Saturday, January 31, 2015

Flapjack 5K recap 2014

The 21st Annual Flapjack 5K was a first for me.  My 10 year old, Dylan, expressed interest in running a 5K with me after I ran the Gobbler 5K.  This was a local and inexpensive race, so I signed us up to run a week before the race.

After running Rap River with Dylan in the summer of 2013, I told myself I'd never run a race WITH him again.  Dylan and I discussed running and pace prior to the Flapjack race.  He decided he wanted to run his own pace on race day and not stay with me.  I reminded him that he runs for 40 minutes at PE mileage club and he just finished basketball season where he played most of the 40 minute game running back and forth on the court.  He was completely capable of running the entire 3.1 miles.

Car selfie with my Dylan
Race morning was cold for Florida, in the upper 40s!  We lined up as close to the start line as possible because there was no timing start mat.  As the race started, Dylan took off.  I told him he was starting too fast so he slowed down and I caught up to him.  We ran together for about a quarter mile and then he stopped to walk.  I suggested he not walk the race but slow his pace.  I left Dylan and ran on through the streets of Land O' Lakes to a 26:36 finish.

With our races finished, my friend Jen joined me as I walked back along the course to find Dylan.  I figured if he kept running, he should be close behind.  Unfortunately, he didn't keep running and was in a grumpy mood.  We encouraged him to run the last half mile with us but he refused.

He walked over the finish line!!  So frustrating!  He finished in 47:54...his slowest 5K.

I won second place in my age group!  Yippee!

Age Place: 2/13
Overall Place: 78/268
Gun/chip time: 26:36

Dylan enjoyed lots of pancakes after the race and apologized for not even trying in the 5K.

I love my boy but I'm glad we each ran our own race.  I don't think I would have made it if I had to deal with grumpy Dylan during a 48 minute 5K.

Do your kids like to run races?


Friday, January 30, 2015

Space Coast Half Marathon 2014 recap

For the second year in a row, I traveled over to the east coast of Florida the weekend after Thanksgiving to run the Space Coast Half Marathon.  I enjoyed and PRed the course last year so I had to go back for more bling!

The 2014 medal featured the Challenger Space Shuttle with 7 stars representing the seven lives lost when the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on January 28, 1986.

Denise and I drove over on Saturday to visit the expo and pick up our race bibs and packets.  The expo was at a local hotel instead of the Kennedy Space Center this year.  The expo had more exhibitors than last year but was extremely crowded and hard to maneuver.  They ran out of women's race shirts which was very annoying, especially considering I did early registration before the general public.

Expo selfie with fellow Striders

After the expo, Denise and I checked in to our hotel and then met the Striders for dinner.  At dinner, one of my fellow runners, Bob, volunteered to pace me in the half to an under 2:00 hour finish.  I just PRed at the Savannah Rock N Roll Half with a time of 2:02:26.

On race morning, I was ready to conquer my half and hopefully a new PR under 2:00.  I met up with Bob and was a little nervous for him to pace me because we hadn't ever run together before.  We lined up near the 2 hour pace group in the start corral.  Shortly after, the race started and we were off, running along the scenic Indian River.

At about mile 3, my legs were already tired (probably because I walked around Busch Gardens all day on Friday).  We ran a nice pace and did not start out too fast.  I told Bob I wasn't sure this under 2 thing was going to happen today because I already wasn't feeling it.

The 2 hour pace group (A) and the 2 hour Galloway pace group (B) kept passing each other.  At about mile 4, I needed a little walk break just to catch my breath so we stopped to walk with the Galloway group.  I figured we could catch up with the other group (A) on the next run portion.  The Galloway group started their run portion and it was a SPRINT.  This Galloway group was equivalent to running intervals for 13.1 miles!  No thanks!  We caught up to the other group (A) but after the sprint I just ran, I couldn't keep pace.  The 2 hour pace groups ran off ahead but I was ok with that.  I ran my own race and if I didn't meet my goal, there would be another race.

Bob kept me going towards the end of the course where I would have slowed down my pace if I was by myself.  It was a hot day that slowly zapped my energy for running.

The last .10 mile curved around Riverfront Park in a half circle to the finish line.  We ran over a timing mat that I thought was the finish line and stopped running.  Bob looked back at me and yelled "come on" and I heard people yelling, "keep going"!  I was not at the finish line yet but the mat that allowed the announcer to call out our names.  UGH!  I started running again and crossed the finish line about 10 steps ahead.  I was glad to be done!  I didn't finish under 2:00 but did PR by 24 seconds.


Overall Place: 434/3304
Female Place: 184/2329
Age Div Place: 33/417
Average pace: 9:19
5K time: 28:33
10K time: 57:08
15K time: 1:26:15
Chip time: 2:02:02

I love the space shuttle medal and will be back for more!  What's your favorite race medal?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Gobbler 5K 2014 recap

This was the first year I ran a Thanksgiving Day race.  So close to home, the Gobbler 5K was the perfect option for me.

I had been wanting a nice flat course that I could PR for my 5K distance.  The Gobbler race took place in Starkey Park...where I run every Saturday morning.  Perfect!  I knew the park and flat running trails very well.

My PR to beat was 27:39 from 2 years ago.  I hadn't run a 5K in over a year and I knew I was faster.

