Sunshine State Races Half Marathon

My 10 mile run two weeks ago ended up being the last run before my half marathon this previous Saturday. I know busy isn’t an excuse, but that’s what it was. My personal experience with this race wasn’t necessarily a great one.

I woke up at 5am on Saturday morning and ate a bowl of oatmeal. I usually don’t eat before running so this wasn’t my smartest move. My mom and I packed up and headed to the race. I parked at a parking garage a few blocks away because it was close to where I was going for brunch afterwords. My mom and I walked to the start of the race, barely making it before it was time to assemble. I gave her a kiss and started warming up. Due to sound ordinances, there was no gun shot announcing when to go, just a guy saying go. I started my 13.1 mike journey at about an 11 min pace. They first two miles breezed by, minus the fact that I had to pee. I was promised a port o potty at every two miles, but the first one was locked. The course went out for a mile and a half then turned around and headed back in the direction we came. At the turnaround, I started running into the wind. It was brutal, strong wind but I still kept a quick pace till mile 4 (I had to pee). I passed by my mom again at the start line at mile 3. It was a great little motivator. I kept running the 11 minute pace till mile 6 and looked at my watch thinking, if I keep this up, I’ll finish under 2:30. Then it sunk in how terrible that wind was. By mile 8 I was exhausted and convinced I couldn’t carry on. There was a big loop around to start heading toward the finish line at mile 8 and I was hoping that the strong head wind I faced would turn into a nice tail wind. The wind had stopped. I did a combination of run/walking the last 4 miles and dragged myself over the finish line. My little cheering section had grown from just my mom to include my aunt and dad and a surprise guest, my boyfriend! I was so happy to see them all and even more excited for the bottomless mimosas coming at brunch.

Finish time: 2:53:27

Splits: 13:17 per mile

Packet pick-up: The packet pick-up at this race was fantastic. It was literally in and out. I think I was there maybe 3 minutes getting my bib, chip and shirt.

The medal: Pretty plain medal but hey, it’s another medal for my collection.

The Swag: Definitely my most bland race shirt yet. I love the color though.

The Good: Overall the race was very well organized. The course was beautiful and I really don’t have any complaints about anything the race organizers could have fixed. The weather was not their fault.

The Bad: The water pouches they handed out were warm and tasted disgusting. I’d much rather have the little cups next time.

The Ugly: The wind was definitely the ugliest part about this run. It was a hot day and the wind just took it out of all the runners. I pray to never run into wind that strong ever again.

Overall, I’d only run that race again to prove to myself that I could beat the weather conditions.

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My first epsom salt bath

Who actually enjoys baths? I would really like to know. I always convince myself to take a bath thinking it will be relaxing and enjoyable when really I only last about 7 minutes because I start sweating profusely and I then decide this is more like torture than relaxing and I get out.

I was talked into trying an epsom salt bath. With my increased mileage, I have been feeling the hurt so anything that might help sounded like a good idea. It was pretty much 20 minutes of pure torture I never wish to endure again.

Can anyone actually take a bath and enjoy it?

The last 10-mile trot before race day

Let me start off by saying that work this week has been crazy so far. I walked in Monday morning and haven’t stopped going until this morning. I am currently waiting for an appointment to come in so I am grabbing a few moments to write about my Saturday morning run.

I woke up at the crack of dawn once again and made the 40 minute drive to meet my running group on Saturday morning. It was a tad chilly out but not so much that I couldn’t handle a tank top until I warmed up. I looked for my running buddy but didn’t see her around. I synced my watch and started the 10-mile run I had before me. Miles 1-3 flew by. I didn’t know who I was! I was trotting along at a good pace barely even noticing that each mile was passing. I only walked once every two miles, like I was stopping at the water stops on race day, and kept up my 12:30 pace. I forgot to hit the start on my watch when I stopped my watch to grab some water at a water cooler and missed a whole mile of my run before I started it again.  At just over mile 4 I ran into my running buddy. She had started at a different place than the group. I slowed down a bit and chatted with her for about 2 miles. I said my goodbyes and picked my pace back up to finish the remaining miles. I even finished far enough from the start to walk a bit and cool down. It was such a successful run!

I tried my GU Recovery Brew in chocolate after the run. I mixed it with milk and let me tell you, it was delicious! It had sort of a coconut flavor mixed with the chocolate flavor. I am a huge fan. I went to sleep that night and woke up refreshed, no aches and pains from my run the morning before! It was a first. I will definitely be buying the container of it when I get paid this week!

