Goals for the year – 2017

Since active seasons in Florida are October – April, I decided I should set my goals accordingly. I reached my 2016 goal in February simply because that was when my races were. So, my top 3 fitness goals are:

  1. Complete the 6 month plan in The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Yea, My plan was to start this yesterday but my dental appointment nixed that one . So, I’ll be starting this today.

2. Run a 2:45 half marathon

St. Pete run fest in November is my current goal race!

This is one that I have been chasing for over 5 years. My half marathon PR is from 2011 and it was a 2:48. I came so close in February but a headwind killed that. I’ll be spending the summer training and getting stronger to hopefully hit this goal by the end of the year/beginning of 2018. This is going to take actual planning and stuff! My goal race is the St. Pete Run Fest in November! Super excited about this inaugural race (and goal race). You should join me!!

3. Stick to eating less sugar

Blueberry picking

Ok, we’ve been trying to go sugar free but it is crazy impossible! The hubby and I have decided to go low-sugar, low-carb, less crazy! This means more natural goodies and less processed. It has been an interesting but enlightening experience the past three weeks! Hopefully, I will be able to say we are still sticking to this in 6 months (or more).

Here’s to sticking to focusing and striving towards these 3 goals. Thanking for joining me virtually!

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??

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

 

Disney half marathon recap 2017 – the year of the cheer

or my 0.0 half marathon!

Not my medal

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my Disney half marathon got cancelled. However, I did find the awesome above hat at the outlet when I took Amber and Casey to get cold weather gear at Under Armour.

So, Amber and Casey were running the Dopey, Jon was running the marathon, and I was doing the half marathon. As we were getting ready for bed on Friday night, at 7pm people started posting on Facebook that signs were out that the race was delayed…and then cancelled

I am glad Disney made the call that they did. We all awoke at 1am to CRAZY thunderstorms. There is no way that the race staff could have been setting up anything for the race in that weather. The thunderstorms did continue until mid-morning. Disney also offered up a truly amazing refund option. You could get your money back, trade for park tickets, or transfer into another Disney race within 24 months! SAY WHAT? Seriously, for a race that could have said “sorry you are SOL” this was pretty nice.

We said “let’s run” Casey said “no”

Instead, on Saturday we made the best of it and since I wasn’t going to have any race photos I took photos around with my race shirt on! I also realized that since I carbloaded for a half marathon I needed to do A LOT of walking the next 2 days.

I did not “do it”

Run from the stormtroopers!

At this point my race weekend became a sherpa/cheer weekend! I was already planning to cheer everyone on I wasn’t as excited cause I didn’t get to run. Also, it was crazy cold! Like, I haven’t been this cold in Florida EVER

My day started off with the three of them at 3am. Due to the cold, I changed my plans so that we could drive the car to Epcot and stay warmer just a little bit longer! However, I didn’t think this through very well.

So FYI if you ever Disney marathon cheer please note any asterisks in the printed instructions. It said spectator cheering from 7:15am – 1pm at mile 24 in Epcot. However, there was a little unnoticed * next to it which indicated that Epcot didn’t actually open until 9am.

Decisions, decisions

At about 4:45am they all headed to corrals and I had to figure out my situation. I was at Epcot. I couldn’t move the car anywhere cause roads closed. The plan was to go an cheer at Boardwalk around mile 23. I had promised marathoners I would be there with snacks, and life sustaining nourishment. Note: getting to any Epcot resort on race morning is a pain in the ass. After walking around the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for the car, I charged up my phone and decided sitting in the car for 2 hours sucked and hopped onto the monorail headed for ticket and transportation.

Now, I figure at least TTC could get me to other places. I stayed there and cheered as Lauren, Jon, Bob, and Jay came through! I also cheered Meghann as she came past but I don’t think she saw me. I wish she would have cause based on her race report I could have given her nutrition for the rest of the run 🙁

It is at this point that I notice a bus that says “Hollywood Studios” and lightbulb! If I can get there I can walk the path to Boardwalk. The nicest bus driver said that indeed they were taking spectators to the different parks so I hopped on. First time I’ve ever had a Disney bus to myself

He and I chatted for a bit and I told him my crazy story for the morning. How awesome is Disney magic?? He dropped me off at boardwalk instead of studios!! Thank you Mr. Disney bus driver! I took that opportunity to use a real bathroom. I grabbed coffee and a sandwich from the boardwalk bakery and started on my walk! It was at this fun point that my bag broke…

“It no break..it broke”

Ugh! So I tie the straps together and keep trekking along! I get to my spot and boardwalk and really regret not bringing a chair with me! Katie joined me around 10am, right after the boys passed me. At one point, it was so cold that my phone just straight up died. Hence very few photos from cheering. Jon finished his race and then came to join me!