Thanksgiving morning was a brisk 52 degrees...perfect running weather.  I met up with friends in my running group and we hung out until the start of the race.  My goal was a sub 27:00 5K to give me the PR.

We lined up in the start corral and someone asked if there was a mat at the start line.  I walked up to check and reported back that there was NOT a start mat.  No start mat meant that all timing chips started when the gun went off to signal the start of the race instead of when racers actually crossed the start line.  Racers that were a minute back in the start corral would already have an extra minute on their finish time before they even crossed the start line.  I was trying to PR so I moved up closer to the start line.

The race started and I felt great!  The temperature was cool and I was well fueled for a 5K.  We ran on the park road for about a mile, making our way to the trail.  I kept up a nice pace and loved seeing friends' faces as I ran.  We turned around at mile 2 to head back to the finish area.

My awesome race and pace continued to a Garmin finish time of 25:53!  My official chip time was 25:58.  Not only did I get a sub 27:00 but also a sub 26:00!  I was so happy with my new PR.

My new PR also won me a second place age group award!  Woot, Woot!  Never before had I won an age group award in a running race.  So excited!

This is a race I will definitely do again next Thanksgiving!

Age Div place: 2/38
Overall place: 103/617
Average pace: 8:31
Garmin time: 25:53
Gun/chip time: 25:58


The Phantom of the Opera in Tampa

Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is performing in Tampa as part of the new North American Tour.  This amazing musical, with new scenic design, choreography and staging, shouldn't be missed!

The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite musicals.  Mike and I first saw it at the Straz Center in 2008 where I fell in love with the thunderous organ cords.  It's back in Tampa for a 5th time.

I was so excited for the opportunity to see the latest production of The Phantom.  Unfortunately, my husband, Mike, already had plans.  I intended to invite one of my sisters but my 10 year old, Dylan, really wanted to see the show with me.  How could I say no to some culture and a musical with my little boy.

Before the show, I explained the background of the story.  I told Dylan that the phantom lived at an opera house in the late 1800s.  His face was disfigured so he wore a white mask to cover up.  It was rumored that the phantom escaped from a freak show and was always treated cruelly.  He fell in love with an opera singer named Christine and just wanted to be loved by someone.

Before the show started with the famous chandelier still covered

This was Dylan's first musical with an orchestra.  Like me, he also loved the powerful organ cords and recognized certain instruments like the flute and triangle.  His school music teachers would be proud.

Ready for Act Two to start

Act Two began with a New Year's Eve masquerade in the Grand Ballroom with incredible dresses and costumes designed by Maria Bjornson.

Original costume design by Maria Bjornson. Photo credit Straz Center

The set design was amazing including a major mechanical piece used as the walkway and stairs to the phantom's lair.  The stairs magically appeared out of the side of the set piece as the Phantom led Christine into his lair.

Katie Travis as Christine and Chris Mann as Phantom

I truly loved The Phantom of the Opera's musical score with the "Angle of Music" being one of my favorites along with the Phantom's theme song.

Dylan and I thoroughly enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera with his only complaint being an uncomfortable chair.  He enjoyed the live orchestra and captivating songs.  I was happy to introduce Dylan to this musical and the arts.

See The Phantom of the Opera at the Straz Center December 17, 2014 - January 4, 2015.

*Disclaimer - Through the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given two tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera in exchange for review.  All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa

My family and I visited Busch Gardens Christmas Town on this year's opening day, November 28th.  My boys were thrilled that their oldest brother and his son joined us for the day at Busch Gardens.

After parking and riding the tram to the park's front entrance, we were greeted by playful elves and stacks of huge ornaments.  I noticed lights and garland decorated the ticket booths and awnings.

Christmas Town transformed Busch Gardens Tampa into a holiday wonderland.  I hadn't realized that the entire park was Christmas Town (instead of a small area within the park). We found lights, carols and tasty treats of the season.  All of the shows were reformatted to have a Christmas theme. Even the park map was replaced with a Busch Gardens Christmas Town map.

Thousands of twinkling lights surrounded many of the Busch Gardens' trees.  Holiday characters, like snowmen, spread cheer throughout the park.  Enormous Christmas trees decorated seasonally named areas like Three Kings Oasis and Christmas Time Terrace.  I loved the organic nativity scene, made of plants and straw.

A 50-foot tree light show that came to life every ten minutes

The sign reads "The tradition of Christmas lights comes from early Christians who displayed lit candles to represent that Jesus is the light and hope of the world".

Live band in Holiday Hills
I was excited to board the Christmas Town Express sing-a-long train!  I sang along to my favorite holiday songs until I had tortured my 10 year old enough (he was lucky enough to sit next to me).

Christmas Town Village was the perfect spot to buy gifts or yummy holiday treats like warm cookies, hot chocolate, or waffles.  My boys enjoyed watching the electric trains go around and around.  The younger kids could go for a ride on the Jingle Bell Express next to the electric trains.

Our entire family had a wonderful day visiting Busch Gardens Christmas Town.  Dylan even wanted a Santa hat tiger to remember the day (his words as he talked me into buying him a souvenir).

Busch Gardens Christmas Town is open 23 select dates from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31, 2014. You may experience all of the Christmas celebrations throughout the day with your park admission.  Park closing times range from 8pm to 9pm throughout the event.

Disclaimer: I was given 4 tickets to Busch Gardens as a Busch Gardens Ambassador.  All opinions are my own.