close. My goal is sub 3 hour and that would be an 11 minute PR from last year’s race.

It has been raining a lot this week so I actually did some cardio indoors instead of running outside for my easy runs. I’m hopeful to get a nice easy run in later today and then take tomorrow off.

It is an interesting situation to be in nutrition-wise because I would normally carb-load for the race. However, I’m really trying to get off a weight-loss plateau. So, I’m trying to regulate while also not jeopardizing my race at the same time! So, I’ve focused on really drinking A LOT of water this week and I’ll have some pasta tonight and probably some for lunch tomorrow. Then a nice, light, dinner with a good amount of protein! Here’s hoping that I do it right and have a good race!

Anyone else rocking the pirates this weekend?

Friday Fives – Thing I’m loving

I haven’t done a favorites post in a while! I’ve been trying out some new things lately and have found some new loves! Both in running and with my home projects! Here are my current five favorites!

  1. 361 degree Shoes

I have this exact pair. These are my new favorite go-to shoes! It is the first pair that I think feels light and moves with my foot. I’ve now worn them up to a 10 mile run and NOT. ONE. BLISTER! That has never happened. On my long runs I always end up with at least 1 hot spot or blister. I can’t wait to get another pair of these! Until then, they are the main shoe in my rotation now and I highly recommend them!

2. Feetures socks

Ok, I’ve always known the importance of socks. I’ve used different ones, Adidas/Champion/Balega/etc but I’ve never found ones these good! I’ve been wearing the elite light cushion no show tab and LOVE them. Super comfy, good support, and no blisters! I need to get a few more pairs! I don’t know if these socks with the shoes are the magical formula for me to be blister free but I’ll take it!!

3. Vega Vanilla Chai

I’m LOVING this flavor! I needed something for when I travel for work and need to get a meal in. Or if I need to workout in the morning before work but don’t want a full meal! I mean there are lots of choices but this flavor is so tasty!

4. Sparkly soul Headbands

These tend to make my list but not in a while. I just love these headbands. They are the only ones that I have found that don’t slide off my head. I picked up the one above to wear for Gasparilla next week! I don’t know if I have an odd shaped head or what not but all the other ones inch back or don’t stay on at all. These bad boys don’t budge! I have like 12 now and use them all the time!

5. Thumbs (or earworms)

Ok, this song popped onto my Pandora last week and now I can’t get it out of my head! I LOVE this song so much that it is now on my running playlist! Maybe I’m going through Girl meets World withdraw but I’m loving this!

So, that’s my Friday five favs! Have you checked any of these out? Whatcha loving these days?

Tuesday Travels

Yes, I’ve been a little MIA lately. There is just so much going on between my running, work, and all of our home projects. However, I figured I need to get back to it. What better way than to share my latest work trip – LAS VEGAS.

I’d like to say it was super exciting cause I’d never been to Vegas, or Nevada, for that matter.

We start with the early morning flight. Ok not super early, 7:30am, but I was landing in Vegas at 10:30am so early by Vegas standards.

The Hoover Dam

Super glad I looked out the window as we came in. I’ve never seen the Hoover Dam before so it was awesome to catch it from the air.

Desert and Mountains!

I’ve also never seen a desert before so I just LOVED checking it out for a while from the air.

I joked because based on our agenda for the conference I was really only going to get to see the airport. So, just in case

I played a quick slot when I landed. My dad asked me to play a dollar for him so I did! No, I didn’t win anything.

Please come to Tampa!!!

When I turned a corner I ran right into a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and freaked! It is the BEST coffee and I never get to have it! I wish I could have grabbed a second, so delish!

I caught an Uber to the hotel and then spent the day at the conference. Honestly, I crashed at 9pm cause it was midnight my time and I’d been up since 5am! I’ve never really experienced jet lag but I sure did this time. I woke up at 3am WIDE AWAKE! Thankfully, my roommate was also from Florida and having the same issue. So, at 4am we got up and went to the gym, cause why not!

After a full day of activities. We went to check out the Bellagio fountains. It was 11pm but I figured why not, it’s Vegas!

Paris?!

Bellagio Fountains

We also walked around a little bit and went into Caesar’s Palace. Which, FYI, the shops close at 11pm! However, the lights are all on and things were pretty to look at!

I got to head home the next day at 3:30pm Vegas time. I was grateful because we had an awesome pilot on the way home. He made sure to let us know that we were over the Grand Canyon. I didn’t snap and photos but it was absolutely beautiful! Something I really want to see in person!

I’m excited to get to mark this as a place I’ve visited! I’ve never been a big traveler, but I’m enjoying seeing more sights as I get older!Thanks for stopping by!

 

Home renovations: When you can’t race

No, I haven’t been sidelined. Mother nature apparently does not want me to race in January. I’m hopeful that February will be better. However, it gave us 2 extra weekends for house stuff.

When we bought this house I knew it was going to have some DIY projects. What I didn’t realize was that I would really enjoy those projects. Everything is pretty much cosmetic but I enjoy the painting, the sprucing, and the making things new! I have a running list in a notebook of projects I want to tackle and we have a priority list on the fridge to keep us focused.

Our main project has been the garage. We have the rare air conditioned garage and we have a goal of making it useable. We would like to have a side dedicated to our fitness stuff and possibly get a fitness area in there. We would also like to be able to pull a car in there if wanted. Sadly, home improvements are expensive and we have been doing things little by little.

I completely forgot to take a before picture of the garage. I’m glad I did think to take some photos after the purge. So, we started with going through everything and doing a donation run to the local Humane Society and Goodwill.

So, some before photos. Notice the wire shelving and the BRIGHT yellow paint. Yes, the previous folks painted everything BRIGHT yellow.

We have too much crap

I mean, there was a pegboard up on the wall and you can see that the previous owner put everything on the wall and THEN painted.

Check out that bright yellow!

The next photo you can see we have started to hand the Rubbermaid Fast Track system. Which we have found to be awesome. You will also see I have started to paint the garage a tan/gold color. I had to do each side separately.

Seriously, too much stuff!

Then, everything got pulled off the walls and sorted into tubs. Thankfully, I was able to condense from our moving boxes to tubs easily as we got rid of stuff.

Piles of tubs!!

I’m happy to say that we are 3/4 of the way done. We have to hang some shelves still. We plan on installing some closet pieces so we have have a place for running/biking shoes and to hang our winter jackets. Like I said that takes the monies (FYI Lowes it totes cheaper than Home Depot when it comes to the Fasttrack), and unlike some blogs I wasn’t paid to make improvements (not that I’m opposed to that).

Before on top and After on bottom

I think we are making excellent progress! Hopefully, I will be able to find the floor this month!

My next project is the garden. I’ve already started but have to work in the AM when the weather is nice, thanks Florida! Also, if anyone ever says to you “you know what is better than normal mulch, ROCK mulch” just punch them in the face! So far, most of my work has been shoveling rocks into a bucket to take to the dump. It is NEVERENDING! This weekend we also pulled out some of the dead bushes! Goodness! The joys of homeownership.

One joy however is that spring means ducklings! These are the ones that just hatched in our backyard!! The cuteness!!!