I missed my run on Monday and Tuesday due to the craziness at work at and surprise rendezvous with the boy. I am running 5 miles Friday morning and 6 Saturday morning on the West coast of Florida. I will keep y’all updated!

Has anyone else ever tried a recovery drink? Did they work for you?

Stridin’ or stumblin’?

The question that always plagues me during runs is, “when will my stride hit?”. I know that many runners mention that after so many minutes into their run, they hit a stride. I have yet to find this magical time they speak of. I would love to have that moment during my run where my breathing relaxes, my pace steadies and I am just trotting along without a care in the world…

This has not happened to me. Even at short distances, I still find myself huffing and puffing like I already ran a half marathon. While I will admit that it takes a few miles for my calves to stop screaming at me and warm up, I am still never comfortable during a run. I probably never will be either. Currently, I am a turtle. I have high hopes that maybe one day I will be able to run some astonishing pace like an 8-minute mile (maybe not astonishing to some, but astonishing to me). Since summertime in Florida is the time when most people recover and don’t race, I won’t be increasing mileage. I’m going to stick at about 10 miles a week for my long runs and try and improve my speed. I have hefty goals when it comes to speed. I most recently dropped my pace from just under 15 minute miles to just over 12 minutes miles. It’s a huge drop and I’m hoping I can keep it up. 10-minute miles are my goal during the summer. And I would cry big crocodile tears if I ever ran a half in under two hours. Maybe one day. I might add that to my goals for the year just to have something to try for.

So I must ask, what’s your pace and how did you get there?

Another Tuesday 6-miler

I did not feel like running 6-miles on Tuesday. There’s been something in the air recently that has made myself and everyone around me the sleepiest of people. Everyday is a struggle to pull myself out of bed, no matter what time I go to sleep. I dragged myself to meet my running group and we embarked on our runs. There is a marathon coming up down here the week before my half marathon so most of my group was tapering and only running the 4 mile loop. I was on my own for the 6 mile loop. I ran the first two miles without my normal walk break and then walked about .08 of a mile like I was stopping at my first water station. I can’t even walk and drink so I definitely can’t run and drink. So during my half I will be walking for water and to take a few energy chews every other water stop or so. I ran to mile 4, took my little walk break and then picked back up into a run for the last two miles. When my Garmin binged to inform me that I had completed mile 5, I picked up the pace. I was going to finish this 6-miler strong. I ran all the way until the 6th mile binged into my watch. I had finished in 1:11:14. Angels came down to sing to me at that point since I had run 6 miles in under 12 minute miles. It was just barely under the 12 minute mark, but it was under all the same. I’m getting stronger, faster, and better with every run. I can’t wait to keep it up.

4 miles for Tackle The Miles

I got a little over zealous with signing up for Virtual Runs last December. I signed up for 13 in 2013, Run 5 by the 5th, and 13 in 2013 Virtual Race Series. I missed the first run for Run 5 by the 5th due to the fact that I was being lazy the whole first week of January. I got back on my game and completed my runs for all three. This run was for the 13 in 2013 Virtual Race Series and counted for one of my races for 13 in 2013.

I met Ariel in the Walgreens parking lot and we embarked on our 4 mile jog. I can run farther than Ariel, but she runs faster, so after the bridge I watched her slowly pull away in front of me. I jogged along behind her and when the first mile pinged on my Garmin, I decided I wasn’t taking my walk breaks like usual. This was supposed to be an easy run after I got beat up at Warrior Dash but I pushed on anyways. I’ve mentioned before that my Monday running route has lots of ups and downs and can be quite challenging. I trotted along right up to the turn around point at 2 miles and began my return to the parking lot. At the 5k mark, I was ecstatic. I had run 3.1 miles non-stop! I was running at an 11:30 pace which is quite a bit faster than the 12:30 I have been training for my half marathon with. The last half mile was back over the bridge and down to the parked lot. I clocked that mile at 10:42 and completed the 4 mile set in 45:03. I was so happy, especially since my last 4 mile RACE in which I was actually trying to time I finished in 46:33.

The greatest part about running for me is the feeling I get. I just love the days when I reach a new level of fitness, whether it be speed or distance. I spent the rest of the evening in a runner’s high. I can’t wait for my 6 mile run!