Why are his race photos always so damn good?

Like seriously!

I was happy to provide Meghann with a Hershey bar and Gatorade and send her onto her finish! She was our last speedy runner. We hung out and handed out pretzels and twizzlers to runners until Janice, Tricia, and Nicole came through around 12. Handed off the sugar and sodas to them before they headed off for their finishes! We stayed put until Amber and Casey came through right before 1pm (Side note: I forgot how long cheering at a marathon is).

I recommend that everyone who has ever had sherpas return the favor! Bring snacks because you are much more appreciated by the runners! Maybe I didn’t get to run my race but I’m so happy for my friends who rocked their marathons! I am currently waiting on my link from RunDisney to try again for next year’s half!! Hope to see you all there!!

 

A new goal and a new plan

So, the game plan was to train for the Donald Half marathon, ride that into Hot Chocolate 15, and then maintain until Gasparilla half marathon. Well that all got shot to hell when Donald got cancelled. A new game plan was needed. Let’s be honest, a new motivation was needed.

When Donald was cancelled, I planned on running the race the following week. Then it dawned on me that I had a race a week later and I didn’t want to mess that up, so I ended up doing a short run. So, I have a 15K this weekend and I hope to do well but yet again they are calling for thunderstorms. GREAT!

2017 medal

Now, I have 5 weeks until Gasparilla and 8 weeks until the Excalibur 10 miler. I need to put together a new training plan because right now I am lacking the motivation to get out the door in the morning. My original plan was to see how I’ve improved for Donald and then make Gasparilla my goal race. Now, I have to change it up a bit.

Time to sit down tonight and create a training plan and figure out life! I have some lofty running goals this year!!

Transformation Thursday – the difference a year makes

Last Thursday I was in Disney. I was chilling in my hotel room waiting for friends to get ready to go to dinner. I pulled up my time hop and a photo showed up from my marathon last year.

I remember taking this picture and being super jazzed to run my marathon 3 days later. I had been training and I knew it was going to be slow (I was hoping for an average of 14-15 minute miles) going but here we are. I also remember trying to tackle WAY too much. I wanted to get faster, I wanted to run a marathon, I wanted to lose weight. I was contemplating running races and triathlons. I was tackling A LOT! I also had a super stressful and unpleasant job. Too many not good layers here.

Fast forward a year later, and I have zeroed in on specifics. I realized that I need to focus on 1 maybe 2 things and that is it. I decided to losing weight and running. I figured that maybe losing weight and just running might lead to becoming a better runner. No more triathlons, no more marathons, no more super crappy job. I’m excited to say that I hit my first goal of 175lbs and yes, I’m averaging a 12:30 – 13:30 minute mile now for my runs. I was so excited to head to Disney for my half marathon!

Here’s the thing though. My parents blessed me with good self-esteem. Yea, I know that isn’t really a thing. However, when it comes to weight loss, I saw the number on the scale but not in the mirror. I was horrified when I hit 200lbs and how clothes fit but I never looked in the mirror and had a problem. It really wasn’t until Thursday when I saw the 2 pictures side-by-side that something clicked.

I mean I feel WAY better. I’m learning to enjoy better foods (damn you Reese Bells but hey it was Christmas) but I’m really learning portion control and meal planning. I still eat things I enjoy eating but in better forms.

I’m onto the next weight loss goal. The next goal is 155lbs so 20 more pounds. However, I feel like I’m doing it right this time. I totes over ate this weekend being a Disney, and that is ok. I remember trying to find a balance and when I got on the scale this morning, I had lost half a pound.

For once I’m excited to keep working on both the weight loss and the running. I’m enjoying finding balance and structure. I’m looking forward to creating a training plan and seeing how it goes! The first 2 goals are specific and measurable:

  1. Get to next checkpoint of 155lbs
  2. Run 3 days a week

Here’s hoping that I can hit goal 2. I sometimes have a problem motivating myself out the door in the AM! So here’s to the goals, the new things, and the new year!

Where did my stamina go?

Hey there all! Thanks for visiting today. Not only do I have the post for you below but I’m also guest posting on Running on Happy today! So go check out my post From the Race Director’s Chair over on her blog, after you read mine! AND welcome any Running on Happy readers!


How far is that exit?

How far is that exit?

So the definition of Stamina according to Dictionary.com is

the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.
“their secret is stamina rather than speed”
synonyms: endurancestaying power, tirelessness, fortitudestrengthenergy, toughness, determinationtenacityperseverancegrit

“I felt my stamina weakening”

If you ask Google endurance vs. stamina the response you get is:

The two words can be used interchangeably. They both mean “staying power.” However, stamina is more often associated with athletic power, the ability to run long distances, for instance, while endurance is associated with the ability to withstand hardship or suffering.

What I’m really working on these days is stamina. I’ve finished 3 marathons, I know I can do it, but can’t I do it well or better? I also didn’t realize that it would get harder as I lost weight. The weather here finally has become amazing running weather and I went out on Tuesday. My watch was clocking 11:30 but I couldn’t maintain it. It’s like my legs can do it now but my chest can’t seem to keep up.

I’ve been running 1:1 intervals. I’m starting to go to 2:1 to try and lengthen my running time vs walking time. This stuff is harder than it looks. My gate has changed, as well as my turnover. It’s like I’m finding my natural pace all over again.

Do they warn you about these things? Anyone else have/had this issue? Any suggestions out there?

Sometimes you just have to skip it

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Ugh, I fell off the wagon(s) this past week. Saturday was my big event for work and since I work for charity it meant that my phone was ringing off the hook all week! It also meant that I had LOTS of work to day leading up to the event. Since this was my first event (I took the job in May) I wanted it to be amazing so that meant it took all my time.

Which meant that my workouts took a back burner. Which happens sometimes. No real biggie. Then my weekend run got skipped. Why? Saturday I got up at 4:30 to get everything together, pack the car, and meet the tent people. Due to our after-party I finally got home around 9pm. To say it was a long day is an understatement. However, in my not paying attention all day I forgot to reapply sunscreen. Which meant I got a HORRIBLE sunburn on my face. I mean I don’t need medical attention or anything it just hurts!

I woke up around 1am SUPER thirsty and my face just emanating heat. I knew I was dehydrated! So I went to the kitchen and got an icepack and a gatorade. I finally got back to sleep on the couch around 3. Thankfully, I had bailed on the running group at 6pm the night before cause that wasn’t happening.

I am thankful that I know when to listen to my body. That run on Sunday would have been a horrible idea. It would have made things worse. Now that I say that time to get dressed and head out for my Tuesday morning run in an attempt to get back on the horse, those half marathon goals won’t get themselves! Just remember if you are feeling tired and run down sometimes it is ok to just SKIP IT!

Where my 90's kids?

Where my 90’s kids?

I’m finding the joy again

running

Last week I went for a run in the morning. I haven’t done this since probably April because we moved. We moved and all of a sudden my schedule was off and I just couldn’t get motivated to get up and get out. I wasn’t training for anything and I had no motivator.

A couple weeks ago I started the training plan for the Disney Half Marathon. I went back to what worked for me in the past. I downloaded the Jeff Galloway plan specifically for the half marathon. I love that RUNDISNEY provides these for free! Now, you can even sync the plan with your calendar so it is always there and you don’t have to type out each day!

It was hard to get back into a routine of following a training schedule. It took probably 3 weeks to get into some constancy. Meaning, I got my workouts in but never at the same time or maybe not even on the recommended days.

However, last week, something changed. I went out and found a groove. I felt strong and speedy. I NEVER feel speedy. I finished and looked at my watch…this was speed I had a few years ago. I haven’t been able to get back to those speeds in the last 2 years! So I tested it, I did something that made me nervous….I agreed to run.

My friend, who is training for the Disney marathon and is faster than me, asked to do our long run together. When we got out there she was totally cool with doing my 1:1 intervals even though she could do the 6 miles without stopping. She even stayed with me for 5 of the 6 miles but she needed to get home by a particular time.

However, I finished my 6 mile run just 2 minutes off of my race pace 2 year ago and 6 minutes off my PR for a 10K which I got in 2011! The big surprise was that it didn’t feel hard. I mean I pushed a bit towards the end but its been a while since I’ve run 6 miles. My legs didn’t hate me, I didn’t want to stop in the first mile, and I actually want to go out and run.

So, this morning, I will lace up and head out as scheduled!This time I’m looking forward to going. I finally feel like getting back to a sub- 3 hour half marathon is a possibility again!